The National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria, or NBS, has reported at the start of September that the value of Nigeria’s capital imports fell to $1.29 billion. This means that there is an active decline of 77.88 percent in the value. This is especially troublesome considering the fact that during the first quarter of 2020 the capital import used to be $5.85 billion.
This means that cumulatively, on a year-to-year basis, the drop amounted to a whopping 78.60 percent from what it used to be in the second financial quarter of 2019 ($6.05 billion).
It is no secret that this large decline is largely attributed to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic which is currently plaguing the world. Nigeria is not the only country that has been affected by the global problem. Almost every other country in the world is having financial problems with global economies like the US and UK shrinking by 20%. In Nigeria during the period between April and June the Foreign Direct Investment, or FDI, calculated in equities and other capital, has fallen by 30.65 percent on a quarterly and by 33.41 percent on yearly basis. The current number is sitting at $148.59 million. According to NDS, the FDI accounts for almost 12 percent of the total capital that has been imported in the second quarter of 2020. One of the leading causes is portfolio investment (equities, bonds, foreign exchange market, etc). These investments accumulate to 29.76 percent of the total inflow of foreign money. This unit has fallen by an incredible 91.06 percent just between the first and second quarters of 2020 to $385.32 million.
Major capital investment contributor is classified under “other investment” and comprises trade credits, currency deposits, loans, etc. The statistics show that these types of investments account for as much as 58.77 percent of total imported capital or $761.03 million. The decline here is also quite visible as there is a drop of 42.81 percent on quarter to quarter and 48.60 percent on yearly basis.
According to the report made by the NDS, during these times of crisis, Great Britain has become a major capital investor of Nigeria in the second quarter where the inflow of money shows $428.83 million. This is 33.12 percent of the total capital inflow in the second quarter of 2020.
The largest capital importing state is still considered to be Lagos with $1.13 billion or 87.30 percent of the total capital inflow in Q2 of 2020 closely followed by the states of Abuja and Ogun in second and third positions. However, the difference of capital investment here is quite troubling since Abuja has only $145.30 million and the Ogur state is netting $11 million which are 11.20 percent and 0.85 percent of the capital importing total.
The foreign exchange market (Forex, FX) in Nigeria is starting to boom though. Due to the novel coronavirus which has left a huge number of residents unemployed and others locked up in their own homes the number of people who started researching additional ways to generate income has increased by a significant amount. Forex has proved to be a useful instrument in this battle against unemployment. The educational material is freely available online, so it isn’t far from reality that anyone with a decent computer, smartphone, or even a tablet could go through some materials over the internet.
Choosing a proper, licensed broker is also quite an endeavor. However, it is made easier due to the efforts of regulatory bodies that work hard on licensing these firms which afterward have the ability to offer reliable services. If you’re a trader, you can read online forex reviews here to choose your desired broker, test the waters with a demo account, invest, and start trading currency pairs. It is a unique opportunity for people living in developing countries that do not have enough finances to manage the Coronavirus pandemic. This has been successfully done by countries like South Africa, which has introduced its own regulatory body – Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) – that managed to put the country on the global playfield with the South African rand now becoming the 18th most traded currency on Forex globally.
The reason FX is profitable now is because of the Nigerian naira pushing the limits. The currency has become stronger during the last couple of months (everything is comparable) but this can be largely attributed to the fact that the decrease in imports leaves more focus on exports which directly translates to the strengthening of the local currency. However, the margin at which it strengthened leaves something to desire more. Unfortunately, the Nigerian naira has been devaluing for a very long time now and unless something changes in the inner politics of the nation it is not going to improve. The devaluation happens due to the oil prices jumping around constantly. Nigeria is extremely dependent on the crude price. This has gone to the extent where there are multiple exchange rate policies for naira. Currently, it is sitting around N381 which is a 21 point increase from what it used to be prior to the lockdown.
Nigerians Spend N2.6trn On Data, Airtime In Nine Months
MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa have revealed that the amount spent on airtime and data by Nigerian telecom subscribers rose to at least N2.59 trillion in the first nine months of 2023.
According to the financial statements of the two telecommunication companies, this amounts to a 32.57 per cent increase from the N1.95 trillion both telcos recorded from both income sources in the corresponding period of 2022.
The increase in voice and data venue was partially driven by rising data subscriptions and the devaluation of the naira on Airtel’s part.
In the first nine months of 2022, Airtel made $1.41bn from airtime and data. When converted at the exchange rate of N461/$ which was obtained at the time, it amounted to N647.71billion.
In the same period of 2023, the company’s income from these two revenue sources amounted to $1.29 billion.
When converted at the exchange rate of N777/$ at the time, it amounted to N1.003 trillion.
On MTN’s part, increasing data revenues continue to fuel the company’s overall revenue growth. Data revenues grew by 36.36 per cent year-on-year, while voice revenues only grew by 10.64 per cent, indicating a rise in the usage of the Internet in the country.
