By Bloomberg Editorial
Africa and the world cannot afford a failing economy in the continent’s most populous nation. Yet that is exactly what Nigeria might be getting: Its economy is on track to shrink by 1.7 percent this year, the official unemployment rate has more than doubled over the last two years, and inflation is at an 11-year high.
One concrete step President Muhammadu Buhari could take to address the crisis would be to eliminate the country’s disastrous foreign exchange controls. Instead, Buhari has made no secret of his desire to defend Nigeria’s currency.
And the central bank has mostly gone along. Despite allowing the devaluation of the naira in June, it is continuing to manipulate the exchange rate — discouraging foreign investors, creating a crippling shortage of dollars for businesses that need to import, and feeding a currency black market. To keep down the street price of vanishing dollars, Buhari’s government has arrested informal money-changers. More capital controls are in the works.
Dismantling Nigeria’s foreign exchange controls will doubtless cause at least a short-term rise in inflation. Yet doing so will not only draw foreign investment and make the economy more productive and competitive, but also cut off a conduit for corruption. Buhari can cushion the blow for Nigeria’s poor through targeted cash payments — an approach Nigeria has used in electronically delivering subsidies to poor farmers. That same mechanism could also shield the poor from the regressive impact of an increase in Nigeria’s value-added tax — which is relatively low but a potentially valuable source of additional government revenue.
There are other ways to stimulate the economy, of course. But Nigeria’s Senate rejected Buhari’s three-year spending blueprint and an ambitious campaign to borrow $30 billion abroad because they lacked details. Meanwhile, his reluctance to sell off state-owned assets has undermined other efforts to raise revenue.
To be sure, Buhari faced ugly circumstances when he took office in May 2015. The plunge in oil prices had left the economy reeling and government coffers bare, and attacks by Boko Haram were ravaging the country. Yet while some progress has been made fighting terrorism and corruption, Buhari’s rigid leadership style has made the country’s economic problems harder to solve.
Buhari’s election and pledges of good governance rightfully raised expectations across Africa. To fulfil those hopes, however, he will have to demonstrate more flexibility.
Access Holdings Merges Sigma, FGPL for Formidable PFA Business
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
To create a formidable pension funds administration (PFA) business in Nigeria, Access Holdings Plc has merged its subsidiary, First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL), with Sigma Pensions Limited.
The marriage between the two PFAs was made possible after Access Holdings acquired an indirect equity stake in Sigma.
Recall that in October, the company announced that it was buying a stake in Sigma to revolutionise the PFA sector.
On Thursday, a court approved the merger between the firm and FGPL, giving room for the organisations to become one and offer innovative products to customers.
A notice signed by the group company secretary of Access Holdings, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, confirmed the development.
“Sequel to our announcement on October 25, 2022, Access Holdings Plc, trading as Access Corporation, today announces the completion of its acquisition of an indirect equity stake in Sigma and the merger of its subsidiary, FGPL, with Sigma.
“Following the sanction of the scheme of merger between Sigma and FGPL by the Federal High Court on December 1, 2022, FGPL has been dissolved without winding up, leaving Sigma as the surviving entity,” a part of the statement dated Friday, December 2, 2022.
“Following the successful completion of the merger, our plan is to leverage the synergies of these entities, as well as the corporation’s expansive distribution network, strong risk management culture and best-in-class governance standards to create a formidable pension funds administration business,” the group chief executive of Access Holdings, Mr Herbert Wigwe, stated.
FrieslandCampina Buoys Unlisted Securities Market by 1.11%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the positive zone on Friday, December 2, as it appreciated by 1.11 per cent at the close of business.
This was driven by a gain in the stock price of FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc. The company appreciated by N5.29 price to close at N66.63 per share versus the previous day’s price of N61.34 per share.
This outweighed the 1 Kobo loss recorded by UBN Property Plc during the session as the price of the property investment company went down to 91 Kobo per unit from the preceding session’s 92 Kobo.
When the market closed for the day, the total value of the unlisted securities market increased by N10.27 billion to N933.71 billion from N923.44 billion.
In the same vein, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) stretched by 7.82 basis points to 710.58 basis points from the 702.76 basis points in the previous session.
During the session, there was a surge in the volume of securities by 140,993.7 per cent as investors exchanged 2.2 million units, in contrast to the previous day’s 14,508 units.
Likewise, the value of shares traded at the session ballooned by 1,526.6 per cent to N10.7 million from the N657,534.75 recorded a day earlier, while the number of deals improved by 400 per cent to 20 deals from four deals.
When the market closed for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc occupied second place with 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, while Lighthouse Financials Services Plc was in third place with 224.7 million units valued at N112.3 million.
Also, CSCS Plc ended the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) by trading 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 29.1 billion units valued at N7.7 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc was in third place after selling 16.8 million units worth N1.9 billion.
Naira Sells N730/$1 in Black Market, N748/$1 at P2P, N445.33/$1 at I&E
By Adedapo Adesanya
Normalcy seems to have returned to the currency market in Nigeria as the Naira further appreciated against the United States Dollar at the various segments of the ecosystem.
In the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market, the Nigerian currency gained 50 Kobo or 0.11 per cent to quote at N445.33/$1, in contrast to Thursday’s rate of N445.83/$1.
It was observed that domestic currency withstood significant FX demand pressure during the trading session as forex traders completed transactions worth $159.02 million compared with the $99.50 million executed a day earlier, indicating a 59.1 per cent or $59.52 million increase in FX turnover.
Also, in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window, the local currency appreciated against the greenback by N14 or 1.8 per cent to trade at N748/$1 compared with the preceding day’s N762/$1.
In the same vein, the value of the Nigerian currency to its American counterpart improved by N10 yesterday to sell for N735/$1 against N745/$1 of the preceding trading session.
However, in the interbank segment, the Naira lost N3.19 against the Euro on Friday as it closed at N464.98/€1 versus Thursday’s exchange rate of N461.79/€1, and against the Pound Sterling, it depreciated by N7.66 to quote at N542.33/£1 compared with the previous day’s N534.67/£1.
Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market rebounded yesterday as investors showed renewed interest in digital assets, causing the value of Dogecoin (DOGE) to rise by 2.6 per cent to $0.1016.
Further, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.8 per cent increase to sell at $0.3189, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.3 per cent to close at $1,289.56, and Solana (SOL) appreciated by 1.4 per cent to trade at $13.65.
In addition, Binance Coin (BNB) grew by 1.1 per cent to settle at $291.72, Litecoin (LTC) appreciated by 1.0 per cent to trade at $77.23, Ripple (XRP) made a 0.9 per cent rise to finish at $0.3924, and Bitcoin (BTC) rose by 0.5 per cent to $17,030.33.
However, the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) closed flat at $1.00 on Friday.
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