AfCFTA Requires Financing for Successful Implementation—Osinbajo
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
If the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is to be successful, then countries on the continent must ensure the initiative is well-financed.
This was the view of Nigeria’s Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, when he spoke at the 61st annual conference of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES), which had the theme African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Post COVID-19 Era: What Next for Nigeria?”
“Successful implementation of the AfCFTA requires financing to address various implementation challenges and to promote arrangements in support of integration.
“For instance, in addition to making up for potential losses of tariff revenues, African countries will face implementation costs, including undertaking reforms, establishing new trade-related bodies, improving and upgrading existing facilities.
“Finding the resources to undertake these activities at a time like this when we lack fiscal space will, of course, prove to be very difficult for Nigeria and other African countries.
Our economists should accordingly help to come up with innovative financing solutions for our economies,” the Vice President said at the event, which was held virtually.
The AfCFTA deal, which was earlier slated to become operational on July 1, 2020, was moved to January 1, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the global health crisis, the Vice President said “indeed, one thing that has become clear from our experiences of the last few months is the need for a vibrant and successful AfCFTA.
‘The pandemic has exposed our dependence on commodity exports to other parts of the world and on the import of manufactured goods from them.
“As at 2017, intra-Africa trade in goods was $135 billion, which was just about 15 per cent of Africa’s total trade. This is in sharp contrast to trade in other regions, which is as high as 70 per cent in the European Union and 60 per cent in Asia.
“The imposition of export bans, including on food items by some countries and the disruption of global supply chains at the height of the pandemic, showed just how exposed and vulnerable African countries are because of limited productive capacity and a lack of regional value chains,” Mr Osinbajo said.
But the Vice President wants African nations to use the AfCFTA to overcome the economic fragmentation of the continent by bringing the regional economic blocs together in a common arrangement.
According to him, African countries should look to negotiating trade treaties with other parts of the world on the basis of AfCFTA rather than through arbitrarily designed regional blocs, warning African countries not to “allow themselves to be lured into arrangements which do not serve their long-term development objectives.”
Speaking further about how the agreement can bolster trade and development on the continent, the Vice President said, “we must, of course, continue to bear in mind, especially here in Nigeria that the AfCFTA is not a magic wand that automatically brings about growth and prosperity.”
“The reality is that if care is not taken, trade liberalization can expose the Nigerian economy to unfair competition and sharp trade practices, with adverse consequences for our producers who might have to close down their businesses, and for our workers who would then lose their jobs.”
“If the AfCFTA is to achieve the desired objectives, then it is also very important that Nigeria should push for the implementation of complementary programmes and protocols, including the protocol on the free movement of persons, the pan-African payments system and other sectoral programmes,” he said.
In her remarks, the president of NES, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu, commended both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, describing Mr Osinbajo as “a friend of our society, because he understands economic development.”
Three Securities Shore Up NASD Market Capitalisation by N14.99bn
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange closed the final trading session of the week in positive territory as it gained 1.49 per cent at the close of business on Friday, June 2.
This growth was spurred by the upward price movement in the share prices of three companies admitted on the trading platform of the unlisted securities exchange.
FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc rose by N4.80 to close at N75.00 per share compared with the preceding day’s N70.20 per share, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc gained N1.12 to move up to N15.20 per unit from N14.08 per unit, while Acorn Petroleum Plc added 1 Kobo to close at 15 Kobo versus Thursday’s closing price of 14 Kobo.
The improvement in the prices of the above stocks pushed the market capitalisation of NASD higher by N14.99 billion to N1.023 trillion from N1.007 trillion, as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) recorded a 10.84 points gain to wrap the session at 739.21 points compared with 728.37 points in the previous session.
The market witnessed a 15.6 per cent rise in the volume of securities traded by investors yesterday to 1.2 million units from the 1.0 million units transacted a day earlier.
However, the value of shares traded by the market participants decreased by 69.9 per cent to N56.9 million from N189.5 million, as the number of deals declined by 46.7 per cent to eight deals from the 15 deals carried out in the preceding day.
Geo-Fluids Plc closed the day as the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 832.1 million units worth N1.3 billion, Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc has traded 627.7 units valued at N49.4 million, and UBN Property Plc has exchanged 395.9 million units worth N336.6 million.
