No nation that consumes above its production capacity can ever have a strong, reliable and dependable economy with a corresponding strong currency.

Nigeria is an abject consumer nation in the midst of plenty, practicing a lazy consumer federalism that gravitates around a broke father Christmas presidency and where states governed by disingenuous, squander-manic and mostly intellectually barren Governors hold sway.

I love the clamor for resource control and fiscal federalism in Nigeria because it would open the doors to access to opportunities for prosperity for citizens if administered with transparency and accountability, but looking at the history of some of those who are championing it, I get agitated and deeply troubled that they are in it to advance a cause for themselves and their selfish interests against the overall good of the people with them as drivers if awarded without strict control mechanisms that would make it impossible for anybody or group of persons to abuse for personal gains.

Some of Nigeria’s economic policies are unfortunately repressive for Nigerians with creative ingenuity but favorable to new colonizing forces led by China coming into Africa to poison Africans with their fake products for massive profits and so, are in need of urgent rethink for the immediate good of this generation and the long term good of the country and her future generations unless we have agreed to be slaves in perpetuity in our land especially with the way we choose our leadership.

Every vote we sell to a leadership misfit without the passion, compassion and the patriotic zeal to serve Nigeria has an ominous implication on her future and the future of her people, no matter how much it satisfies our immediate need without looking at the big picture”.

 

Mr. Itohoimo Udosen                         

Political/Public Affairs analyst This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Figures made available by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, have shown that the country’s foreign exchange reserve has hit a six months high at $44.14 billion as at Thursday.

The external reserves have gained over $1.8bn since February 28, when it dropped to its 2019 low of $42.296bn.

The reserves had risen slightly from $43.116bn on December 31, 2018, to $43.174bn on January 31, 2019, only to fall to $42.296bn at the end of last month.

It would be recalled that the external reserves rose to a high of $47.865bn on May 10, 2018. It however plunged to $41.523bn on November 22 from $44.305bn on September 28.

This is coming just as the United States’ President, Donald Trump’s tweet cussed another price upset in the crude oil market.

Trump had on Thursday, called for the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to boost oil production to lower the price of the commodity.

“[it is] very important that OPEC increase the flow of oil. World markets are fragile; price of oil getting too high. Thank you!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

Immediately after the tweet, the US crude oil futures fell by more than $1 to $58.33 a barrel and Brent futures were down by more than $1 to a session low of $66.76 per barrel, News reported.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has revealed that a total of N5.5 billion was recorded as foreign outflows from the stock market for the month of February.

This was contained in its latest foreign portfolio investment report published on its website on Friday.

It stated that the figure increased by 97.8 per cent from N27.81bn in January 2019 while foreign inflows increased by 91.24 per cent from N22.97bn to N43.93bn between January and February.

Total foreign transactions also increased by 48 per cent from N66.85bn in January to N98.94bn in February.

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc on Wednesday announced its audited results for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2018 on the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.
 
The company in the result released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) posted profit before tax of N215.6 billion against N197.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017, an increase of 9.1 per cent.
 
Gross earnings for the period under grew by 3.7 per cent to ₦434.7 billion from ₦419.2 billion reported increase 2017.
 
Its customers’ deposits increased by 10.3 per cent to ₦2.27 trillion from ₦2.06 trillion in the comparative period of 2017.
 
Also, loan book dipped by 12.9 per cent from ₦1.45 trillion recorded as at December 2017 to ₦1.26 trillion in December 2018.
 
The result showed that the bank closed the 2018 financial year with total assets of ₦3.29 trillion and shareholders’ funds of ₦575.6 billion.
 
An analysis of the bank’s asset quality showed that non-performing loans and cost of risk improved to 7.3 per cent and 0.3 per cent during the review period from 7.7 per cent and 0.8 per cent in December 2017, respectively.
 
The bank is proposing final dividend of ₦2.45 per share in addition to interim dividend of 30k per share, bringing the total dividend for 2018 financial year to ₦2.75k per share.
 
Commenting on the result, Mr Segun Agbaje, the bank’s Managing Director, said that the result represented the fundamental strength of its brand.
 
“In 2018, our focus on staying nimble, strengthening customers’ relationships and driving our digital-first strategy paid off.
 
“We successfully navigated the pressures of our challenging and radically changing business environment, recorded growth across key financial indices and reaffirmed our position as one of the best performing and well managed financial institutions in Africa.
 
“This result reflects, not just the fundamental strength of our brand, but also commitment to our values of excellence, creating value for all stakeholders and putting our customers first in everything that we do.
 
“Driven by these values, we are building the bank of the future by pairing the best of our business with the massive potential of digital technologies to create Africa’s first integrated and trusted platform,” Agbaje said.
 

