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FMDQ Begins Clearing Services to Deepen Nigerian Financial Market

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FMDQ Platform

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

As part of its continued pursuit to strengthen the Nigerian financial markets, and in a bid to promote settlement finality on products traded, the FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange has activated its Clearing House to deliver highly efficient post-trade services across the nation’s fixed income and derivatives markets.

This is expected to address some of the key drivers for the development of the markets; risk mitigation, capital efficiency and price transparency, while ensuring safety, stability, confidence and ultimately, inclusiveness in the marketplace.

The Nigerian fixed income and derivatives markets had up till now experienced slow growth due to sustained counterparty, credit and settlement risks.

Being Africa’s largest economy, the development of the Nigerian financial markets is crucial, with improved market architecture, increased risk management structures, growing need for bespoke hedging products i.e. derivatives and regulation as key drivers for this development.

Called the FMDQ Clear, the system hopes to ensure that its risk management activities underpin its effectiveness, reliability and long-term sustainability, as it strives to resolve key clearing and settlement issues that led to the birth of the franchise, with the development of a robust risk management framework that provides the structure for risk policies, processes and internal control mechanisms to manage, assess and contain the risks posed to the clearing house, in compliance with the global standards set out in the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures (PFMIs).

The governance structure of FMDQ Clear is said to conform to the IOSCO PFMIs, with the Board of Directors chaired by Ms Daisy Ekineh, an independent Non-Executive Director of FMDQ, and a capital market doyen with over 30 years of experience, garnered from various roles, including but not limited to being a former acting Director-General of the SEC, who has played a critical role in driving several policy initiatives in the Nigerian capital market. She was also a Chair of the African & Middle East Regional Committee of IOSCO.

She is ably supported by Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi, the Director of Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), whose experience in financial system stability will be brought to bear in providing guidance to the Company; Mrs Vivien Shobo, the Chief Executive Officer of Agusto & Co Limited, a risk management expert and the Chairperson of the SEC-registered Credit Rating Agencies Association in Nigeria; and Mr Bola Onadele. Koko, Managing Director/CEO of FMDQ, an experienced financial market architect, amongst other shareholder representatives who are also on the board.

The Board will also consist of representatives of Clearing Members i.e. banks, to ensure that key market participants are duly represented.

According to FMDQ, this new clearing infrastructure will greatly contribute to making the Nigerian inter-bank market globally competitive, operationally excellent, liquid and diverse, in line with FMDQ’s GOLD Agenda for the transformation of the Nigerian financial markets, as participating Clearing/Dealing Members will have expanded access and in turn, be better able to serve the needs of their client base and the real economy.

The support of and input from key Nigerian financial services regulators, including the SEC, CBN, the National Pension Commission (PenCom), as well as the local banking industry and other key market stakeholders cannot be over-looked in the achievement of this milestone in the Nigerian financial markets and such collaborative efforts have helped to place Nigeria on a global pedestal.

The recent circular, released by the CBN, directing all deposit money banks who wish to participate in OTC market to pledge a collateral of N1 billion worth of Government/CBN Securities, in an effort to enhance efficiency in trading and post-trade activities, and build confidence in the financial markets, is a strong indication of its continuous support for the development of the Nigerian financial market.

Recall that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had registered FMDQ Clear Limited (FMDQ Clear), as the first central clearing house in Nigeria, a wholly-owned clearing and settlement subsidiary of Nigeria’s foremost debt capital, currencies and derivatives OTC Exchange, FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange.

To ensure a full understanding of the needs of the market, and its readiness for growth and development, FMDQ, in 2015, engaged Salonica, an international-based consortium, to conduct a feasibility study on the introduction of OTC derivatives to the Nigerian financial market, and one of the strong recommendations of this study was the activation of a clearing house to ensure certainty of settlement finality and enforceability; promote market confidence among participants, and facilitate orderly markets in periods of stress.

Furthermore, in 2017, FMDQ, supported by Frontclear Management B.V. (Frontclear), a Netherlands-based development finance company, engaged Catalyst Development (UK) Limited, a specialised consulting company focused on clearing, risk and regulation, to conduct a feasibility study on the activation of a central clearing house infrastructure in Nigeria, culminating in the birth of FMDQ Clear.

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

Nigeria’s Pension Funds Reach N14.27bn as Contributors Near 10 million

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Pension Funds

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) says the total number of registered contributors and the value of pension fund assets stand at 9,795,957 million and N14.27 trillion respectively, as at June 2022.

The Director-General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, gave the figures at a recent workshop themed Increasing Informal Sector Participation In The Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS): The Case for Micro Pension Plan (MPP).

Mrs Dahir-Umar, represented by the Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Abdulqadir Dahiru, said the increasing number of pension funds and contributors was responsible for the recapitalisation of the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA’s) by PenCom.

“The reason for the recapitalisation exercise was to ramp up the capacity of the PFA’s to manage the increasing number of registered contributors and the value of pension fund assets which stood at 9,795,957 million and N14.27 trillion respectively, as at June 30, 2022.

“PenCom increased the Minimum Regulatory Capital (Shareholders’ Fund) requirements of PFAs from N1 billion to N5 billion in 2021.

