The Challenges Facing Nigeria’s Economy
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is threatening to push Nigeria’s economy backwards, just a few years after the country successfully emerged from a damaging recession. The warning signs are flashing again as increased borrowing, a weakening currency and rising unemployment loom ominously.
As government and financial institutions struggle to remedy the situation, there is a growing demand for foreign exchange, forcing banks to ration outflow, while the hoped-for rally in oil prices has not materialised. Over-dependence on oil, policy inconsistency, insecurity and a persistent level of corruption have all had a dampening effect on the nation’s finances.
But Nigeria remains a nation with tremendous resources and potential, and there are reasons to be optimistic about the future, with a number of avenues to explore that could offer increasing prosperity and a way to guide the country to a firmer financial footing.
Promise of Agriculture
Agriculture remains a strength for Nigeria and it has the potential to help revive the economy. There are a number of plans in place, such as the Kano Agro Pastoral Project, that can help to galvanise this important part of the Nigerian economy. Nigeria is blessed with huge reserves of arable land and a significant farming population, offering a potential solution not just to economic downturn but also to the equally important issues of food poverty and food security.
There are promising signs that cooperation between agricultural specialists, state and national governments is starting to take effect, and by focusing on developing targeted crop value chains while improving the rural infrastructure, Nigeria’s farmers can be empowered to boost the economy.
Importance of Diversification
Nigeria has enormous human potential and economic ingenuity. The inventiveness of the Nigerian entrepreneur is on display across many sectors.
Take the thriving and growing mobile technology sector. Evidence suggests that mobile penetration increased from 36% to 50% between 2014 and 2017. That trend has continued with one estimate by Business Monitor International putting the likely number of mobile subscribers at 182 million by 2021, up from 153 million in 2017. Demand for mobile services has been driven both by technological advances and the dynamic marketing practices of Nigerian mobile companies.
This proliferation of mobile usage is also helping to drive the success of some of the top online casinos in Nigeria. The online casino sector, boosted by the ever-widening availability of mobile technology, is expanding rapidly, particularly among the increasingly affluent young Nigerian middle class.
Innovative local gaming companies are striking deals with major online casino content providers, as well as with international payment providers and digital support companies, enabling them to offer an ever more cutting-edge casino gaming experience.
The rise of the online casino and mobile sectors demonstrates Nigeria’s entrepreneurial potential. But fully unleashing that potential may first require tackling the country’s over-reliance on oil revenue. This has become a problem, but Nigeria has the opportunity to lead the way in designing the new green economy of the 2020s.
The government has already launched Africa’s first sovereign green bonds and has taken steps to extricate the country from oil dependency, starting with a cut in oil subsidies.
Money diverted from the oil industry can be directed into the renewables sector, while the Nigerian Ecological Fund has the potential to tackle some of the serious ecological problems facing the nation – a clean-up that can also boost the economy. The Ministry of Works, in conjunction with the wider government, can help to lead the way by bringing about green reforms in the Nigerian construction industry, while tackling the serious housing shortage in the country.
Rise of technology
Technology is another way in which Nigeria can help to steer its economic ship to safer waters. Although it can be difficult to focus on the future in times of economic difficulty, there is enormous untapped potential in Nigeria when it comes to technological change, not least among the country’s business sector. A strong push to adopt new methods, such as remote work, e-commerce and artificial intelligence, much of which has been given a boost by the pandemic, could reap dividends.
There is a huge potential demand for improved IT infrastructure, from collaboration tools that enable workers to operate effectively as a team while working at home, to teaching solutions that can enable teachers to deliver lessons remotely. And beyond that, the promises of cloud computing and smart homes offer Nigeria the opportunity to be bold and take the lead in African technology.
Technology can also have a role to play in helping the Nigerian finance sector to contribute to the national economy. The pandemic has shown that more can be done in terms of automation and technical solutions to financing problems, while at the same time, the sector can do more to reach out to all sectors of society. The Nigerian finance industry is full of talent and the desire for innovation, and if unleashed, can play a major role in the nation’s recovery.
Like many other nations around the world, Nigeria has taken a hit due to COVID-19 and there are specific long-term problems that the country still needs to face. But the nation remains one of the most significant countries in the world and a powerhouse in Africa, and with sufficient guidance and investment, the potential of Nigerian farmers, business people, administrators, bankers and scientists can be harnessed to help build a more prosperous future.
Your Investments Safe in Lagos—Sanwo-Olu Assures Investors
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured investors to bring their funds to Lagos State as their investments would be safeguarded.
