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Expert Advises NGX to Make Sustainable Reports Mandatory for All Listed Companies

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Make Sustainable Reports Mandatory

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

A Partner and Head of Sustainability Services at Africa’s leading professional service firm, PricewaterCooper (PwC) Nigeria, Mrs Rukaiya El-Rufai, has advised the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited to make sustainable reports mandatory for all companies listed on its platform.

At the moment, only firms on its premium board are mandated to adhere to the exchange’s Sustainable Disclosure Guidelines (SDG), a development Mrs El-Rufai faults as she said it is not encouraging in advancing the integration of sustainability into organisations.

Speaking at the eighth edition of the annual PwC Capacity Enhancement Workshop held virtually on Tuesday and monitored by Business Post, the sustainability expert emphasised that extending the SDG to other listed companies would help in the speedy promotion of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles which will facilitate more meaningful engagement between investors and listed companies on ESG risks and opportunities.

While commenting on some of the standards and framework guiding ESG in Nigeria, she said, “I am so proud of our Central Bank, they were very forward-looking because it was implemented eight years ago and they were leaders on sustainable banking principles.

“Another is the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) Code of Cooperate Governance, The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Code of Cooperate governance, they all have ESG requirements.

“Also, NGX has a Sustainable Disclosure Guidelines, but they restricted it to premium companies. To be honest, I think that affected the adoption. It would really be great If they extend it to all listed companies because that would help in the ESG fitness of Nigeria.”

The guidelines outline recommendations for good practice in 13 thematic areas under four core principles in ESG reporting of which investors are to look forward towards a consistent approach to ESG reporting from issuers listed on the local stock exchange.

Mrs El-Rufai who spoke extensively at the event on the advocacy of ESG through journalism urged media practitioners across the country to disclose tangible information on the subject as stakeholders are looking for relevant and complete ESG data.

In her closing remark, she also encouraged journalists to stand against the act of greenwashing – a common practice where organisations put forward ecological arguments in order to forge an ecologically responsible image among the public, stressing that the verification of information before publishing is very critical.

She urged reporters to continuously educate the public on climate change and ESG related issues.

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Economy

Geregu Power Listing Will Attract Other Electricity Firms to Stock Exchange—Mahmood

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Geregu Power Listing

By Dipo Olowookere

The chairman of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Mr Abubakar Mahmood, has described the listing of the shares of Geregu Power Plc on the platform as a good development as it will attract other electricity firms to the stock market.

On Wednesday, October 5, 2022, Geregu Power listed its stocks on the bourse, increasing the market capitalisation of the exchange by N250 billion following the listing by introduction of 2.5 billion ordinary shares at N100 per unit.

Business Post gathered that the NGX placed Geregu Power under the Utilities sector and Electric Power Generation sub-sector, with the trading symbol GEREGU.

The Geregu Power listing today made the company the first power generation company (GenCo) in Nigeria to be listed on the NGX main board, a listing segment for well-established companies with demonstrable records of accomplishments.

“We are particularly pleased that Geregu Power has joined the prestigious group of companies listed on our main board, which will differentiate it as a professionally run power company with high standards, having met NGX’s listing criteria.

“The main board listing is a sign of commitment to strong corporate governance, excellence, professionalism, service delivery efficiency, and increased returns to shareholders.

“We expect that the Geregu Power listing will encourage other power generation and distribution companies to list their shares on the exchange, thereby opening the sector up to cheaper, long-term capital that will boost infrastructural development and value creation,” Mr Mahmood said in his speech to welcome the new company on board.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, described the listing of Geregu Power as “a promising development in the country’s power sector.”

“We are delighted to welcome Geregu Power Plc to the exchange. Having Geregu listed in our market proves NGX’s commitment to building a robust and inclusive market and creating avenues for sustainable investment.

“This listing will enhance liquidity for Geregu, increase its visibility among global investors, elevate its value and boost transparency, as our marketplace is a sterling platform for raising capital and enabling sustainable growth for national development.

