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Economy

Nigeria Must Scale up Exports to Solve Forex Crisis—Sanwo-Olu

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has advised the federal government to intensify its efforts to scale up Nigeria’s exports in order to address the scarcity of foreign exchange (forex) in the country.

Speaking on Thursday at the RT 200 Non-Oil Export Summit organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Lagos, Mr Sanwo-Olu said the country has enough resources to take to other nations for FX earnings.

According to him, Nigeria should shift its attention from oil and gas and focus on agricultural produce, solid minerals, chemical products, furniture and clothing as well as tourism among others, noting that a situation in which the energy sector consistently accounts for the bulk of government revenues and forex earnings was not ideal.

At the event themed Setting the Roadmap toward achieving RT200 and non-oil export for development, the Governor emphasised that, “We can do a lot to strengthen the Naira and our external reserves by focusing on our non-oil exports. This diversification also gives us immunity from the severe shock of depending on a limited pool of exports.”

He commended the apex bank for coming up with the $200 billion FX Scheme (RT200), an initiative aimed to generate about $200 billion in FX earnings, specifically from non-oil sources, over the next few years.

“I am aware that, so far, the central bank has approved the payment of billions of Naira to more than 100 exporters who have taken advantage of the scheme and have scaled up their non-oil exports of finished and

semi-finished goods in line with it.

“I have no doubt that this scheme will go from strength to strength, and deliver to an extent beyond the expectations of the Central Bank and the Nigerian economy. I urge exporters to readily take advantage of it. I also urge the central bank to continue to finetune and strengthen this process, while also thinking of new and innovative initiatives that will achieve similar outcomes,” Governor Sanwo-Olu said.

He used the occasion to inform the guests that his administration is making efforts to improve the “state of transportation infrastructure, to enable imports and exports, and generally bring down the cost of doing business.”

“When goods for export get stuck on the roads and can’t make it to the ports, we have a big problem on our hands. There is a big price that the economy pays for these dysfunctions, at all levels – from the small and

large businesses whose goods are being exported to the people in the business of exports, to the users of our roads who have to waste valuable time in traffic because of worsening gridlock.

“It is, therefore, our responsibility, as governments, to ensure that we make the business of exporting (and also importing) as seamless as possible. Nigeria has so much potential to scale up its exports, shifting from over-dependence on oil and gas to agricultural produce, solid minerals, chemical products, furniture, clothing, and so on,” he submitted, stressing that “a country in need of foreign exchange has no business downplaying the importance of exports.”

Economy

NGX Spurs Capital Market Innovation to Attract Investors

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited has disclosed that the NGX Made of Africa Awards will spur the next phase of capital market innovation to attract more investors into the space.

On Tuesday, December 6, 2022, the exchange held the award ceremony in Lagos to recognise innovativeness and compliance with best practices in the Nigerian capital market for the calendar year.

The event spotlighted excellence, creativity and integrity as NGX sought to amplify the activities of its stakeholders to further reinforce the values that attract investors to the market and grow the African economy.

Players in the capital market ranging from issuers, securities dealers, issuing houses, fund managers, trustees, legal firms and stakeholders, including the media and content creators were rewarded for their contributions to the development of the market.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of NGX, Mr Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, explained that the goal of the exchange with the awards is to further catalyse innovation, corporate performance, shareholder return, compliance to rules and regulation in driving investor confidence and aiding regulatory oversight on the market.

“It is essential that we continue to collaborate, encourage and incentivise our partners through initiatives like the NGX Made of Africa Awards. At NGX, relationships, partnerships, collaboration and inclusivity continue to drive our actions in the quest to spotlight The Stock Africa is Made Of,” he said.

On his part, the chief executive of the bourse, Mr Temi Popoola, said the event had been reviewed to reflect the dynamism of the capital market and the transformation it had witnessed so far.

“We are delighted to be extending the reach of these Awards to further highlight our commitment to inclusivity, innovation and integrity whilst highlighting NGX as the platform of choice to raise capital,” he stated.

In his goodwill message, the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, highlighted the importance of the capital market to the economy, calling together all stakeholders to move Nigeria towards a more productive economy and less import-dependent.

He also noted that NGX has continued to stand out as a market infrastructure of choice for public and private sector capital formation.

Also, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, represented by the Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services, Mr Ibrahim Boyi, said that the commission had championed innovative measures that have improved the market, including dematerialisation, direct cash settlement and e-dividend.

“The long-term sustainability in the market requires innovation of which the fundamental outcome was a maximum return on investment, reduction in the cost of doing business and increased production,” he said.

Speaking on the African capital market potentials, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imokuede, the Chairman of Coronation Capital and a former President of the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange pre-demutualisation, said that after a long haul of liquidity in global markets, central banks across the globe are implementing hawkish monetary policies to revive price stability and tame inflationary pressures.

He noted that the capital market in this period of restrained global growth had an important role to play in stimulating economic growth and development through the efficient allocation of resources.

