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Nigerian Senate increases 2023 budget by 6.4% to 21.83 trillion Naira

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The upper chamber of Nigeria’s legislature, the Senate has increased the 2023 budget by 6.4% to 21.83 trillion naira ($49 billion).

The House also delayed a decision on the president’s request to convert central bank overdrafts to his administration to long-term bonds after some lawmakers questioned the plan.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a letter in December sought approval to turn $53 billion worth of central bank loans to the government into 40-year bonds at 9% interest including an extra one trillion naira loan to the government from the bank.

Nigeria has been on a recent trend of monetary policy in a bid to rescue its struggling economy. Nigeria’s apex bank recently announced plans to introduce new designs of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes this month.

The IMF has asked Nigeria to phase out central bank financing of the government to reduce double-digit inflation.

Meanwhile, the inflation rate in Nigeria has continued to rise and hit a new 17-year high of 21.09% in October 2022, marking a 0.32% points increase from 20.77% recorded in September.

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Ghana extends domestic debt exchange registration again after ‘technical glitches’

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West African country, Ghana has continued its aspirations of economic recovery as it has extended the deadline to register for its domestic debt exchange programme to Feb. 10.

The country’s finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the extension comes after some bondholders experienced “technical glitches” while completing the process.

It is the fifth time the West African nation has extended the deadline for the scheme, which it needs to complete to secure a $3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

The ministry said in Tuesday’s statement said the results of the domestic tender process will be released on Feb. 13, and the final settlement will come out the following day.

Ghana’s finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta earlier this week assured a group of protesting retiree bondholders on Monday they were being offered a good deal.

Ghana launched a debt swap plan in December as part of attempts to address a spiraling economic crisis, but it has struggled to convince bondholders to register, in part due to a lack of clarity over its terms and concerns about profitability.

The country is currently in a dire economic and financial situation, the country approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in July to ask for financial help after soaring prices and economic hardship spurred street protests.

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Nigeria’s apex court stops apex bank, CBN, from implementing deadline for old Naira notes

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Nigeria’s apex court, the Supreme Court has ordered a suspension of the deadline for the swapping of old to new Naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Court ruled on Wednesday morning and issued an interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from suspending the acceptance of the old Naira notes on Friday, February 10, 2023, deadline.

Recall that on Monday, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory issued a restraining order on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and 27 commercial banks from suspending the demonetisation policy of the federal government.

The latest ruling by the apex court nullifies the High court’s ruling issued on Monday after Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kogi State dragged the Federal Government to the Supreme Court over the scarcity of old and new Naira notes due to the (CBN) naira redesign policy.

Nigeria has been on a recent trend of monetary policy in a bid to rescue its struggling economy. Nigeria’s apex bank recently announced plans to introduce new designs of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes this month.

The three states through their lawyer, AbdulHakeem Uthman Mustapha (SAN), urged the Supreme Court to grant them an interim injunction stopping the Federal Government either by itself or acting through the CBN, the commercial banks, or its agents from carrying out its plan of ending the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the Naira may no longer be legal tender on February 10, 2023.

Mustapha argued that “unless this Honourable Court intervenes, the Government and people of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara State will continue to go through a lot of hardship and would ultimately suffer great loss as a result of the insufficient and unreasonable time within which the Federal Government is embarking on the ongoing currency redesign policy.”

The case has been adjourned to Wednesday, February 15, 2023. The states are seeking a restraining order from the Supreme Court to compel the government and CBN from implementing the policy.

There have been calls and protests in some quarters for the extension of the deadline for the use of the old bank notes, including allegations by the ruling party presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu that the policy was targeted at him and aimed at sabotaging his election.

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