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Analysts laud CBN, say recapitalisation will give banks more solid foundation



Some financial analysts on Tuesday in Abuja lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over its policy to recapitalise the country’s banking sector.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while unveiling his economic agenda for the next five years, noted that the drop in value of the naira to the dollar had weakened the capital of banks.

He said that banks would be required to maintain a high level of capital, as well as liquid assets in order to reduce the impact of economic crisis on the financial system.

According to Emefiele, going by the huge developmental role the apex bank will want the banks to play in the next five years, it is imperative to demand their recapitalisation.

He noted that the depreciation of the naira between 2004 when the last banking sector recapitalisation took place and now, had cut the value of the capital of each deposit money bank by about 175 million dollars.

Mr Geoffrey Ekeyi welcomed the development, adding that the move was apt in order to arrest a situation where banks could no longer fund large transactions.

“Remember what happened in one of the banks, pure corporate governance, the CBN and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) had to step in to ensure that the bank did not go under and depositors fund washed away.

“So, there was a merger and it was taken over by another bank,’’ Ekeyi said.

Nkwodimmah Pascal said that the supervision department of the apex bank had a lot of work to do following the development.

“Much needs to be done to ensure implementation of the policy, however, CBN still needs to ensure that banks lend to small and micro sector of the economy not at double digits, but below five per cent lending rate.

“In some countries, it is two per cent and they will be begging you to come and take loans to start your business.

“When they give you that loan, they enhance your capacity and deploy their experienced personnel to ensure that the business succeeds.

“But in Nigeria you may be lucky to get a loan with as much as 25 per cent and before the business even starts, they are all over you asking for repayment,’’ Pascal said.

Mr Saliu Pategi expressed concern that the interest rates of commercial banks strangle small businesses in the country.

“There is a whole lot of problems with the banks; it is not just one, two or three, it is almost all of them.

“The transactions you can ordinarily have with them in the past have become something else.

“Sometimes you go through the eye of a needle to get anything out of banks even with your money.

“I think that recapitalisation may not be far from what the banks need.

“There are some takeovers, some mergers and some acquisitions, the pace of all this is that there are some stresses and some structural shocks needed to be dealt with.

“That may suggest why CBN governor is thinking of giving them more solid foundation, so we expect flooded activities from the banks that will want to raise fresh capital,’’ Pategi said.

Mr Lawson Amadi, an Abuja resident expressed worry that the last recapitalisation exercise in the country in 2004 recorded loss of jobs in the banking industry.

He said “Prof. Charles Soludo did the same thing when there were 89 banks in 2004 and 2005 and he forced them’’, saying if you don’t want to merge, your license is basically gone’’.

“They reduced to 25 and if Emefiele’s plan goes up, there will be more mergers because some of them will say from N25 billion to N230 billion, where will they get that kind of money from.

“The number of banks will further reduce if that policy is implemented.

“I hope it will be done in a way that not many of them will be thrown into the labour market because we saw what happened the last time, a lot of them became jobless and it is still telling on families,’’ Amadi said.



Analysts say MPR reduction will increase money, credit in circulation



Some financial analysts on Friday said the unexpected reduction of the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 13.5 to 12.5 per cent, as announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was contrary to their expectations.

The analysts expected a hold decision would be taken as happened during the last meeting.

However, they said the decision would expand level of output in the economy and to some extent address inflation trend occasioned by the COVID– 19.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of CBN on Thursday reduced MPR or the controlling lending rate to 12.5 per cent and left other monetary policy parameters unchanged.

The committee resolved to retain the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent, Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the asymmetric corridor at +200/-500 basis points around the MPR.

Speaking in an interview with NAN, the Managing Director, BIC Consultancy Services, Dr Boniface Chizea, said the reduction would increase the amount of money and credit in circulation.

“The reduction is uncommonly steep by an unusual 100 basis points. A reduction from 13.5% to 12.5%, the lowest rate in four years. The committee advanced the reason as the need to reflate the economy.

“What the unfolding scenario portends is that citizens should brace up for a spike on the rate of inflation which had already been on the uptick as substantial liquidity is being injected into the economy as a result of the quantitative easing.

“The gradual unlocking of the economy to resume activities might result in the anticipated contraction of the economy not being as steep as feared.

“By this move it is clear that focus on the rate of exchange particularly with regard to the attractiveness of investments to foreign investors is for once not a major thrust of policy.

“Well at least we now have some movement in the critical indices as opposed to the fact that they have remained sticky for a long time now,’’ Chizea said.

