By Dipo Olowookere
Ahead of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which kicks off tomorrow, analysts at Lagos-based FSDH Research have said the apex bank may not tamper with the monetary policy rate (MPR) until its January 2019 meeting.
Though the company noted that rising demand for foreign exchange leading to a consistent decline in the foreign reserves, and rising inflation rate were major justifications for an increase in policy rates, it maintained that the CBN may continue to use the conduct of Open Market Operations (OMO) to manage the temporary liquidity in the financial system that may affect price stability.
Business Post recalls that at its meeting in September 2018, the MPC maintained the MPR at 14 percent, with the asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR; the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 22.50 percent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30 percent.
According to FSDH, a review of the global economy shows that global growth remains fairly strong, but trade restrictions may reduce global growth. This is according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which projects a global growth rate of 3.7 percent for 2018 and 2019.
The growth rate forecast is slightly lower than the growth rate projections the IMF released in July 2018. Although FSDH Research notes that despite the recent drop in the price of crude oil on the international market, the moderately strong global growth should sustain global crude oil prices around $70/b in the short-term.
FSDH Research says it expects the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the US Federal Reserve to raise the Federal Funds Rate (Fed Rate) by 0.25 percent when the committee meets in December 2018.
The October 2018 US unemployment rate at 3.7 percent (lower than the target of 6.5 percent), inflation rate of 2.5 percent (higher than the target of 2 percent) and the growth of 3.5 percent in the economy all support arguments for an interest rate increase.
The investment firm said an increase in the Fed Rate may further place additional demand pressure on foreign exchange in Nigeria and possibly increase capital flight from emerging markets. Thus, a rate cut in Nigeria is not appropriate under these situations.
It said the short-term forecast for the Nigerian economy shows that economic growth remains fragile. The IMF forecasts growth rates of 1.9 percent and 2.3 percent in 2018 and 2019 respectively. These growth rates are lower than the Nigerian population growth rate. Thus, the economy needs policy stimulus to record a growth rate that is inclusive. Nevertheless, monetary policy easing in the form of an interest rate cut may not stimulate growth. Appropriate fiscal measures and incentives that will improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria will lay strong foundation for sustainable growth.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey published by the CBN for the month of October 2018 expanded at a faster rate. FSDH Research attributes the expansion in the PMI to the increased economic activities that are usually associated with the last quarter of the year.
FSDH Research said it observed a consistent drawdown in the external reserves in order to maintain foreign exchange rate stability in Nigeria.
The CBN increased the supply of foreign exchange at the Investors’ and Exporters’ Foreign Exchange Window and increased the yield at the OMO to dowse demand pressure at the foreign exchange market.
Consequently, the drawdowns from the external reserves continued until November 2018. CBN remained the largest supplier of foreign exchange at the I & E window in the last three months.
FSDH Research noted that an attractive Nigerian Treasury Bill (NTB) yield around the current level of 16 percent may help to attract foreign portfolio investment and reduce capital flight.
Nevertheless, there is a need for deliberate fiscal measures and engagements that will promote non-oil exports that attract foreign investment into Nigeria and will guarantee foreign exchange stability.
The inflation rate increased to 11.28 percent in September 2018, the second increase since January 2017, principally due to the increase in the Food Index.
FSDH Research says it expects inflation rate to increase marginally to 11.34 percent in October and to end the year 2018 at 11.7 percent.
It said an increase in food prices, electioneering spending, and a possible increase in the minimum wage, are potential factors that will influence the direction of the inflation rate in the next three months.
Despite the expected rise in the inflation rate, it will be difficult for a hike in the interest rate to stem the rising inflation rate, as the cause of the rising inflation rate is not within the scope of monetary policy.
According to FSDH, the MPC may deal with the possible negative impact of an increase in the minimum wage at its January 2019 meeting. Thus a hold decision may be appropriate.
Data from the CBN shows that the key monetary aggregates in the country are below the target the CBN sets for the country. This development supports an argument for an expansionary policy to boost credit creation.
However, the current structural rigidities in the economy do not support strong credit growth. Therefore, unconventional policies are required to boost credit creation and business expansion to stimulate growth.
Measures that remove the risks inherent in the economy will encourage credit expansion and this will support sustainable growth.
FG Pledges Single-Digit Loans for Small Businesses
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has pledged to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with single-digit loans so as to boost their businesses.
This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Maryam Katagum, on Friday when members of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) visited her in Abuja.
According to her, there is a lot of commendation at the recent retreat President Muhammadu Buhari had with the ministers for the MSMEs.
“In his closing speech, Mr President specifically said that every support will be given to ensure that MSMEs have access to credits.
“That is what we always preach and we will give every support to the MSMEs as the engine of economic growth to have access to credits at single digits,” Mrs Katagum said.
The Minister, who pointed out the critical role MSMEs play in growing the economy, said this role was further heightened during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Even the woman selling groundnut or `akara’ couldn’t come out to practice her passion. Everybody felt the effect of the lockdown.
“We have to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for interventions that were provided for MSMEs during the lockdown.
“And once it was identified to put in some mechanism to stop the economy from going under, our ministry is one of the ministries asked to make submissions to see how to keep the economy going and ensure free flow of goods and services across the country.
“Our proposal was very easily accepted and the sum of N75 billion was allocated and we made a lot of progress.
“Average Nigerians appreciated the efforts and we have seen them giving their testimonies and right now we are on the last track which is the guaranteed off-take scheme,” the Minister said.