The nation’s bourse on Wednesday reversed the three consecutive days positive trend with the market capitalisation dropping by N20 billion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the market capitalisation shed N20 billion or 0.17 per cent to close at N11.978 trillion against N11.998 trillion posted on Tuesday.

The All-Share Index lost 51.92 points or 0. 16 per cent to close at 32,121.74 compared with 32,173.66 achieved on Tuesday.

Breakdown of the price movement table shows that Dangote Cement recorded the highest gain to lead the gainers’ table, appreciating by 50k to close at N196.50 per share.

Guaranty Trust Bank followed with a gain of 35k to close at N37.95, while Access Bank increased by 10k to close at N6.10 per share.

United Capital added 5k to close at N3.30, while FBNHoldings also gained 5k to close at N8.15 per share.

Conversely, Seplat topped the losers’ table with a loss N22.10 to close at N596.90 per share.

Cement Company of Northern Nigeria trailed with N1 to close at N19, while GlaxosmithKline dipped 40k to close at N11.50 per share.

Ecobank dropped 30k to close at N13.70, while Etranzact shed 29k to close at N2.64 per share.

Zenith Bank dominated trading activities, accounting for 45.37 million shares worth N1.11 billion.

Guaranty Trust Bank followed with an exchange of 23.08 million shares valued at N872.94 million, while Fidelity Bank Plc traded 20.17 million shares worth N46.46 million.

Access Bank sold 15.61 million shares valued at N94.18 million, while Transcorp traded 13.86 million shares worth N17.54 million.

In all, the volume of shares traded closed lower by 47.96 per cent as investors bought and sold 208.60 million shares valued at N2.78 billion in 3,246 deals.

This was in contrast with 400.87 million shares worth N3.46 billion exchanged in 3,885 deals.

The Nigerias capital market on Monday closed in the positive as Bank stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, rallied to reverse some of the losses recorded in the last trading day in February.
 
Though it emerged the biggest loser on Thursday, after declining 4.56 percent, the banking sector came tops on Monday, rising by 2.66 percent.
 
This performance of the sector is attributable to the major gains recorded by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.
 
The All Share Index gained 0.95 per cent, increasing from 31,827.24 basis points on Friday to 32,129.94bps on Monday, while the year-to-date return improved to 2.2 per cent.
 
Market capitalization of stocks listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange increased from N11.869 trillion on Friday to N11.982 trillion on Monday, as investors gained N112.9 billion.
 
Activity level, however, weakened as 228.484 million shares valued at N2.615bn exchanged hands in 3,544 deals, compared to the 341.954 million shares valued at N3.752bn that exchanged hands in 4,513 deals on Friday.
 
Top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank Plc (33 million units), United Bank for Africa Plc (31.1 million units) and Zenith Bank Plc (28.9 million units) while the top traded stocks by value were Zenith Bank (N703.1m), Dangote Cement Plc (N510.8m) and GTB (N391.0m).
 
Performance across sectors was majorly positive as three sectors closed on a positive note.
The banking sector saw buying interest in GTB and Zenith Bank stocks, while consumer goods sector was the second highest gainer, up by 0.43 per cent on the back of major gains recorded in International Breweries Plc.
 
Also, the industrial goods sector increased by 0.31 per cent, prodded by gains in Dangote Flour Mills Plc, Dangote Cement, Lafarge Africa Plc and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc.
However, the insurance sector emerged the biggest loser for the day as a result of losses recorded in NEM Insurance Plc and Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc, while the oil and gas sector remain unchanged.
 
Investor sentiment, as measured by the market breadth (advance/decline ratio), stood at 0.3x as 25 firms gained against the 10 losers that emerged.
 
Mcnichols Plc, Cutix Plc, NPF Microfinance Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc and Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, were the top five gainers as their respective share prices gained 9.80 per cent, 9.76 per cent, 9.72 per cent, 9.09 per cent and 8.70 per cent.
 
The losers were led by PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, Livestock Feeds Plc, Chi Plc, Law Union and Rock and United Capital Plc, with their share prices declining by 9.67 per cent, 8.96 per cent, 7.14 per cent, 5.45 per cent and 2.99 per cent, respectively.
 
The Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria (FIRS) has disclosed that a total of N12.62 trillion was generated as revenue from  2016 to 2018.
 
This was revealed in a document made available to newsmen by the Head of Communications and Servicom Department of the agency, Wahab Gbadamosi.
 
N3.3 trillion was generated in 2016, N4.02 trillion in 2017 and N5.32 trillion was realised in 2018, making it the highest revenue generated in the last three years.
 
The document stated that this was made possible as a result of several initiatives designed by the agency to ensure a robust tax administration that is beneficial to all stakeholders.
 
It explained that non-oil tax revenue increased to N2.149 trillion in 2016, N2.5 trillion in 2017 and N2.852 trillion in 2018.
 
