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Economy

Current Recession Won’t Last Long—Nigeria Assures

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Lai Mohammed briefing

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

In the third quarter of last year, Nigeria officially entered another recession four years after the first under President Muhammadu Buhari.

This was as a result of the decline in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter (-6.10 per cent) and in the third quarter (-3.62 per cent) of 2020.

But the federal government has expressed confidence that the current economic crisis would be short-lived because of the policies put in place by the administration.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, while addressing journalists in Lagos on Monday, said very soon, Nigeria will exit recession.

When the country was plunged into recession in the second quarter of 2016, it remained in the dungeon for five consecutive quarters. It exited a year later.

But Mr Mohammed, during his media briefing today, assured that this time around, the country will not stay long in the crisis.

“The current recession will not last long, and Nigeria will soon return to positive growth,” the Minister said, noting that this was because of the “several complementary fiscal, real sector and monetary interventions proactively introduced by the government to forestall a far worse decline of the economy and alleviate the negative consequences of the pandemic.”

The Minister blamed the global pandemic of COVID-19 as the reason for the present economic crisis Nigeria was battling with, though he said the nation “recorded positive economic developments in 2020.”

“The main reason for this (recession) is the COVID-19 pandemic. Nigeria is not alone. Dozens of countries, including economic giants like the US, the UK and Canada, have entered a recession, of course, due to the global pandemic.

“Others include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia and Spain,” he said.

But he said Nigeria’s economic recession has masked a lot of positive economic developments, relying on data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which said the 3.62 per cent decline in the GDP in Q3 was much smaller than the 6.10 per cent decline recorded in Q2.

According to him, “The economic conditions are actually improving, with 17 activities recording positive real growth in the third quarter, compared to 13 in Q2. Also, 36 of 46 economic activities did better in the third quarter of 2020 than in the second quarter of the same year.

“The 3.62 per cent contraction recorded in the third quarter of 2020 was better than the 6.01 per cent [decline] earlier forecast by the NBS and outperformed several domestic and international forecasts.”

“Please note that before COVID-19, the Nigerian economy had been experiencing sustained growth, which was improving every quarter, until the second quarter of 2020, when the impact of COVID-19 started to be felt. Just as the year 2020 was rounding off, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) was named the best-performing stock market among the 93 equity indexes being tracked by Bloomberg across the world,” he added.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

NGX Gains 0.75% as FBN Holdings Sustains Aggressive Buying Momentum

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ATS Training NGX

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited appreciated by 0.75 per cent on Friday as the local demand for FBN Holdings Plc stocks was sustained during the final trading day of the week.

This raised the All-Share Index (ASI) by 308.17 points to 41,438.15 points from 41,129.98 points and as for the market capitalisation, the listing of 1.964 billion shares of NGX Group Plc shares on the exchange yesterday expanded it by N193 billion to N21.625 trillion from N21.432 trillion.

The market breadth closed positive yesterday with eight declining stocks and 30 appreciating equities led by SCOA Nigeria, which rose by 9.20 per cent to 95 kobo and was trailed by Custodian Investment, which grew by 8.96 per cent to N7.30, International Breweries went up by 8.70 per cent to N5.00, FBN Holdings rose by 8.09 per cent to N12.70, while GlaxoSmithKline grew by 6.56 per cent to N6.50.

On the flip side, Chams depreciated by 8.33 per cent to 22 kobo, University Press fell by 6.25 per cent to N1.50, Lafarge Africa declined by 4.74 per cent to N24.10, Africa Prudential lost 3.62 per cent to trade at N6.65, while Sterling Bank dropped 3.18 per cent to N1.52.

During the trading session, the trading volume fell by 19.72 per cent to 729.0 million units from 908.1 million units, the trading value dropped 22.25 per cent to N8.5 billion from N11.0 billion, while the number of deals declined by 5.80 per cent to 4,852 deals from 5,151 deals.

FBN Holdings sustained its aggressive buying momentum on Friday and emerged as the most traded stock at the close of transactions with a turnover of 476.5 million units transacted for N    5.9 billion.

Universal Insurance exchanged 39.7 million stocks worth N8.3 million, GTCO traded 33.2 million equities valued at N972.4 million, Fidelity Bank transacted 21.9 million shares worth N59.8 million, while Transcorp sold 20.8 million stocks valued at N20.4 million.

