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Economy

It’ll be Difficult to Sell Proposed FG’s N22.7trn 40-year Bonds at 9%—BudgIT

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BudgIT 40-year bonds

By Dipo Olowookere

A Nigerian civic company, BudgIT, has said, based on findings, it would be difficult for the federal government to get buyers for the proposed securitisation of the N22.7 trillion overdrafts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at 9 per cent per annum coupon rate.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday appealed to the National Assembly to reconsider his request to convert the ways and means into securities.

The bonds, to be sold to interested investors in local denomination, would have a maturity of 40 years at a coupon rate of 9 per cent.

Last week, the Senate rejected the proposal, pointing out that it must know what the government spent the money on.

The government violated the CBN act as regards the overdrafts as it was supposed to get 5 per cent of the revenue it generated in the previous fiscal year as ways and means, which must be paid back before another is given.

However, these requirements were not met by the federal government but the central bank, under the leadership of Mr Godwin Emefiele, went ahead to give more loans to the government to fund the budget deficits.

While signing the 2023 budget into law on Tuesday, Mr Buhari begged the parliament to approve the conversion of the loans to bonds to avoid the payment of an extra N1.8 trillion as interest.

“I have no intention to fetter the right of the National Assembly to interrogate the composition of this balance, which can still be done even after granting the requested approval.

“Failure to grant the securitization approval will, however, cost the Nigerian government about N1.8 trillion in additional interest in 2023, given the differential between the applicable interest rates, which is currently MPR plus 3 per cent, and the negotiated interest rate of 9 per cent and a 40-year repayment period on the securitised debt of the Ways and Means,” he had pointed out.

But BudgIT said the claims by Mr Buhari that the 40-year bonds would be sold at 9 per cent may not be totally true.

Business Post reports that the FGN savings bond currently being offered for sale by the Debt Management Office (DMO) has coupon rates higher than what the government is claiming.

The debt office is offering the 2-year FGN savings bond maturing on January 11, 2025, at 9.60 per cent and the 3-year paper maturing on January 11, 2026, at 10.60 per cent.

At the last FGN bonds held in December 2022, the debt office sold a 10-year bond at 14.75 per cent and a 20-year bond at 15.80 per cent. Based on this, it would most likely be difficult to lure investors to purchase 40-year bonds at 9 per cent when a shorter-tenor paper can be bought at almost double the coupon rate.

In a series of tweets via its official Twitter page on Thursday, BudgIT said it would be a herculean task for the government to get buyers for the bonds at the “specified rate.”

“@MBuhari has asked @nassnigeria to approve the securitization of FG’s N22.7tn debt to @cenbank, is it legal for @nassnigeria to approve the request of the FG to securitize the Ways & Means, which goes against the CBN Act?

Since 2015, the FG has asked @cenbank to provide advances to fund its fiscal deficit without any requirement for cost-cutting measures/fiscal control. The law stipulates that such advances should be limited to 5% of the previous year’s revenues. This law has not been followed.

“Also, Section 38 of the CBN Act mandates the FG to repay all advances made by the CBN to it at the end of the financial year in which the advances were received. Failure to repay the advances in full implies that the FG will not be eligible for further advances by the CBN.

“While FG has continuously breached the CBN Act, it now seeks the @nassnigeria’s approval to offload N22.7tn debt for 40 years at a 9% interest rate. Findings have shown that it will be difficult to sell such debt at the specified rate.

“Currently, the FG has been on a borrowing binge as domestic debt increased from N8.3tn in June 2015 to N21.6tn as of June 2022, & foreign debt rose from $10b in 2015 to $39.66b in 2022.

“Similarly, interest paid in Ways and Means (CBN Debt to FG) grew from N9.51b in 2017 to N1.22tn in 2021. In the meantime, the CBN’s new debt adds at least N2.5tn annually to Nigeria’s debt servicing costs.

“According to a recent MTF, Nigeria’s debt servicing cost is projected to reach N10tn in 2025. If National Assembly approves this action, FG’s public debt will rise from its current state by 59% – from $89.5b to $142 billion.

