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Economy

Inflation, Fuel Subsidy Draining Nigeria’s Fiscal Revenues—IMF

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Nigeria's fiscal revenues

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said Nigeria’s fiscal revenues, which are mainly earnings from taxes, duties, and others, are being drained by rising inflation and fuel subsidy costs, especially when the government is not increasing its streams of income.

Despite signing the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) into law in 2021, the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to stop the payment of subsidies for premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.

In the 2022 budget, the central government had planned to stop the payments, which are made to make fuel cheaper for consumers, by June 30, but after the organised labour kicked against this, the government said it would remove the subsidy by mid-2023, after the expiration of the present administration.

Trillions of Naira are budgeted to pay subsidies for petrol, which some observers have faulted, stressing that the avenue has been used by some corrupt officials to steal public funds.

In a statement issued on Friday by the IMF at the conclusion of its 2022 Article IV Mission in Nigeria, the global lender said for Nigeria to make progress and address its fiscal revenue issues, it must let go of the subsidy monster but advised that crude oil theft must also be looked into to increase earnings from the sale of the commodity.

“As a near-term priority, the mission highlighted the urgent need to remove fuel subsidies fully and permanently, which disproportionately benefit the well-off, by mid-2023 as planned.

“The government should also prioritise addressing oil thefts and governance issues in the oil sector to restore production to pre-pandemic levels,” the IMF said.

Despite the price of crude oil rising in the global market, Nigeria is not earning much from the commodity because a significant amount of the black gold is stolen.

Recently, the group chief executive of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr Mele Kyari, said a 4-kilometre pipeline from the Forcados export terminal had been used to steal oil for nine years, resulting in the theft of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day.

This sparked outrage, but after a few weeks, the issue seems to have been swept under the carpet with no update on those found culpable.

In the statement released today by the IMF, the government was also advised to take steps to address the rising inflation in the country.

This week, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said inflation rose by 21.09 per cent in October 2022 from 20.77 per cent in September 2022. This was triggered by rising food and energy costs.

The IMF wonders why food prices are rising despite Nigeria having limited direct exposure to the war in Ukraine by Russia, warning that “high food insecurity is compounding the pandemic’s scarring effects on the vulnerable.”

However, it said “headline inflation is expected to moderate at end-2022 as the start of the harvest season more than counters the projected increase in rice prices caused by recent flooding.”

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

Economy

Honeywell Flour, MTN, Others Pull Market Back by 0.01%

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Honeywell Flour

By Dipo Olowookere

The depreciation printed by the shares of Honeywell Flour, MTN Nigeria, Ecobank and 10 others pulled back the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited from the bulls’ territory into the danger zone by 0.01 per cent on Thursday.

It was the first trading session in December, and the stock market could not sustain the positive moment it recorded on the last day of the previous month due to the selling pressure on the equities mentioned above, though investor sentiment remained strong.

According to data from the bourse, the market breadth was positive yesterday as there were 15 price advancers and 13 price decliners led by Honeywell Flour, which dropped 7.89 per cent to trade at N2.10. RT Briscoe went down by 7.41 per cent to 25 Kobo, Wema Bank declined by 5.45 per cent to N3.12, FCMB contracted by 4.18 per cent to N3.21, and Cutix retreated by 2.84 per cent to N2.05.

On top of the gainers’ log was UPDC REIT, which improved its share value by 9.09 per cent to N3.00, McNichols rose by 8.93 per cent to 61 Kobo, Japaul jumped by 7.41 per cent to 29 Kobo, Nigerian Breweries 7.14 per cent to N45.00, and Royal Exchange grew by 4.76 per cent to 66 Kobo.

Yesterday, investors transacted 172.9 million shares valued at N2.8 billion in 3,073 deals compared with the 107.0 million shares valued at N1.3 billion traded in 3,227 deals in the midweek session, representing a decline in the number of deals by 4.77 per cent, an increase in the trading volume by 61.55 per cent, and a surge in the trading value by 115.63 per cent.

The increase in the market turnover was driven by the 49.8 million shares of FCMB traded by investors during the session. Courteville traded 16.9 million stocks, Access Holdings sold 12.0 million equities, UBA traded 10.8 million shares, and Zenith Bank exchanged 9.8 million shares.

