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Economy

Expert advises MPC to reduce MPR by 50 basis points as inflation declines

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A Financial Expert, Prof. Uche Uwaleke has advised the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reduce the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 50 basis points.

Uwaleke gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Sunday ahead of the MPC meeting scheduled to hold on Tuesday, July 23 in Abuja.

He said it was also pertinent for the committee to maintain 30 per cent Liquidity Ratio and 22.5 Cash Reserve Ratio.

According to him, the call for adjustment of MPR is due to declining inflation rate from 11.35 per cent in May to 11.20 per cent in June as well as the growing external reserves and stability in exchange rate.

Uwaleke said the reduction was also necessary because of persistent bearish performance of the stock market due to high interest rates.

The expert said a gradual reduction in the MPR which was the benchmark interest rate was consistent with the CBN Governor’s pro-growth five-year blueprint which he unveiled recently.

Uwaleke, also a professor of Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University Keffi, emphasised that further adjustment was also in line with global trend as the United States and many other economies were pursuing an expansionary monetary policy.

“Reducing the MPR from 13.5 per cent to 13 per cent will still leave real interest rate in the economy positive and it will also most likely result in increased lending to the real sector.

“This is the expectation, especially now that the CBN is encouraging this including through specifying for banks a minimum of 60 per cent of deposits which must be channelled to the real sector,” he said.

Uwaleke noted that relaxing the MPR would also increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth which was presently put at 2.01 per cent as at first quarter of 2019.

Economy

Naira exchanges at N359 to dollar at parallel market

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The naira on Monday traded at N358.6 to the dollar at the parallel market in Lagos.

The pound sterling and the euro closed at N445 and N396, respectively.

At the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment, the naira was sold at N358.6, while the pound sterling and the euro closed at N445 and N396, respectively.

Trading at the investors’ window saw the naira closing at N363.32 as market turnover stood at 477.04 million dollars.

The naira, however, traded at N306.95 to the dollar at the official CBN window.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the naira had remained stable at the parallel market, due largely to the interventions of the CBN.

As the rate stands, it appears the parallel market rate determines the prevailing rate for most buyers.

 

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Economy

Cornerstone Insurance records N11.5 bn Gross Written Premium in 2018

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Cornerstone Insurance PLC on Monday said it recorded Gross Written Premium (GPW) amounting to N11.5 billion in the 2018 financial year.

The company made the claim in a statement released in Lagos by its Chairman, Mr Segun Adebanji.

According to the statement, which is a prelude to the company’s forthcoming annual general meeting, the N11.5 billion represents a 25 per cent increase on the 2017 GWP.

Adebanji identified the Group Life portfolio as the largest contributor to the high GWP, saying that it contributed N2.01 billion.

“The N2.01 billion is 17 per cent of total GWP,” he said.

The chairman  further said that the Individual Life Insurance portfolio grew by 370 per cent from N132 million recorded in 2017 to N621 million in 2018 financial year.

“A prudent claims reserving methodology during the year under review saw our gross claims incurred dropped to N4.53 billion from N7.74 billion in the previous year, aligning more with the Industry average.

“In accordance with the provisions of International Financial Reporting System (IFRS) 11, the completion of the head office, which represented a non-earning asset in account unlocked some value and contributed N2.31 billion to the group’s profit,” he said.

The underwriter commended the Board of Directors (BoD) and management of the company for the feat, saying that they did not relent on the cost control measures put in place in 2017.

“The efforts reduced the operating and personnel expenses by 13 per cent from N3.09 billion in 2017 to N2.69 billion in 2018.

“The cumulative effects of the strategic focus on the company’s key growth drivers resulted in a return to profitability in 2018 as Profit before Tax (PbT) for the year 2018 stood at N2.66 billion after a period of losses, ” the underwriting firm said.

The chairman lauded the effort of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for implementing the Tier-Based Minimum Solvency Capital (TBMSC) to strengthen insurance companies in the country.

“However , based on the audited financial statements as at 2017 when NAICOM first kicked off the initiative, the company’s solvency status stood at N5.192 billion while total assets were N20.804 billion.

“Nonetheless, our approach is always to balance the capital to ensure the obligations to both policy holders and shareholders are met,” Adebanji said.

 

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Economy

Pipelines vandalism: NPDC adopts modern technology to monitor facilities

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Mr Sheidu Aiguedo, the company’s Manager in charge of Government, Community Relations and Security, made the assertion at a media briefing in Warri.

Aiguedo decried the persistent attacks on the company’s facilities by miscreants, saying, the company had lost several billions of naira to their illegal activities.

“We are employing the use of technology to enhance our monitoring capacity,” he said.

Aiguedo said activities of the oil thieves had caused serious disaster, adding that the company would continue to intensify awareness to its host communities on the dangers inherent in pipelines vandalism.

“The oil bunkerers are destroying our facilities, and their activities are also destroying the environment,” he said.

Aiguedo urged the Federal Government to apply “prevention, protection and prosecution” approaches as ways of curtailing oil theft in Delta.

He also advised the government to establish and increase its presence in the oil communities with a view to reducing theft in the area.