The document quoted the Executive Chairman of the agency, Babatunde Fowler saying the achievement was a reflection of the diversification of the Nigerian economy by the Federal Government.
 
“This does not mean that we have left behind the oil tax revenues. It grew from N1.15 trillion in 2016 to N1.52 trillion in 2017 and N2.52trillion in 2018. Non-oil tax revenue is still over in excess of the oil tax revenue.
 
“We also do collect four per cent in terms of cost of collection but only for non-oil revenue collected. On oil revenue collection, we do not get any commission and we have been able to make sure that our services are more efficient and convenient to taxpayers.
 
“This has brought about a considerable reduction in the cost of collection of actual taxes.
 
“In 2016, it was 2.6 per cent, 2017, 2.49 per cent and 2018, 2.14 per cent, meaning that our actual cost of collection is heading downwards based on the efficiency and technology that we are deploying to tax collection.
 
“Some of the ICT initiatives that we have continued to build on are the e-payment channels which make it convenient and easy to pay taxes anywhere in the world and to also download receipts of payment from any point one so desires,” he said.
 
The Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIAN) has said that the volume of fraud in Nigerian banks increased to N25 billion in the last five years.
 
This was disclosed by the Protem President of the institute, Dr. Victoria Enape in Abuja on Friday at the opening of intensive training for forensic and investigative auditors.
 
She noted that the training had become necessary going by the global acknowledgment of corruption in most government and financial institution and its (corruption) rejection by the United Nation, World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
 
“Government at all levels are losing billions of Naira every day and most of these criminal cases bordering on fraud, corruption and cyber-crimes are partly because there are no forensic and investigative auditors in Nigeria to prevent fraud from taking place.
 
“The place of training of forensic and investigative auditors cannot be overemphasised because the whole world has embraced this current trend years ago which has assisted them in the fight against fraud.
 
“Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors is an anti-fraud organisation, saddled with the responsibility of providing skills to relevant professionals on the use of science and technology to prevent, detect and investigate fraud of all kinds.
 
“The Institute also has mechanism to block illicit financial flows in the country; it therefore becomes indispensable in Nigeria if Nigerians and the future generation must experience peace and economic development,” Enape said.
 
Enape noted that scandalous collapses, financial loses, loss of employment, investment and investors, loss of earnings and means of livelihood are some of the consequential social dislocations and risks of corruption and fraud.
 
According to her, fraud and corruption weakened the institutional capacity of governments and organisations as well as impedes trade and investment.
 
Pension fund administrators in the country have invested a total of N636.99bn out of the total pension funds in their custody in banks as of the end of November 2018.
 
This figure represents 7.49 per cent of the funds managed by the pension operators.
 
According to figures from the National Pension Commission (PenCom) total pension funds under the review period stand at N8.49 trillion.
 
N15.7bn or 0.19 per cent of the pension assets was invested in mutual funds, while N17.51bn or 0.21 per cent of the funds was invested in cash and other assets.
 
Speaking on the development, the President, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Mrs Aderonke Adedeji, explained that the issue of the role of pension funds in economic development had moved into the focus of public attention, particularly with regard to Nigeria’s growing need for long term capital.
 
According to her, the successful mobilisation of pension fund assets and its contributions to the economic growth of any nation were essential policy objectives.
 
“For the first time, our country can now boast of a long term funding base and the impact to date has included the funding of the government and government projects, development of the capital market as well as increased foreign development inflows,” she said.
 
She however said there was need for caution in view of the recent agitations to access the funds for infrastructure.
 
Nigeria’s benchmark stock index dropped 0.7 percent Tuesday, the most in a week, as election results showed President Muhammadu Buhari building a lead over his main opponent and investor favorite Atiku Abubakar.
 
“People are just reacting to Buhari leading the results,” said Olabisi Ayodeji, an analyst at Exotix Capital. “Investors’ preference would have been for an Atiku win, considering that he is perceived to be more market friendly, and also seen as having the potential to deliver a stronger economy.”
 
Money managers and banks including AllianceBernstein LP and Citigroup Inc. have said Nigeria’s stock market may rally if Buhari loses. The incumbent is leading by a margin of 53 percent to Atiku’s 43 percent of the votes collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja. The country’s main stock index has dropped almost 49 percent in dollar terms since May 2015, when Buhari was elected president.
 
The main opposition’s complaints that the election results are being manipulated creates uncertainty, which is damping market sentiment, said Paul Clark, a money manager at Rand Merchant Bank’s Ashburton Investments in Johannesburg.
 
“There is no reason for the market to rally at all; it does certainly look like Buhari would win -- at this stage,” Clark said. “The one benefit of a Buhari win is business as usual and everything goes on as it was.”
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