Business Post reports that the insurance and energy counters went down by 0.12 per cent and 0.08 per cent, respectively, while the banking and consumer goods sectors went up by 2.16 per cent and 0.77 per cent apiece, with the industrial goods space closing flat.

At the close of trades, the All-Share Index (ASI) receded by 3.40 points to 47,656.64 points from 47,660.04 points, and the market capitalisation retreated by N2 billion to N25.957 trillion from N25.959 trillion.

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Economy

Ecobank Q3 Earnings Swell Amid 12% Jump in Non-Interest Income

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Ecobank non-interest income

By Dipo Olowookere

In the third quarter of 2022, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) improved its gross earnings by 11 per cent to N761.3 billion from N686.8 billion in the same period of last year, with interest income growing by 9 per cent to N485.8 billion from N445.1 billion, and interest expense surging by 8 per cent to N174.2 billion from N160.7 billion.

In the period under consideration, fee and commission income expanded by 15 per cent to N165.5 billion from N144.0 billion, driven by higher cash management and related fees, as well as more card management fees, which offset the shortfall in other fees and portfolio and other management fees.

Business Post reports that bank charges, brokerage fees paid, and other fees paid by the lender triggered a 41 per cent increase in the fee and commission expense by Ecobank in the first nine months of this year to N21.0 billion from N14.9 billion.

The trading income generated by the bank grew to N93.2 billion in Q3 of 2022 from N85.5 billion in Q2 of 2021, other operating income rose to N16.7 billion from N11.6 billion, but the net investment income declined to N4.4 billion from N5.6 billion.

In the first nine months of 2022, Ecobank improved its non-interest income by 12 per cent to N258.7 billion from N231.7 billion, while operating income jumped by 11 per cent to N570.4 billion from N516.2 billion.

In the period under consideration, the operating costs of the company increased by 7 per cent to N320.9 billion from N300.7 billion, with personnel costs rising to N138.6 billion from N132.4 billion.

The bank, in the financial statements filed to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, said its pre-tax profit improved by 17 per cent to N168.7 billion from N143.7 billion, while the post-tax profit gained 12 per cent to N1177.4 billion from N104.5 billion.

On a year-to-date basis, its loans disbursement to customers was marginally down to N4.03 trillion from N4.06 trillion in FY 2021, while deposits from customers went down to N8.06 trillion from N8.36 trillion.

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Economy

NGX Helps Governments, Corporates Secure N3.5trn Debts

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Cross Deals

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Debt instruments worth N3.5 trillion have been raised from the capital market in 2022 with the assistance of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.

These funds were secured by the federal, state governments, and corporate organisations through the issuance of bonds and commercial papers, with the proceeds used to finance projects and business operations.

The NGX has always provided an avenue for organisations to seek cheap capital from investors by positioning itself as the prime location for raising funds.

According to the Divisional Head of Capital Markets at the NGX, Mr Jude Chiemeka, the capital market could serve as the primary source of bulk mobilisation of capital to finance developmental projects, and NGX had implemented an array of incentives, programmes and capacity building workshops for investors.

“The pension fund industry, for example, has been able to leverage the issuances done by the DMO in recent times, and a lot of financing has come from them,” he said at the Nigeria Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) dialogue on Channels TV with the theme How Can Nigeria Finance its Development Priorities.

“As an exchange, we provide the platform that will enable the government to finance projects through green instruments that these investors can invest in and ultimately benefit from the returns. And that is why it’s critical to ensure there’s constant investor education, sound governance and regulation.

“If you take a look at the recently revamped Capital Market Master Plan, there’s a conversation there around increasing retail investor participation in our markets,” he added.

INFF emanated as a result of a partnership among the FG, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and European Union (EU) to support Nigeria in mobilising greater amounts of private and public resources to finance its development agenda.

Speaking further, Mr Chiemeka said the goal is to revamp the current active retail participation level to 5 million by 2025.

“NGX has been able to facilitate the raise of about N3.5 trillion since January 2022 for corporates, federal and state governments. We are very well equipped to support the financing of these capital projects because we have the right platform.

“Today, you talk about the African Exchanges Linkage Project, which commenced on November 18 and will be launched in December. That gives Nigeria the ability to leverage the investor base in other capital markets to fund the projects to grow the economy and lift people out of poverty,” he stated.

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