According to him, it is important that we witness focused implementation so that the expectations of a reflated economy will be achieved in the not distant future.

In the same vein, the Managing Director of Cowry Assets Management Ltd., Mr Johnson Chukwu, said the reduced rate would allow credit flow into the economy.

“The key thing the MPC did is to send a message to the economy that it is ready to adopt a bit of an accommodative policy. That is, it is the intention of the CBN that credit should flow to the economy at the same pace.

“That is the primary motivation of reducing the MPR from 13.50 per cent to 12.50 per cent.

“To send a message to economic operators that the intention of the CBN is to have an interest rate environment where customers can borrow at lower rates,” he said.

Dr Jubril Salaudeen, an Islamic Finance professional and Principal Partner, Secure Huda Ltd., said that the reduction meant there would be lesser cash flow into the economy.

The CBN announced the reduction of the MPR from 13.50% to 12.50%, retains CRR at 27.5% and Liquidity ratio at 30%.

“The immediate implication of this is that lesser cash will flow into the economy through commercial banks’ lending.

“Also this will address to some extent inflation trend occasioned by the COVID-19 and as well reduce the pressure on the naira by slowing down international trade,” he said.

The argument by analysts for a hold decision was premised on the challenge confronting the country as it contends with the dual challenge of the pandemic, which is affecting the economy.

The analysts also noted the collapse of the oil market, which at some point saw the Brent benchmark price dropped as low as under 20 dollars a barrel.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Apple reports 58.3bn dollar revenue beating analysts’ expectations 



Technology giant Apple reported 58.3 billion dollars in revenue for its second fiscal quarter on Thursday, indicating a 1-per-cent increase in revenue compared with last year,  thus beating wide-spread analyst projections.

“Despite COVID-19’s unprecedented global impact, we’re proud to report that Apple grew for the quarter, driven by an all-time record in Services and a quarterly record for Wearables,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

Purchases of Apple services, including application purchases, iCloud storage, Apple TV and Apple Music subscriptions, rose from 11.5 to 13.3 billion dollars, versus the same period last year.

Meanwhile revenue from so-called wearables, including Apple Watch and AirPods rose from 5.1 to 6.3 billion dollars.

The iPhone remains the company’s cash cow at 29 billion dollars in sales revenue, a nearly 2.1-billion-dollar decrease from the 2019 second fiscal quarter.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Namibia benefits from China’s humanitarian efforts amid COVID-19 pandemic: analysts




Namibian social commentators have lauded China‘s continued support to Namibia in the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the southern African country as well as the world at large.

Senior academic in the Faculty of Human Sciences at the Namibian University of Science and Technology Admire Mare said Namibia has benefited immensely from the assistance rendered by China on humanitarian grounds.

“The assistance coming from China to Namibia and many African countries currently need to be commended as it also comes without conditions. China is doing a great deal on humanitarian grounds to assist Namibia in combating the virus. This is the time that all countries are grappling with the virus so any form of support that the Chinese are rendering will go a long way in saving lives,” he said.

University of Namibia analyst Hoze Riruako also added that Namibia and China have very cordial relations hence the continued support.

“For the first time we are seeing the fruits of strong political relations coming to the rescue on a humanitarian aspect. The COVID-19 pandemic obviously needs a coordinated approach so the contribution from China is commendable,” he said.

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News Analysis: New Israeli “annexation” coalition deals “new deadly blow” to two-state solution: Palestinian analysts




Palestinian analysts believed that the new Israeli unity government based on annexing parts of the Palestinian lands in the West Bank deals “a new deadly blow” to the principle of the two-state solution.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, signed an agreement with his main rival Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White party, on the formation of a new unity government, and they will rotate the position of the prime minister every 18 months, according to Israeli Radio.

The radio quoting sources in Netanyahu’s Likud party as saying the agreement involves imposing Israeli sovereignty on “part of the historic lands of Israel” on July 1.

Calling it “an Israeli annexation government,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye said this government “means the end of the two-state solution.”

Adnan Abu Aamer, a political science professor at al-Ummah University in the Gaza Strip, said the new unity government in Israel “has started the countdown to annexing the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which will negatively influence the peace process and the future of the Palestinian Authority.”

Netanyahu has repeatedly stated on various occasions his intention to impose the Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley which represents about 30 percent of the West Bank.

Ahmad Rafiq Awwad, a political analyst from Ramallah in the West Bank, warned that forming an Israeli coalition based on the principle of annexing the Palestinian lands “will lead to a miscarriage of the idea of establishing a Palestinian state.”