Business Post reports that the five main sectors finished positive yesterday with the consumer goods index rising by 0.91 per cent. The energy sector gained 0.86 per cent, the insurance counter rose by 0.84 per cent, the industrial goods space went up by 0.75 per cent, while the banking sector appreciated by 0.34 per cent.

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Economy

FG Urges UK to Ease Restrictions, Tariffs on Nigerian Businesses

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Nigerian businesses

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, has called on the United Kingdom to address the challenges faced by Nigerian businesses, especially with regard to restrictions and tariffs.

This was revealed at the 6th ministerial meeting of the UK to Nigeria Economic Development Forum (EDF) held virtually on Friday, October 15.

The minister in his words stated, “Inasmuch as we are flexible and committed to facilitating UK business concerns, we also request that the UK should continue to reciprocate and address the challenges faced by Nigerian businesses, especially with regard to restrictions and tariffs.”

Mr Adebayo also expressed optimism that as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic eases on economies, efforts towards building the capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises to attain relevant certifications for export to the UK and the European Union (EU) markets will be prioritised.

He stressed the importance of the trade policy relationship between the two countries and pointed out that work was in progress towards reviewing Nigeria’s trade policy document to reflect the current realities.

He further commended the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Hameed Ibrahim Ali for being proactive in improving trade facilitation for UK businesses in Nigeria.

“It is my hope that the UK remains committed to facilitating deliberations for the purpose of addressing issues raised at the 4th Business Dialogue,” he added.

Following the agreements resulted in the forum, the minister noted the need to revive the workstreams with timelines, which had been adopted in the past, as a means of keeping track of the country’s deliberations and commitments.

“I also encourage periodic stock-taking of our progress, to ensure that we are on course with committing to timelines and most importantly to ensure compliance with agreed decisions,” he said.

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Economy

Naira Gains 1.7% at Official FX Window as Devaluation Fears Quell

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Official FX Window

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange (FX) market by 1.7 per cent or N7 on Friday, assuaging fears that the currency will be devalued again.

The local currency sold for N415.07/$1 at the official FX window yesterday in contrast to N422.07/$1 it traded on Thursday, according to data obtained from FMDQ Securities Exchange.

The Nigerian currency had suffered a significant loss a day earlier after investors feared that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may be forced to devalue the Naira again.

Speaking at the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) earlier this week, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had said there was a “need to move our rates to [be] as reflective of the market as possible. This, in my own respective view, is the only way to improve supply,” which was indicative of devaluation.

He progressed by saying that, “We can’t get new dollars into the system, where the exchange rate is artificially low. And everyone knows how much our reserves can grow. I’m convinced that the demand management strategy currently being adopted by the CBN needs a rethink, and that is just my view.”

He also lamented the lack of access to forex for the importation of systems and raw materials as one of the contributory factors of the current economic situation.

Although the Vice President has come out to say he did not call for a devaluation, the market had spurred to action but has now rebalanced.

At the final session of the week, a turnover worth $337.28 million was recorded as against $141.94 million published at the preceding session.

This indicated a $195.34 million or 137.6 per cent surge in the daily turnover of the specialised market that caters to the country’s investors and exporters.

However, the domestic currency closed flat against the American Dollar at N410.91/$1 at the interbank segment of the forex market on Friday.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin (BTC) continued a surge at the cryptocurrency market, trading at N34,900,200.01 after a 6.1 per cent gain as hopes grew that regulators in the United States would allow a futures-based exchange-traded fund (ETF), a move likely to open the path to wider investment in digital assets. It largely spurred a boost in the most popular digital currency and also robbed off on some others.

Tron (TRX) added 2.9 per cent to trade at N55.58, Dash (DASH) rose by 2.5 per cent to sell for N107,420.17, Binance Coin (BNB) made a 1.2 per cent appreciation to trade at N194,938.27, Litecoin (LTC) sold for N101,102.04 after rising by 0.4 per cent, while Ethereum (ETH) gained 0.3 per cent to trade at N2,174,753.84.

On the losing side, Dogecoin (DOGE) was 1.3 per cent down to sell at N133.66, Cardano (ADA) fell by 0.8 per cent to N1,254.12, the US Dollar Tether (USDT) moved downwards by 0.6 per cent to sell for N568.38, while Ripple (XRP) lost 0.3 per cent to trade at N644.01.

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