Business Post reports that a few of the awardees were Dangote Cement as Best Issuer in Terms of Number of Fixed Income Listings; Lafarge Africa as Leader in Sustainability Reporting; Pilot Securities Limited as Most Compliant Trading License Holder; Aluko and Oyebode as Best Solicitor in terms of Value of Deals; and Coronation Securities Limited as Best Sponsoring Trading License Holder of the Year. Lagos State won the State with the Largest Sub-national Debt Instrument; MTN Nigeria Communications won the Most Compliant Listed Company; CardinalStone Securities won the Best Trading License Holder Across Asset Classes; BUA Foods was awarded the Listing of the Year; and Capital Markets Correspondent Association (CAMCAN) won Capital Market Reportage.

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Economy

Crude Oil Prices Fall To Lowest Levels in 10 Months

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The prices of the crude oil grades in the market fell to their lowest levels this year on Wednesday, losing all of the gains they had accumulated since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Brent futures fell by $2.18 or 2.8 per cent to trade at $77.17 a barrel, as the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures depreciated by $2.24 to $72.01 per barrel.

Oil surged to nearly $140 a barrel in March, close to an all-time record, following the launch of what Russia tagged a “special operation” in Ukraine a month earlier.

The market has been steadily declining recently as economists brace for weakened worldwide growth in part due to high energy costs.

The situation worsened on Wednesday with bigger-than-expected increases in US fuel inventories despite a drop in crude stocks.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an inventory decline of 5.2 million barrels for the week of December 2 compared with a sizeable draw of 12.6 million barrels estimated for the previous week, which sent prices higher at the time.

A day before the EIA released its report, the American Petroleum Institute estimated another weekly crude inventory draw for the week to December 2 at 6.43 million barrels.

Meanwhile, the EIA also reported an inventory build in fuel and another rise in middle distillate stocks for the week to December 2. Gasoline (petrol) inventories added 5.3 barrels in the week to December 2, with production averaging 9.1 million barrels daily, in contrast to a build of 2.8 million barrels for the previous week and a production rate of 9.4 million barrels daily.

Prices are also slipping further down as traders relax about the potential consequences of the G7 and EU price cap on Russian oil.

It appears they have assumed that it would not affect the availability of oil in any significant way and are selling crude.

Analysts also note that Russian oil is already trading close to the cap, so it shouldn’t make much of a difference in revenues, but it is worth remembering Russia has said it would not sell oil to countries that enforce the price cap, meaning the supply of Russian oil specifically might tighten for some importers.

Russia has also threatened to set a price floor for its oil in response to the G7 price cap, which may further complicate matters.

Support came as China, the world’s biggest crude importer, announced the most sweeping changes to its anti-COVID regime since the pandemic began. The country’s crude oil imports in November rose 12 per cent from a year earlier to their highest in 10 months, data showed.

Still, warnings from big US banks about a likely recession next year weighed on the value of the commodity.

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Economy

Nigerian Stocks Maintain Upward Trajectory Amid Weak Investor Sentiment

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By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited closed higher for the fourth consecutive trading day by 0.12 per cent on Wednesday amid a weak investor sentiment.

At the midweek session, 17 equities shed weight, more than the 12 equities that gained weight. It was observed that traders embarked on profit-taking, but the gains by stocks in the consumer goods sector, especially Nigerian Breweries and Honeywell Flour, left the bourse in the green territory at the close of transactions.

Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) rose by 59.80 points to 48,426.49 points from 48,366.69 points, while the market capitalisation, while the market capitalisation jumped by N33 billion to N26.377 trillion from N26.344 trillion.

Yesterday, the consumer goods counter appreciated by 0.96 per cent, the industrial goods sector closed flat, while the insurance, banking and energy indices depreciated by 0.55 per cent, 0.17 per cent, and 0.08 per cent, respectively.

A total of 146.2 million stocks worth N3.4 billion exchanged hands in 2,810 deals on Wednesday compared with the 184.7 million stocks worth N3.6 billion traded in 3,189 deals on Tuesday, representing a decline in the trading volume, value and number of deals by 20.85 per cent, 5.56 per cent, and 11.88 per cent apiece.

FBN Holdings traded the highest number of stocks during the session, 59.3 million units, followed by Geregu, which sold 14.3 million units. Zenith Bank transacted 12.5 million stocks, Sterling Bank exchanged 7.0 million equities, and UBA traded 6.9 million shares.

The best-performing equity on Wednesday was Thomas Wyatt, which improved its share price by 10.00 per cent to close at 44 Kobo. Japaul gained 7.41 per cent to end at 29 Kobo, Honeywell Flour appreciated by 6.14 per cent to N2.42, May and Baker rose by 5.26 per cent to N4.00, and Nigerian Breweries grew by 4.62 per cent to N38.50.

The worst-performing stock yesterday was SCOA Nigeria, which dropped 9.38 per cent to sell for 87 Kobo. Unity Bank depreciated by 7.02 per cent to 53 Kobo, Cornerstone Insurance fell by 6.25 per cent to 45 Kobo, Courteville shrank by 6.00 per cent to 47 Kobo, and Chams lost 4.35 per cent to trade at 22 Kobo.

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