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THIS WEEK: Bears grip Nigeria’s equities market as inflationary pressure bites harder

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This week, the Nigerian stock market ended on a bearish note for the second week in a row, with the All-Share Index shedding 0.14% to close at 51,705.61 basis points as the market begins to feel the pressure as a result of hike in interest rate by the CBN and galloping inflationary numbers.

The global economy is currently dealing with unprecedented level of inflation rate, attributed to the surge in energy prices and food crisis in major markets across the globe. The Central Bank of Nigeria raised the MPR to 13% by 150 basis points in May 2022, which is yet to abate the rising cost of goods and services in the country.

Here is a compilation of this week’s notable happenings in the Nigeria macro-economic space, markets, regulators as well as other world economies.

EQUITIES

The Nigerian equities market closed the week with a 0.14% decline in the all-share index and the market capitalization to close at 51,705.61 basis points and N27.875 trillion respectively. The performance for the week is following the selloffs recorded in the previous week, leading to the 2.68% ASI decline.

However, on the month-to-date basis, the market has dipped 2.42%, recorded a gain of 10.09% between April to date, while the market gained 21.04% year-to-date. The best performing stocks for the week were NAHCO, Champion Brew, and MRS Oil, while the top decliners were CWG, RT Briscoe, and Glaxo SmithKline.

A total turnover of 1.12 billion shares valued at N13.703 billion in 22,350 deals were traded this week by investors on the floor of the Exchange, in contrast to a total of 940.892 million shares valued at N11.494 billion that exchanged hands last week in 20,077 deals.

The Financial Services Industry led the activity chart during the week in terms of traded volume with 806.824 million shares valued at N6.075 billion traded in 11,071 deals; thus contributing 71.99% and 44.33% to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.


MACROECONOMY

Exchange rate

Nigeria’s official exchange rate gained 0.28% during the week to close at N420.13/$1 in contrast to N421.33/$1 recorded at the close of trading activities in the previous week. This is according to daily data tracked from the website of the FMDQ.

  • A total turnover of $590.91 million was recorded in the week, compared to $376.1 million recorded in the previous week. Note that there was a public holiday declaration on Monday, 13th June 2022, hence, contributing to the low volume of FX transactions recorded in the previous week.
  • On the other hand, naira closed at N610/$1 on Friday, 24th June 2022 at the parallel market compared to N607/$1 recorded in the previous week. This represents a depreciation of 0.49% of the local currency against the USD.
  • In the same vein, the exchange rate at the peer-to-peer market closed at N612/$1, representing a 0.92% depreciation compared to N607/$1 recorded as of the previous week.

External reserve

  • Nigeria’s external reserve continued in its upward trend during the week following the $148.43 million gained in the previous week. The external reserve level improved by $220.05 million in the week under review to stand at $38.88 billion as of Thursday, 23rd June 2022.
  • The Nigerian reserve level had plunged considerably, due to the apex bank’s continual intervention in the official I&E window. However, sustained crude oil price elevation has resulted to an uptick in the nation’s foreign reserve, which will be beneficial in defending the local currency.

Report reveals that 15.64 million litres of petrol is smuggled out of Nigeria daily

  • An estimated 15.64 million litres of petrol are smuggled out of Nigerian daily. Nigerian petroleum products retail on average 3.7 times cheaper than those of its neighbours, which has given smugglers unfair possibilities for arbitrage.
  • This has led to the smuggling of an estimated 15.64 million gallons of petroleum products out of Nigeria in August 2021. This was disclosed by Chapel Hill Denham in a document titled “Dangote Refinery can provide the needed breather for Nigeria’s public finances.”
  • The withdrawal of subsidies, according to the research, could accelerate an already pressured inflationary trend, but a stronger fiscal position’s positive spillover could lessen the impact on disadvantaged Nigerians.

