Nigeria Won’t Default on Chinese Loans—DMO Assures
By Dipo Olowookere
Nigerians have been urged not to panic over the loans obtained by federal government from China recently, saying there is no risk of default on any loan.
This assurance was given by the Debt Management Office (DMO) in a statement issued yesterday to allay fears that the Chinese lenders could take over assets of the country if it fails to repay the loans.
The debt office said claims of potential seizure of national assets by Chinese lenders in some African countries have not been validated.
According to the DMO, based on need, and subject to the receipt of requisite approvals, government can raise capital from several domestic and external sources to finance capital projects, in order to promote economic growth and development, as well as, job creation.
It said regarding external borrowing, federal government accesses capital from several sources; multilaterals, such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank, as well as, bilateral loans from various countries such as France (through the Agence Francaise de Development AFD), Germany (KfW), Japan (Japan International Cooperation Agency – JICA), India (India Development Bank) and China (China Export-Import Bank–EXIM).
The debt office noted that these loans from multilateral and bilateral lenders are typically used to finance specific capital projects across the country.
It disclosed further that the international capital market is another source of capital and that one of the reasons why Nigeria would raise capital from multilateral and bilateral sources is because they are concessional which means that they are cheaper in terms of costs, and more convenient to service because they are usually of long tenors with grace periods.
“Prudent management of the public debt implies that, the government should avail itself of the opportunity to access concessional loans which deliver twin benefits of being more cost efficient and supporting infrastructural development.
“Loans from concessional lenders have limits in terms of the amounts that they can provide to each country.
“This makes it necessary for Nigeria to have several sources for accessing concessional capital to increase the total amount available and also, to avoid undue dependence on only a few sources of concessional funds.
“Borrowing from China Exim is one of such means of ensuring that Nigeria has access to more long term concessional loans. Given the country’s infrastructure deficit, which needs to be urgently addressed, the loans from China Exim, which provide financing for critical infrastructure in road and rail transport, aviation, water, agriculture and power at concessional terms, are appropriate for Nigeria’s financing needs and align properly with the country’s debt management strategy,” the statement said.
“The public should be assured that Nigeria’s public debt is being managed under statutory provisions and international best practice, and there is no risk of default on any loan, including the Chinese loans.
“Thus, the possibility of a takeover of assets by a lender does not exist. For the avoidance of doubt, the government’s borrowing in the domestic and external markets, including Chinese loans are all backed by the full faith and credit of the government, rather than a pledge of the government’s assets.
“Finally, borrowing from China should not be seen from a negative perspective as they are being used to finance Nigeria’s infrastructural development at concessional terms.
“Moreover, China Exim loans are only one of the sources of multilateral and bilateral loans accessed by Nigeria and represented only about 8.5 percent of Nigeria’s external debt as at June 30, 2018.
“Nigeria’s public debt remains sustainable and there is also no risk of default because of Nigeria’s sound debt management practices,” the agency stated.
NGX Index Contracts by 0.03% on Renewed Selling Pressure
By Dipo Olowookere
Selling pressure on large and mid-cap stocks like GTCO, Lafarge Africa, FBN Holdings, Flour Mills and others weakened the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited by 0.03 per cent on Wednesday.
The renewed profit-taking came a day after the local stock market rebounded, as investors embarked on cautious trading, monitoring happenings in the macroeconomic environment.
This left the sectorial performance index mixed at the close of transactions in the midweek session, with the banking space losing 0.25 per cent, the industrial goods index shedding 0.02 per cent, and the consumer goods counter depreciating by 0.01 per cent.
However, the insurance sector appreciated yesterday by 3.61 per cent, while the energy space went up by 0.42 per cent.
The All-Share Index (ASI) could not withstand the pressure and lost 14.22 points to the bears to close at 56,024.52 points, in contrast to Tuesday’s 56,038.85 points.
In the same vein, the market capitalisation of the NGX depleted by N8 billion to settle at N30.506 trillion compared with the preceding day’s N30.514 trillion.
NPF Microfinance Bank was the most actively traded stock yesterday for exchanging 100.8 million units valued at N181.4 million, GTCO traded 43.0 million units worth N1.2 billion, Japaul transacted 27.8 million units worth N11.5 million, Fidelity Bank sold 24.3 million units valued at N140.9 million, and Access Holdings traded 23.0 million units for N293.0 million.