“The annexation plan only means the Israeli government has chosen military occupation as the final and eternal approach,” he noted.

Earlier in the year, U.S. President Donald Trump presented his so-called Middle East peace plan, better known as the Deal of the Century, which called for establishing two states while keeping Jerusalem the undivided eternal capital of Israel.

“Imposing Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and the areas of the settlements in the West Bank will mean entering a new phase that violates the Oslo interim peace agreement signed in 1993,” said Hani Al-Masri, director of the Masarat Center for Research and Studies in Ramallah.

“The annexation of Palestinian lands will bring the Palestinian-Israeli conflict back to square one,” al-Masri added.

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NAICOM to sponsor training of 100 certified Actuarial Analysts — CIFM Rector



The College of Insurance and Financial Management (CIFM) says it has started receiving nominations for free sponsorship Actuarial programme of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).

Mrs Yeside Oyetayo, Rector of CIFM, told the Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Lagos that the college was working with NAICOM and Nigerian Actuarial Society (NAS) on the selection criteria and other aspects of the programme.

She explained that the insurance companies were given two slots each and allowed to nominate two candidates for the programme.

“Part of the criteria is that the nominees must be currently engaged in the insurance industry, as the insurance companies has two slots each and are allowed to nominate two candidates,” she said.

According to her, processes for the commencement of the programme has commenced while assessment for the successful candidates will hold in March.

She said the assessment would be in collaboration with NAS and only successful candidates would be registered to partake in the examination.

The rector hinted that the first sponsored examination would hold in May.

NAN reports that NAICOM had on Jan. 23 announced full sponsorship of at least 100 practitioners in the insurance industry to be certified as Actuarial Analysts towards developing the market.

Mr Sunday Thomas, Acting Commissioner for Insurance, said that the decision followed the dearth of actuarial analyst in the country, as only few insurance companies had in-house actuaries.

Thomas said the initiative, in partnership with CIFM, was aimed at developing necessary professional skills set and talents to drive the insurance sector.

He said all expenses of the course and examination would be fully funded by the commission and at no cost to the selected participants.

According to him, beneficiaries of the programme would be bonded to work as an actuarist in the Nigerian insurance industry for at least five years post qualification and must be referred by a guarantor who should preferably be an employer.

“Part of our plans is that within the next five years, we want to produce at least 100 Certified Actuarial Analyst and we will take responsibility for the commitment,” he said.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Wale Ojetimi


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GDP: Analysts urge FG to strengthen non-oil sector




Analysts on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to strengthen the non-oil sector by ensuring lower interest rate to reduce cost of borrowing, in order to boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

They stated this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos, while reacting to the fourth quarter GDP which expanded to 2.55 per cent.

NAN reports that NBS, on Feb. 24, said that Nigeria’s economy received a positive performance report, with the GDP growth at about 2.55 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The full-year 2019 real GDP stood at 2.27 per cent, higher than the 1.91 per cent growth rate recorded in 2018.

The full-year 2019 figures are almost the same range predicted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund of 2.0 and 2.3 per cent respectively.

Also, the 2019 figure is the highest figure recorded in three years, higher than 1.91, 0.83, and -1.58 in 2018, 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Mr Sola Oni, the Chief Executive Officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications, said the current GDP growth would be sustained with lower interest rate regime.

“Nigeria can grow the non-oil sector by operating a regime of lower interest rate in order to reduce the cost of borrowing.

“This singular approach shall increase consumer spending and investment.

“The real wages should be increased by ensuring that nominal wages is above inflation. By this model, consumers’ disposable income will increase.

“An enabling operating environment where infrastructure is optimised will spur rapid production, enhance export of goods, generate foreign currency and boost external reserve,” he said.

Oni noted that economic growth was driven by consumer spending and business investment.

“Business drives the economy through hiring of workers, increase in wages and investing in business expansion.

“These are some of the key ways to boost revenue from the non-oil sectors,” he said.

Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd., said that government should pursue friendly fiscal and economic policies that would boost activities in the non-oil sector.

Kurfi stated that policies that would boost activities in financial services, agriculture, industrial sector and telecommunications should be pursued.

Analysts at United Capital said that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s unorthodox monetary policies would keep cost of capital low through 2020.

They added that the apex bank policy would encourage domestic borrowings and investment by local corporates for expansion purposes.

“However, we believe faster GDP growth is unlikely in the near term, given the ongoing necessary but conflicting fiscal policy actions such as increase in VAT and possible hike in electricity tariffs may hurt consumption.

