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Ogun State Now Investors’ Destination of Choice—Buhari

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Investors' Destination of Choice

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has been described as the “performing Governor of Nigeria’s Gateway State” who is a worthy example of “promises made, promises kept.”

Mr Abiodun got these accolades on Thursday when President Muhammadu Buhari visited the state to commission some projects completed by the Governor.

“You (Prince Abiodun) have justified the mandate of the people of Ogun State. You have represented our party very well,” the President said to his host, who was full of joy.

According to Mr Buhari, the projects put in place by the Governor have made “Ogun State one of the safest and most peaceful states in the country and investors’ destination of choice.”

He said the lofty projects: the Gateway City Gate; the 42-kilometre Sagamu Interchange-Abeokuta Road; the 14km Ijebu-Ode-Epe Expressway and two Housing Estates for low, medium and high-income earners at Kobape and Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, respectively, could not have materialised without the state government’s huge investment and commitment to the security of lives and property.

The President used the occasion to assure Nigerians that two major federal roads under construction, the Sagamu-Benin Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, would be commissioned before the end of 2022.

He expressed delight that the 14km Ijebu Ode-Mojoda-Epe Road commissioned by him has been reconstructed into a modern expressway by the state government, noting that the impressive road would complement the Sagamu-Benin Expressway that the federal government is currently reconstructing; also due for commissioning this year.

“Just across the road is the 42-kilometre Sagamu-Interchange-Abeokuta Road which the state government has reconstructed and equipped with street lights.

“That road enjoys a direct linkage with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that the federal government is rebuilding and due for completion later this year.

“I am particularly impressed by the quality and standard of your road projects, and the creative way you have deployed resources to reconstruct and rehabilitate them.

“It is significant to note that the two road projects being commissioned today are federal roads. This is an example of constructive engagement, cooperation and collaboration between the states and federal government.

“These roads also fit well into our rail transportation masterplan that connects Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital to Kano, with Ogun State having more rail stations, along the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor,” he said.

On the housing programme of the Ogun Governor, the President commended its inclusiveness, saying it is equally heart-warming that it cuts across different social strata, capturing the low, medium and high-income earners.

Admiring the Gateway City Gate Project, the Nigerian leader said “it is not just a park beautification project. It depicts that something new is happening in Ogun State, a welcoming entrance into the state capital at the centre point of the state.”

He added that the project is also an ICON depicting the joining of hands for building the future of Ogun State in togetherness.

“Your Excellency, well done! I am proud of what you have done for your State and your people.

“You have made our great Party, the APC, proud too. You are a worthy example of promises made, promises kept.

“These lofty projects could not have materialised without your huge investment and commitment to the security of lives and property,” he further stated.

Responding to requests by the state governor to give priority to the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and the Sango Otta-Idiroko Roads respectively, the President assured the people of Ogun State that these roads will receive federal government attention.

The President announced that the federal government would consider extending tax credit as a funding option for the reconstruction of these roads, as done for the 100km Sagamu Interchange-Papalanto-Ilaro Road.

Similarly, the President promised to consider the approval of the reconstruction of Sagamu-Ogijo Road by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited under the tax credit scheme.

The President thanked the residents of the State for the warm reception accorded him and his entourage in the Gateway State, which is his first visit to any state in the New Year.

“This welcome by the large crowd brings back the nostalgia of my first arrival on this soil as a young infantry officer in the Nigerian Army at the then Lafenwa Barracks in Abeokuta, not long after independence.

“The traditional hospitality of the people of this State has not waned a bit. Today, I am Omowale and very happy at this homecoming to meet my brothers and sisters whose goodwill I have always enjoyed. Thank you,” he said.

The President also congratulated the people of Ogun State for having such a focused, deliberate and inclusive administration under the watch of Mr Abiodun, urging them to continue to support the governor for the successful implementation of the Building our Future Together agenda of his administration.

“The reward for success is more hard work to meet the increasing expectations of the people.

“When state governments deliver impactful projects, in consultations with stakeholders, as we have witnessed in Ogun State, the trajectory of our national development will be enhanced,” Mr Buhari said.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

Agusto Forecasts Nigeria’s Pension Assets to Grow to N14.8trn Amid Headwinds

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Nigeria's pension assets

By Adedapo Adesanya

Global research firm, Agusto & Co, has forecast that Nigeria’s pension assets will reach N14.8 trillion by the end of 2022.

This is as unpaid pension obligations by some employers, enrolees’ apathy toward the transfer of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), and the ability of industry operators to protect the value of pension funds in the face of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly a weakening exchange rate and soaring inflation, are at the heart of the industry’s current problems.