EDI/GOK

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye

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Economy

Industrial policy implementation will increase production -FG

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The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) says implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Policy (NIP) will improve growth, promote made in Nigeria goods and increase industrial production.

Mr Edet Akpan, Permanent Secretary, FMITI, stated this at a six-day brainstorming on the “Validation of the Revised Draft Nigeria Industrial Policy” in Lagos on Monday.

According to him, implementation of the NIP will also increase foreign exchange earning, thereby encouraging sustained and inclusive contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The last published industrial policy took place in 2003, while the initiative to review this particular document started in 2014.

“The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has since began the engagement of stakeholders and the international community to ensure that the document has both domestic and international flavour.

“The validation exercise, therefore, is set to review what was dofasttrackr and accommodate reasonable and concerned inputs from the varied Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) assembled.

“The Nigeria Industrial Policy (NIP) validation is very apt and indeed long overdue in positioning and responding to the Federal Government economic direction,” Akpan said.

Akpan, who was represented by Alhaji Tijani Inuwa, a director in the ministry, stressed the need to have a working document for the investing public and decision makers.

Akpan said that the NIP seeks to fasttrack the industrial development of the country based on its endowed resources and special prominence to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Also speaking, the Director, Industrial Department of FMITI, Mr Adewale Bakare, said that the quest for enduring industrial policy was everybody’s business.

Bakare called for continued engagement as the country diversify its economy from oil to non oil sectors by harnessing the opportunities that abound from the vast natural resources of the country.

The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Mansur Ahmed, said that Nigeria would benefit from the new African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

He said this, however, depended on the effectiveness of the country’s industrial policy and the quantum of Nigerian Manufacturing products available for sale at the continental market.

“MAN is therefore delighted to be part of this exercise that will enable stakeholders to validate the revised industrial policy in this consultative platform.

“Clearly, this initiative would afford stakeholders in the industrial value-chain, the opportunity to discuss pertinent issues constraining industrialisation in Nigeria.

“It is encouraging to note that this draft policy document captured some of the challenges hindering the attainment of set objectives for sustainable industrialisation in Nigeria and suggestion required to mitigate them,” Ahmed said.

In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, said that NIP was anchored on the utilisation of domestic resources in which the country had competitive advantage.

Umakhihe, who was represented by Mrs Zainab Pisagih, Deputy Director, Industry and Investment Division, Economic Growth Department in the ministry, urged stakeholders to leverage on its deliverable which were very critical to ensure the growth of the industrial sector.

Also in his goodwill message, the President, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Prince Degun Agboade, said the policy should interlink and reinforce other existing economic policies.

He said that there should be initiative that would encourage MSESs to be vanguard of production of quality products that are globally competitive.

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Economy

NSE indices up by 0.71% amid Zenith Bank half year results

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The Nigerian equities market opened trading for the week on Monday on a positive trend due to price appreciation in high capitalised stocks.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the crucial market indicators appreciated by 0.71 per cent to reverse the bearish mood.

Specifically, the All Share Index inched 190.60 points or 0.71 per cent to 27,115.89 compared with 26,925.29 achieved on Friday.

Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N13.121 trillion rose by N93 billion or 0.71 per cent to close at N13.214 trillion.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; MTN Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC, Dangote Cement, Zenith Bank and Dangote Flour Mills.

Capital market analysts attributed the positive growth to Zenith International Bank impressive half year results released in the market.

Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd. said that investors seem to have reacted positively to the result.

Meanwhile, analysts at Afrinvest Limited noted that “in the absence of a positive catalyst that would move the market, we expect investor sentiment to remain weak.”

Market breadth turned positive with 20 gainers and 13 losers.

Courteville Business Solutions recorded the highest price gain of 10 per cent, to close at 22k per share.

UACN came second with a growth of 6.67 per cent to close at N4.80, while FCMB Group appreciated by five per cent to close at N1.68 per share.

AIICO Insurance rose by 4.92 per cent to close at 64k, while Oando appreciated by 4.48 per cent to close at N3.50 per share.

Conversely, Cadbury Nigeria led the losers’ chart with a loss of 9.71 per cent to close at N9.30 per share.

Chams trailed with 8.70 per cent to close at 21k, while Unity Bank went down by 5.80 per cent to close at 65k per share.

AXA Mansard Insurance lost 5.56 per cent to close at N1.70, while Jaiz Bank shed 5.41 per cent to close at 35k per share.

The total volume traded declined by 2.92 per cent to 250.74 million shares worth N4.17 billion exchanged by investors in 4,116 deals.

This was in contrast with a turnover of 258.29 million shares valued at N4.17 billion achieved in 4,662 deals on Friday.

Transactions in the shares of Lafarge Africa topped the activity chart with 47.15 million shares valued at N660.02 million.

Transcorp followed with 41.07 million shares worth N36.96 million, while Zenith Bank traded 26.72 million shares valued at N452.63 million.

United Bank for Africa (UBA) sold 17.2 million shares worth N97.34 million, while FBN Holdings transacted 16.53 million shares valued at N77.62 million.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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