She appealed to the association to identify innovative ways that the Federal Government can assist MSMEs.
“As partners, your association has to start thinking of new innovative ways that we can assist MSMEs, it’s not just the finance.
“So, when you give them the money, they don’t know what to do with the money so you need to intensify the capacity building and sharing of information to know what is happening and where,” she said.
On his part, the President and Chairman of the governing council of NASME, Mr Abdulrashid Yerima, expressed the association’s commitment to deepening the relationship with the ministry.
Mr Yerima appreciated the ministry for including NASME in various committees set up by the government to support the development of MSMEs in Nigeria.
He, however, sought the appointment of members of the association to the boards of parastatals under the ministry and solicited the ministry’s support for inputs into human capital development for the association.
“Our association serving in the board of revenant agencies under the ministry will help us to make informed inputs into the policies of the agencies that impact MSME growth and development in Nigeria.
“Also support for capital development for our association is crucial for the development of skills and manpower to upscale MSMEs especially NASME,” Mr Yerima said.
IGR: Osinbajo Expresses Worry Over Governors’ ‘Laziness’
By Adedapo Adesanya
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo seems to be worried about the inability of state governors to be innovative in boosting their respective Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The number 2 man, speaking at the maiden edition of Ekiti State’s investment forum in Ado-Ekiti, has, therefore, tasked them to think out of the box and act like a sovereign state so as to make them challenge countries of the world.
“Thinking differently, there is a need for a sub-national to think like a sovereign state. You have a bigger GDP (gross domestic product) and even more revenues than many nations.
“There is a different mindset when you are sure of a monthly allocation of cash at least enough to pay salaries, whether you generate income or not. This is the challenge. The so-called Dutch disease, one becomes complacent,” he said.
“But what if you had to take responsibility for all those who reside within your borders, pay all salaries, from internally generated revenue?” he queried.
Drawing a parallel, he said that Lagos State improved its IGR from N600 million monthly in 1999/2000 to about N45 billion today, adding that the illegal seizure of the allocations to the state by the then federal government was the shock that forced the state to rethink.
Speaking further, Mr Osinbajo noted that although a state within a federation is not a nation, it must behave like one, to further boost its economic development.
“The economy of the sub-national is a peculiar animal. The state within the federation is not a nation, but it must behave like one, it derives some resources from the federal pool, and generates some income, the overall sum will provide infrastructure and services to the community.
“The size of the sum and the quantum of opportunity available to provide livelihoods for the populace will depend on how the state enables local and external investors, small and large to put their resources into business and commercial activity business in the State.
“The funded portion of the state’s budget is after all a mere fraction of the sum total of economic activity or income-generating activity, formal or informal within the state. So, the attractiveness of a state to commerce is a radical issue,” Mr Osinbajo said.
He asserted that “the very lives and livelihoods of the people within the borders of the State, whether the people will live prosperous and happy lives, be educated, have access to affordable medical care, depends on it.”
He then encouraged them to key into the benefit from a private-sector led economy, noting that the model is the right way to go, as the business is the standpoint of the private sector, while governments should as much as possible facilitate, or at best, collaborate.
NGX Group Finally Lists 1.964 billion Shares, Trades at N17.75
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A total of 1,964,115,918 shares, representing the issued share capital of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc, were successfully listed on the trading platform of NGX Limited on Friday, October 15, 2021.
Business Post reports that the stocks were listed on the exchange today by introduction at a unit price of N17.75, higher than the N14.68 per unit it last traded on the NASD Securities Exchange on Friday, October 8, 2021, it the shares used to be traded.
This newspaper gathered that at the exchange today, investors traded about 3.6 million units of the company’s equities worth N63.2 million in 31 deals and closed flat at N17.75.
It was listed on the main board of the NGX having satisfied the listing requirements of the exchange and obtained relevant regulatory approvals.
The company is on the bourse in the financial services and capital market infrastructure sector, with the ticker NGXGROUP.
The top members of staff of the company were honoured today with the closing gong ceremony and the Chairman, Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, in his speech, stated that, “Today’s listing of NGX Group on NGX is another milestone attained pursuant to the group’s 2018 – 2021 corporate strategy.
“Our shareholder base has more than doubled since our demutualisation in March 2021 and our valued shareholders will benefit from the enhanced liquidity that listing on the exchange will facilitate.
“This listing will also enable a much wider universe of potential investors and market participants to share in our growth journey.
“As a board, we embrace the letter and spirit of the listing requirements and we are committed to transparent disclosure, proactive stakeholder engagement and exemplary corporate governance.”
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NGX Group, Mr Oscar Onyema, disclosed that, “Today’s listing of NGX Group on the nation’s premier exchange will enable institutional investors globally as well as the Nigerian public to invest in Nigerian Exchange Group Plc.
“With strengthening market dynamics, serving the largest economy in Africa, NGX Group’s listing allows us to expand in key capital market infrastructure verticals and look beyond Nigeria’s borders, as we deliver on our growth plans to become Africa’s leading capital market infrastructure group.”
As for the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, he described the listing as a milestone, expressing his excitement about the development.
“We congratulate the board and management first on a successful demutualisation and on its subsequent listing. This move is particularly exciting, as it will position NGX Group to provide liquidity to members while stimulating the capital market ecosystem to grow at the same pace as the economy.
“Today, we reiterate our commitment to being a trusted partner to NGX Group and other listed companies as we continue to build a platform that allows our listed companies, investors and other stakeholders to maximise value in our market,” he said.
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