“As a listing platform of choice, we are committed to working with companies at various stages of growth to explore the different opportunities in the capital market to meet their business objectives,” Mr Popoola added.

The chairman of Geregu Power, Mr Femi Otedola, stated that, “The listing of the company was the actualisation of a vision to bring world-class standards in governance, sustainability, and business processes to the company and the Nigerian electricity sector.”

He added that “listing on the exchange’s main board will ensure that the long-term growth of the company is assured and its benefits will be passed on to our esteemed shareholders.”

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Economy

Agusto Forecasts Nigeria’s Pension Assets to Grow to N14.8trn Amid Headwinds

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Nigeria's pension assets

By Adedapo Adesanya

Global research firm, Agusto & Co, has forecast that Nigeria’s pension assets will reach N14.8 trillion by the end of 2022.

This is as unpaid pension obligations by some employers, enrolees’ apathy toward the transfer of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), and the ability of industry operators to protect the value of pension funds in the face of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly a weakening exchange rate and soaring inflation, are at the heart of the industry’s current problems.

Agusto noted that in the last decade, the 628 per cent surge in the size of pension fund assets to N14.27 trillion is indicative of the industry’s growth and evolution following legislative support provided by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 and the amendment in 2014.

However, the rising rates of emigration and unemployment in the last five years have slowed down the growth rate in pension contributions. If individuals who fall within these groups, who are eligible to access a 25 per cent lump sum of their pension assets, exercise the withdrawal option, it could cause the growth of assets under management (AuM) to stagnate.

The 3 per cent decline in the industry’s annual contribution remitted to the RSAs in 2021 underlines this growing threat and National Pension Commission (PenCom) approval to use 25 per cent of the amount of a pension contributor’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to pay for an equity contribution for a mortgage may lead to a decline in pension AuM in the medium term.

The research firm noted that low yield in investible outlets amid a 17-year high headline inflation rate of 20.52 per cent will lead to a contraction in the real value of AuM over time and implies that pension fund contributors could be worse off in retirement.

It was noted that this would renew interest in diversifying investments into foreign-denominated securities to improve returns and preserve value but warned that the prohibition on PFAs from acquiring foreign currencies directly through official channels might hinder this.

However, Agusto & Co. expects the pension sector to remain robust, given the industry’s strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the need to align the Nigerian pension scheme more closely with international standards in the near term.

Agusto & Co. also estimates that growth in pension assets will slow from a five-year average of 19 per cent to around 10 per cent in 2022 due to a combination of a muted interest rate environment and a slowdown in the rate of contributions which has been impacted by mass emigration and high unemployment.

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Economy

NASD OTC Down as FrieslandCampina Loses 3.85%

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya

FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc dragged the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange down by 0.6 per cent on Tuesday, October 4, after its share price fell by N3.00 or 3.85 per cent to N75.00 per unit from N78.00 per unit.

It was the resumption of trading activities on the NASD OTC exchange yesterday after the public holiday declared on Monday to mark Nigeria’s 62nd year of independence.

The loss posted by the leading diary company in Nigeria reduced the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) by 4.45 points yesterday to 731.34 points from 735.79 points.

Equally, the market capitalisation of the bourse diminished by N5.85 billion to wrap the day at N962.75 billion compared with the preceding session’s N968.60 billion.

Yesterday, the unlisted securities market finished without a price gainer.

It was observed that the volume of transactions depreciated on Tuesday by 72.2 per cent as investors only traded a total of 29,331 units of shares in contrast to the 105,440 units of shares transacted last Friday.

However, the value of the stocks bought and sold by investors jumped by 37.6 per cent to N2.2 million from the previous session’s N1.6 million, while the number of deals executed by traders went down by 33.3 per cent as only four deals were carried out yesterday compared with the six deals completed in the previous session.

When the market ended for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc was in second place with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, and Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units valued at N313.4 million.

In the same vein, CSCS Plc finished the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, and FrieslandCampina closed in place for trading 14.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion.

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