Calm as Nigerians Begin to Get Cash at ATMs, POS Terminals
By Adedapo Adesanya
Relative ease has returned to the country as Nigerians have begun to get cash at automated teller machines (ATMs) and Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals, Business Post gathered on Monday.
Nigerians had to contend with a 30-50 per cent markup and N2,000 daily limit to get money at the agent bankers’ shops and N5,000-N10,000 at the ATMs and banking halls following a cash redesign and cashless policy drive of the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
But the new development has seen more cash in the system.
Recall that the Supreme Court judgement of March 3, 2023, extended the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes as legal tender currency up till December 31, 2023, after many Nigerians and businesses suffered from the resultant cash crunch.
This came after over 15 state governments convinced the apex court to reverse the policy, with Justice Emmanuel Agim saying the correct process had not been followed.
“The directive given by President is invalid. Such directive is not just handed down after personal conversation with the governor of CBN,” he said.
The court also berated President Muhammadu Buhari for not obeying a previous provisional order to halt the policy until it decided the case. It said there was nothing to show that President Buhari’s directive for the release of old N200 until April 10 was implemented.
It wasn’t until March 13 that the decision was given the official go-ahead by the CBN, a day after President Buhari absolved himself of the delay in implementing the apex court ruling.
In the latest development, many Nigerians are finding solace as more cash becomes available, especially at the grassroots, where the policy was largely felt.
Speaking to our reporter, a POS agent, identified simply as Ruth, said she has to slash the cost of charges as money became available to them at the banks, eliminating the hoops they had to jump through during the peak of the cashless policy of the CBN.
Business Post gathered that although the rate was not the same as pre-policy, it was considerably milder than it was before. The base sums of N1,000 and N2,000 now go for N100 from N300 and N500 previously, while the sum of N5,000 now has a fee of N200 compared to N1,000 while operators now charge N500 for N10,000 versus N2,000 they earlier collected.
According to Boluwatife, an animator, “It is better now than before; at least now, we can get cash, and it is so much better than before. I have been managing the one with me, but unlike before, it is better.”
This was echoed by Oluwaranti, a marketer, who said, “In my area in Aguda, it is getting better because the charges have reduced drastically,” quoting figures that align with that of Business Post.
It is expected that as more cash gets into the system, the hardships faced by Nigerians will further reduce, and normalcy will return even as the policy aimed at taming inflation, kidnapping, counterfeiting, and vote-buying yielded little to no return.
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Saudi Additional Cut Lifts Brent, WTI Crude Prices
By Adedapo Adesanya
Oil prices rose on Monday after the world’s top exporter, Saudi Arabia, pledged to cut production by a further 1 million barrels per day from July.
Consequently, Brent crude futures traded higher by 58 cents at $76.71 a barrel, as the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 41 cents to quote at $72.15 per barrel.
The Saudi energy ministry said the kingdom’s output would drop to 9 million barrels per day in July from about 10 million barrels per day in May.
The voluntary cut, Saudi Arabia’s biggest in years, is on top of a broader deal by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, including Russia, to limit supply into 2024 as OPEC+ seeks to boost dropping oil prices.
OPEC+ has in place cuts of 3.66 million barrels per day, amounting to 3.6 per cent of global demand, including 2 million barrels per day agreed last year and voluntary cuts of 1.66 million barrels per day agreed in April.
At Sunday’s meeting, OPEC+ said it would extend them until 2024.
Many of the OPEC+ reductions will have little real impact as lower targets for Russia, Nigeria, and Angola bring them into line with their actual production levels.
In contrast, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was allowed to raise output targets by 200,000 barrels per day to 3.22 million barrels per day to reflect its larger production capacity.
Reactions have since trailed the move, with Mr Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), saying that the chance of higher oil prices had increased sharply after the new OPEC+ deal.
Expectations were already that there would be an imbalance in the oil market in the second half of the year; now the supply-demand gap will worsen, Mr Birol said.
Goldman Sachs analysts said the output deal was “moderately bullish” for oil markets and could boost December 2023 Brent prices by between $1 and $6 a barrel, depending on how long Saudi Arabia maintains output at 9 million barrels per day.
ING left its price forecasts unchanged for now and still expects ICE Brent to be average $96 a barrel over the second half of this year.
Analysts also said Sunday’s OPEC+ decision sent a clear signal the group was willing to support prices and attempt to thwart speculators, including short sellers.
NGX Records First Loss Under Tinubu as Investors Liquidate Stocks for Cash
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited recorded its first loss under the administration of President Bola Tinubu on Monday, June 2023, a week after he assumed office.
On the first trading session of his government, the local stock market jumped by 5.22 per cent as investors embraced his policy direction, especially with the promise of unifying the exchange rates and subsidy removal.