“All PFAs have complied with the commission’s directive to increase their minimum capital during the exercise which had a 12-month transition between April 27, 2021, and April 27, 2022,” she said.

According to her, the theme of the workshop aligned with the commission’s objective of expanding coverage of the CPS as it relates to the micro pension plan.

The director-general explained that the objective was to bring into the CPS, Nigerians working in the informal sector and those who were self-employed through the MPP.

Mrs Dahir-Umar noted that strategic efforts to drive the MPP remained one of the significant areas of focus of the commission.

She said the MPP was conceptualised to expand pension coverage to the informal sector, including small-scale businesses, entertainers, professionals, petty traders, artisans and entrepreneurs.

“The MPP was implemented to curb old-age poverty by assisting the workers, as mentioned above, to contribute while working and build long-term savings to fall back on when they become old, ” Mrs Dahir-Umar said.

The director-general stated that to create awareness of the MPP, the commission, in collaboration with the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, was currently championing an industry media campaign in major cities in the country’s six geopolitical zones.

She said it was expected that the exercise would bring about increased effectiveness and efficiency as well as improved service delivery in the industry.

“Let me re-affirm the commission’s commitment to creating awareness and holding social dialogue on the workings of the CPS with relevant stakeholders towards the smooth implementation of the scheme in Nigeria,” she said.

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Economy

Outrage Over Payment of N18.39bn Daily for Fuel Subsidy

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fuel subsidy

By Adedapo Adesanya

Some Nigerians have started to express anger over the disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, that the sum of N18.39 billion is used by the federal government daily to pay for fuel subsidy.

Speaking during an investigative hearing of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee looking into the petroleum subsidy regime between 2017 and 2021, the Minister revealed that, “The total amount of subsidy per day is N18.397 billion per day.”

“So, if you are projecting for the full year, it would be N6.715 trillion. If you are projecting for half year, it would be 50 per cent of that,” she informed the lawmakers.

According to the Finance Minister, this was calculated using the information provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and the regulator, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

She said the information showed that 64.96 million litres of fuel are the projected average daily truck out, adding that N1.774 trillion was paid to independent oil marketers as subsidy in four years.

Aside from the increasing cost of petrol importation, economic and energy experts have continued to decry the rising cost of fuel subsidy by the federal government.

In January, the federal government said it will retain fuel subsidy indefinitely and amended the 2022 budget to provide funds for that purpose, a move that saw the provision jump over 800 per cent to N4 trillion.

Mrs Ahmed, at that time, said the government realised that the timing of the planned removal of the petrol subsidy was problematic and would worsen the suffering of Nigerians.

According to her, all payments on fuel subsidies were supposed to cease from July 2022 but, “subsequent to the passage of the [Finance] Act, we went back to amend the Fiscal Framework that was submitted to the National Assembly to incorporate this demand, but after the budget was passed we have had consultations with a number of stakeholders.

“It became clear that the timing is problematic, that practically there is still heightened inflation, and also removal of subsidy will further worsen the situation, thereby, imposing more difficulties on the citizens, and Mr President clearly does not want to do that.”

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Economy

Naira Exchanges at N694/$1 in Peer-to-Peer FX Segment

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Nigerian Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira depreciated against the United States Dollar at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window of the foreign exchange market on Thursday by 0.32 per cent or N2 to sell for N694/$1 in contrast to the preceding day’s rate of N692/$1.

However, it closed flat against the greenback in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the FX market at N429.38/$1 amid a slump in the value of transactions at the ecosystem.

According to data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange, forex transactions worth $63.30 million were carried out during the session compared with the $120.46 million reported a day earlier, indicating a decline by $57.16 million or 47.5 per cent.

But at the interbank segment, the local currency moved in the same direction on Thursday, appreciating against the British Pound Sterling and against the Euro.

It was observed that the domestic currency appreciated against the Pound Sterling by N1.72 to trade at N508.24/£1 compared to the previously traded rate of N509.96/£1 and against the Euro, the Naira gained N11.06 to settle at N420.83/€1 compared with the previous day’s N431.89/€1.

Also, in the black market, the domestic currency improved its value by N2 to trade at N678/$1 in contrast to the N680/$1 it was sold on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, investors counted more losses as the appetite for the digital coins waned, with Shiba Inu (SHIB) dropping 9.9 per cent to sell for $0.00001343 and Dogecoin (DOGE) losing 8.4 per cent to close at $0.07429.

Cardano (ADA) depreciated by 8.1 per cent to settle at $0.4951, Solana (SOL) slumped by 6.2 per cent to sell at $38.30, Binance Coin (BNB) slid by 5.0 per cent to close at $291.64, Ripple (XRP) depreciated by 3.7 per cent to finish at $0.3616, Litecoin (LTC) went down by 3.0 per cent to quote at $58.99, Bitcoin (BTC) recorded a 2.5 per cent drop to end at $22,818.66, while Ethereum (ETH) retreated by 1.5 per cent to trade at $1,817.11, with the US Dollar Tether (USDT) retaining its previous day’s value of $1.00 due to the strong performance of the US Dollar against other currencies.

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