Traders list reasons why prices of rice, onions, cooking gas rise every week

  • The price of local rice, onions, cooking gas, pepper, and other staple food items has significantly increased across major markets in Lagos State. The bi-monthly market survey is carried out by Nairalytics – the research team of Nairametrics showed.
  • Specifically, the price of a big bag of dry onions rose significantly by 57.4% to sell for an average of N28,175, despite falling to N17,900 earlier in the month.
  • Likewise, the price of a small basket of sweet potatoes climbed by 54.55% to sell for an average of N6,375 compared to an initial average of N4,125.
  • The report also showed that a big bag of pepper that was initially sold for an average of N22,750 two weeks ago has increased to an average of N27,950, while the cost of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas has topped N11,250.
  • It is worth noting that as of this time last year, a 12.5kg cylinder of gas was refilled for an average of N4,600, representing a 145% year-on-year price increase.

REGULATORS

High oil prices present Nigeria’s central bank with a chance to adjust the exchange rate – World Bank

  • The World Bank has stated that surging oil prices, being the highest in 9 years, have provided the Central Bank of Nigeria with an opportunity to adjust the exchange rate reflective of market dynamics.
  • This was disclosed by the World Bank in a document titled ‘Nigeria Development Update (June 2022): The Continuing Urgency of Business Unusual.’
  • The international lender told the Central Bank of Nigeria that timely and consistent monetary policy and exchange rate unification have become critical. The Bank also stated that despite the CBN’s claim of unifying the official exchange rate the apex bank still supplies FX to at least four windows.

World Bank opined that Nigeria’s regulatory uncertainties has affected its holding of a licensing round for oil blocks in 15 years

  • Nigeria has not held a licensing round for oil blocks other than marginal fields since 2007, due to uncertainties about future regulatory and fiscal frameworks. This according to the World Bank, contributes to Nigeria’s decline in oil production.
  • This was disclosed by the World bank in a document titled ‘Nigeria Development Update (June 2022): The Continuing Urgency of Business Unusual.
  • The World Bank also stated that security concerns, tense relationships with workers and communities, high costs, and the Federation’s failure to finance the production of its equity oil have also contributed to plaguing Nigeria’s oil production for many years.

DMO says subscriptions for FGN bonds rose to over N1 billion in months

  • The Debt Management Office (DMO) stated that subscription to FGN savings bonds has increased from about N100 million to over N1 billion in the last few months.
  • This was said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Ibadan by Mr. Monday Usiade, Director, Business Development Department of the DMO.
  • The DMO urged more Nigerians to invest in the various Federal Government securities to diversify their investment portfolios. The DMO stated that it is specifically targeting retail investors.

NYSC Trust Fund: Nigeria’s National Assembly bent on taxing businesses out of existence – Taiwo Oyedele

  • Taiwo Oyedele, Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at PwC has lamented the excessive tax placed by the National Assembly on companies’ profit in Nigeria.
  • He stated that it seems “it seems @nassnigeria is bent on taxing businesses out of existence,” via a Twitter post.
  • This comment comes in the wake of the proposed bill seeking to establish a National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund by the Nigeria Senate.

Joint Tax Board to go after political office holders evading tax

  • To ensure that those holding political offices pay their taxes, the Joint Tax Board (JTB) claims it is working with the Code of Conduct Bureau, political parties, and other stakeholders.
  • At a meeting with state chairs of the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday in Abuja, Mr Monday Onyeme, the executive chairman of the Delta State Internal Revenue Service, said this.
  • The meeting was organised by the Joint Tax Board with the theme, “Effective Tax Compliance for Political Office Holders: A Panacea for National Development”.

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Bitcoin investors record losses of over $7 billion in recent market selloff

  • Data from blockchain analytics firm, Glassnode, reveals that investors exited bitcoin positions worth a record $7.3 billion over the past few days, amounting to the biggest U.S. dollar-denominated losses in the asset’s history.
  • Realized loss denotes the total loss (U.S. dollar value) of all moved coins whose price at their last movement was higher than the price at the current movement, as per Glassnode. The tool can be used to measure how many coins moved at any particular price and the losses incurred by investors.
  • The data revealed that approximately 555,000 BTC have changed hands between prices of $18,000 and $23,000, a strong support and resistance level respectively for the asset ranged over the past few days. The losses ranged between $1.5 billion and $2 billion each day, data shows.

