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83.7% Dividend Payout Ratio Excites Shareholders of CSCS

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Shareholders of CSCS

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Shareholders of the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc have expressed pleasure over the decision of the board of the company to pay a cash reward to them for the 2021 financial year.

On Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, shareholders of CSCS gathered for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the board presented the payment of a dividend of N3.7 billion to them for approval.

The amount translates to an 83.7 per cent payout ratio, reflecting the resilient profitability of the organisation despite the impact of lower trading activity on most exchanges in the Nigerian capital market and inflationary pressures.

The investors were happy with the payment, commending the board and the management of CSCS for an incredible performance in the midst of the challenging operating environment.

Chairman of CSCS, Mr Oscar Onyema, while addressing the shareholders at the meeting, stated that, “Notwithstanding the volatile operating environment and moderated capital flows, as reflected in the subdued capital market activities, the earnings fundamentals of your company remained resilient and indeed stronger than ever.

“This fact is evident in the impressive revenue growth of 39.2 per cent, driven by stellar growth in ancillary income. The equity market recorded one of the weakest secondary market activities in the past few years, with the average daily trade value of N3.9 billion, some 10 per cent below the trading activity recorded in the 2020 financial year, explaining the tepid transaction fees.

“Albeit income from ancillary services recorded a significant boost, contributing N2.2 billion or 21.5 per cent of total income in 2021 FY, from N526 million or 11.3 per cent of total income in 2020FY.

“This performance reinforces the capacity of the management in delivering on the board’s vision result of diversifying the business and enhancing the value accretion prospect to shareholders in a sustainable manner.

“More importantly, my colleagues and I on the board of your company are excited at the prospect of new offerings arising from strategic partnerships and new initiatives.

“In our oversight role, we are working with the management to invest relevant resources towards exploring new frontiers for growth, especially as these initiatives are expected to foster retail investor penetration and broader capital market growth.”

While commenting on the outlook for the business, the Chairman noted: “typical of a pre-election year, 2022 comes with its unique macro challenges but I am optimistic on the earnings capacity and overall resilience of our business as we hope to consolidate on the strong foundations and extract synergies opportunities with our participants and partners in sustaining the positive trajectory of the business.

“Hence, with the support of shareholders and other stakeholders, CSCS would continue to deliver superior performance and create wealth for shareholders.”

In the same vein, the chief executive of the firm, Mr Haruna Jalo-Waziri, said; “Reflecting the ingenuity of our participants and more importantly quick adoption of new remote access technologies, the Nigerian capital market remained active through the prolonged COVID-19 crisis. The collaboration of our regulator and participants has been incredible in sustaining our operational protocols and IOSCO PFMI standards.

“Though clearing and settlement activity waned by 10.2 per cent due to lower participation of foreign investors in the Nigerian equity market and a host of macro challenges, we are excited at the growth in our depository assets by 6.1 per cent to N23.0 trillion, reflecting new listings of securities across our multiple exchange partners as well as issuers’ and investors’ confidence in the safety and secured accessibility of our systems.

Continuing, Mr Jalo-Waziri said: “Despite the average inflation rate of 17.0 per cent during the year, we sustained our cost efficiency strategy, leading to a 1.6 per cent decline in operating expenses.

“Overall, we achieved N5.8 billion and N4.4 billion profit before tax and profit after tax respectively, underpinning the resilience of the business and commitment of my colleagues and me in delivering on our pledge to sustainably create value for shareholders and our broader ecosystem.

“It has been 25 years of meritorious service, as the infrastructure for the Nigerian capital market. We have pioneered a number of initiatives and efficiencies in the market and have enjoyed the best collaborative engagements with different stakeholders.

“Whilst we relish our progress working with other stakeholders in transforming the Nigerian capital market, we reckon there is a long way to go in bridging the gap towards our aspiration of positioning the Nigerian capital market as the hub of securities services in Africa and one of the leading capital markets, globally.

“To this end, we have reinvigorated our strategic thrust with the development of a medium-term playbook that would enhance our capabilities in executing new initiatives towards deepening the Nigerian capital market and strengthening our business growth frontiers for the mutual prosperity of all our stakeholders.”

In the year under consideration, the organisation achieved its diversification drive with the ultimate objective of creating sustainable and superior wealth for shareholders and its broader stakeholders.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Crude Oil Refining Capacity to Hit 1.2 million bpd in 5 Years—NCDMB

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Diesel Refining Capacity

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has expressed optimism that in the next five years, crude oil refineries in the country would be able to refine not less than 1.2 million barrels per day.

The Executive Secretary of the organisation, Mr Simbi Wabote, while speaking at the maiden NCDMB Nigerian Content Midstream/Downstream Oil & Gas Summit in Lagos themed Towards Maximizing Potentials in the Midstream and Downstream Oil & Gas Sector – A Local Content Perspective, said, “About 400,000 barrels per day is expected from the rehabilitation of NNPC refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna using target performance of not less than ninety per cent of nameplate capacity.

“The Greenfield element of the roadmap covers the mechanically complete 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery in Lagos and the 200,000 barrels per day BUA Refinery in Akwa Ibom state.”

He disclosed that the NCDMB has partnered with major operators in the industry such as NNPC, Waltersmith, Azikel, and Atlantic Refinery among other stakeholders to help grow domestic refining capacity.

Mr Wabote also said that Nigerian content is targeted to achieve 70 per cent in the Nigerian oil and gas industry by the year 2027.

