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Five things to know to start your Thursday

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CBN urges banks to collect redesigned notes or face sanction

Ahead of the January 31 deadline, the Central Bank continued its market sensitization tour when it touched down in Computer Village, Ikeja, on Wednesday in Lagos to speak on the new naira note. The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, represented by Kofo Salam-Alada, Director, Legal Services Department, of the CBN, called on commercial banks to approach the apex bank branches across the country to pick up the new naira notes or faced getting sanctioned.

He said that the new naira notes were in the apex bank’s vaults, awaiting pickup by the commercial banks.

“We have been calling upon the banks to approach the Central Bank of Nigeria across the country to come and pick up the new notes; we have even waived some of the conditionality for accessing currency notes in order to accommodate the banks.

“The banks were being given slots before, but now the Central Bank of Nigeria is bending over backward to accommodate the demands of the banks in order to service them, so that they can service you and so that everybody will have access to the new naira notes,’’ Emefiele said.

Emefiele said that the apex bank was seriously working to ensure that the new notes were available everywhere.

Read also: CBN cash limit chokes informal businesses

FirstBank to hold 2023 economic outlook webinar

Folake Ani-Mumuney, the Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., said on Wednesday the bank will hold its 2023 Nigeria Economic Outlook webinar. The webinar will take place on Friday, and its purpose is to deliberate on national and global trends that will shape the economic landscape in the new fiscal year.

The webinar’s theme is “Nigeria Economic Outlook 2023: A Look Ahead,” and it will discuss major events that shaped the world last year as well as national and global issues that will affect the world this year.

She said: “Our forthcoming Nigeria Economic Outlook webinar is a viable opportunity for one to be informed on key trends and activities that will shape the global socio-economic landscape in 2023.

“2022 was indeed a turbulent year and from the 2023 forecast, the growth would still be slow.

“In addition, bearing in mind 2023 being an election year in Nigeria, like every democratic nation around the world, commercial and business activities in the country will be impacted by the forthcoming election.’’

Funke Akindele tours markets in Lagos, soliciting traders’ support

Funke Akindele, the Lagos Deputy Governorship Candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), continued her tour of major markets in Lagos State on Wednesday as she stopped by at Lagos Island to solicit support for the party’s candidates.

Akindele told traders in the market that only the party could and was willing to deal with most of the troubles they were facing. She promised that the PDP would alleviate their suffering and hardship in the markets and in the state.

The screen goddess, who visited Mami Market, Obada Obalende, Obalende Ijeh Market, Ajah Market, and other major markets, was given a rousing welcome as traders swarmed around her, shouting her name to the admiration of onlookers.

She promised that a PDP government at all levels would not let the people down and, as part of their manifesto, was going to ensure free and compulsory education for their children with free uniforms and at least a meal per day.

Recession fears pushes oil prices downward

Recession fears motivated by disappointing US data and a surprise build in of crude stockpiles in the US pushed the West Texas Intermediate crude futures drop to below $79 per barrel on Thursday.

According to Trading Economics, data from US retail sales declined more than expected in December, while US producer prices fell the most since April 2020, stoking concerns over a potential slowdown.

On the supply side, a deeper examination of the crude inventories showed that according to the American Petroleum Institute, inventories increased by 7.6 million barrels last week, which was more than the 1.8 million barrels expected.

Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco has said that the oil price is likely to bounce back this year following China’s recovery and a rise in air travel.

Jacinda Ardern shocks New Zealand, says she is stepping down as prime minister

New Zealanders woke up on Thursday morning to the announcement by their prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, was going to resign no later than early February and not seek re-election.

In her speech, she said that she had “no more in the tank” and asked that her decision to resign be respected by all.

Ardern said that it had been a tough five and a half years as prime minister and that she was only human and needed to step aside.

“This summer, I had hoped to find a way to prepare for not just another year, but another term – because that is what this year requires. I have not been able to do that,” Ardern, 42, told a news conference.

“I know there will be much discussion in the aftermath of this decision as to what the so called ‘real’ reason was… The only interesting angle you will find is that after going on six years of some big challenges, that I am human,” she continued.

“Politicians are human. We give all that we can, for as long as we can, and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”

A ruling New Zealand Labour Party vote for a new leader will take place on Sunday; the party leader will be prime minister until the next general election. Ardern’s term as leader will conclude no later than Feb. 7 and a general election will be held on Oct. 14.