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N350bn Fund: Experts Advise NLC To Shelve Proposed Strike

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President, Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe Courtois (left) and Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, during a visit of Microsoft team to Government House in Lagos on Monday.

President, Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe Courtois (left) and Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, during a visit of Microsoft team to Government House in Lagos on Monday.

Some financial experts
have advised the NLC to shelve its proposed strike in view of the disruption it could bring to the planned injection of N350 billion to the economy this week.
The Tide learnt that the Federal Government plans to start releasing the N350 billion it intended to use quarterly to “reflate” the economy this week.
The experts said in Lagos that the strike would have ripple effects on the economy, particularly the capital market if it was not nipped in the bud.
Prof. Uche Uwaleke, the Head of Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University, Lafia, said the strike was not necessary now in view of the planned injection of the fund.
Uwaleke said the release of the fund would increase activities at the equity end of the capital market.
“The major factor that will revive the stock market this week is the release of N350 billion for capital projects as widely reported last week”.
Alhaji Rasheed Yussuf, a former President, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), said there was the need to sustain investor’s positive reaction to the resolution of the 2016 budget impasse.
Yussuf said investors’ expectation of faithful implementation of the capital budget contributed to the current capital market rebound.
He said that implementation of capital projects would lead to creation of jobs and increased demand for goods and services.
“The overall effect will be that manufacturing companies will make more profit and that will lead to strong demand for their shares.
“So, the market is expected to continue to show a strong progress.
“When capital vote is released, it means uncompleted projects and new projects will commence,” he said.
Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., Lagos, said the release of funds would boost investors’ confidence in the capital market.
Meanwhile, the NSE All-Share Index last week appreciated by 739.43 points or 2.88 per cent to close at 26,441.03 against 25,701.60 posted in the previous week.
Also, the market capitalization, which opened at N8.841 trillion, grew by N258 billion or 2.92 per cent to close at N9.099 trillion.
Tiger Brand led the gainers’ table in percentage terms by 50.13 per cent or N2 to close at N5.99 per share.
It was followed by Diamond Bank which gained 44.29 per cent or 62k to close at N2.02, while FCMB Group increased by 30.30 per cent or 30k to close at N1.29 per share.
On the other hand, University Press topped the losers’ chart during the week in percentage terms by 14.21 per cent or 81k to close at N4.89 per share.
MRS Nigeria trailed with a loss of 9.73 per cent or N4.36 to close at N40.47, while Caverton dropped by 8.48 per cent or 14k to close at N1.51 per share.
A turnover of 1.83 billion shares worth N14.47 billion were exchanged in 20,058 deals last week in contrast to the 910.66 million shares valued at N6.41 billion traded in 15,023 deals in the preceding week.
The Financial Services sector led the activity chart in volume terms, accounting for 1.47 billion shares worth N10.69 billion in 11,038 deals.
The Conglomerate sector followed with a total of 187.03 million shares valued at
N313.29 million exchanged in 1,545 deals.
The third place was occupied by the Consumer Goods industry with turnover of 74.73 million shares worth N2.05 billion achieved in 3,633 deals.

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Nigeria’s Revenue-To-GDP Ratio Lowest, Private Sector Choking – World Bank