“Based on our 10-year strategic roadmap to achieve 70 per cent Nigerian Content target in the Nigerian oil and gas industry by the year 2027, the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry represent key areas to derive and extract value to meet our set target,” he said.

According to Mr Wabote, there is an opportunity to maximize potential in the midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, especially in the area of employment, entry barriers for businesses, and profit margin in the LPG value chain, energy security and social impact.

“It is important to highlight that this development goal goes beyond the oil and gas but has linkage to other sectors of the economy covering construction, ICT, agriculture, Research and Development, Education, and others.

“NCDMB is serving as a catalyst to enhance the realization of the refining roadmap,” the NCDMB boss stated.

He also emphasized the importance of the completion of projects undertaken by the board and partners, saying, “There is no doubt that these giant strides in the midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry are indeed the envy of many African countries. It is however important that we finish off the projects under development so that the associated values and opportunities could be realized.”

”The need to share investment and skills across the borders within Africa, indigenous research and development, funding structure for hydrocarbon projects, and others were key factors identified as focus areas to ensure our readiness to take our destiny in our hands.

“I am delighted that APPO has signed an MOU with Afrexim Bank to set the ball rolling in addressing the funding challenge,” he added.

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Economy

Identity Management System Will Reduce Unclaimed Dividends—SEC

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Unclaimed Dividends

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has expressed confidence that the identity management system being developed for the Nigerian capital market will reduce the problems of unclaimed dividends.

The high unclaimed dividends in the system have been a source of worry for the regulator, prompting the introduction of the e-dividend mandate, which made it possible for shareholders to receive their cash rewards directly into their bank accounts.

One of the issues discovered to be fuelling the fallow dividends is the identity management crisis and to eliminate this, SEC is coming up with an initiative to allow investors to regularise their shares bought with different identities into a single account.

Over the weekend, the Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, received members of the Committee on Identity Management for the capital market in Abuja and he described identity theft as a fraudulent practise of using another person’s name and personal information to obtain shares, credit and loans, among others.

He added that the commission decided to engage relevant stakeholders in a bid to resolve issues of identity management to tackle the problem of unclaimed dividends.

According to him, the problem of unclaimed dividends has to do with identity management, hence, the efforts to harmonize various databases of investors and facilitate data accuracy in the market as well as increase investors’ education to stem the trend.

Mr Yuguda, who expressed satisfaction with the work of the committee so far, added that stakeholder engagements would commence in earnest to ensure the success of the project.

While thanking the members of the panel for lending their support and resources to the project, he also expressed confidence in the success of the scheme that it would build a greater Nigeria and impact unborn generations.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the team, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, commended the agency on the recent release of Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms and Custody of Digital Assets, saying that it was a step in the right direction.

Mr Aig-Imoukhuede said the committee’s work had exposed the need for standardization of systems within the Nigerian capital market that would support Open Finance which the SEC can drive, adding that the SEC could leverage on the committee to develop the framework for the Nigerian capital market.

According to him, “The committee had clearly defined the task ahead in a roadmap and also identified that the project would be carried out in stages supported by a consultant with recourse to the SEC on a regular basis.

“The committee is committed to ensuring that the customer journey for investors is such that would cause a revolution in the Nigerian capital market, thereby making our market attractive to the tech-savvy and younger generation.”

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Economy

LBS, NowNow Unveil Financial Literacy Initiative

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NowNow financial literacy initiative

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A financial literacy initiative designed to drive financial inclusion growth in Nigeria has been unveiled by the Lagos Business School (LBS) and NowNow, a leading African B2B and B2C fintech company.

The LBS is embarking on this project through its Sustainable Inclusive Digital Financial Services (SIDFS). The fintech will use this programme to ensure smart financial planning and reach its customers, especially those who do not have bank accounts.

“We strongly believe that financial inclusion should be complemented by financial education. In this regard, we are excited to partner with the SIDFS of the LBS to provide financial literacy directly to Nigerians.

“Our partnership with SIDFS is critical to moving the financial inclusion needle to ensure citizens have the necessary knowledge and skills to use financial services,” the Partnership Director of NowNow Digital Services, Mr Lekan Akinjide, stated.

The Programme Lead at SIDFS, Olayinka David-West, disclosed that; “Since 2016, LBS’ Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Financial Services has supported the financial services ecosystem with rich evidence-based insights, particularly about women, youths, and rural dwellers, who are the most excluded groups.

“Research shows that financial literacy is a driver of financial inclusion and providing financial education can produce outstanding results in the quest to integrate excluded people into the formal financial system.

“We are excited to work with NowNow to improve financial literacy among Nigeria’s most excluded demography and look forward to the impact and outcome of our collective efforts.”

The LBS, with the support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Sustainable Digital Financial Services Project in Nigeria in 20152016.

The initiative engages in research and advocacy projects with the goal of creating an inclusive ecosystem for financial services and understanding.

The SIDFS supports the development and promotion of sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s financial inclusion challenges and helps more Nigerians access financial services.

In partnership with SIDFS, NowNow will adapt the content into an easily digestible format for specific audiences. The fintech company aims to bridge the gap between the banking system and the unbanked population by providing educational content through different channels to raise awareness and establish financial inclusion.

NowNow’s mission is to deliver best in class financial services to SMEs, banking agents and consumers, and provide financial empowerment to Africans. The long-term partnership would be in phases with the initial offering focused on women before expanding to youths and then to other sub-categories.

The strategy to focus on women at the initial stage is informed by the statistics that they form a greater percentage of the financially excluded groups and are more excluded from the formal sector in comparison to the other groups.

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