By Dipo Olowookere
Providing an enabling environment for businesses and their associated activities to thrive remains a key goal of governments and indeed, a main driver of economic growth. It is for this reason and more that the Ease of Doing Business Reform lends itself a barometer to measure reforms, including but not limited to regulatory framework, government policies, security etc., that seek to make the business climate more conducive for business.
It is in this vein that FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, having taken on the role of an advocate, providing relevant advice to government and regulators, as well as a catalyst for infrastructure capital through the Nigerian debt capital markets (DCM), hosted the maiden DCM Ease of Doing Business Sensitisation Session, facilitated by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) of the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria.
The FMDQ DCM Sensitisation Session was aimed to provide an avenue for key officials of the EBES to update and educate stakeholders in the Nigerian DCM on specific initiatives emanating from the implementation of the recent National Action Plans (NAP) and the impact on their businesses.
The well-attended session afforded DCM stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback to the EBES on the challenges currently being experienced on the back of the reforms, as well as to proffer suggestions/key modalities for ensuring that the implementation of the NAP precipitates the optimal enabling environment for conducting business in Nigeria.
Present at the function were key representatives from the government agencies/institutions, including but not limited to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC); and members of the FMDQ Debt Capital Markets Development (DCMD) Project Implementation Committees.
Others were from the Financial Markets Dealers Association (FMDA), Association of Corporate Treasurers of Nigeria (ACTN), Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria (AIHN), Capital Market Solicitors Association (CMSA), Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), and Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp).
Welcoming guests to the Session, Tumi Sekoni, Associate Executive Director, Capital Markets, FMDQ, highlighted that as an OTC Exchange with the aspirations of becoming fully integrated and diversified, the emergence of government policies/reforms and how these affect our varied stakeholder categories is of crucial importance for the acceleration of market deepening activities, as well as national economic growth and development.
Sekoni said it was in this belief of shared prosperity, therefore, that FMDQ partnered with EBES in support of the OTC Exchange’s strategic mission to empower the financial markets to be innovative and credible, in support of the Nigerian economy.
During her presentation at the programme, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, stated that the “FMDQ DCM Ease of Doing Business Sensitisation Session is a laudable initiative from the private sector that provides the opportunity for the government to share with the DCM community all completed and on-going business environment reforms that have been achieved so far.”
She said, “Since July 2016, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) of the EBES has continued to closely collaborate with ministries, departments and agencies of government; the legislature and judiciary, as well as state governments, the organised private sector and civil society.”
According to her, “These reforms have enhanced transparency and reduced the time, cost and number of procedures in interacting with government agencies by streamlining and automating previously manual processes in public service delivery.
“The efforts of EBES have been empirically validated by external indices such as the World Bank Doing Business report, where Nigeria moved up an unprecedented 24 points over a three year period.
“Today, we are pleased to receive feedback from our DCM stakeholders on challenges as well as improvements in the Nigerian business environment as we jointly strive to make Nigeria a progressively easier place in which to do business.”
As part of its mandate to make the Nigerian financial markets Globally Competitive, Operationally Excellent, Liquid and Diverse (GOLD), FMDQ, through the Regulation Consolidation Sub-Committee of its DCMD Project, continues to champion initiatives aimed at making it easier for DCM stakeholders to access and raise capital even as this continues to positively impact the broader economy.
Nigerian Breweries Lists Additional Shares on Stock Exchange
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited has admitted additional shares of Nigerian Breweries Plc on its trading platform, a notice from the exchange has confirmed.
The new stocks were issued to shareholders of the brewery giant as part of their dividend payment. They are those who opted to exchange their cash payment for shares of the firm.
According to the disclosure from the NGX on Monday, Nigerian Breweries listed a total of 78,929,849 ordinary shares of 50 kobo on the platform, increasing its total issued and fully paid-up equities to 8,075,831,900 ordinary shares from 7,996,902,051 ordinary shares.
“Additional 78,929,849 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of Nigerian Breweries Plc were today, Monday, January 24, 2022, listed on the daily official list of the Nigerian Exchange Limited.
“The additional shares listed on NGX arose from Nigerian Breweries scrip dividend election scheme.
“With this listing of the additional 78,929,849 ordinary shares, the total issued and fully paid-up shares of Nigerian Breweries Plc has now increased from 7,996,902,051 to 8,075,831,900 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each,” the statement noted.
Shares of Nigerian Breweries depreciated by 1.46 per cent or 70 kobo today at the stock exchange to close at N47.30, according to data obtained by Business Post.
FG Suspends Fuel Subsidy Removal, to Amend 2022 Budget
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The federal government has suspended fuel subsidy removal, which was earlier meant to be from July 1, 2022, and will now amend the 2022 Appropriation Act to accommodate the new change.