Commenting on this growth, MTN said, “Data revenue grew by 36.4 per cent on increased usage and data conversion in new and existing base”.
The firm stated that data usage on its network grew by 29.1 per cent in the period under review.
It noted that “Data usage (GB per user) grew by 29.1 per cent to 8.6GB, and the number of smartphones on our network increased by 7.6 per cent, bringing smartphone penetration to 53.4 per cent, up 1.4pp YoY.
“Consequently, we recorded a 46.3 per cent growth in data traffic, with the 4G network accounting for 83.7 per cent of the total traffic (up 5.2pp YoY)”.
On its part, Airtel recorded an increase in data usage per customer to 5.9 GB per month. The firm highlighted, “Data revenue grew by 29.3 per cent in constant currency, driven by data customer base growth of 17.4 per cent and data ARPU growth of 12.3 per cent.
“Data usage per customer increased by 23.8 per cent to 5.9 GB per month (from 4.8 GB in the prior period). Our continued 4G network rollout has resulted in nearly 100 per cent of all our sites delivering 4G services”, it stated.
Increased Internet usage because of a rise in video streaming pushed the amount telecom consumers spent on telecom services to N3.86 trillion in 2022.
LCCI Faults FG’s $1trn GDP Projections
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said the macro-economic projections in the Federal Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) are not sufficient to achieve the $1 trillion economy target it set to achieve by 2029.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Yemi Cardoso, had last weekend restated the commitment of the government to realising the GDP target.
Reviewing Cardoso’s statement, the Director General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, explained that the basis for government’s projection contains some inconsistencies that will make it unachievable.
She said, “LCCI is aware of the enormous challenges and the uphill task before the CBN in ensuring macro-economic stability and restoring investors’ confidence.
“However, we note the inconsistencies between the Federal Government’s vision of achieving a $1 trillion economy in the next six years and the MTEF.
“The macro-economic projections in the MTEF state that the economy will grow by 3.76 percent 4.22 percent, and 4.78 percent in 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. We note that the projected growths are sub-optimal to achieve a $1trillion GDP by 2029, which implies an average growth of 21 percent over the next six years”.
Almona commended the CBN’s plan to review the minimum capital base of banks, but cautioned the apex bank to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
She, however, said, “The Chamber appreciates the intellectual humility of the Governor in admitting the errors or mistakes of the past, particularly in the areas of corporate governance failures, diminished institutional autonomy of CBN, deviation from the core mandate of the bank, and unorthodox use of monetary tools and foray into fiscal activities under the cover of development finance activities.
“As we advance, we challenge the current CBN team to ensure professionalism and integrity and rebuild the trust of the general public.
“On recapitalization of banks, we commend the plan of CBN to review the minimum capital base of banks due to consistent devaluation of the Naira, which has eroded the capital base of banks, attracted significant investment into banks, as well as increased the capacity of banks to provide the required support for the economy.
“However, we caution the CBN to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
“Given the sensitivity of monetary policy and price stability, we urge the CBN to ensure transparency and synergy between monetary and fiscal authorities and effectively communicate significant changes in policy direction”.
By: Corlins Walter
Firm Urges FG To Attract Foreign Investment
Multinational professional services firm, EY has advised the Federal Government to improve on its investment attractiveness as a way of building on previous year’s fortunes.
Senior Partner and Head of Markets, EY West Africa, Ashish Bakhshi, while sharing insights on a newly released report on Foreign Direct Investments for 2022, said Nigeria needed to improve on FDIs to achieve the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“Africa’s leaders will need to adopt pragmatism as they respond to a new geopolitical world order so that its member states can optimize the full spectrum of inbound investment opportunities, which will be essential in meeting Africa’s aspirations for a more equitable, wealthier and urbanised middle-class society”, the report read in part.
It stated further that “Last year saw Africa’s return as a top investment destination hub for global investors. The continent had struggled to attract investment since the onset of COVID-19 and took longer than other regions to recover, as a result of its delayed vaccine rollout and therefore its ability to reopen its 54 national economies.
“To this, its growth lagged pre-pandemic levels for longer than it did in mature markets, setting back the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“The new report, released by EY, a global multinational professional services firm, uncovered that FDI attracted more than 730 projects across the continent in 2022, injecting $194 billion in capital and creating 154,000 jobs.
“Significantly, Egypt saw a record of $ 107 billion in capital for its 149 FDI projects. In East Africa, Kenya dominated the FDI landscape while Nigeria was the leading country in West Africa.
“The countries came in third and fourth respectively for the largest FDI regions on the continent”.
The EY’s 13th Africa Attractiveness report tagged “A Pivot to Growth”, provides insights into the continent FDI, exposing that the 2022 calendar year saw a strong FDI rebound, led by Renewables inflows, with the West being the largest investor, while the North and Southern hubs of Africa were key beneficiaries.
A notable highlight of the report shows that CleanTech became the largest FDI recipient sector in 2022, leading Africa’s FDI for the first time.
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