“Also, the continued closure of the land borders may hurt aggregate demand as a result of increased prices, but has a positive effect on local production.

“In addition, subsisting concerns around policy unpredictability which has been one of the biggest impediments to FDI flows and investment generally, as well as the reluctance to implement reforms that will spur private sector growth is worrisome.

“A tepid outlook for crude oil prices amid demand shortages and the likelihood of a deeper supply cut in crude oil suggest a negative impact on the broader growth number.

“Finally, the time span required to fix power and other critical infrastructure that will ease the cost of doing business and other structural impediments is a factor that may subdue growth in the interim,” they said.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Oluwole Sogunle


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NAICOM offers full sponsorship of certification of 100 Actuarial Analysts



The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on Thursday announced full sponsorship of 100 practitioners in the insurance industry to be certified as Actuarial Analysts, toward developing the market in next five years.

Mr Sunday Thomas, Acting Commissioner for Insurance, said this at the Actuarial Development Sensitisation Workshop organised by the commission in Lagos.

Thomas said that the initiative was in partnership with the College of Insurance and Financial Management (CIFM), Nigeria, and it was aimed at developing necessary professional skills and talents to drive the insurance sector.

He said all expenses of the course and examination would be fully funded by the commission and offered at no cost to the selected participants.

“Part of our plans is that within the next five years, we want to produce at least 100 Certified Actuarial Analysts (CAA) and we will take responsibility for the commitment.

“We must analyse our job, role and the need to change our focus on how to develop the market and ensure compliance with regulatory policies.

“Part of the development is the human capital development, as the growing potential of the industry is built on the capacity to have the required capital that will drive it forward.

“The issue of measuring and taking necessary steps for effective pricing have made the Actuarial profession to be more pertinent more than ever before.

“There is need to develop young professionals and give them a future in the insurance industry and we are determined to develop their potential and make them relevance to the sector,” he said.

According to him, only a couple of the insurance companies have in-house actuaries and this is why the commission has intervened to stem the tide.

Thomas said actuaries were also needed to manage the Annuity business which was becoming quite significance and almost accounting for 35 to 40 per cent of the industry portfolio with an output of N10 trillion.

He urged the potential beneficiaries to be committed to the programme to succeed, as the commission would only give candidates the opportunity to re-write a failed course twice.

“This programme requires sharp, determined, qualitative- minded and serious individuals. So, think critically about it before opting for it.

“We are ready to give you all the necessary support and will persuade the Chief Executive Officers of the Insurance companies to give the candidates adequate time to study,” he said.

Thomas also noted that the NAICOM Academy would kick-off operations within the year in Abuja to train and empower its in-house staff.

He said the academy would be the first of its kind for regulators in West Africa and would be structured to acquire and share more knowledge to promote the industry.

In her address, Dr Yeside Oyetayo, Rector, CIFM, lauded NAICOM for offering full scholarship for the programme as a way of giving back to the industry.

Oyetayo noted that processes for the programme commenced immediately and the college would be developing an Actuarial development policy in collaboration with the Nigerian Actuarial Society (NAS) to train the candidates home– based.

She said among other roles, the college would conduct an assessment of candidates for the sponsorship, register selected candidates, offer free registration for CAA examination twice a year.

“We will also offer two weeks intensive tutorial and mock examination before the actual examination and arrange for a compulsory 160-hour study leave for candidates with their employees,’’ Oyetayo said.

The rector noted that the prerequisites for admission into the programme include that a candidates must be citizens of Nigeria with a valid identity card and must possess analytic skills.

She said the beneficiaries must also be engaged in the industry, either as an underwriter, loss adjusters or academia, among others.

According to her, beneficiaries must be interested to work as an Actuary in the Nigerian insurance industry for at least five years post qualification and must be referred by a guarantor who is preferably an employer.

In a lecture, Mr Tola Fakoya, an Actuary with Mansar Insurance, listed the functions of the Actuaries to include risk assessment, product development, product pricing, liability valuation, asset liability matching and experience analysis.

Fakoya also mentioned profitability assessment, solvency, financial reporting, reinsurance optimisation, capital adequacy, expenses analysis, among others.

In his remarks, Mr Pius Agboola, Director, Policy and Regulation, NAICOM, described Actuarial Analyst as a noble, enviable and rewarding profession qualification.

He urged the potential candidates to put in their best and take advantage of the opportunity offered by the commission.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi

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Science & Technology

70% broadband penetration possible in Nigeria by 2025 – Analysts



The broad goal of the National Broadband Penetration (NBP) Committee is to achieve 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025 in Nigeria.

