CBN bows to the Supreme Court’s order

After six long weeks of naira swap tussle, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) finally bows to the Supreme Court’s order to extend the deadline for the use of old naira notes to December 31, 2023. Nigerian residents can now do business with the old banknotes of N1,000, N500, and N200 alongside the newly redesigned naira notes. The recent development comes on the heels of weeks of unnecessary power flex, between the apex bank and the country’s highest court, in a new cash swap policy that has caused untold hardship for many Nigerians. 

During the heat of the cash crisis in February, the Supreme Court ordered the CBN to extend the naira deadline given the severe hardship it caused residents. But the CBN argued that the court lacked the legal jurisdiction to preside over matters regarding its operations as it waiting for orders from the presidency. But a statement from the Nigerian presidency on Monday evening stated that the CBN had no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President.

The new cash policy was rolled out in October 2022 by the Federal government to prevent counterfeit banknotes, corruption, vote-buying during elections, and terrorist funding, while stabilising and strengthening the Nigerian economy. In three months Nigeria recovered over N1.3 trillion (over $4 billion) in old notes- mostly hidden in people’s private safes. 

In its latest statement, Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has vowed never to resume operations in Nigeria following the CBN’s delay in releasing some of its trapped funds in Nigeria.  Apparently, CNB is yet to make available 50% of the amount approved for clearing within the backlog of the airline’s funds trapped in the country. 

As of 2022, Emirates Airlines had $85 million trapped in Nigeria and has sort to repatriate it for months now. After several dialogues, in September 2022, it ended its operations in the West African country to limit further losses and impact on its operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.

Nigeria depends heaving on oil for its foreign reserve. But last year, a sluggish oil and gas output dug a deep hole in its foreign coffers. The tied-up funds belonging to the airlines currently years an estimated $10 million monthly in interest.

Drums of uranium missing in Libya

On Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog reported that roughly 2.5 tons (10 drums) of natural uranium went missing from a Libyan site not under government control. Due to security risks in the region, the IAEA could not inspect the nuclear metals last year. 

The missing drums of uranium are a part of the 2,000 tons of lightly processed uranium that former Libyan ruler, Muhammer Gadaffi purchased from Niger in pursuance of a nuclear weapon program he stopped in 2003. 

According to the IAEA, the loss of knowledge about the present location of nuclear material may present a radiological risk, as well as nuclear security concerns. The UN-backed organisation promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy and inhibits its use for any military purpose like atomic bomb production-  

ICYMI: Market roundup

  • The NGX All-Share Index and Market Capitalization depreciated by -0.00%  to close the week ending 17th of March, 2023, at 54915.39 points. The top gainers were United Capital +9.91%, Prestigious Insurance 0.45 +9.76%, Royal Exchange +7.46%. Livestock Feeds +6.86%, and RT Briscoe +4.17%. On the other hand, the top decliners were  Multiverse -9.92%, Veritas Capital Insurance -4.76%, Fields -4.00%, Nigerian Breweries -2.57%, and Access Holdings -2.33%.
  • The naira rose to close the week at N458.74 /$1 on Friday compared to the N461.50/$1 recorded the previous week.  
  • Brent crude closed the week at $72.47, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude closed at $66.24.
  • The global cryptocurrency market cap stood at $1.18 trillion, as of 6:13 pm Sunday, the 19th of March, 2023. Bitcoin stood at $28,016.90 (a 35.91% increase in 7 days), Ethereum stood at $1,824.40 (a 23.14% increase in 7 days) and Binance coin stood at $339.55 (a 22.04% increase in 17 days).
  • Nuru, a DRC-based energy startup raises $1.5 million in funding.
  • ​​Flat6Labs launches $95 million VC fund to expand impact in Africa.
  • Almentor, an Egyptian ed-tech startup raises $10 million pre-Series C round funding to accelerate growth in the MENA region.

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