Daily Watch – Naira sustains recovery after rate hike, Egypt starts paying off oil loans

28th March 2024

The naira strengthened further on the parallel market on Wednesday, a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria raised the Monetary Policy Rate again to curb inflation. Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in Abuja quoted the naira at between ₦1,280 and ₦1,300 per dollar on Wednesday afternoon as against ₦1,350/$ on Tuesday. Some BDC operators at the popular Zone 4 market in Abuja confirmed that the naira is fast bouncing back. When contacted by BusinessDay, an operator, Yusuf, offered to sell the dollar at ₦1,290. “Government’s target is to bring the rate to ₦1,000 a dollar and that is what we are all praying for. There is now money in the market. Apart from the allocation by the CBN, private people are bringing money to sell. That’s why the rate is dropping. Dollar is available now,” he said.

President Bola Tinubu has unveiled the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC) to revamp Nigeria’s economic governance. Chaired by Tinubu, the PECC includes 12 cabinet ministers, the central bank governor, top economist Doyin Salami, and prominent business leaders Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, and Funke Okpeke. The president set up the Economic Management Team Emergency Taskforce (EET) which is headed by Finance Minister Wale Edun. The taskforce, which unites cabinet ministers, the national security adviser, head of state oil firm NNPC Ltd, state governors and leading economists Bismarck Rewane and Suleyman Ndanusa, is mandated to develop and execute a six-month emergency economic plan within two weeks, Ngelale said. The existing Economic Management Team (EMT) will be subsumed under the PECC and will primarily focus on long-term economic strategies after the EET’s six-month term ends.

President Akufo-Addo has removed Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah as Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and dissolved the GRA board without providing a specific reason. According to sources, Julie Essiam has been appointed as his replacement. Pressure was mounting for Dr. Ammishaddai’s removal as several groups argued he had surpassed the legal age limit for public officers to stay in office. In December 2023, the Concerned Citizens of Ghana threatened protests over Dr Ammishaddai’s continued tenure, and that of his deputy, Julie Essiam. Furthermore, the Minority in Parliament, led by Sam George, representing Ningo Prampram, has also demanded his dismissal. He warned companies not to work with Dr. Ammishaddai, stating that he did not have the authority to make binding state commitments.

Egypt has started paying off dues owed to foreign oil and gas companies operating in the country, the government said, with sources saying that up to $1.5 billion had been set aside for the payments, according to Reuters. A cabinet statement said the payment process accounted for about 20% of arrears owed to the companies, adding that the remainder would be paid off through a scheduled plan. Egypt began accumulating arrears to companies and contractors during a long-running foreign currency shortage. The shortage has eased over the past month after the announcement of a record investment deal, a devaluation and an expansion of Egypt’s current International Monetary Fund programme.