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CBN and its Initiatives to Shore up Nigeria’s Wobbly Economy

Since the coming on board of President Buhari and his fellow “change agents” in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, one recurring theme in the governance debate remains the fundamental question of how to create national wealth in such a consistent and sustainable way as to rescue the entire economy from its sluggish growth.

Buhari and Emefiele Even in the pre-APC years when the economy was growing at a much higher rate, top fiscal and monetary policy big wigs were at odds about how to translate the high growth numbers into real outcomes in terms of jobs, reduced inequalities and significant reduction of poverty.

In the era of Buharinomics however, not only were the growth numbers abysmally low, the drivers of growth have not been expanding enough to catch up with the realities of an exponential growth in population, an increased number of Nigerians living below the poverty line, and the ever-present problem of an economy not creating the sufficient number of jobs.

It was therefore not surprising that in 2016 for instance, the economy nose-dived into a biting recession from which it struggled to emerge in the fourth quarter of 2017.

There were also other far-reaching consequences; Nigeria by 2018 had overtaken India as the country with the highest number of people living below the poverty line. It was no doubt a classic case of jumping frying pan to fire; from an economy of jobless growth to one which had produced many more poor people.

In the face of these difficulties, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with Governor Godwin Emefiele had its work cut out for it within the context of speedily providing the fiscal and monetary policy responses to address the challenges in the economy. However, the innovative stroke applied by the CBN helmsman went beyond the traditional tinkering relating to interest rates and foreign exchange controls.

The CBN came to terms with the dire need to intervene in the economy in such ways and manners, which would activate the big drivers of growth and jobs. This long list of interventions sought to unleash the potentials of Nigeria’s hitherto dormant non-oil sectors through catalytic funding in order to pull the economy up by its bootstraps.

The CBN presents these raft of interventions as “development finance,” a fitting allusion to the notion that beyond its routine motions, much more fundamental steps need to be taken to drive growth, create wealth and begin the process of banishing poverty. In agriculture, for instance, the CBN’s Agricultural Credit Support Scheme (ACSS) has a prescribed fund of N50 billion.

According to the bank, the ACSS was introduced to enable farmers to exploit the untapped potentials of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, reduce inflation, lower the cost of agricultural production, generate surplus for export, increase Nigeria’s foreign earnings as well as diversify its revenue base.

At the national level, the scheme operates through a Central Implementation Committee (CIC) while at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and State levels, the Scheme operates through State Implementation Committees (SICs) instituted to ensure that the objectives are realized across the states of the federation.

There is also the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, CACS, which is operated in two tranches of N100 billion each to provide finance for the country’s agricultural value chain in the areas of production, processing, storage and marketing. The CBN is of the view that increased production arising from the intervention would moderate inflationary pressures and assist the Bank to achieve its goal of price stability in the country.

As a mark of its readiness to support the non-oil growth drivers, the CBN under Emefiele has aptly recognized the need to finance industries, which hold the key to jobs, and poverty reduction. Nigeria’s creativity sector is definitely one of such big growth engine.

Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood continues to make a strong showing on the global stage, not only because of the volume of output as some critics would allege but also because the industry is leveraging on the Nigerian capacity for drama.

As the creative industry takes advantage of innovation and new media technologies to captures the attention and imagination of the globe, it amounts to a smart move to make available the financial resources it needs to fully realize its potentials.

The CBN is there well on the mark with its decision to significantly fund the sector through Creative Industry Intervention Fund, which would provide loans of up to N500 million to entrepreneurs in the sector.

The massive potentials of this sector would be seen in the trailblazing efforts of one of Nollywood’s leading lights, Genevieve Nnaji, whose well-received film, LionHeart was bought by Netflix, the global online film store for a reported $3.5 million.

With more of these kinds of financial support, which the CBN is pioneering, Nigerian entrepreneurs in the creative sector would go on to do greater things by leveraging on the new climate of global opportunities. It is equally pertinent to add that CBN’s efforts to unleash the potentials in the creative sector directly targets the youth, who bear the brunt of Nigeria’s high unemployment rate, which stood at 29.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Source: vanguardngr

Stanford Commits to $4.7 Billion for Housing, Transit, Public Education

Stanford University is offering $3.4 billion in housing and $1.3 billion for transit and public education benefits as it faces pushback over a proposed 2.3 million-square-foot academic expansion over the next two decades.

The school said in a letter Monday to Santa Clara County that it would spend $3.4 billion to construct 575 affordable housing units and 1,597 market-rate housing units. All the affordable units and 1,015 of the market-rate units would be built first, before 25% of the academic buildings are constructed over the next 20 years.

At least 1,115 of the units and an additional 2,600 beds for student housing would be built on Stanford’s land.

But Joe Simitian, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, which must approve the expansion, said the school’s proposal is inadequate.

“If something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” he said. “It doesn’t address the underlying concerns around traffic, housing and open space.”

Stanford’s expansion is expected to lead to 9,610 more people — including students, staff and faculty — on campus each day. Santa Clara County staff called on Stanford to build 2,172 housing units and 2,600 student beds on campus.

Simitian said Stanford’s proposal lacks enough housing in part because it includes the 650-unit Graduate Residences in Escondido Village, which is under construction and set to open in the fall. That development is meant to address existing demand, he said.