This action followed the pressure mounted by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which threatened to embark on a nationwide protest from January 27, 2022.
In the 2022 budget signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari last month, the provision of petrol subsidy was till June 30, but the labour said fuel subsidy removal at this period of high inflation would be resisted.
On Monday, January 24, 2022, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms Zainab Ahmed, was at the National Assembly for a meeting with lawmakers.
She explained that due to ongoing consultations, it was agreed that the planned removal of fuel subsidy should be shelved for now.
“Provision was made in the 2022 budget for subsidy payment from January till June. That suggested that from July, there would be no subsidy.
”The provision was made sequel to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act which indicated that all petroleum products would be deregulated.
“Sequel to the passage of the PIA, we went back to amend the fiscal framework to incorporate the subsidy removal.
“However, after the budget was passed, we had consultations with a number of stakeholders and it became clear that the timing was problematic.
“We discovered that practically, there is still heightened inflation and that the removal of subsidy would further worsen the situation and impose more difficulties on the citizenry.
“Mr President does not want to do that. What we are now doing is to continue with the ongoing discussions and consultations in terms of putting in place a number of measures.
“One of these includes the rollout of the refining capacities of the existing refineries and the new ones which would reduce the amount of products that would be imported into the country.
“We, therefore, need to return to the National Assembly to now amend the budget and make additional provision for the subsidy from July 22 to whatever period that we agreed was suitable for the commencement of the total removal,” the Minister informed the lawmakers.
The Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, who conveyed the meeting, commended the federal government for the bold step, urging the labour unions to suspend their action.
Also present at the gathering were the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva; the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr Mele Kyari; among others.
Stanbic IBTC Finances Ardova LPG Storage Terminal
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The 20,000 metric tonnes Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage terminal being constructed in Ijora, Lagos, by AP LPG terminal, a fully owned subsidiary of Ardova Plc, is being financed by the Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund, Business Post has learned.
In August 2021, Stanbic IBTC closed the first tranche of its N100 billion Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund aimed to support the funding of critical projects in the country with competitive return profiles, sustainable environmental practices, and the potential to positively impact the economy.
Ardova, one of the leading players in the energy sector in Nigeria, keyed into the initiative and on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, the firm performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the LPG storage terminal, which is expected to be completed in December 2022.
Upon completion, the project will be the largest LPG storage facility in the nation and will ease some of the existing bottlenecks in the value chain for the supply of cleaner and more efficient energy for domestic use (cooking gas) in Nigeria, amongst other strategic benefits.
Speaking at the event, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ardova, Mr Olumide Adeosun, commended Stanbic IBTC for its commitment to the project, noting that the importance of having formidable partners for project development, planning, execution, and investment support cannot be overemphasised.
“We are pleased to have the support of the Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund for its pioneering role in a transformational project within the LPG value chain, which will undoubtedly accelerate the various energy transition initiatives currently underway at Ardova Plc.
“This support has helped us commence construction of this 20,000 metric tonne LPG storage terminal, which is expected to bring efficiency and reliability of LPG supply to Nigerian consumers as well as create long term value for our shareholders; and for this, we are thankful,” he said.
Mr Adeosun further that, “Beyond the cleaner energy premise, approximately 600 direct jobs will be created during the construction of the project and there is a multiplier effect of about additional 1,400 indirect jobs that will be created during the construction period after which it settles to about 250-300 jobs once the project becomes operational.”
On his part, the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Asset Management, Mr Oladele Sotubo, noted that, “Across the globe, cleaner energy investments have continued to be the focus.”
“Given the environmental sustainability benefits of this project, Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund’s investment philosophy is properly aligned, hence the support for the 20,000 metric tonne LPG storage facility terminal,” he added.
Mr Sotubo applauded Ardova for partnering with Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund and used the opportunity to also commend all the Tranche 1 investors, including institutional investors such as Trustfund Pensions, Veritas Glanvills Pensions, NPF Pensions, Fidelity Pensions, Crusader Sterling Pensions, Agip CPFA, Progress Trust CPFA, AIICO Insurance, and other High Networth Individuals (HNIs), for the confidence reposed in the fund.
He pointed out the impact their investment is making in terms of solving some of Nigeria’s infrastructure bottlenecks, creating jobs while earning returns. “As an organisation, we remain committed to bridging Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit through the provision of investment capital needed to develop projects”, he added”.
The Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Chief Executive highlighted that the Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund remains dedicated to meeting the investment needs of its clients, providing them with the right investment vehicles, opportunities and professional investment services needed to achieve their financial objectives.
He urged institutional investors such as pension fund administrators, insurance companies and asset managers to explore the unique opportunities of the Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund in meeting their long-term financial goals.
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