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Udemezue Gives CBN Tricks to Tackle Nigeria’s High Inflation

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Orji Udemezue

By Ahmed Rahma

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Flame Academy & Consulting Limited, Mr Orji Chigozie Udemezue, has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to apply contractionary measures to curb inflation in the country.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), inflation in Nigeria rose in December 2020 by 15.75 per cent and for Mr Udemezue, this is very high.

To control this, the economist has told the central bank to reduce government spending by stabilising price, which according to him, is the main duty of central banks across the globe.

Mr Udemezue, while speaking on Channels Business Morning, added that when CBN raises rate, there will be so much rush for money market instruments as banks would not be able to carry out their primary function of lending money to customers because people will not be able to borrow at a higher rate, allowing the apex bank to mop up the excess liquidity in circulation, which will slow down inflation pressure.

“Prices are still going up. Theoretically, we see that inflation today is about 15.75 per cent but actually in the market, most prices have gone more than 50 per cent on the things we buy.

“[The] duty of the central bank is to maintain price stability, that’s everywhere in the world and to do that, looking at the way things are now, we expect that the central bank should be trying to curb inflation by doing what they call monetary policy contraction, trying to apply contractionary measures i.e trying to raise rate. When they raise the rate for example, what will happen is that there is so much rush for money market instruments, banks will not be able to lend out more money and people will not be able to borrow at a higher rate and, therefore, you mopped up the money in circulation and then slow down inflation pressure,” he said.

Commenting on the fact that MPC was confronted with a policy dilemma at the last meeting, he said, “well, it is just the option of sit down dey look, let’s just watch as things go, because the whole essence of monetary policy obviously is to manage the quantity of money in supply in the economy.

“The argument theoretically is that when there is so much money in circulation, there is a lot of money pursuing a few goods, therefore, driving prices up.

“So, the primary duty of central banks all over the world is to maintain monetary stability, ensuring that price increase in the economy does not go at hyper rate i.e. saying inflation like in Nigeria having double-digit and beyond, that’s what damages productivity.

“So, you find that the Central Bank of Nigeria is in a very big dilemma. Ordinarily, if you look at their objective of maintaining price stability, we are losing it.”

Expressing his belief on the measures, he said, “You know, that’s what we should be looking at right now. If they do that, trust me, it is going to be very counterproductive because already, the economy is in deep trouble with COVID-19 and all of that.

“So, at this point, no reasonable central bank will be looking at an increase in rate instead everywhere in the world, we are looking at monetary easing or what they call expansionary monetary policy, whereby rates are brought down to enable the real sense of economy to enable to borrow at a reasonable rate, drive production and be able to reverse as it is now and economy in recession.”

According to him while answering the question of what is driving inflation in Nigeria, the pressure on foreign exchange (FX) is the major cause and the fact that the country depends too much on foreign goods.

“[The] Nigerian economy is a very peculiar economy, many times it tends to work out most established economic theories and even practices.

“Elsewhere in the world, there are no major issues about inflation because domestic demand is at its lowest level, travels are restricted, the COVID-19 lockdown has left people with no jobs.

“Theoretically, people don’t have money to spend.

“Most economy especially western economies, you find that aggregate demand is actually on a decline and, therefore, purchases are not going up as it should be. So, inflation is actually low in those places unlike in Nigeria, the argument is different.

“The factors driving inflation in Nigeria is not demand-pull, it is not about you and I having so much money in our pocket, having greater command for commodities.

“So, what happens here is inflation flows really from FX pressure. We are not self-sustaining and we import practically everything we use. So, the pressure on our FX,  input costs is huge.

“Our local manufacturers have to import there input materials which are now at the all-time rate and then the finished goods we also import that we use in domestic things like the furniture and office equipment are also coming at a much higher rate because of the devaluation and depreciation of our currency.

“What is causing this depreciation? Until we address the issue of continuous depreciation of our currency, inflation can never be dealt with.

‘That is why even at the time when all of us are not demanding much when domestic demand is so low, we still see inflation climbing up the roof particularly food inflation and similar factors.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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Economy

NEM Insurance Seeks Regulatory Approval for Share Reconstruction

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NEM Insurance

By Dipo Olowookere

The board of NEM Insurance Plc is seeking regulatory approval for its proposed share reconstruction, a notice from the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Plc has confirmed.

Ms Lilian Dako, who signed the disclosure on behalf of the Head of Listings Regulation Department at the NGX, said the underwriting firm filed its application through its stockbroker, Apel Asset Limited.

NEM Insurance intends to redenominate the nominal value of its stocks from 50 kobo to N1 and then turn every two shares of 50 kobo into one share of N1.00 each.

At the moment, the total authorised shares of the company stand at 10,400,000,000 units of 50 kobo each but this will change to 5,200,000,000 units of N1.00 after the exercise.

