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Economy

Customs Street Suffers 0.01% Contraction as Bears Remain in Control

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By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited tucked in Customs Street, Lagos suffered a marginal 0.01 per cent loss on Monday after the bears refused to back down, maintaining their grip on the exchange.

Sell-offs in energy stocks, especially Seplat, affected the market yesterday, resulting in the shrinking of the All-Share Index (ASI) by 6.00 points to 47,262.61 points from 47,268.61 points.

Equally, the market capitalisation of the bourse went down during the session by N3 billion to settle at N25.472 trillion as against N25.475 trillion it closed last Friday.

At the market yesterday, the banking index grew by 0.67 per cent, the insurance sector appreciated by 0.21 per cent, the consumer goods counter went up by 0.16 per cent, while the energy index depreciated by 2.40 per cent, with the industrial goods space closing flat.

Business Post reports that despite the decline recorded by the exchange, the market breadth was positive as there were 19 price gainers and 18 price losers, indicating a positive investor sentiment.

Niger Insurance was the worst-performing stock on Monday as its value went down by 8.70 per cent to 21 kobo, AIICO Insurance dropped 5.71 per cent to 66 kobo, Linkage Assurance fell by 5.17 per cent to 55 kobo, Regency Assurance declined by 4.76 per cent to 40 kobo, while Africa Prudential lost 4.41 per cent to trade at N6.50.

Cornerstone Investment gained 9.38 per cent to emerge as the best-performing stock to close at 70 kobo and was trailed by Coronation Insurance, which rose by 8.70 per cent to 50 kobo.

FTN Cocoa improved by 8.33 per cent to 39 kobo, Honeywell Flour appreciated by 5.14 per cent to sell for N3.89, while Mutual Benefits gained 4.00 per cent to settle at 26 kobo.

Yesterday, the level of activity was better as the trading volume grew by 62.76 per cent to 291.9 million units from 179.3 million units, the trading value rose by 34.47 per cent to N2.9 billion from N2.1 billion, while the number of trades increased by 2.97 per cent to 4,792 deals from 4,654 deals.

Jaiz Bank closed the day as the busiest equity with the sale of 72.5 million units valued at N57.3 million and was trailed by Access Bank with the sale of 23.1 million units valued at N236.4 million.

UBA exchanged 20.0 million equities worth N169.1 million, Transcorp transacted 15.9 million shares worth N17.0 million, while GTCO traded 15.4 million shares valued at N399.0 million.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Financial Industry Players Must Collaborate to Satisfy Customers Needs

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Managing Director of Interswitch Purepay, Mr Akeem Lawal, has called on critical players in the Nigerian financial service industry to put heads together to provide innovative solutions and unique offerings to customers.

According to him, customers deserve the best from financial industry players like banks, telecommunications companies and financial technology (fintech) firms in order to meet the 95 per cent financial inclusion target by 2024.

Mr Lawal, who delivered a presentation at the recently-concluded Nigerian Fintech Forum at the Civic Centre, Lagos, stated that the partnership will accelerate growth and deepen financial inclusion in the country.

He said despite the growth of the financial sector, customers are yearning for more innovative and seamless payment solutions, which must be designed to meet their needs strengthen the financial industry.

The tech expert said at the event themed Building Partnership for Growth, Exploring the Intersection of Banks, Telcos and Fintech Companies that the Nigeria financial industry has evolved tremendously over the years with customers transitioning from banking halls transactions to adopting digital payment services.

“As headline platinum sponsor, we are delighted to be sponsoring the Nigeria Fintech Forum because we believe that a platform like this will provide the opportunity for critical stakeholders in the financial industry to engage and proffer solutions that will consequently drive the growth of the financial Industry.

“At Interswitch, we will continue to design tailor-made solutions that speak to the need of every customer. Therefore, it is important for players in the financial industry, including the banks, telcos and fintechs to leverage collaboration to provide innovative and seamless solutions to customers. This is the only way we can meet the 95% financial inclusion target by 2024,” Mr Lawal stated.

