What to expect as CBN’s naira for dollar scheme begins
Starting today, March 8, Nigerians who use formal channels to receive dollars from abroad will get 5 naira extra for every $1 they remit through licensed international money transfer operators and commercial banks.
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The program will initially run for 60 days, according to the CBN, which is betting on the move to improve dollar liquidity in the official window.
Based on the policy, Deposit Money Banks reached out to their customers on Sunday telling them that N5 would be given for every dollar received by the customers.
Nigeria is turning its attention to diaspora remittances as it seeks to boost dollar inflows into the country after a difficult past year that saw dollar flows dry up on the back of lower oil exports, causing shortages of the greenback.
In December 2020, the CBN also unveiled new rules on remittances allowing people getting cash from friends or family abroad to be paid in US dollars. This marked a divergence from the usual practice of paying in naira which discouraged diaspora inflows via official channels.
Economists say the latest incentive by the CBN to boost diaspora inflows could indeed help direct some dollars through the official channel and ease the pressure on the naira which last traded at N411 per dollar at the investors and exporters window.
The big question on the minds of analysts is the cost implication of the scheme.
New week, old worries for equities
Bearish sentiments again dominated the Nigerian equities market last week, dragging the All Share Index to its fifth consecutive negative close.
The NSEASI shed 1.18% WoW to 39,331.61pts, while the year-to-date return sunk deeper into negative territory, settling at -2.33%.
All sectoral indices closed negative with the exception of the Insurance index which climbed 1.39 percent. MORISON (+20.00%) topped the gainers’ chart, while CHAMPION shed -33.33% to emerge as the week’s biggest loser.
As yields in the fixed income market continue to rise, the equities market is expected to continue to see outflows.
It remains to be seen however if the ongoing corporate earnings season can swing sentiments in favour of embattled stocks.
Mixed corporate earnings
A number of audited financial results were released last week, with mixed performance across board. While Dangote Sugar recorded strong top and bottom-line growth (+33.03% and +33.16% respectively), Ardova Plc managed to grow its revenues (+2.90%), although after-tax profit dipped by 47.30% compared to last year. SEPLAT, on the other hand, recorded declines in both top and bottom-line.
MTN Nigeria also released its 2020 audited financial statements that showed an 8.5 percent increase in operating profits to N426.73 billion, as data revenues surged by 51 percent to N332.37 billion.
This week will see more corporate results and there are expectations that the financial performance of companies in 2020 will reflect the impact of the pandemic on the economy which slipped into a second recession in five years last year.