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All valid FX backlog cleared, says CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has successfully settled all outstanding foreign exchange (FX) obligations.

Hakama Sidi Ali, acting director of corporate communications at CBN, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

Ali said the financial regulator recently concluded the payment of $1.5 billion to settle obligations to bank customers, effectively settling the residual balance of the FX backlog.

On February 5, Olayemi Cardoso, CBN governor, said he inherited a $7 billion FX backlog when he became the head of the apex bank in September 2023, however, it has dropped to $2.2 billion.

Commenting further on the backlog settlement, Ali disclosed that “independent auditors from Deloitte Consulting meticulously assessed these transactions, ensuring that only legitimate claims were honoured”.

She said any invalid transactions were promptly referred to the relevant authorities for further scrutiny.

“Clearance of the foreign exchange transactions backlog is part of the overall strategy detailed in last month’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting to stabilise the exchange rate and thereby curb imported inflation, spurring confidence in the banking system and the economy,” Ali said.

“Cardoso used the MPC meeting and a subsequent conference call with foreign portfolio investors to set expectations for sustained increases in Nigeria’s foreign currency reserves and improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market.”

According to the spokesperson, at a recent meeting, Cardoso said CBN made clearing the FX backlog a priority to restore credibility and confidence in the Nigerian economy.

“It was important that we go through an independent and credible process that would determine the authenticity of those obligations, and, at this point, I can tell you that we have now cleared all genuine, verifiable transactions,” he said.

“This encumbrance to market confidence in the country’s ability to meet its obligations is now totally behind us.”

On January 29, CBN said $500 million had been released to various sectors to address the backlog of verified FX transactions.

Prior to this, the apex bank said $61.64 million was disbursed to foreign airlines through various banks.

EXTERNAL RESERVES UP BY $993 MILLION

Ali said CBN recorded a significant increase in external reserves.

“The CBN followed this month by reporting a significant increase in external reserves, rising by $993 million to $34.11 billion as of March 7, 2024, the highest level in eight months,” she said.

“The month-on-month increase was driven by a marked advance in remittance payments by Nigerians overseas, as well as higher purchases of local assets, including government debt securities, by foreign investors.”

Business

Japa: Six tips for Nigerians to boost their chances of securing US visa

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The United States (US) visa, is undisputably, the most sought-after in the world for relocation because of the exceptional life opportunities attached to it.

A US visa is a permit issued by the US government that grants Nigerians and other non-citizens entry into the country for certain purposes, such as work, study, or travel.

This document must be attached to the applicant’s passport before gaining access to enter as an immigrant or non-immigrant to the US.

An immigrant visa is for those who plan to stay in the US permanently, while a non-immigrant visa is for those who intend to visit the US temporarily.

Non-immigrant visas allow people to work or study in the US for up to 180 days, while an immigrant visa allows you to stay indefinitely and work without restrictions.

As a Nigerian, whether you are applying as an immigrant or a non-immigrant, you must master some tips to boost your chances of getting a visa at the US embassy.

In this article, there are six tips to help you increase your chances of securing a US visa.

1. Research your visa category 

As a US visa applicant, you must thoroughly research the visa category that best suits your purpose of travel and gather all the necessary documents accordingly.

2. Begin early

As thousands apply for US visas daily, you must start the application process well in advance to give you enough time for any unprepared delays.

3. Get ready for questions

You must prepare for the visa interview by engaging and familiarising yourself with potential and unexpected questions and practising concise, confident responses.

4. Honesty

Be honest and transparent during the interview, because offering false information can lead to serious consequences and future visa rejections.

5. Prepare all documents

Present your supporting documents in an organised manner, making it easier for the consular officer to review and verify the information.

6. Show commitment to Nigeria 

You need to demonstrate strong ties to your home country, such as stable employment, family, or property, to assure the consular officer that you will return after your authorised stay (if applicable).

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Business

Adesola Adeduntan steps down as First Bank CEO

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Adesola Adeduntan, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, has resigned from his position.

According to a letter addressed to Tunde Hassan-Odukale, the bank’s board chairman, Adeduntan’s tenure ought to elapse on December 31, 2024.

However, he voluntarily decided to step down on April 20.

“As you are aware, my contract would be expiring on 31 December 2024 after which I would no longer be eligible for employment within the Bank having served as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank for a record time of nine years,” Adeduntan said.

“During this period the Bank and its subsidiaries has undergone significant changes and broken new grounds. We have repositioned the institution as an enviable financial giant in Africa.

“I have however decided to proceed on retirement with effect from 20 April 2024 to pursue other interests.”

Furthermore, he expressed gratitude towards the board of directors of First Bank and FBN Holdings for the support he received from them during his tenure.

Adeduntan was appointed as CEO of First Bank in 2016.

Prior to his appointment, he served as the bank’s executive director and chief financial officer (CFO).

Before joining First Bank in July 2014, he was a director and the pioneer CFO/business manager of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

Adeduntan formerly worked as a senior vice-president and CFO at Citibank Nigeria Limited, as a senior manager in the financial services group of KPMG Professional Services, and as a manager at Arthur Andersen Nigeria.

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Business

Customs adjust FX rate for import duties to N1,147/$

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has again adjusted the foreign exchange (FX) rate for duties to N1,147.02 per dollar.

This represents a 7.3 percent decrease compared to N1,238.1/$ displayed on April 18.

The rate adopted by customs was observed on Friday.

It fell below the official foreign exchange rate, which closed at N1,154/$ on April 18 at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM).

The drop in the FX rate for customs tariffs and duties is coming amid the Central Bank of Nigeria‘s (CBN) effort to stabilise the naira.

On April 17, the naira appreciated to N1,050 at the parallel section of the FX market, from the N1,100/$ traded on April 15.

Meanwhile, on April 16, President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the national single window (NSW) project to boost trade in Nigeria.

NSW is an electronic portal linking all agencies and players in import and export processes to an integrated platform.

Speaking on the development, Adewale Adeniyi, the comptroller-general (CG) of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said the country is making progress with consultations on the reopening of the borders with Niger Republic and Benin Republic.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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