In all, investors bought and sold 397.6 million shares worth N6.5 billion in 5,613 deals on Wednesday compared with the 322.5 million shares worth N5.8 billion transacted in 6,165 deals on Tuesday, representing a decline in the number of deals by 8.95 per cent, an increase in the trading volume and value by 23.29 per cent and 12.07 per cent, respectively.
Union Bank topped the losers’ chart after dropping 4.20 per cent to trade at N7.20, Flour Mills also shed 4.20 per cent to close at N33.10, NGX Group declined by 3.11 per cent to N28.00, Prestige Assurance went down by 2.44 per cent to 40 Kobo, and Courteville slumped by 2.08 per cent to 47 Kobo.
On the flip side, Honeywell Flour gained 9.87 per cent to settle at N3.45, Eterna improved by 9.87 per cent to N12.25, FTN Cocoa rose by 9.86 per cent to 78 Kobo, Cornerstone Insurance expanded by 9.78 per cent to N1.01, and Coronation Insurance grew by 9.52 per cent to 46 Kobo.
Subsidy Removal: CNG at N130 Per Litre Cheaper Than Petrol—IPMAN
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has advised Nigerians to begin to look into the direction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative energy source to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.
The National President of IPMAN, Mr Chinedu Okorokwo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, as the federal government continues its dialogue with the organised labour over the hike in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.
On May 29, 2023, during his inaugural speech, President Bola Tinubu said the payment of subsidy for fuel had ended because there was no provision for it in the 2023 budget beyond June 30.
His announcement triggered the hoarding of fuel by marketers, and when the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited increased the price of the product across its retail outlets, prices of food, transportation and services went up, forcing the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to threaten a nationwide strike, which was supposed to start today but was stopped by the National Industrial Court.
At a meeting on Monday night between the government and the labour unions, it was agreed that the adoption of CNG as an alternative fuel would be the best option, and it was agreed that the CNG conversion programme earlier planned in 2021 should be revived.
CNG, which is a gas mainly composed of methane and produces less emission, is the cleanest burning fuel operating today with less vehicle maintenance and longer engine life.
In the interview with NAN, Mr Okoronkwo said bringing CNG, which was cheaper than even firewood, as an alternative energy, would create relief for the government and its citizens.
“We have also discovered that bringing an alternative that is cheaper than even firewood which is CNG, will not only create relief for the government and its citizens but it is environmentally friendly.
“The CNG is abundantly available in Nigeria than anywhere in Africa.
“In the Niger Delta region, you see billions of tonnes of gas flare being wasted daily, these are huge amounts that should be accruing to our GDP, but we are wasting it because there is no market for it.
“So, we are asking the government to create the market. How do you create the market?
“What Egypt and India did was to give soft loans to be paid back within stipulated periods; from there, you can get vehicles to use gas instead of fuel,” he said.
“There’s a franchise for the bottling of CNG so that an average woman in the kitchen can use it,’’ he added, noting that the introduction of CNG would cushion the effect occasioned by the high price of fuel currently as a litre of CNG would not cost more than N130.
He advised that repairing the local refineries as well would reduce the impact of the removal as it would eliminate the cost of importation and exportation.
Nigeria Upgrades Tax-to-GDP Ratio to 10.86% From 6%
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed that Nigeria’s tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has been upwardly reviewed to 10.86 per cent from the 6 per cent earlier reported to reflect better data sources and improved estimation using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) manual.
The OECD manual is an improvement over the System of National Accounts (SNA 2008) classification of taxes.
Although the System of National Accounts conceptual framework and its definitions of the various sectors of the economy are reflected in the OECD’s classification of taxes, the OECD classifications provide the maximum disaggregation of statistical data on what is generally regarded as taxes by tax administrations.
In a disclosure, the statistics office said the country’s total tax revenue compared with its GDP was at that level in 2021, higher than 8.40 per cent in 2020, which was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the previous year, the ratio was 10.20 per cent, marginally lower than the 10.36 per cent recorded in 2018 but higher than the 9.02 per cent in 2017.
The NBS said the revised computation considered more comprehensive coverage of data at the federal, state, and local government levels and revenue items not previously included in the computations, particularly relevant revenue collected by other government agencies.
The review of the tax-to-GDP ratio was initiated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the NBS for better measurement of the ratio.
The data used were sourced from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), FIRS, NBS, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Joint Tax Board (JTB), and other relevant agencies of government that collect revenue.
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