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MONDAY 27/12/2021 – NNPC ENDS 2021 WITH GLOBAL AWARD FOR OIL, GAS REFORMS The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has ended the year on a bright note after it won an award as the overall best company in oil and gas reforms at the Open Government Partnership global awards, which was held in Seoul, South Korea. Nigeria picked the award at the expense of other member countries in Africa and the Middle East that were implementing a Beneficial Ownership registry to end anonymous companies in their countries. The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, congratulated Nigeria on the award and noted that establishing a beneficial ownership register had helped Nigeria “track, reduce and arrest corrupt practices that are undertaken either by companies or beneficial owners of companies.” The Deputy Director/Head Communications & Advocacy of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Obiageli Onuorah, said in a statement that a lot of factors were considered before Nigeria was picked for the award. Onuorah said the summit considered the government’s overall commitment to reforms in the oil, gas, and mining sectors, as well as, the support given to NEITI to establish a beneficial ownership register of companies in a business in Nigeria’s extractive sector. Also considered were the broader reforms in beneficial ownership disclosure by the CAC through the amendment of the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the recent Petroleum Industry Act. Commenting on the feat, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, expressed delight that the international community was beginning to assess Nigeria’s efforts at fighting corruption and deepening its democracy.   TUESDAY 28/12/2021 – CURRENCY IN CIRCULATION JUMPED TO N3.15TN IN NOVEMBER – CBN The currency in circulation rose from N2.97tn at the end of October to N3.15tn in November, according to figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria. The CBN data showed that the currency in circulation increased to N2.84tn in September from N2.78tn in August. It stood at N2.81tn in July, N2.74tn in June, N2.79tn in May, N2.79tn in April, N2.8tn in March, N2.78tn in February and N2.83tn in January. The Currency Operations Department of the CBN said in its 2020 annual report that it sustained banknotes disposal operations in 2020 to ensure the circulation of clean banknotes. The apex bank said in furtherance of this objective, it deployed 11 banknote destruction systems and three currency disintegrating systems for currency disposal activities in the period under review. It said at the end of December 2020, a total of 1.51 billion pieces (151,427 boxes) valued at N698.59bn was disposed, compared with 1.57 billion pieces (157,217 boxes) valued at N814.44bn in 2019. According to the CBN, the boxes and value of unfit notes disposed in 2020 decreased by 5,790 and N1.12bn, respectively from 157,217 boxes valued at N814.44bn in 2019.   WEDNESDAY 29/12/2021 – STOCK MARKET RESUMES AFTER CHRISTMAS BREAK WITH N238BN LOSS The Nigerian stock market resumed trading on Wednesday after the Christmas holidays with a loss of N238 billion due to profit taking. Speficially, the market capitalisation which opened at N22.060 trillion lost N238 billion or 1.08 per cent to close at N21.822 trillion. Also, the All-Share Index inched lower by 455.75 points or 1.08 per cent to close at 41,807.10 against 42,262.85 achieved on Friday. Accordingly, month-to-date loss increased to 3.3 per cent, while the year-to-date gain moderated to 3.8 per cent. The market resumed trading activities after the public holidays on Dec. 27 and 28 declared by the federal government to mark Christmas and Boxing Day celebration. The market’s negative performance was driven by price depreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks which are: BUA Cement, MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN), PZ Cussons, May & Baker and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated. Market sentiment was slightly positive with 17 gainers relative to 16 losers.   THURSDAY 30/12/2021 – MONEY LENDERS WARN NIGERIANS AGAINST PATRONISING ILLEGAL OPERATORS Money Lenders Association has urged Nigerians to be careful and carry out due diligence on lenders before deciding to apply for loans from any moneylender online or via mobile applications. The President of the association, Mr Gbemi Adelekan, said the association saw the need to enlighten the public after a report exposing the operations of unethical and unprofessional activities of some lenders in the industry who are causing misery and pain to customers with their mode of operations. Adelekan, in a statement on Wednesday, said, “In recent years, the activities of money lenders have increased, mostly online, to provide quick and emergency loans to the population to meet essential needs. “Most of our licensed operators are operating ethically within the confine of the law and in accordance to the professional code of conduct of the association, as we self-regulate our activities. “Unfortunately, some online lenders are operating illegally and employ deception and other illegal conducts to take advantage of financially distressed consumers seeking these loans. “We have found that some lenders use threats as loan collection methods, fraud, and disseminate personal information of customers to families and friends when loans are not repaid when due. Not all lenders engage in this type of unwholesome actions. “Any lender promising the approval of loan requests before carrying out any analysis of the request is definitely a red flag.”   FRIDAY 31/12/2021 – CBN FOREX POLICIES MAY THREATEN ECONOMIC GROWTH IN 2022 — REPORT The Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, an economic think tank, has said the “monetary and foreign exchange policy rigidities” of the Federal Government may disrupt the economic growth of the nation in 2022. The Central Bank of Nigeria is responsible for monetary and forex policy in the country. The centre made this known in its ‘2022 Economic Outlook’ report, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Thursday. According to the organisation, there is no indication that the nation will shift from its current monetary and foreign exchange policy and this may hamper economic growth in 2022. The centre said, “Monetary and foreign exchange policy rigidities may also pose a risk to the growth outlook as there are no indications of any significant shift in monetary and foreign exchange policy stance in the near term. “Consequently, the distortions inherent in the foreign exchange market will persist in 2022. The constraining effect of the high Cash Reserve Requirement on financial intermediation would also persist in 2022 with a dampening effect on growth outlook.” According to the private sector body, while the economic outlook for the Nigerian economy in 2022 is largely positive with Gross Domestic Product growth to remain at a fragile three per cent, the problem of insecurity will impact significantly on the economy.