The Governor gave this assurance on Friday at a one-day economic summit organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bankers Committee and the Vanguard Newspapers in Lagos.
He said his administration has a big vision for the state, imploring local and foreign investors to quickly key into the agenda, which will expand to the southern part of the country.
According to him, efforts are being made daily to improve infrastructure, encourage innovation, agriculture as well as improve on the digital economy through smart city initiatives.
“Compared to other African countries, Lagos occupies a leading position in the country and across the continent. To seize these opportunities, and achieve our vision to become Africa’s economic capital, we are working on Lagos Vision 2050, which presents an opportunity to build upon the ongoing work and define a journey towards the megacity Lagos aspires to become over the next 30 years.
“We will also encourage other Southern states to do the same so as to align our regional aspiration to forge cooperation. Working together, Lagos and other Southern states can collaborate to build symbiotic partnerships beneficial to one another.
“Lagos is excited to share best practices across Southern states while continuing to collaborate with public and private partners to bring benefits to the state and to the region.
“When we achieve our big ambitions, Lagos will grow as well as Southern Nigeria and the entire country,” Mr Sanwo-Olu stated.
He noted that with Vision 2050 in mind, investments focus across key areas should be on human capital, infrastructure, public system and services, innovation and knowledge, as well as environmental sustainability.
“We will take a structural approach to Vision 2050; we will also share best practices with others,” he said, adding that security and good governance, which is the last pillar of his administration’s THEMES agenda, has enjoyed considerable attention because of its critical role in stimulating development in the state.
Business Rebalancing, Promotional Discipline Drive Jumia’s Q4 Growth
By Dipo Olowookere
The decision of the management of Jumia to cut its costs and rebalance its business mix has paid off and the financial results of the company in the fourth quarter of 2020 are the visible evidence to show for it.
In the period, the leading e-commerce platform lowered its fulfilment, sales & advertising and general & administrative expenses (excluding share-based compensation) by 18 per cent, 34 per cent and 36 per cent respectively and as a result, its adjusted EBITDA loss contracted by 47 per cent year-on-year to €28.3 million.
This is making the journey of Jumia towards profitability looking bright as in Q4 2020, it reported a gross profit of €27.9 million, translating to a year-over-year increase of 12 per cent, while the gross profit after fulfilment expense reached a record of €8.4 million.
In the results released on Wednesday, the company, which has been described as Africa’s Amazon, however, said it had an operating loss of €40.0 million in Q4 2020.
But the total payment volume on JumiaPay reached €59.3 million, increasing by 30 per cent year-over-year, while the on-platform TPV penetration increased from 15.6 per cent of GMV in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 25.7 per cent of GMV in the fourth quarter of 2020.
In addition, JumiaPay transactions increased by 10 per cent from 2.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 2.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Overall, the report showed that 33.1 per cent of orders placed on the Jumia platform in the fourth quarter of 2020 were paid for using JumiaPay.
Furthermore, Jumia’s annual active consumers reached 6.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 12 per cent year-over-year with continued growth in both new and returning customers.
This cascaded to increased sales on the platform, as Jumia’s 2020 Black Friday sales records surpassed that of the previous year. The platform recorded 1.5 billion page views, up 34 per cent when compared to 2019, while video content registered almost 100 million views, 3 times higher compared to the 2019 event.
The financial results showed that more than 41,500 sellers participated in the 2020 event, with the top 20 sellers registering 141 per cent growth in items sold in the 2020 Black Fridays compared to the same period in 2019.
“While 2020 has been a challenging year operationally with COVID-19 related supply and logistics disruption, it has been a transformative one for our economic model, as we firmly put the business on track towards breakeven.
“We continued to make significant strides towards profitability during the fourth quarter of 2020. Gross profit after fulfilment expense reached a record €8.4 million during the quarter.
“In parallel, efficiencies across the full cost structure allowed us to decrease fulfilment, sales & advertising and general & administrative expenses (excluding share-based compensation) by 18 per cent, 34 per cent and 36 per cent respectively, year-over-year.
“As a result, adjusted EBITDA loss contracted by 47 per cent year-over-year, reaching €28.3 million. In addition, we raised approximately €203 million in a primary offering in December 2020,” commented Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec, co-CEOs of Jumia.
The brand also recorded impressive figures on platform monetization as the Jumia Logistic service, which was opened to third parties in 2020, shipped almost half a million packages on behalf of more than 270 clients.
