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Zenith Bank Chairman, Jim Ovia Loses $64m

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Jim Ovia

Jim Ovia, founder and chairman of Zenith Bank has lost close to $64 million in paper net worth over the last 6 months as the stock price of his bank shed 33% in value within that period, Forbes reports.

On the 8th of February this year, the bank was trading at a share price of N24.4 ($0.06). However at the close of trading on Thursday, its share price had dropped to N16.35 following consistent daily losses over the past few weeks.

Ovia, who is the largest shareholder of the bank with a 9.4% stake, has seen the value of his 2.94 billion shares drop from $200 million, to $136 million.

The last few months have been a bit of a disaster for many companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The stocks of several blue-chip stocks such as Zenith Bank, Dangote Cement, Transcorp and United Bank of Africa among several others have hit one-year-lows as foreign portfolio investors who dominate the equities market have been pulling out funds from the Nigerian capital markets while waiting for policy signals that could lift growth in the economy several weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari won re-election.

“Foreign investors are not exactly complicated. All they are looking for a broader catalyst like government policy or macro announcement that suggest growth for the economy is becoming better. Buhari’s government has been slow in providing a coherent economic policy that will give foreign investors some sort of comfort, so they are taking to the hills,” says Ademola Adeleke, an Abuja-based stockbroker.

Apart from his shareholding in Zenith Bank, 65 year-old Jim Ovia is one of Nigeria’s largest property owners.

In 2015 he featured in FORBES’ ranking of Africa’s 50 Richest with a fortune that was estimated at $550 million at the time.

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Naira Crashes, Now Exchanging At N412 For A Dollar

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The Nigerian Naira plunged further in value on Monday March 30, as it exchanged at N412 for a dollar following a temporary suspension of sale of forex to the Bureau De Change operators in the country by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Recall that the apex bank had pegged the exchange rate of the Naira at N380 to the dollar, a move it insisted was not a devaluation of the Nigerian currency.

The CBN however granted the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria its request of going on holiday due to challenges in the local and global economies over the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Naira has crashed in its value due to the low price of crude oil in the international market in recent times, BDC operators have disclosed that there has been a drastic decline in demand for forex due to the impact of coronavirus on the economy. The financial market stakeholders also disclosed that businesses are down and many people are not travelling.

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Naira Crashes In Value, Dollar Sells For N420

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On Thursday, the naira exchanged between N405 and N420 to a dollar in the Bureau De Change segment of the market, Punch reports

The President, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria, Aminu Gwadabe, said the crude oil price which fell drastically in the international market to as low as $35 per barrel, raised speculations among the BDC operators and Nigerians in general.

He said this caused speculations in the market which were not necessary.

Gwadabe said, “With the fall in oil crude oil prices on Monday, we witnessed a lot of foreign investors portfolio dropping their assets, most especially to convert to cash.

“The movement was as a result of recklessness on the side of the operators, when they want to speculate, but there is no reason for such because the Central Bank of Nigeria had continued to maintain support for liquidity to the BDC sub-sector.”

While noting that the dollar sold for as high as N400, he said sanity was gradually returning to the sector as it sold for N375 by the close of the day.

According to him, the CBN had maintained stability at N360 in more than three years.

He said in its meeting with the CBN on Thursday, the regulator warned the BDCs against contraventions.

The ABCON president disclosed that the CBN wanted to revoke the licences of some BDCs for various infractions but fined over 100 BDCs over N5m for various offences.

Another BDC operator who spoke with our correspondent said, “When we woke up on Monday, the exchange was still about N360, but all of a sudden, because of the fall in crude oil price, people were panicky.

“Today, we still sold for up to N420 but the price was fluctuating.”

The CBN also expressed its displeasure on the issue in a statement, saying the speculative activities of unscrupulous players in the foreign exchange market was borne out of the impression that the CBN was on the verge of devaluing the Naira, and triggering panic in the FX Market.

“These rumours are false, unwarranted and calculated to serve their dubious and selfish ends,” it stated.

It added, “We have begun a robust and coordinated investigation in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and related agencies to uncover the unscrupulous persons and FX dealers who are creating this panic, and the full weight of our rules and regulations will be meted out to them, including, but not limited to, being charged for economic sabotage.”

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N2.5trn Financing For One million Farmers On The Way

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Commodities Exchange Limited has initiated moves to raise N2.5 trillion for 1 million farmers in the next five years.

Addressing journalists at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony in Abuja on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer of AFEX, Ayodeji Balogun said “AFEX is on a path to building Africa’s second commodities derivative market,

The MoU was signed between AFEX, FMDQ and Dubai Gold and Commodity Exchange (DGCX).

Ayodeji Balogun noted that this partnership sets the tone for that journey.

He noted that AFEX develop product innovations that will unlock a wider range of products that are able to be traded within Nigeria’s capital markets to promote broad-based wealth creation that’s accessible to every Nigerian.

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