Agusto noted that in the last decade, the 628 per cent surge in the size of pension fund assets to N14.27 trillion is indicative of the industry’s growth and evolution following legislative support provided by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 and the amendment in 2014.

However, the rising rates of emigration and unemployment in the last five years have slowed down the growth rate in pension contributions. If individuals who fall within these groups, who are eligible to access a 25 per cent lump sum of their pension assets, exercise the withdrawal option, it could cause the growth of assets under management (AuM) to stagnate.

The 3 per cent decline in the industry’s annual contribution remitted to the RSAs in 2021 underlines this growing threat and National Pension Commission (PenCom) approval to use 25 per cent of the amount of a pension contributor’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to pay for an equity contribution for a mortgage may lead to a decline in pension AuM in the medium term.

The research firm noted that low yield in investible outlets amid a 17-year high headline inflation rate of 20.52 per cent will lead to a contraction in the real value of AuM over time and implies that pension fund contributors could be worse off in retirement.

It was noted that this would renew interest in diversifying investments into foreign-denominated securities to improve returns and preserve value but warned that the prohibition on PFAs from acquiring foreign currencies directly through official channels might hinder this.

However, Agusto & Co. expects the pension sector to remain robust, given the industry’s strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the need to align the Nigerian pension scheme more closely with international standards in the near term.

Agusto & Co. also estimates that growth in pension assets will slow from a five-year average of 19 per cent to around 10 per cent in 2022 due to a combination of a muted interest rate environment and a slowdown in the rate of contributions which has been impacted by mass emigration and high unemployment.

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Economy

NASD OTC Down as FrieslandCampina Loses 3.85%

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya

FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc dragged the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange down by 0.6 per cent on Tuesday, October 4, after its share price fell by N3.00 or 3.85 per cent to N75.00 per unit from N78.00 per unit.

It was the resumption of trading activities on the NASD OTC exchange yesterday after the public holiday declared on Monday to mark Nigeria’s 62nd year of independence.

The loss posted by the leading diary company in Nigeria reduced the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) by 4.45 points yesterday to 731.34 points from 735.79 points.

Equally, the market capitalisation of the bourse diminished by N5.85 billion to wrap the day at N962.75 billion compared with the preceding session’s N968.60 billion.

Yesterday, the unlisted securities market finished without a price gainer.

It was observed that the volume of transactions depreciated on Tuesday by 72.2 per cent as investors only traded a total of 29,331 units of shares in contrast to the 105,440 units of shares transacted last Friday.

However, the value of the stocks bought and sold by investors jumped by 37.6 per cent to N2.2 million from the previous session’s N1.6 million, while the number of deals executed by traders went down by 33.3 per cent as only four deals were carried out yesterday compared with the six deals completed in the previous session.

When the market ended for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc was in second place with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, and Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units valued at N313.4 million.

In the same vein, CSCS Plc finished the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, and FrieslandCampina closed in place for trading 14.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion.

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Economy

Naira Closes Flat Against Dollar After Independence Break

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strong dollar demand Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The first trading session after the Independence Day break at the various windows of the foreign exchange (forex) market was stable in Nigeria as the Nigerian currency traded flat against the United States Dollar on Tuesday, except for the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment, where it appreciated.

In the market window, the Naira was exchanged to the Dollar at N749/$1 compared with the preceding session’s exchange rate of N752/$1, indicating that it was strengthened by N3.

However, the local currency remained unchanged against the greenback at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the currency market yesterday at N437.03/$1.

In the same vein, the domestic currency traded flat against the American currency on Tuesday at N740/$1.

In addition, the Nigerian currency closed flat against the Pound Sterling at the interbank segment of the market at N469.88/£1 and also remained unchanged against the Euro in the same market window yesterday at N420.75/€1.

Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, Dogecoin jumped over 7 per cent after news broke that Mr Elon Musk, an advocate of the asset, may finally purchase Twitter on the deal’s original terms after months of drama.

Mr Musk’s attorneys sent a letter to Twitter, proposing to buy the social media company for his original offer price of $54.20 per share. Within minutes of the news breaking, DOGE shot up 7.6 to $0.0649.

Also, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 4.5 per cent jump to trade at $0.4761, Solana (SOL) recorded a 2.8 per cent rise to sell at $34.04, Bitcoin (BTC) gained 2.7 per cent to quote at $20,136.08, and Binance Coin (BNB) added 2.4 per cent to sell for $294.46.

Further, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.6 per cent to $1,351.80, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.0 per cent rise to trade at $0.4322, and Litecoin (LTC) climbed up by 0.9 per cent to sell at $54.81, while Binance USD and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00 each at the close of business.

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