According to the report, Jumia is also making meaningful progress in the reduction of the overall rate of cancellations, failed deliveries and returns (CFDR).
“The CFDR rate as a percentage of GMV improved from 30 per cent in 2019 to 25 per cent in 2020. The CFDR rate as a percentage of orders improved from 22 per cent in 2019 to 16 per cent in 2020.
“The CFDR rate is typically lower when expressed as a percentage of orders than GMV as higher average item value orders tend to show higher CFDR rates.
“As a result of the significant improvement in CFDR ratios, the year-over-year trajectory of GMV and orders after CFDR compares favourably versus pre-CFDR.
“GMV was down 19 per cent in 2020 while GMV after CFDR was down 12 per cent and orders increased by 5 per cent while orders after CFDR increased by 14 per cent over the same period,” a statement from the firm said.
Ardova, Dangote Sugar Hint Payment of Dividend for FY20
By Dipo Olowookere
The boards of Ardova Plc and Dangote Sugar Plc have hinted that shareholders of their respective companies will receive dividends for 2020 full-year.
For Ardova, its board held a meeting on Thursday, February 25 and it was agreed that dividend should be paid but the exact amount was not disclosed in a notice filed to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) the next day.
“Pursuant to the post-listing requirements of the Nigerian Stock Exchange for quoted companies, Ardova Plc is pleased to inform the exchange and the investing public that the meeting of the board of directors of the company held as scheduled on Thursday, February 25, 2021.
“The board considered and approved the audited financial statements of the company for the year ended December 31, 2020.
“The board also recommended the declaration of dividends subject to the approval of shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held in due course.
“Consequently, the closed period remains in force until 24 hours after the filing of the financial statements.
“No insider of the company, including its directors, employees, advisers and consultants and their connected persons may deal directly or indirectly in the shares of the company during the closed period,” the energy firm said.
For Dangote Sugar, its board sat on Wednesday to discuss the results of the company and in the process, recommended the payment of dividend.
While updating the market of its decision, the board said, “Dangote Sugar is pleased to inform the NSE and the investing public that the meeting of the board of directors of the company held as scheduled (on) Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
“The directors considered and approved the audited financial statements of the company for the year ended December 31, 2020.
“It also recommended the declaration of dividends subject to the approval of shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting to be held in due course.
“No insider of the company, including its directors, employees, advisers and consultants and their connected persons may deal directly or indirectly in the shares of the company during the closed period.”
Mobil (11 Plc) to List Shares on NASD OTC Exchange After NSE Exit
By Dipo Olowookere
Shares of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria) would be listed on the trading platform of the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Exchange after being delisted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the company has confirmed.
The energy company is planning to leave the exchange after decades and one of the reasons is because of the tough listing requirements of the NSE.
At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the firm held on October 14, 2020, the shareholders had approved the delisting of the organisation from the exchange.
But for those who opposed the action, they were offered N213.90 per share, being the highest price the company’s stocks have traded six months before the notice of the AGM, where the decision to leave the NSE was approved by investors.
Some days ago, the management of Mobil issued a statement to explain the reason for the action, but in some sections of the media (Business Post not included), it was reported that the delisting was to make the firm private and evict the minority investors.
Mobil has again released another statement to refute this, emphasising that after delisting from the NSE, its equities would still be tradable on the NASD.
“The delisting of 11 Plc’s shares from the NSE is not meant to make the company private. It is only a cessation of trading of the company’s shares on the NSE platform. Hence, there is no forceful acquisition of shares from minority shareholders.
“The company’s shares will be listed on the NASD OTC, thus still making its shares tradable. Shareholders will have a choice of selling their shares now at the price indicated by the company or at the NSE platform price before the delisting cut-off date or to sell on the NASD platform after delisting or to hold on to their shares and continue to receive their dividend.
“The company could choose to return to the NSE platform sometime in the future. The minority shareholders have nothing to fear or worry about in connection with the delisting,” a part of the new statement explained.
The statement further said, “Since the delisting is not intended to make the company private, and there was no dissent at the AGM in which the special resolution was passed, the unit price for the delisting was not in issue.
“It is pertinent to note that a the time of the AGM, the share price of 11 Plc shares was N186.90 but the delisting price was put at N213.90 being the highest price the stock has traded in the six months preceding the AGM. The fact that the price got higher than now cannot override the resolution.
“In any case, shareholders who want to sell but do not want to sell at the proposed price can also sell at the NSE platform before the delisting date.