Despite falling below $20,000, over 50% of Bitcoin addresses are still in profit

  • Data from on-chain analytics firm, Glassnode, reveals that more than half of Bitcoin wallet addresses existing are still in profit, raising questions about the severity of the current market selloff we are experiencing as Bitcoin over the weekend fell below $20,000.
  • Glassnode confirmed that as of June 20, 56.2% of wallet addresses were still worth more in U.S. dollar terms than when their coins entered them.

USDC Overtakes USDT in Real Volume on Ethereum

  • Circle’s USD Coin (USDC), the second-largest stablecoin by market capitalization, is taking a run at the title of the top stablecoin in the cryptocurrency space as data from Messari, a cryptocurrency market data tool, revealed that the USDC daily ‘real volume’ on the Ethereum network has doubled that of Tether’s USDT.
  • Messari’s data indicated that Circle’s USDC posted $1.1 billion in daily real volume on the Ethereum network on June 21, which was double USDT’s real volume of $579 million.
  • Messari’s real volume metric is calculated by compiling data only from exchanges that the platform believes have “significant and legitimate crypto trading volumes,” and thus differs to the more-commonly seen “total volume” metric.

Harmony Network’s Horizon Bridge hacked, $100 million stolen

  • A popular product on the Harmony network was exploited for over $100 million worth of cryptocurrencies last night in what is one of the biggest crypto hacks in recent weeks.
  • “The Harmony team has identified a theft occurring this morning on the Horizon bridge amounting to approx. $100MM,” developers said in a tweet. “We have begun working with national authorities and forensic specialists to identify the culprit and retrieve the stolen funds.”

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 Analysing the demands of Nigerian SMEs to achieve global competitiveness 

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Growing globalisation presents Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the globe with an unprecedented opportunity to extend market reach, enhance performance, and potentially upscale to larger companies. Thanks to global interconnectedness, a small family-run business in a remote part of China can manufacture shirts and export worldwide. This is the case for most Chinese SMEs. In 2020 they accounted for 68% of Chinese exports, according to estimates by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In Nigeria, the reality is different for most small and medium-sized businesses. 

In its latest report, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) reported that only 7.7% of business enterprises surveyed exported their goods or services. Of this crop of businesses, 95.3% of exports value less than 10 million Naira ($23,300). This export data highlights the gross under-representation of Nigerian SMEs in international trade despite contributing to nearly half of the domestic GDP when combined with micro-scale businesses. 

The exclusion of Nigerian SMEs from global trade matters because the success of small and medium-scale businesses will directly translate to the enhanced global competitiveness of the Nigerian economy. China and India, both highly populated developing countries, have risen to prominence on the back of value-creation by entrepreneurs in SMEs. 

Furthermore, there is only so much value that can be created within a geographical market; however, expansion to other regions can create new demand and opportunities. Take, for instance, the $93 billion global oil palm industry where Nigeria has a market share of less than 5% despite having abundant natural and human resources to potentially produce and supply oil palm as well as derivatives. We lose out on the multi-fold values that could have been derived from processing and exporting to the vast global market if our agricultural commodities are only consumed within the country and our SMEs fail to break into the global markets. 

There is a plethora of reasons why less than a handful of SMEs in Nigeria are engaged in exports; most of the bottlenecks are behind the borders and overlap with challenges already identified by small and medium business operators. In the 2021 SMEDAN report, 92.4% of surveyed businesses believed the biggest challenge to enterprise development was the lack of finance.  

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The availability of funding is critical for the day-to-day operation of businesses as well as financing business expansion in the long term. Due to high-interest rates, high rates of informality, poor documentation culture, lack of sufficient cash flow, and weak macroeconomic conditions, many SMEs are unable to obtain loans from most financial institutions. Where obtaining a loan is possible, for example from a micro-finance bank, the volume is too little to make a meaningful impact while the volume of loans disbursed by government programs is good but could be better. As a result, 48% of SMEs depend on family and friends, while 15% rely on credit facilities, 8% on trade credit, 6% on co-operatives, and 6% on grants based on PwC MSME Survey 2020.  

Yet, engaging in exports is a capital-intensive venture because of the need to produce goods that meet international standards, as well as investments that need to be put into securing authorization (from Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, NAFDAC, CBN, etc.) for exports and facilitating the logistics.  