“In 2021, FG used 91% of its N4.64tn revenue to service public debt. Unless something drastic happens with revenue growth, the FG will spend more on servicing debt. This has implications for inflation, economic confidence, higher interest rates & weakened exchange rates.

“Is it legal for the National Assembly to approve the request of the Federal Government to securitise the Ways and Means, which is in clear breach of the CBN Act? More importantly, what were the borrowings used for?” the company asked.

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

Economy

Jumia, Churches, POS Operators, Others Reject Old Naira Notes

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old Naira notes

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the leading e-commerce companies in Nigeria, Jumia, has announced that from Monday, January 30, 2023, it will no longer accept the old Naira notes as a form of payment for goods purchased on the platform.

In a message to its customers on Thursday, the company said this action followed the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop the use of the N200, N500, and N1,000 for financial transactions in Nigeria from February 1, 2023.

On October 26, 2022, the governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced that the three denominations would be redesigned. The new banknotes were introduced into circulation on December 15, and Nigerians were asked to return the old notes on or before January 31, 2023.

In order not to miss the deadline, and with the central bank insisting that it would not extend the deadline, Jumia has said its customers have till Sunday to pay for its goods and services with the old notes.

“From Monday, January 30, 2023, Jumia Delivery Associates will not be able to accept the old notes of N200, N500, and N1,000 sequel to the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Should you wish to pay by cash, our delivery associates will only accept the new series of notes.

“Alternatively, you can find details on how to prepay on Jumia using JumiaPay or call us if there are any further questions.

“We will communicate further in case of any change from the federal government or central bank,” the notice from the firm, which was seen by Business Post, stated.

Meanwhile, a few churches in Lagos have asked their members not to pay tithes and offerings with the old banknotes from Sunday, January 29, 2023, due to the CBN directive.

“In reference to CBN’s directive and policy on old Naira notes, we hereby appeal to members not to come to church starting from this Sunday with old Naira notes (200, 500 & 1000).

“Please kindly make your payments (tithes, offerings, project donations and other payments) in new Naira notes.

“You can as well make an online transfer to the designated accounts (check the flier for details).

“Please share this message with members that are not on this platform,” a message from one of the parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) said.

Also, checks by this reporter indicated that some POS operators have said they would no longer accept the old notes from their customers from Saturday, January 28, 2023.

“I will not accept cash deposits with the old notes from Saturday because I know the banks will be filled up next week with people who want to deposit their cash.

“This morning, I was at one of the banks to deposit the cash with me, but the crowd there scared me.

“The banks were still giving customers the old notes. I am just confused about the situation. We do not have the new notes. Almost all the ATM terminals in this area are not dispensing cash to customers,” a POS operator in the Egbeda area of Lagos, Mrs Modupe Adediran, told Business Post.

Similarly, a trader at Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, Mr Ikenna Okechukwu, informed this reporter that he has stopped accepting the old banknotes from his customers.

However, some commercial bus drivers in Lagos said they will still accept the old banknotes next week.

“I don’t have any issue with the money. I have a strong belief that the central bank will extend the deadline. The announcement will be made next week,” a danfo driver in Ikeja, who identified himself as Mr Tajudeen, said.

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Economy

SFS Fund Mobile App Sees 300% Rise in Downloads

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SFS Fund Mobile App

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The mutual fund investment app of SFS Capital, the SFS Fund Mobile App, has recorded a 300 per cent uptick in downloads less than one year after it was launched.

The SFS Fund Mobile App has exciting features that have endeared it to new and existing users. The app has an easy-to-use interactive dashboard; it also allows retail investors with N5,000 to start an investment.

In addition, users can make direct transfers from their banks to their virtual accounts and have access to third-party payments to make payments directly into users’ investment accounts.

In the second half of 2022, the SFS Fund Mobile App was launched to enable individuals to begin their investment journey with ease.

“There’s no doubt that investment apps became really popular last year, and we are extremely excited about the growth of the SFS Fund Mobile App and how it is playing a role in encouraging more individuals to start their investment journey with Mutual Fund,” the Managing Director and CEO of SFS Capital, Mr Patrick Ilodianya, said.