“Minority shareholders are not bound to sell all their shares but may decide to keep their shares (which will still be freely tradable on the NASD OTC platform) in view of the company’s track record and dividend payouts.”
Court Flings Oando Suit Against SEC
By Dipo Olowookere
A suit filed by Oando Plc against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been thrown out by Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The judge, while delivering a judgement on the matter on Thursday, said her court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit and directed the company to file its case before the Investment Securities Tribunal (IST), which she said was the appropriate court to hear the matter.
Oando had gone to the court to argue that its fundamental rights were trampled upon by the apex regulatory agency in the Nigerian capital market.
SEC had on May 31, 2019, directed a few members on the board of Oando to resign following the outcome of its investigations into allegations of ‘serious infractions by the company.’
The affected board members were Group Chief Executive, Mr Adewale Tinubu; the Deputy Group Chief Executive, Mr Omamofe Boyo; and the Group Chief Financial Officer, Mr Olufemi Adeyemo.
Oando, which was of the opinion that these alleged infractions and penalties meted out by the regulator were unsubstantiated, ultra vires, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company, challenged the decisions in court.
But the court said the matter should be heard by IST and again, Oando is of the view that the judgement was misconceived and as such has appealed the decision on the grounds that the powers conferred by the Constitution of Nigeria on its citizens to enforce their fundamental rights supersede the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act 2007.
As a result, the energy firm has filed applications for stay of execution as well as an injunction pending appeal in respect of the judgement of Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo in relation to SEC’s May 31, 2019, letter to Oando.
In view of this, Oando believes SEC is restrained from acting on its findings and carrying out any of the sanctions specified in its May 31, 2019, letter as the status quo that existed before Thursday’s ruling remains unchanged and its current management team remains in place.
Wema Bank, Champion Breweries Weaken Stock Market by 0.74%
By Dipo Olowookere
Another loss was recorded at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday as a sell-off in financial, consumer goods and industrial goods equities weakened the market by 0.74 per cent.
As a result, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased by 295.60 points to 39,799.89 points from 40,095.49 points, while the market capitalisation reduced by N154 billion to N20.824 trillion from N20.978 trillion.
Business Post reports that the insurance sector depreciated yesterday by 2.32 per cent, the banking index lost 0.48 per cent, the consumer goods space fell by 0.40 per cent, while the industrial goods counter depreciated by 0.19 per cent, with the energy sector rising by 0.25 per cent.
It was observed that the investor sentiment, which is measured by the market breadth, was negative at the last trading session of the week due to the 24 declining stocks and 17 advancing equities.
Wema Bank and Champion Breweries depreciated by 10 per cent each on Friday to settle at 63 kobo per share and N2.52 per unit respectively.
Sunu Assurances depleted by 9.59 per cent to 66 kobo per share, Africa Prudential lost 5.74 per cent to N5.75 per unit, Axa Mansard Insurance dropped 5.36 per cent to settle at N1.06 per share.
After recording losses for a few days after its share reconstruction, Lasaco Assurance gained 9.82 per cent yesterday to top the risers chart, closing at N1.23 per share.
Mutual Benefits appreciated by 8.11 per cent to 40 kobo per unit, Courtville grew by 5.00 per cent to 21 kobo per share, Oando improved by 2.99 per cent to N3.45 per unit, while NAHCO gained 2.70 per cent to settle at N2.28 per share.
Wema Bank witnessed a significant trading volume on Friday, emerging as the most traded stock after it sold 304.5 million shares worth N197.3 million.
FBN Holdings exchanged 30.8 million shares for N226.1 million, Zenith Bank traded 26.6 million stocks valued at N677.4 million, Transcorp transacted 22.9 million equities worth N20.7 million, while United Capital exchanged 17.2 million stocks for N104.6 million.
At the close of transactions, the trading volume rose by 55.58 per cent to 507.3 million from 326.0 million, while the trading value reduced by 34.22 per cent to N2.4 billion from N3.7 billion, with the number of deals declining by 2.23 per cent to 4,465 deals from 4,567 deals.
Latest News on Business Post
- Your Investments Safe in Lagos—Sanwo-Olu Assures Investors February 27, 2021
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- Ardova, Dangote Sugar Hint Payment of Dividend for FY20 February 27, 2021
- Mobil (11 Plc) to List Shares on NASD OTC Exchange After NSE Exit February 27, 2021
- Court Flings Oando Suit Against SEC February 27, 2021
- Wema Bank, Champion Breweries Weaken Stock Market by 0.74% February 27, 2021
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