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Nigeria Must Widen Tax Base, Diversify Economy—UBS Report

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Nigeria Must Widen Tax Base, Diversify Economy—UBS Report

By Dipo Olowookere

Federal Government has been advised to widen its tax base and broaden its activities away from oil if it must continue to grow its economy.

Also, according to the latest report by UBS Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office, the liberalization of Naira exchange rates will be crucial in attracting foreign investment.

UBS, which today launched Africa: Cradle of Diversity, a new report on the continent’s economic prospects and challenges, highlights that of the 64 nations the IMF projects to have average real GDP growth of more than 4 percent in the next five years, more than half are in Africa.

It said as Africa’s largest country both in terms of GDP and population, Nigeria offers enormous potential for the nation’s domestic market.

The UN expects Nigeria’s population to reach up to 1 billion people by 2100, offering unusual potential for growth. At the same time, population growth presents a significant challenge in terms of job creation for new labour market entrants and the nation’s geographic limitations, considering Nigeria’s territory is approximately the size of Texas.

In addition, UBS CIO research shows that indicators relating to governance and ease of doing business are clearly weaker than for peers, thus underpinning the need for reforms as foreseen in Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

Decisive factors outlined in the report include efforts to broaden the country’s tax base and to diversify its economy. Nigeria’s revenue base heavily relies on oil-related activities, which exposes the nation’s fiscal balance to energy price shocks and volatility risks.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter and while commodity exports remain a major growth driver in many African countries, their importance is slowly declining as domestic demand plays an expanding role in sustaining growth.

Some of the continent’s fastest growing economies are concentrated in non-resource-rich countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Kenya and Ethiopia, which are expected to grow between 6 percent and 8 percent in the next few years.

The report points out that the manufacturing industry is probably one of the most overlooked sectors in Africa, despite the continent’s potential to become the world’s next low-cost manufacturing hub and a leading global player in resource-intensive manufacturing.

Competitive labour costs, abundance of raw materials, convenient transit locations for export and large markets for local consumption position many African countries well to replace Asian competitors as attractive locations to produce goods and draw manufacturing foreign direct investment.

In the short term, further progress toward the liberalization of the Nigerian currency’s exchange rate will have a decisive impact on the inflow of such investment.

Ali Janoudi, Head of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, France and Belgium International at UBS Wealth Management, said: “We see tremendous potential for Nigeria’s economy, which is Africa’s largest, but in order to achieve its potential, current reform programs must be implemented and in some instances, accelerated. The current climate of higher energy prices and relative domestic stability indicate now is the right time to act.”

Michael Bolliger, Head of Emerging Market Asset Allocation at UBS Wealth Management’s CIO, said: “In the near term, oil will remain an important source of income for Nigeria. However, the impressive growth rates of non-resource-rich countries in Africa clearly indicate that development beyond oil is the way forward.”

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

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Economy

NGX Upgrades Price Stock Group of Eterna

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price stock group of Eterna

By Dipo Olowookere

The price stock group of Eterna Plc has been moved upward by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Business Post reports.

In a regulatory notice on Monday, the bourse noted that it upgraded the stock category of the energy company from a low-price stock group to a medium-price stock group.

This action, according to the exchange, was necessitated after the stability in the price of the company’s equities within four of the last six months in the new price category, in line with its price methodology framework.

“Equity securities of quoted companies on the exchange (NGX) are classified into three stock price groups or categories; high-priced, medium-priced, and low-priced stocks, based on their market price.

“In this regard, securities must have traded for at least four out of the most recent six-month period within a stock price group’s specified price band to be classified into the category.

“Accordingly, a review of Eternal Plc stock price and trade activities over the most recent six-month period provides the basis for reclassifying the security from the low-priced stock group to the medium-priced stock group.

“This reclassification also necessitates the attendant change in the tick size change from N0.01 kobo to N0.05 kobo, in line with Rule 15.29: Pricing Methodology, Rulebook of the exchange, 2015 (trading license holders’ rules),” the statement from the platform stated.

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Economy

Unlisted Securities Investors Gain N18.29bn in Five Days

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unlisted securities investors

By Dipo Olowookere

It was another positive week for unlisted securities investors in Nigeria as they smiled home with N18.29 billion last week on the floor of the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Securities Exchange.

This was buoyed by the 1.98 per cent week-on-week growth recorded by the alternative bourse in the country during the five-day trading week, which had five stocks closing on the gainers’ chart, with none on the opposite table.

Data harvested by Business Post indicated that FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria appreciated by 10.44 per cent to settle at N69.00 per unit. UBN Property Gain 7.14 per cent to trade at 75 Kobo per share, Niger Delta Exploration and Production improved by 6.95 per cent to N200.00 per unit, Geo-Fluids rose by 6.12 per cent to N1.04 per share, and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) increased by 3.85 per cent to N13.50 per unit.

In the week, the volume of trades declined by 35.51 per cent to 24.5 million units from 62.6 million units, the number of deals went down by 12.82 per cent to 66 deals from the preceding week’s 71 deals, while the value of transactions increased by 122.48 per cent to N96.6 million from N87.6 million.

The most active security for the week by volume was Geo-Fluids, with the sale of 20.0 million units, followed by UBN Property with 3.4 million units. FrieslandCampina traded 581,021 units, CSCS transacted 375,512 units, and VFD Group exchanged 111,104 units.

However, the most active equity by value for the week was FrieslandCampina, with a sale of N38.5 million. VFD Group recorded N27.2 million, Geo-Fluids traded N20.7 million, CSCS transacted 5.1 million, and UBN Property traded N2.6 million.

Data showed that the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) increased in the week by 13.92 points to 717.15 points from 703.23 points, as the market capitalisation grew by N18.29 billion to N942.35 billion from N924.06 billion.

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Economy

Nigeria’s External Reserves Shed 0.14% to $37.020bn

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Nigeria's external reserves

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

In one week, Nigeria’s external reserves depreciated by a marginal 0.14 per cent to $37.020 billion from $37.070 billion in the preceding week.

Data obtained by Business Post from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed that the balance in the coffers was as of Thursday, February 2, 2023.

The FX balance in the country’s purse was supposed to expand during this period when prices of crude oil were relatively stable, but this has not been the case because of low production.

Nigeria relies heavily on the sale of crude oil to earn forex, which is currently scarce in the country, putting the Naira under pressure.

The federal government has blamed low crude oil output on the theft of the commodity and has promised to make efforts to address the issue.

Recall that in August 2022, Nigeria’s crude oil production plunged below one million barrels per day (972,394 bpd), the lowest ever in several years.

However, according to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the output improved by 171,000 barrels per day in November to 1.186mbpd, though about 700,000 barrels per day less than its quota for the month.

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the federal government plans to improve the country’s crude oil production to 1.6 million barrels per day by the first quarter of 2023.

It is believed that this would boost the FX earnings of the nation and bolster the reserves and the local currency in the foreign exchange market.

Last week, the Nigerian Naira depreciated against the United States Dollar on a week-on-week basis by 25 Kobo or 0.05 per cent to N461.50/$1 compared with the preceding week’s N461.75/$1.

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