Globally, there has been a rise in the usage of retail investment apps. The COVID-19 pandemic induced pragmatic investment decisions by individuals, coupled with increased accessibility to mobile, enabled more individuals to start investing.

The SFS Fund Mobile App is apt for individuals who need a trustworthy, secure and easy platform for high-yield investments in mutual funds.

The app is available for download on Android and iOS. Investments made via the app are managed by seasoned investment experts in the Nigerian financial market who ensure that the returns paid to investors range from 11 per cent to 17 per cent per annum.

The fund has consistently maintained an “AA+” rating which is the 2nd highest possible rating for a mutual fund, and has a highly competitive return on investment and no pre-termination charge.

Investment in mutual funds is a proven recipe for wealth creation, given the opportunities and flexibility it presents to investors.

“This year, we will like to encourage more individuals to make a more decisive move concerning their finances. Investing in mutual funds via the SFS Mobile Fund App makes it possible for individuals to begin to build wealth, especially in an economy like ours that is characterised by downturns and uncertainties,” Mr Ilodianya added.

The SFS Mobile Fund App is part of SFS Capital’s digitisation narrative as the investment management company builds on the legacy it has as a leading Nigerian non-bank financial institution.

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Economy

Julius Berger Offers for Sale N30bn Commercial Paper in Two Series

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Julius berger

By Dipo Olowookere

Commercial paper worth N30 billion is being offered for sale to investors by Julius Berger Plc in two series to raise funds for its operations.

Business Post gathered that the exercise commenced on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, and is expected to end on Monday, January 30, 2023.

The company, which is a leading player in the construction industry, is selling the debt instrument across two tenors, 182 days and 267 days.

The discount rate of the 182-day paper is 13.09 per cent, with an implied yield of 14.00 per cent, while the 267-day paper has a discount rate of 13.52 per cent and an implied yield of 16.00 per cent.

To buy the commercial paper of the construction firm, subscribers will have to pay at least N5 million. This can be done through registered brokerage companies.

In the 2021 fiscal year, Julius Berger grew its revenue by 40.13 per cent to N338.8 billion from N241.8 billion in 2020, as its net profit jumped by 574.96 per cent to N8.3 billion from N1.2 billion in the preceding accounting year.

Julius Berger is a leading Nigerian company offering holistic services covering the planning, design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings, infrastructure and industry projects in Nigeria.

Since the execution of its pioneer project in 1965 by Julius Berger Tiefbau AG, a related entity, Julius Berger has played a pivotal role in the development of Nigeria’s industrial and civil infrastructure.

It was incorporated as a private company in 1970 and was later converted to a public company and joined the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited in 1991.

Julius Berger has completed over 600 buildings, 20 industrial facilities and 130 infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

Infrastructure projects carried out by the firm include the construction of roads, bridges, seaports, airports, automobile assembly plants, dams, factories, petrol stations, independent power plants, development of the capital city (Abuja), amongst other projects.

Some of the landmark projects successfully executed by the company were the recent construction of the landmark Second River Niger Bridge aimed at strengthening socio-economic development across the East-West region, the construction of the Second Mainland Bridge (Eko Bridge), the repair of the Onitsha bridge in seven weeks, construction of the 500m long and 25m high Laminga Dam, with spillway system, water-treatment plant and 48km pipeline distribution network, completion of construction work for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, etc. The Company specialises in executing complex works requiring the highest level of technical expertise and Nigeria-specific know-how.

Julius Berger has seven subsidiaries that enable it to complete multifaceted projects at the highest level of performance. This structure allows the organisation to effectively manage and fulfil construction projects, starting from the initial idea through to planning, design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance.

Julius Berger, together with its subsidiaries, is guided by a value system which has, over time, defined and differentiated its business, thereby setting a benchmark in the Nigerian construction industry. Julius Berger offers its industrial clients forward-looking solutions that preserve the high value of assets and guarantee their sustained availability.

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