However, the authorized share capital will remain at N5.2 billion both before and after the share reconstruction, according to the statement.

“Following the resolutions passed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of NEM Insurance Plc on June 24, 2021, trading license holders are hereby notified that Nigerian Exchange Limited has received an application from Apel Asset Limited for a proposed share reconstruction of NEM Insurance Plc.

“The share reconstruction involves redenomination of the nominal value of the company’s shares from N0.50 to N1.00, resulting in the consolidation of every 2 shares of N.50 each held in NEM Insurance Plc into one share of N1.00 each.

Analysis of the Company?s share capital, pre and post share reconstruction, is provided in the table below:

Details Pre Share Reconstruction                                      Post Share Reconstruction

Authorized share capital (N)    5,200,000,000                   5,200,000,000

Issued Share Capital (N)          5,016,477,989                    5,016,477,989

Nominal Value per share (N)   0.50                                   1.00

Total Authorized (Units)          10,400,000,000                  5,200,000,000

Total Issued Issues (Units)       10,032,955,535                  5,016,477,989

“Further information regarding the share reconstruction will be communicated in due course,” the notice from the exchange today stated.

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Economy

OPEC Extends Compensation for Nigeria, Others to June 2022

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OPEC Crude

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has extended the compensation period for defaulting countries in the ongoing oil cuts until June 2022.

This was contained in a statement by the group’s Secretariat, which noted that the extension was granted following requests by some of the underperforming countries.

Nigeria is one of the defaulters and the Vienna-based cartel had previously extended the deadline to submit their compensation plans latest by December 17.

The group reiterated the “critical” importance of adhering to full conformity and to the compensation mechanism.

For some of the countries involved in the Declaration of Cooperation, DoC had defaulted at trimming their cut quotas at some point in the agreement.

Reaffirming the decision of the 10th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, ONOMM held on April 12, 2020, and July 18, 2021, the overall monthly production adjustment plan was adjusted by 400,000 barrels per day for the month of January 2022.

The group reaffirmed the continued commitment of participating countries in the DoC to ensure a stable and balanced oil market.

The biggest concerns were whether the emergence of a new variant of the coronavirus might torpedo the budding global economic recovery, and the restiveness of the United States and key Asian customers, including China, over high oil prices.

The 24th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting will be held on January 4, 2022.

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Economy

FarmTime Gets $50,000 to Boost Organic Fertilizer Production

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FarmTime Organic Fertilizer Production

By Dipo Olowookere

An agric-startup based in Tanzania, FarmTime Company Limited, has become the latest beneficiary of a new revenue-linked matching fund designed to incentivize investors to back younger entrepreneurs.

The firm, which was established in 2017 to recycle and repurpose plant and animal waste to produce organic fertilizers, delivering consistent and traceable nutrients at affordable prices, has secured a $50,000 funding support to expand its operations.

FarmTime, a new entrant to the organic fertilizer market in Tanzania, obtained the fresh capital in a round led by Umsizi Fund, which triggered a guaranteed match from the Young Entrepreneurs Fund (YEF).

YEF was launched in 2019 and provides matching investments of up to $50,000 to qualifying entrepreneurs. To date, over $250,000 has been invested across Africa with a growing pipeline of opportunities.

The scheme was designed to incentivise investments into very young entrepreneurs in Africa. It is a “guaranteed follow” fund that will match investments into ventures led by graduates of African Leadership Academy (ALA) programs, including The Anzisha Prize.

Rather than take equity positions, the fund has very intentionally chosen an innovative debt model with variable repayments linked to company revenues.

The founder of the latest beneficiary, FarmTime, Mr Jubilate Lema, disclosed that the new funds would be used to develop solutions to food security that balance human prosperity and the environment at large.

“I hope more funds take the approach of Umsizi and YEF with a revenue-linked debt instrument,” says Lema, “It was easy to understand, doesn’t load our cap table, and forced us to think about cash flow as well as growth.”

Josh Adler, Executive Director of The Anzisha Prize, which manages the fund on behalf of ALA, while commenting, stated that, “YEF is part of a growing move toward more structured exits from investors with a patient capital mandate.

“As a leadership development institution, ALA is able to draw in new forms of support for exceptional young leaders like Jubilate through the fund without having to build investment capabilities internally.”

As for Ed Brakeman from the Umsizi Fund, he said, “This one of the more exciting investments for us in some time with a revenue-linked loan in partnership with YEF.

“We’re eager to support FarmTime’s growth and are confident that we as investors will see returns while ensuring support for the business through the challenging period of product launch and revenue ramp-up.”

Since its inception five years ago, FarmTime has invested in research and product development, licensing and setting up a factory. It has already processed approximately 9,000 kilograms of coconut husks, 2,600 kilograms of fish waste, and 76 kilograms of seaweed, amongst other inputs.

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