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Nigeria’s revenue-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio, which fell to between five and six per cent last year, is the lowest in the world, the World Bank said on Monday.
The Country Director for Nigeria, World Bank, Dr Shubham Chaudhuri, said this during a panel session at a virtual public sector seminar with the theme ‘Nigeria in challenging times: imperatives for a cohesive national development agenda’ organised by the Lagos Business School.
Chaudhuri, who stressed the need for private investment for the country to realise its potential, said the private sector in the country ‘is struggling to breathe’.
“In Nigeria, I think the basic economic agenda is about diversification away from oil because oil has really been like resource curse for Nigeria on multiple dimensions,” he said.
He noted the aspiration of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by the end of the decade.
He said, “Nigeria is a country with tremendous potential. If you look at the synopsis for this panel, it suggests that Nigeria is at a critical juncture – almost at the moment of crisis.
“Despite all of that, Nigeria is still the largest economy in Africa. So, just think about the potential that Nigeria has because of its natural resources, but more than that, because of its dynamism and all of its population. Nigerians are more entrepreneurial by nature.
“No country has become prosperous and realised its potential, eliminated poverty without doing two simple things: investing in its people, and unleashing the power of the private sector in creating jobs by investing and growing business. And then, of course, the basic function of the state is to provide security and law and order.”
According to Chaudhuri, to invest in people entails basic services, basic education, primary healthcare and nutrition, among others.
He said, “On this, Nigeria at the moment ranks sixth from the bottom in terms of the human capital index that we produce every year.
“So, obviously, there is a huge agenda in terms of investing in human capital. Nigeria spends more on PMS (premium motor spirit) subsidy than it does on primary healthcare in a year, and we know who the PMS subsidy is benefitting.”
He indicated that despite the country’s huge potential to attract private capital, the non-oil part of the economy ‘is not growing that robustly and certainly not generating revenues that the government needs’.
Chaudhuri said, “So, we see as priorities investments in human capital. But for that, one needs revenues. And there again, Nigeria unfortunately has the distinction of having about the lowest revenue-to-GDP ratio in the world.
 ”The standard rule of thumb is that for government to provide the basic services and law and order, it needs between 15 to 20 per cent of GDP as being revenue, and this will be both at the federal and state levels combined.
“In Nigeria, it was eight per cent in 2019. In 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis and with the fall in oil prices, that went down to about between five and six per cent.
“So, domestic revenue mobilisation is huge. And then the third is enabling the space for private investment. You have to fix the power problem. Power is like the oxygen of an economy. In Nigeria, the private sector is struggling to breathe.”

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CBN Stops Sale Of Forex To BDCs

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as announced immediate discontinuation of sale of Foreign Exchange (forex) to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor , made this announcement yesterday, while presenting a communique from the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.
Emefiele said that the decision was informed by the unwholesome business practices of the BDCs, which he said had continued to put enormous pressure on the Naira.
He  said ,  henceforth,  the apex bank would sell forex to deserving Nigerians through the commercial banks.
“ The BDCs were regulated to sell a maximum of 5000  dollars per day,  but CBN observed that they have since been flouting that regulation and selling millions of dollars per day.
“The CBN also observed that the BDCs aid illicit financial flows and other financial  crimes.  The bank has thus, decided to discontinue the sale of forex to the BDCs with immediate effect.
“We shall, henceforth,  channel all forex allocation through the commercial banks,” he said.
He urged the commercial banks to ensure that every deserving customer got their forex demand,  adding that any bank found circumventing  the new system would be sanctioned.
“Once a customer presents all required documentation to purchase forex, the commercial banks should ensure they get the forex.
“Any customer that is denied should contact the CBN on 0700385526 or through the email- cbd@cbn.gov.ng “ he said.
The Tide source reports that stakeholders have been calling on the CBN and its MPC to take urgent steps to halt unending depreciation of the Naira.
Recently,  a past President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN),  Mr Okechukwu Unegbu,  urged the MPC to focus on policy decisions that would curb rising inflation and stabilise the Naira.

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RSG To Privatise Songhai, Fish Farms

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There are strong indications that the Rivers State Government has concluded plans to privatise the moribund Songhai Farm in Tai and Fish Farm in Buguma.
The State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Amb. Desmond Akawor, gave this indication while appearing in a phone-in radio programme organised by Silverbird Communications in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
He explained that the previous administration in the state failed to put in place a sustainability programme for these farms, hence they went moribund.
In order to reverse the situation, he said that the present administration was now contemplating a rehabilitation scheme to be driven by a privatisation policy to enable those investments come on stream.
He said the scheme had reached an advanced stage and is to executed by the State Ministry of Agriculture.
On the issue of job creation, Akawor said the administration of Chief Nyesom Wike was using the various construction projects around the state to empower the youths.
He explained that the government had floated a special scholarship scheme in Law and Medical Sciences to create opportunities for young people in various professions.
He called on the opposition to desist from de-marketing the state through propaganda as it’s capable of scaring investors away from the state.
Akawor insisted that the Wike led administration has provided an enabling environment for businesses to thrive through infrastructure and improved security.

By: Kevin Nengia

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