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Another area in SMEs that needs intervention to improve their development, and in turn, global participation is the provision of infrastructure. Per the SMEDAN report, 20.9% consider the paucity of the quality physical infrastructure to be a critical challenge. The problem of infrastructure extends across the entire chain of value businesses rely on. Epileptic power supply means shorter production hours, high operating costs when generating sets (industrial or residential) are employed, or even high capital expenditure to procure alternative power sources. After scaling the issues of power supply, SMEs face obstacles imposed by poor transportation networks. For SMEs involved in exports, goods can be stuck for months at the port and end up in poor form by the time they arrive at their destination. 

Another area of demand for SMEs and similar businesses is vocational and entrepreneurship training. From the SMEDAN report, 20.8% of surveyed businesses rated gaps in vocational and business skills as the main constraint on enterprise development. Often overlooked, entrepreneurship and management skills are a bedrock of SMEs’ success. Programs on vocation and entrepreneurship will help business owners and operators learn essential business skills such as financial and risk management, strategy, sourcing business capital, taxation, human resource management, and so on. This training will also help businesses formalise and position themselves for better opportunities in the market.  

Other pressing demands of SMEs are the need for workspaces, consistent government policies, and access to research & development. Concerning government policies, some of the pain points of businesses are the multiplicity of taxes, demolition of properties, high fuel prices, customs duties, a ban on particular raw materials importation, and trade permits.  

The government would need to improve accessibility to capital to improve the situation for SMEs. Several state and private funding initiatives such as FGN Special Intervention Fund for MSMEs, National Enterprise Development Programme, the YouWIN Connect Nigeria program, The Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme, Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), and Lagos State Entrepreneurs Trust Fund (LSETF) already exist amongst others. Improving access would involve creating more specialised funds for women entrepreneurs, and training SMEs on how to keep records and apply for existing credit and grants.  

There are no shortcuts to solving the problem of infrastructure for SMEs, but one quick win is expanding opportunities for export-oriented SMEs to participate more in Free Trade Zones (FTZs). FTZ, as defined by Mondaq, is any location where goods can be shipped, handled, manufactured, reconfigured, and re-exported without the involvement of customs agencies. These zones have a tendency to have better infrastructure and streamlined processes that allow a smoother flow of goods.  

On vocational and entrepreneurial training, a partnership by local and foreign experts in the private sector with the government in organising workshops, seminars, boot camps, and similar programs for SME owners and operators will go a long way. Through tax incentives consulting firms like the Big 4s can be encouraged to organise training for SMEs in areas like digitalisation, taxation, financial records keeping, and business strategy. This idea can be extended to the areas of research and development. Asides from private and public research institutes, academia can be a viable partner to pair SMEs with so that new products and technology can be developed. 

To conclude, it is paramount to drive home the point that SMEs hold so much potential to enhance growth and development for Nigeria, as is the case for many developing countries. The limitation faced by SMEs in global market participation is therefore an important issue for national development that must be addressed by all stakeholders.  

About the author:

 Connect with Nnamdi Okoh on Instagram @nnamdiokoh, Twitter @Lord_nnamz and LinkedIn @Nnamdi Okoh. Learn more about Terminal Africa’s service offerings at www.terminal.africa.

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Lagos seals 42 health facilities across the state

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The Lagos State Government, through the Health Facilities Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) has sealed a total of 42 health facilities out of about 1040 visited between January and September 2022. 

This was made known by the executive secretary of HEFAMAA, Dr. Abiola Idowu, in Ikeja while reviewing the activities of the agency in the nine-month period. 

Sealed for non-compliance with regulatory standards: Idowu said the facilities were sealed for non-compliance with regulatory standards, adding that other infractions committed include non-registration of facilities and lack of qualified medical personnel, as well as the illegal training of auxiliary nurses.  

She disclosed that in the same period, 170 facilities across the state were inspected for registration, while about 157 closure notices were issued. 

Idowu explained that the key areas monitoring officers focus on during monitoring and inspection exercises of health facilities are: the qualification of personnel, operation processes of the facility, the environment, and the standard of equipment. 

