CAPITALDIGEST DAILY NEWS, 20/2/2023
REHABILITATION OF REFINERIES WILL REDUCE FUEL SCARCITY –NNPC
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has said it plans to reduce fuel scarcity and increase dependence on natural gas through the rehabilitation of three refineries. The company’s Executive Vice President, Danladi Inuwa, disclosed this on Wednesday during a sensitisation programme with The Natives, a civil society organisation in Abuja. He also revealed that the Port-Harcourt refinery will start operations by the second quarter of 2023 adding that the Warri and Kaduna stations have been contracted for quick rehabilitation. The programme titled, “Understanding our national oil company post-Petroleum Industry Act” was aimed at enlightening the public and moving citizens’ involvement from protests to participation in the decision-making process of the profit-oriented company. The president of the group, Olalekan Edwards, in his address, voiced concerns about citizen participation in influencing key project decisions in host communities, noting that the narrative needed to change from protests to participation in key decisions. He said, “The accurate picture here is we want to change the narrative from protest to participation “We most times address them at the aftereffect of misapplication of funds or projects that are not in developmental the communities, so we have decided to rise up. If you go to different host communities, you will hear issues that boil down to their development“We are placing a demand, we want to begin to participate in our affairs rather than just protest”, he argued.Responding, the Vice president explained that by becoming a limited liability company, the company has been able to invest in infrastructure and initiate various corporate responsibility initiatives to spur development while ensuring energy security. He said, “We have the mandate to ensure energy security for the nation. We are focusing on monetising our gas which is evident in some of the key projects like the AKK project. This is all done to ensure NNPC is fulfilling its mandate and spurring development.
OPENS PORTAL FOR OLD NAIRA NOTES DEPOSITS
The Central Bank of Nigeria has opened a portal for the collection of old naira notes from people who still have the notes with them. The banking regulator opened the portal on its website, days after banks started rejecting the old denominations. On the portal, crs.cbn.gov.ng, depositors are required to fill in their Bank Verification Number, phone number, email address, bank details, address, the amount to be deposited as well as the denominations to be deposited, after which a reference number would be generated. With the reference number, the depositor could track the status of the deposit through the portal. The depositor was also expected to visit a CBN branch with a printout of the filled form. This occurred despite the adjournment of the case on the legality of the February 10, 2023 deadline for old notes by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, which adjourned the case till February 22, 2023, had also said the old naira notes remained legal tender until its next hearing of the case on February 22. A guideline on the deposit of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 banknotes showed that the process commenced on Wednesday and would run till Friday, February 17. To deposit old notes at a CBN branch, customers would be required to have a completed online application form, copy of valid means of identification and a completed teller. Once the account is verified, the equivalent of the cash would then be deposited in the customer’s bank account. “The CBN branches do not open accounts for individuals. As such, individuals who wish to deposit their old, redesigned notes must have an active account with a Deposit Money Bank. “Individuals who wish to deposit their old, redesigned notes are required to be orderly and comply with the instructions of the security personnel and other staff when in the Bank’s premises. If validation turns out negative, the Bank will return the unvalidated old, redesigned notes in the form deposited,” the guideline read.
MORE LISTINGS ON CAPITAL MARKET CAN BOOST GOVT REVENUE, DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH
The CEO, Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), Mr. Temi Popoola has called on the federal government to explore the capital market to boost revenue and stimulate the sustainable economic growth required to increase wealth and reduce poverty in Nigeria. In a recent interview, Popoola specifically advocated for more government incentives to motivate companies to list on NGX as a means of boosting tax revenue to GDP ratio, which currently stands at six per cent. According to him, “The reality is that because listed firms must adhere to regulatory requirements and corporate governance standards in order to maintain their listing on the Exchange, they are typically more consistent and reliable with their tax compliance. “Consequently, the more companies we can get to list, the more revenue the government can make.” The CEO who spoke extensively on what the institution’s top priorities are for the year noted that the Exchange is looking to address some age-long issues bordering on new listings which will, in turn, deepen trade. Recall that in December 2022, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) approved NGX’s Technology Board rules which permit it to list fintech start-ups and tech companies on the Exchange. In order to push its digital transformation agenda, NGX had gone one step further and established an advisory panel on digital technology products. The Panel would give the Exchange a platform to communicate with the capital market community and the fintech ecosystem to enhance and increase NGX’s digital product offerings. “We are interested in expanding beyond financial services, the construction industry and Telco. For instance, NGX admitted the first-Generation power company, Geregu Power Plc on the Exchange in 2022 and BUA foods which led to the deepening of the market and a fair representation of GDP. The Agric industry is one sector that has been often said to be underrepresented on the Exchange. As we move to get such listings, we are also looking for companies and sectors with low representation in order to promote a market with equal representation.”
BANKS MAY DELAY FOREIGN LOANS REPAYMENT, SAYS MOODY’S
The Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigerian banks may delay payment of foreign currency loans due to scarce dollar resources, Moody’s Investors Service has said. Rated local lenders have placed about $10.4bnn with the central bank in the form of derivative transactions including swaps and forwards, Moody’s analysts including Mik Kabeya and Lynn Merhi, said in a report on Thursday. According to the analysts, there is a risk the apex bank may temporarily prolong repayment of these loans beyond their maturity date because of a shortage of foreign currency. They said, “There is a risk that the central bank may decide to temporarily prolong those contracts beyond their original maturity date.” According to the report, the CBN’s dollar obligations is about one-third of the country’s foreign-exchange reserves of $37bn as of January. It stated that the apex bank has had to ration dollar supply to the economy to reduce pressure on the reserves which declined from $40bn in December after the country failed to take advantage of higher oil prices to boost output. Moody stated that many lenders, conscious of the effect a payment delay may have on their operations, had reduced the duration of the derivative contracts and the size of the amounts placed with the central bank by cutting the tenor of such contracts to 12 months from 24 months. It said, “A material delay in repayment could lead to the banks facing their own foreign-currency shortages and could constrain their ability to repay their own foreign currency liabilities.” It further stated that the central bank has a strong record of repaying its obligations
SOLVE TRADE BARRIERS, WORLD BANK TELLS NIGERIA, OTHERS
In order to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area, non-tariff barriers and hurdles affecting cross-border goods crossings must be addressed, according to the World Bank Group. In a new report titled “Can African trade integration be a game changer?”, the Washington-based bank noted that the AfCFTA, which hopes to connect 54 countries with a combined population of 1.3 billion and GDP of $3.4tn, has several challenges to overcome. It noted that African businesses should also see the opportunities, as its research suggests that the agreement has the potential to bring significant economic and social benefits in the form of faster economic growth, higher incomes, and less poverty. The World Bank also stated that in addition to ministries of trade involved in the negotiations, other governmentagencies in each country should also become familiar with AfCFTA and learn the key role they may be called to play in its implementation on the ground. It added that tackling non-tariff barriers and hurdles affecting cross-border crossings of goods was paramount, as well as reducing barriers to trade in services because each country has its own regulations covering industries such as logistics and transport, financial services, tourism, and communications. The report partly read, “The agreement faces several challenges. However. the African private sector, including SMEs that could benefit from AfCFTA, should become more familiar with the different chapters of the treaty and learn how the topics addressed – such as the liberalisation of trade in services – can be leveraged to boost their businesses. “So, signing the agreement is just the first step. It will take much more to unlock AfCFTA’s potential gains in trade, investment, and jobs. African nations will need to support the AfCFTA Permanent Secretariat, based in Accra, Ghana, which is charged with administering the agreement.