However, the latter seems to be his first real test as the labour unions in the country are preparing for a showdown with him from Wednesday unless he reverts the pump price to N185 per litre from N500 per litre.
With the meeting between labour unions and the federal government on Sunday ending in another deadline, the equity market went into profit-taking yesterday, as investors liquidated their stocks for cash.
This marginally sank the NGX by 0.02 per cent at the close of transactions, with the All-Share Index (ASI) down by 16.11 points to 55,806.71 points from 55,822.82 points, and the market capitalisation down by N9 billion to N30.387 trillion from N30.396 trillion.
The loss was mainly orchestrated by the industrial goods sector, which shed 0.01 per cent, offsetting the gains reported by the others.
The sustained buying pressure on energy stocks left the index higher by 2.55 per cent, the insurance sector rose by 1.31 per cent, the banking index improved by 0.27 per cent, and the consumer goods counter improved by 0.06 per cent.
Business Post reports that the market breadth index was bearish on Monday, with 27 price losers and 26 price gainers, indicating a weak investor sentiment.
John Holt was the worst-performing stock after it lost 9.95 per cent to trade at N1.72, Courteville depreciated by 9.80 per cent to 46 Kobo, Chams fell by 9.76 per cent to 37 Kobo, Coronation Insurance went down by 8.70 per cent to 42 Kobo, and Academy Press dropped 7.89 per cent to N1.75.
The best-performing equities were Omatek and NEM Insurance, after they increased by 10.00 per cent each to close at 22 Kobo and N5.50, respectively. Conoil gained 9.94 per cent to finish at N76.85, MRS Oil rose by 9.94 per cent to N54.20, and Eterna jumped by 9.73 per cent to N10.15.
The activity chart was mixed on the first trading session of the week after the trading value expanded by 224.59 per cent to N19.8 billion from N6.1 billion, the trading volume decreased by 18.87 per cent to 369.8 million units from 455.8 million units, and the number of deals shrank by 316 per cent to 7,221 deals from 7,457 deals.
Geregu Power topped the chart for selling 52.5 million shares valued at N16.4 billion, NPF Microfinance Bank traded 50.0 million stocks worth N90.0 million, Access Holdings transacted 46.2 million equities valued at N573.6 million, Zenith Bank traded 28.8 million shares worth N800.6 million, and UBA sold 16.3 million equities valued at N151.7 million.
Karekezi Makes Case for Nigeria’s Agro Insurance Industry
By Adedapo Adesanya
The group managing director of Africa Re., Mr Corneille Karekezi, has pointed out that Nigeria remains a market filled with potential to do well regarding agro insurance, but farmers remain not fully integrated into the formal sector.
In an interview published by the African Insurance Organisation (AIO), he said that despite the economic importance of the agricultural sector to many countries, agricultural insurance markets are still at a very early stage of development in Africa, drawing examples from South Africa and Nigeria.
Agricultural insurance premiums in Africa are estimated to be less than 0.7 per cent of the world’s total.
He said, “The markets in southern Africa have developed well, partly because of the different structures of the agricultural sector, which tends to be dominated by large commercial farms.
“Not only have good risk management structures developed here, but market-oriented and modern practices are also applied.”
“In West African countries such as Nigeria, on the other hand, we see rather small farms and many subsistence farmers, particularly farms which are not yet fully integrated with the formal financial system.
“Nevertheless, we see enormous growth opportunities here, closely linked to the high economic importance of the agricultural sector. The resilience of this sector, which employs a large proportion of the population and is a major contributor to economic growth, urgently needs to be strengthened,” he stated.
Mr Karekezi further said, “With very few exceptions, the experience to date has been disappointing: agricultural insurance penetration is still very low, and key performance indicators such as premium income, accumulated sums insured, and the achievement of risk-adjusted premiums are at unsatisfactory levels.
“This suggests the need for greater government support to ensure, for example, that smallholders can access and afford insurance products. First, however, government awareness and institutional capacity must be strengthened.”
Another major problem that will take years to overcome is Africa’s insufficient availability of agricultural underwriters.
Speaking on regulations, he noted that stakeholders should understand whether regulators want to limit themselves to regulation and supervision or also play an active and important role in market development.
“If this insurance market development mandate to regulators does not exist in a country or is considered less important, regulators will not feel empowered to contribute to the sustainable development of robust insurance markets actively, even though they could be powerful and influential stakeholders.
“Political will is, therefore, the key factor in achieving change and improving conditions. In this context, we would like to mention as an example the Moroccan regulator (Insurance and Social Security Supervisory Authority [ACAPS]), which is playing a very active and successful role in market development.”
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