Analysts in the telecommunications industry made this known in Lagos on Friday.

According to the analysts, a number of countries with lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and per Capital Income have achieved greater broadband penetration, raising the hope of the same possibility in Nigeria.

Emmanuel Onajite, a research analyst whose research centred on the impact of broadband penetration on low income economies  said: “Nigeria is finally waking up to the need for telecommunications as a major pillar for national development’’.

“The inauguration of the National Broadband Penetration Committee is a pointer to the fact that things are set to change,’’ Onajite said.

According to him, the committee is just settling down to work and should not be rushed as they work on structures that will deliver pervasive broadband for Nigerians by the set target of 2025.

Mr Jide Awe, an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Consultant, said that the broadband penetration of 70 per cent by 2025 was possible as it would improve the digital economy of the country.

Awe, however, expressed confidence in the capability of the chairperson of the committee, MainOne Cable Chief Executive Officer, Funke Opeke, to deliver on the broadband penetration plan.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had said the Federal Government and the ministry were encouraging institutions to host their data in Nigeria.

Pantami said the need to boost broadband penetration from 37.8 per cent currently to over 70 per cent in the next five years was the pedestal for NBP 2020-2025.

The minister said pervasive broadband penetration would make Nigeria a truly digital economy.

A 25-member National Broadband Penetration Committee, led by Opeke has been inaugurated and the team is expected to come up with a plan by the end of the first quarter.

The committee is expected to take a critical look at where the country is after painstaking review of the 2013-2018 phase and the status of penetration now.

The members of the committee were enjoined to examine the challenges with a view to proffering solutions.

The World Bank estimates that for every 10 per cent increase in broadband, GDP grows by more than 1 per cent.

Edited by: Adeleye Ajayi



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Xenophobic attacks affect investors’ confidence — Analysts



Analysts have continued to weigh the economic impact of xenophobic attacks in South Africa on the continent, just as 187 Nigerians returned home from the country due to the development.

The analysts spoke in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Lagos.

The Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigerian (MAN), Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said that such attacks could have negative impact on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, to which South Africa was a signatory.

Ajayi-Kadir said with the attacks, the country (South-Africa) might be portraying itself as one that was not worthy of Foreign Direct Investment.

He said that Nigeria was considered as a frontline country in the struggle against the apartheid regime and the emancipation of South-African, even though it was not a contiguous state.

“So, it is mind boggling that Nigeria finds itself on the receiving side of hate mongers in the otherwise great country of illustrious sons and daughters of Africa.

“Without doubt, South Africa is amongst the first three economies in Africa. It has no less than 23 per cent of intra-African trade. Its companies all around African enjoy the welcome and acceptance of Governments and the people.

“Therefore, with the onset of AfCFTA agreement, (to which South-Africa is a signatory) this signal from South Africa portends a dangerous trend.

“The country (South-Africa) may be portraying itself as one that is not worthy of Foreign Direct Investment,” he said.

According to him, free movement of persons and right to invest and enjoy protection of life and property are basic ingredients of a free trade area.

“So long as the foreign nationals live in obedience with the laws of the host country, these right should be guaranteed,” he said.

Also speaking on the economic effects of the crisis, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf, said with the developments in South-Africa, investors’ confidence had been adversely affected.

Yusuf said the attacks and agitations on both sides could also adversely impact on the sustainability of existing investments, employment and revenue.

He regretted the retaliatory attacks in Nigeria, which he said could lead to an increase in unemployment in the country.

“Nigerians and Nigeria have significant stakes in most of the South-African investments in Nigeria. These are with regards to employment, tax revenue, service provision, equity investments, suppliers and service providers, among others.

“Nigeria and South Africa are the two leading economies in the continent accounting for an estimated 33 per cent of the continent’s GDP. With the recent development the risk perception of the continent has been negatively impacted,” Yusuf said.

In his view, the Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr Sunny Nwosu, said that the situation calls for tougher diplomatic actions on the government of South-Africa.

Nwosu said that South-Africa Government should  compensate those affected and take steps to reassure them that it will not occur again.

“Stronger diplomacy and engagements seem to be more appropriate forms of response.

The first batch of Nigerians who decided to leave South Africa due to the attacks had arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Wednesday, at 9.37 p.m.

They were aided by the Federal Government with the assistance of a Nigerian carrier, Air Peace.

The returnees included adults, children and infants, who expressed joy on returning home.


Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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