Business Activities in Nigeria Worsen as Cash Crisis Sinks PMI to 42.3
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Business activities in the private sector in Nigeria further suffered from the cash crisis in the country as the Stanbic IBTC Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed a reading of 42.3 points in March 2023, in contrast to the 44.7 points reported in February 2023.
Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions in the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show deterioration.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) came up with a Naira redesign policy aimed at taming inflation, kidnapping, counterfeiting and vote-buying.
However, it battered the economy as many businesses suffered from the resultant cash crunch, forcing some state governments to convince the supreme court to reverse the policy.
In its latest report, Stanbic IBTC Bank said last month, Naira scarcity had a severe impact on business conditions as output and new orders fell more quickly than in February, while staffing levels and purchasing activity were scaled back again.
It further said while input costs and output prices continued to rise sharply, rates of inflation softened, with output prices increasing at the softest pace in almost three years, and suppliers’ delivery times shortening after having lengthened in February.
It was observed that the decline recorded in March was the most pronounced since the survey began in January 2014, apart from at the time of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
As was the case in February, there were widespread reports from companies that customers were unable to commit to spending given cash shortages. This led to a substantial decline in new business, with the pace of contraction more pronounced than in the previous survey period. The same picture was seen with regard to business activity, which decreased at a rate only exceeded in April and May 2020.
All four broad sectors posted reductions in activity at the end of the first quarter. Companies reduced staffing levels slightly for the second month running, in part reflecting lower workloads but also due to difficulties paying wages. Lower workforce numbers limited the pace of staff cost inflation, which eased to a marginal rate that was the slowest since January 2021.
Stanbic IBTC Bank Purchasing activity was also scaled back, falling at the fastest pace since May 2020. In turn, inventory holdings also decreased. Inflationary pressures eased in March.
The pace at which purchase costs increased was the slowest in just under three years but remained sharp and faster than any seen prior to the pandemic.
The same picture was seen with regard to output prices, which rose at the slowest pace since April 2020. Suppliers’ delivery times shortened in March, following the first lengthening in more than five years during February.
Suppliers’ delivery times shortened in March, following the first lengthening in more than five years during February. Quicker deliveries reportedly reflected competition among suppliers.
The cash crisis acted to dampen confidence in the private sector in March, with sentiment the second lowest in the series’ history. Where output was predicted to rise, panellists linked this to investment intentions and business expansion plans.
Subsidy Removal: CNG at N130 Per Litre Cheaper Than Petrol—IPMAN
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has advised Nigerians to begin to look into the direction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative energy source to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.
The National President of IPMAN, Mr Chinedu Okorokwo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, as the federal government continues its dialogue with the organised labour over the hike in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.
On May 29, 2023, during his inaugural speech, President Bola Tinubu said the payment of subsidy for fuel had ended because there was no provision for it in the 2023 budget beyond June 30.
His announcement triggered the hoarding of fuel by marketers, and when the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited increased the price of the product across its retail outlets, prices of food, transportation and services went up, forcing the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to threaten a nationwide strike, which was supposed to start today but was stopped by the National Industrial Court.
At a meeting on Monday night between the government and the labour unions, it was agreed that the adoption of CNG as an alternative fuel would be the best option, and it was agreed that the CNG conversion programme earlier planned in 2021 should be revived.
CNG, which is a gas mainly composed of methane and produces less emission, is the cleanest burning fuel operating today with less vehicle maintenance and longer engine life.
In the interview with NAN, Mr Okoronkwo said bringing CNG, which was cheaper than even firewood, as an alternative energy, would create relief for the government and its citizens.
“We have also discovered that bringing an alternative that is cheaper than even firewood which is CNG, will not only create relief for the government and its citizens but it is environmentally friendly.
“The CNG is abundantly available in Nigeria than anywhere in Africa.
“In the Niger Delta region, you see billions of tonnes of gas flare being wasted daily, these are huge amounts that should be accruing to our GDP, but we are wasting it because there is no market for it.
“So, we are asking the government to create the market. How do you create the market?
“What Egypt and India did was to give soft loans to be paid back within stipulated periods; from there, you can get vehicles to use gas instead of fuel,” he said.
“There’s a franchise for the bottling of CNG so that an average woman in the kitchen can use it,’’ he added, noting that the introduction of CNG would cushion the effect occasioned by the high price of fuel currently as a litre of CNG would not cost more than N130.
He advised that repairing the local refineries as well would reduce the impact of the removal as it would eliminate the cost of importation and exportation.
Nigeria Upgrades Tax-to-GDP Ratio to 10.86% From 6%
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed that Nigeria’s tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has been upwardly reviewed to 10.86 per cent from the 6 per cent earlier reported to reflect better data sources and improved estimation using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) manual.
The OECD manual is an improvement over the System of National Accounts (SNA 2008) classification of taxes.
Although the System of National Accounts conceptual framework and its definitions of the various sectors of the economy are reflected in the OECD’s classification of taxes, the OECD classifications provide the maximum disaggregation of statistical data on what is generally regarded as taxes by tax administrations.
In a disclosure, the statistics office said the country’s total tax revenue compared with its GDP was at that level in 2021, higher than 8.40 per cent in 2020, which was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the previous year, the ratio was 10.20 per cent, marginally lower than the 10.36 per cent recorded in 2018 but higher than the 9.02 per cent in 2017.
The NBS said the revised computation considered more comprehensive coverage of data at the federal, state, and local government levels and revenue items not previously included in the computations, particularly relevant revenue collected by other government agencies.
The review of the tax-to-GDP ratio was initiated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the NBS for better measurement of the ratio.
The data used were sourced from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), FIRS, NBS, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Joint Tax Board (JTB), and other relevant agencies of government that collect revenue.
VFD Group to Join Nigerian Exchange After Exit From NASD
By Adedapo Adesanya
VFD Group Plc has announced its intention to list its shares on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) after leaving the NASD Over-the-Counter Securities Exchange, where it has been trading its stocks for the past three years.
This development, according to analysts, is a strategic move that would allow the company to gain access to public equity markets, increase its visibility, and strengthen its financial position.
VFD Group Plc is a leading proprietary investment company with a proven track record of generating attractive returns for its investors through a variety of investment strategies.
The company has a diverse portfolio of investments in various sectors, including banking, technology, media, energy, and real estate. The group has been listed on the NASD OTC Securities Exchange since 2020.
Speaking on this big step, Mr Nonso Okpala, Group Managing Director of VFD Group, stated, “We are excited to take this next step in the evolution of our company.”
“Listing on a major stock exchange will give us access to a larger pool of investors, enhance our profile, and provide superior returns to our investors,” he added.
With the intention of listing on the NGX, the company will delist from the NASD and is subject to regulatory approvals and market conditions.
VFD Group noted that it would provide additional updates as the listing process progresses.
At the close of business on Tuesday, the securities of the organisation closed on the NASD OTC exchange at N244.88 per unit, the same rate they finished in the preceding trading session.
Business Post reports that the NASD was created to provide an avenue for public companies to transition smoothly into the country’s main stock exchange.
However, it has witnessed the movement of firms from the NGX to the NASD, especially due to the very strict regulatory requirements by the former.
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