The most traded stock by value (year-to-date) was VFD Group Plc with 11.0 million units worth N2.5 billion, Geo-Fluids Plc has exchanged 832.1 million units valued at N1.3 billion, and FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc has transacted 17.1 million units worth N1.2 billion.
Naira Falls at P2P, Gains at Black Market, Stable at Official Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira moved in different directions in the various segments of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Friday as traders await the merger of the exchange rates by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as directed by President Bola Tinubu.
Business Post reports that the Naira depreciated against the Dollar at the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) segment, appreciated in the black market, and remained unchanged in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window.
In the P2P, the value of the local currency to the greenback fell by N9 to sell at N764/$1 compared with Thursday’s value of N755/$1.
At the parallel market, the domestic currency gained N3 against the greenback to sell at N747/$1, in contrast to the preceding session’s N750/$1.
However, in the official market, the Nigerian Naira maintained stability against the US Dollar to remain unchanged at N464.67/$1, as the forex turnover went down by 60.6 per cent or $152.08 million to $98.90 million from $250.98 million.
In the interbank segment, the Naira depreciated against the British Pound Sterling by 91 Kobo to close at N575.28/£1 versus the previous day’s N574.37/£1 and slumped by 12 Kobo against the Euro to sell at N493.70/€1 compared with Thursday’s N493.58/€1.
As for the digital currency, Bitcoin (BTC) jumped by 0.2 per cent to sell at $27,203.27, Ethereum (ETH) appreciated by 0.7 per cent to quote at $1,904.59, Cardano (ADA) added 1.4 per cent to its value to finish at $0.3774, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 1.3 per cent gain to quote at $0.5254, Dogecoin (DOGE) improved its value by 0.6 per cent to close at $0.0726, and Solana (SOL) made a 0.3 per cent rise to sell at $21.13.
On the flip side, Binance Coin (BNB) fell by 0.6 per cent to sell at $306.43, and Litecoin (LTC) followed with a 0.5 per cent loss to trade at $94.72, as the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged at $1.00 each.
Oil Closes 2% Higher Ahead Crucial OPEC+ Meeting
By Adedapo Adesanya
Oil rose over 2 per cent on Friday after the United States Congress passed a debt ceiling deal that averted a government default in the world’s biggest oil consumer and jobs data fueled hopes for a possible pause in Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.
The focus is now on a meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, OPEC+, this weekend.
Brent futures rose $1.85 or 2.5 per cent yesterday to $76.13 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures appreciated by $1.64 or 2.3 per cent to $71.74 a barrel, the highest since May 26 for WTI and May 29 for Brent, but for the week, both contracts were down about 1 per cent, their first in three weeks.
The US Senate approved a bipartisan deal to suspend the limit on the government debt ceiling, following approval in the House of Representatives, staving off a default that would have affected the markets.
Also, employment in the world’s largest economy increased more than expected in May, but a moderation in wages could allow the US Federal Reserve to skip a rate hike this month for the first time in more than a year, which could support oil demand.
However, a jump in the unemployment rate to 3.7 per cent from 3.4 per cent in the prior month, a slowing in the pace of hourly wage growth, and a decline in hours worked indicate that the US central bank may go ahead with expected moves.
Oil traders will watch the June 4 meeting of OPEC+. The group in April announced a surprise production cut of 1.16 million barrels per day, but resulting price gains have been erased, and crude is trading below pre-cut levels.
Reports showed that OPEC+ could also be debating an additional oil production cut among possible options.
According to Reuters, three OPEC+ sources said cuts were being discussed among options for Sunday. The sources said cuts could amount to 1 million barrels per day on top of existing cuts of 2 million barrels per day and voluntary cuts of 1.6 million barrels per day that were announced in a surprise move in April.
The oil ministers of the 23-nation alliance will gather at 2 p.m. in Vienna (1 p.m. Nigerian time). Before then, OPEC ministers will meet at 11 a.m. (10 a.m.) on Saturday.
On the demand side, manufacturing data out of China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, painted a mixed picture.
In the US, energy firms this week slashed the number of oil rigs operating by the most since September 2021, reducing the overall count for a fifth week in a row, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co. said.
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