Speaking during the panel session tagged Regulating Nigeria’s Fintech Industry, Building Investors Confidence Without Stifling Growth, another speaker, Mr Tyoyila Aga, who is Group Head, Financial Services Business at Interswitch, said it was important that players in the industry collaborate with regulators, keep abreast of new regulations and help strengthen compliance levels to grow the financial industry.

“At Interswitch, our approach to regulators is to work in harmonious ways with them and that is what we have been doing for two decades. This has helped us to understand regulations better and we urge other players to do same to grow the industry,” Mr Aga said.

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Economy

Airtel Africa Gets $125m Credit Facility from Citibank

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Top telecommunications company, Airtel Africa Plc, has announced the signing of a $125 million revolving credit facility with Citibank’s subsidiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This was contained in a disclosure sent to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.

It was stated that the credit facility will provide Airtel Africa with the opportunity to save interest rates in exchange for achieving social impact milestones in such areas as digital inclusion and gender diversity.

The social impact projects will focus mainly on rural areas and women and are aligned with Airtel Africa’s recently launched sustainability strategy.

Airtel Africa’s newly secured $125 million credit facility is part of the telco’s corporate strategy to raise debt in its local operating companies. To this effect, the facility will come in both local currencies and US dollars. It will also have a 1-year tenor.

“This facility is in line with our strategy to raise debt in our local operating companies and will include both local currency and US dollar-denominated debt. The facility has a tenor up to September 2024 and will be used to support Airtel Africa’s operations and investments in four of its subsidiaries,” the statement said.

This is a big boost to the telco which operates in 14 African markets and has ongoing projects across several of these markets, including the recent acquisition of an additional 60 MHz spectrum for $40 million in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Airtel Africa’s business offerings range from telecommunications to mobile money services. It has a combined user base of about 131.6 million.

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Economy

DisCos Reduce Number of Estimated Billing Customers by 16.3%

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that the number of Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) customers in Nigeria increased by 1.4 per cent from 10.37 million in 2020 to 10.51 million in 2021.

The report, Nigeria Electricity Report 2021, focuses on energy billed, revenue generated, and customers by DISCOS under the reviewed period.

The report said the number of metered customers rose by 36.2 per cent from 3.51 million in 2020 to 4.77 million in 2021, causing the number of estimated billing customers to decrease by 16.3 per cent from 6.86 million in 2020 to 5.74 million in 2021.

It was disclosed that in total, the value of electricity billed in 2021 grew by 5.9 per cent from 22,042.28 Gigawatts (Gwh) in 2020 to 23,360.59 (Gwh) in 2021, while the total revenue collected by the discos stood at N761.17 billion, 44.5 per cent higher than the N526.77 billion achieved in 2020.

A breakdown showed that the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) recorded the highest number of metered customers in 2021 at 701,781, while Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) recorded the least with 65,098.

In terms of electricity supplied, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) recorded the highest in 2021 with 4,088.62 Gwh, while YEDC recorded the lowest at 422.00 Gwh.

Similarly, the highest revenue collected was by IKEDC with 155,012.01 million while the least collection was recorded in YEDC with 9,804.00m million.

More than 83 million Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity. This represents 43 per cent of the country’s population and makes Nigeria the country with the largest energy access deficit in the world.

The lack of reliable power is a significant constraint for citizens and businesses, resulting on annual economic losses estimated at N10.1 trillion, which is equivalent to about 2 per cent of GDP.

According to the now-discontinued World Bank Doing Business report for 2020, Nigeria ranked 171 out of 190 countries in getting electricity and electricity access is seen as one of the major constraints for the private sector.

To assist in mitigating this, the World Bank approved $500 million to support the government of Nigeria in improving its electricity distribution sector last year.

According to the global lender, the project will help boost electricity access by improving the performance of the DisCos through a large-scale metering programme.

In addition, the World Bank said financial support would be provided to private distribution companies only on achievement of results in terms of access connections, improved financial management and network expansion.

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