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State Governments Borrow N900bn from Capital Market—SEC

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debt to revenue ratio

By Ahmed Rahma

The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, has disclosed that the state governments in Nigeria have borrowed not less than N900 billion from the capital market.

Mr Yuguda made this disclosure on Tuesday at a webinar organised by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on ways sub-nationals can raise funds through the sale of state-owned enterprises.

The SEC chief, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner in charge of Legal and Enforcement, Mr Reginald Karawusa, disclosed that this amount was raised from the market through debt issuances since 1978.

Speaking on Privatisation in Nigeria and the Outlook for Subnational Economic Development, the theme for the event organised in partnership with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), the DG said “a significant part of these funds were deployed to finance capital projects across the country.”

“However, the ability of states to continue to borrow in a sustainable manner has been severely impacted in recent times.

“With the huge infrastructure gap, decreased allocation from the federal purse owing to relatively low oil revenue and the depressed level of internally generated revenues, states are barely able to pay salaries after servicing their outstanding loan obligations,” he noted.

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He added that, there is indeed no better time to discuss alternative funding sources at the sub-national level given adverse impacts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The capital market’s primary role in any economy is to facilitate capital formation. By creating a system for allocation of capital, investors are able to price risk efficiently while issuers have the opportunity to raise funds to finance projects. In doing so, issuers may choose to raise equities or debts,” he mentioned.

The DG also stated that the federal and state governments have the capabilities to unlock enormous potentials through privatisation, which he said “is an avenue for governments to unlock economic potentials inherent in government-owned enterprises.”

“The focus on Nigeria’s journey on privatisation has largely been on the Federal Government. There have been several phases of privatisation exercises in the past with an emphasis on enterprises operating in different sectors of the economy including oil and gas, hospitality, mining etc,” Mr Yuguda added.

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He also stated that, “Several enterprises are still owned and controlled by the government, both at the state and federal levels. A number of these entities have the capacities to generate cash flows and corporate profitability.

“However, owing to certain inefficiencies, these entities are underperforming and in some cases subtracting from value. Perhaps this is the time for state governments to revisit the privatisation value proposition. There are several benefits to privatisation.”

Mr Yuguda informed the participants that privatisation has numerous benefits as the proceeds from the sale of government interest in these enterprises would help augment budget shortfalls and can be applied towards funding critical infrastructure.

“Beyond the funds to be generated, governments will enjoy the cost of savings as there would be no further requirements to fund these entities post-privatisation.

“There are further benefits to be enjoyed through the taxes that would be paid in the future by those entities. As they undergo a strategic transformation and become positioned for profitability, these entities are able to create jobs and employ residents of their host states, facilitate infrastructure development and further positively impact the economy in other areas,” he concluded.

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The CEO of the NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema, in his address, said privatisation occupies a critical position in economic globalisation and provides an avenue for raising the bar towards economic development.

“Given COVID-19, there is no better time to re-visit privatisation and cascade this to the subnational levels,” he added.

Also speaking, the Chairman of NGF, Mr Kayode Fayemi, said the state governments have been constrained to increase spending in a bid to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

According to him, “containment is fairly in place but more needs to be done to ensure progress is not lost and that is where privatisation comes in.

“If the private sector takes over in critical sectors, state governments can focus on education and health among others”.

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Economy

Stanbic IBTC Enlightens Investors on Available Safe Investment Options

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Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Safe Investment Options

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

Following the strokes of economic uncertainties from the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanbic IBTC Asset Management, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, recently organised a webinar to proffer guidance on investing in uncertain times.

The webinar via Instagram was themed Investing in Uncertain Times and experts at the Stanbic IBTC enlightened the investing public about the available transparent and safe investment options.

Some of the in-house were Ms Fadekemi Obasanya, Head Investment Management and Ekene Nwaokoro, Fund Analyst.

In her presentation, Ms Obasanya emphasised the importance of gaining needful knowledge from investment professionals about the best investment options per time.

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She also pointed out the various investment options offered by Stanbic IBTC which both current and prospective investors can take advantage of, leveraging on the well-informed financial guidelines provided by the organisation.

She said some of the investment options include Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund, Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund, Stanbic IBTC Enhanced Fixed Income Fund, Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund, among many others under the mutual funds.