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On HEFAMAA’s monitoring activities, the executive secretary explained that the aim of the franchise is to improve the effectiveness of the monitoring exercise so that all the health facilities in the state can be monitored at least twice a year as the law stipulates. 

  • She said, “The Agency is empowered by the Health Sector Reform (HSR) Law 2006 to franchise some of its activities. Section 49 (5) of the law granted the agency the power to select franchise companies to monitor and ensure compliance with the law by health facilities in the state.’’ 

Get acquainted with the law: Dr. Idowu, therefore, advised owners and operators of health facilities to get acquainted with the law and carry out their operations in accordance with it to safeguard the health of the people. 

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She also emphasized the commitment of the state government to sustain the fight against quackery and unprofessional conduct in the system, as well as urged intending operators to ensure proper registration with the agency through its website, hefamaa.lagosstate.gov.ng before commencing operations. 

Going further, she added that existing registered operators should ensure prompt renewal of their certificates to avoid being sanctioned. 

 

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Nigeria produces 13% of global tantalum output – EITI

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The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) said Nigeria produces 13% of the global production of tantalum. 

EITI disclosed this in its 2022 Mission Critical Report which was released on Wednesday, November 2.   

Tantalum is a highly resistant mineral used in manufacturing electronics, especially mobile phones, laptops, and super alloys. 

According to EITI, the mineral will potentially be used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, depending on the technology development and deployment of alternative zero-cobalt batteries.    

In 2021, China recorded imports of tantalum from Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Sierra Leone.   

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Nigeria lacks mining data: The report showed that aside from the recorded tantalum production rate, Nigeria rarely had any definite data for 14 of the minerals highlighted in the report. That’s because the country’s solid mineral sector is characterised by artisanal mining and small-scale mining of manganese and tantalum. 

Lack of data discourages investors: The report showed that exploration and mapping of mineral deposits are limited in many EITI-implementing countries, especially African countries like Nigeria. The availability of comprehensive and public geological data determines the ability of resource-rich countries to attract responsible investors and negotiate favourable terms for the country and its people.  

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The importance of open geological data: EITI said access to open geological data is important to support a transition mineral development strategy and to level the playing field in negotiations between governments, companies, and communities. Transparent information can improve the terms of contracts, facilitate mine planning, and ensure that all stakeholders are well informed.  

Profit shifting in Nigerian mining market: In October 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said countries like Nigeria lose $600 million in revenue due to tax rate differences between African countries and offshore affiliates in the same multi-national enterprises’ group.   

The EITI report corroborates what the IMF said. The report said: 

  • “Research on profit shifting in mining across Sub-Saharan Africa indicates that African countries are losing, on average, between $470 million and $730 million per year in corporate income tax from MNE tax avoidance. The baseline estimate – which also includes Sub-Saharan African economies with small mining sectors – suggests a revenue loss of about $600 million, based on tax rate differentials between African countries and offshore affiliates in the same MNE group.”   

What you should know: Tax base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) is a serious governance challenge for countries pursuing resource revenues from the taxation of multinational enterprises (MNEs).  

  • BEPS occurs when companies shift reporting of profits generated in higher tax jurisdictions to other parts of their business in lower tax or no-tax jurisdictions.  
  • This challenge could become more pronounced in the transition minerals sector given the integrated business structures of many of the MNEs involved in mining, processing, refining, marketing, and trading in transition minerals across multiple jurisdictions.  
  • There are also increasingly powerful global partnerships controlling transition mineral value chains, for example, through the consolidation of mine-to-car business deals by upstream and downstream MNEs.    

Nigeria must take action: Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries need to take intentional steps to maximize their mineral resources, especially in the era of the global energy transition.  

  • During the October 2022 Reuters Impact Climate Conference in London, the president of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Samaila Zubairu said it was time for Africa to rethink the approach to its mining value chain.  
  • According to him, mining is carried out in Africa, and the minerals are exported to Asia where they are processed and exported to other parts of the world. He said that this cannot continue and Africa needs to also process mineral resources so, there is value capture here before exports take place, and Africa can expand its mining capacity.   
  • Zubairu said; “Africa needs to expand its mining capacity, more minerals should be sourced, mined, and processed here on the continent. More investments in adaptation will increase infrastructural capacity.” 

 

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