Ms Obasanya further stated that many people become victims of fake investment platforms due to misinformation and indiscipline, urging investors to do due diligence before parting with their funds.

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“A lot of people fell prey to fake investment platforms in the previous year. It is wise to stay disciplined and informed about credible investment outlets to avoid losing money, as the main objective of the investment is to generate regular income and capital appreciation.

“People need to be mindful of the type of investment they put their money in. This is why we designed a tool called ‘InvestBeta’ for intending investors to identify their risk appetite, which simply means the amount of risk they are willing and able to take, as well as the available investment options that can help them achieve their investment objective.

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“There are also well-experienced financial advisors on standby to help investors decide on the most suitable options for them,” she said.

Also discussed at the session was the advantage of investing in the Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund, a dollar-denominated mutual fund, which was a response to how investors can hedge against Naira devaluation.

Individuals were educated on the fundamentals of investing and viable investment options, especially amid an unstable economic terrain.

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Economy

Capital Importation into Nigeria Falls to $875.6m in Q2 2021

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Nigeria has recorded a quarter-on-quarter decline of 54.06 per cent in the total value of capital importation into the country in the second quarter of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed.

In a report released by the agency, it was disclosed that the FX inflows from April to June 2021 stood at $875.6 million in contrast to $1.9 billion recorded in the first quarter of this year.

On a year-on-year basis, the capital importation went down by 32.38 per cent as the inflows in the same period of last year was $1.3 billion.

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Business Post observed that the decline in the period under review was because of lower inflows from foreign direct investments (FDIs), foreign portfolio investments (FPIs) and other investments.

However, in the report, the stats office said the largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 62.97 per cent ($551.4 million) of total capital importation, followed by other investment, which accounted for 28.13 per cent ($246.3 million) of total capital imported, with FDIs accounting for 8.90 per cent ($78.0 million) of total capital imported in Q2 2021.

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By sector, capital importation by banking dominated in Q2 2021, reaching $296.5 million of the total capital

importation in Q2 2021, followed by financing with $205.9 million and shares with $194.6 million.

By source of the capital investment, the United Kingdom was on top with $310.3 million, accounting for 35.43 per cent of the total capital inflow in Q2 2021.

It was trailed by South Africa with $212.4 million and the United States with $83.4 million and by destination, Lagos State emerged as the top destination of capital investment in Nigeria in Q2 2021 with $780.1 million, contributing 89.09 per cent to the total capital inflow in Q2 2021 and by bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc emerged at the top of capital investment in Nigeria in Q2 2021 with $310.2 million, accounting for 35.43 per cent of the total capital inflow in Q2 2021.

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Standard Chartered Bank followed by attracting $282.4 million, while Citi Bank attracted $94.2 million in the second quarter of this year.

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Economy

PenCom Drags 120 Firms to Court for Pension Act Violation

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has disclosed that it was in court with about 120 companies that have refused to comply with the dictates of the 2014 Pension Reform Act (PRA).

The Director, Corporate Communications of the commission, Mr Peter Aghahowa, stated this in Lagos at the 2021 PenCom workshop for journalists in Lagos.

According to him, the organisation was working assiduously to ensure all pension laws as they affect various policies are totally complied with.

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He noted that compliance varies according to the sector, adding that recovery agents have been engaged to ensure that funds that ought to be remitted to PenCom are not diverted under any guise.

“For the private sector, we engaged recovery agents. By the PRA, any company with more than three workers must key into the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

“So, the recovery agents have been empowered. Once they check the books of companies, they will determine their liabilities.

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“We have the employee and employer portion remittances. For those not remitting at all, there is a penalty.

“We have 120 cases in court and these are organisations we tried to work with and they were just recalcitrant.

“Going to court is the last resort because the goal is for the money to the RSAs. We always try to engage.

“In states, they have to enact and implement the CPS. We work with them in coming up with a bill and setting up a pension bureau.

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“Most states have not implemented this well. In enforcing compliance here, you should tread softly. Accrued rights have been paid up”, he said.

The agency has, therefore, called for compliance on contributory pension remittances by employers across the country.

On her part, the PenCom DG, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, disclosed that the commission has deepened technological innovation as it seeks to navigate through the challenges imposed by the pandemic.

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