The county Planning Commission will consider the project on Thursday and will eventually make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, where a final vote could come in the fall.

Stanford said the benefits package is the largest in its history. It comes a week after Google committed to a $1 billion housing package in an effort to build 20,000 housing units. Major Bay Area employers including Facebook, Wells Fargo and Kaiser Permanente have also committed to invest in housing.

“The Stanford community is confronting the serious regional challenges of affordability, housing availability and traffic congestion, and we’re working to do our part to promote solutions that serve Stanford and our neighbors,” Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement. “This offer reflects our values as a residential university committed to sustainable development and service to the community.”

The school would also pay $30.3 million in funds for transit improvements and spend $1.1 billion on a transit program. Stanford committed an additional $138.4 million in economic benefits for the Palo Alto Unified School District, including a $15 million innovation space.

Stanford and the school district reached the agreement in April.

“With an average per pupil allocation of $7,050, over the life of our deal, we believe we reached a mutually beneficial agreement through an interest-based bargaining approach. Stanford told us they would be true to their word and they have 100%,” said Don Austin, superintendent of the school district, in a statement.

In April, the county suspended negotiations with Stanford. The two sides have clashed over ordinances that require Stanford to pay affordable housing fees and build 16% of affordable housing in new buildings. The school wants the laws repealed and says it will still meet the requirements in the new proposal.

“So far, the university has not been inclined to fully mitigate the impact of its development,” said Simitian.

Source: sfchronicle

Real Estate: Harsh Operating Environment Threatening Business- Developer

Against the backdrop of the severe and harsh economic climate the real estate sector of the nation’s economy has found itself at least in the last three years in which business continuity is now being threatened, operators in the sector have no option than to engage in innovative thinking and actions, just as they have to diversify their revenue if they must remain in business.

Reviewing the performance of real estate sector at the just concluded 10th Annual General Meeting of Propertygate Development and Investment Plc in the year ended December 2018 in Lagos, at the weekend, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos-based real estate development company, Mr. Adetokunbo Ajayi, said “The last few years have been very challenging for the sector.

It recorded negative real GDP growth for the last three consecutive years (-6.86 percent in 2016, -4.27 percent in 2017 and -4.74 percent in 2018) respectively.

“Unfortunately, many of the factors accounting for the struggle of the sector are still much with us. Many operators in real estate development and services space have been hard hit by the lingering slowdown in the sector. They have suffered from acute revenue shortage to severe liquidity crunch.

“These have had devastating impact on many operators, even threatening their business continuity. Going forward is not an easy task, as some of the challenges are systemic in nature. However, innovative thinking and actions are required on the part of operators.

The need for diversification of revenue should be taken very seriously in view of the experience of the last three years. “Having a mono income source can put an operator in a severe strain when the business climate of the income source begins to falter.

Operators may also have to rethink their business structure and other operational strategy issues, products and services offering, funding mechanics and other fundamental issues critical to corporate success. “It is high time for vibrant industry groups to emerge, to seriously engage and collaborate with governmental authorities and other stakeholders on burning issues affecting the sector”, Ajayi noted.

According to him, Propertygate intends to focus its attention mainly on real estate development, pointing out that the company has over a decade operated more as a development trading company, adding that going forward, it intends to do more in development for investment for strategic reasons.

“Propertygage is exiting property advisory services. With exit from advisory offering, the company is currently holding a significant stake in PG Readzon Services, a real estate and allied services firm. This will help the revenue diversification goal of the company.

It intends to push the diversification goal forward by deliberately pursuing investments in other carefully selected areas and ventures. “The company continues to recognize that people are central to its drive in building a sustainable business institution. It will strive to recruit, develop, motivate and reward needed personnel, who will help its vision, mission and corporate goals.

The Board which has been a major pillar of the company gave needed support in critical areas including driving corporate governance during the year 2018, and has pledged its commitment to do more in future.

“The customers, who are our other major stakeholders, will continue to occupy a supreme position in our considerations and actions. We will also not fail to give due attention and regards to all our other stakeholders”, Propertygate boss assured.

On operating environment during the period under review, he said the year 2018, was dominated   by flurry of political activities, as the country prepared for general elections that were scheduled for early 2019. He revealed that investments, local and foreign, slowed down as the year drew to an end.

“Some investors (corporate and individuals) held back, and would not commit until after the elections. On the economic front, the country recorded a GDP growth of 1.93 percent by the end of 2018. That was an improvement compared to 0.82 percent  growth recorded in 2017. The year also ended on a positive note with a GDP growth of 2.38 percent in the last quarter of 2018.

“Looking at the performance of the real estate sector during the period, the results disclosed a sector in troubled waters. It recorded a negative annual  real GDP   growth  of -4.74  percent  for  the year; a   further   decline compared to   -4.27  percent recorded in 2017. Quarter 4 result was equally negative, with a real GDP growth of -3.85  percent.

Source: vanguardngr

More Housing Delivery for Ogun Residents

The Acting Managing Director (MD) of the Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC), Mrs. Ibiyemi Adesoye, has residents of the corporation’s readiness to deliver more affordable housing units to individuals and corporate bodies.

Adesoye spoke when she led the corporation’s management team to visit the Deputy Governor, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, in her office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

The visit was to brief the deputy governor on the activities of OPIC, identify with her and tap from her wealth of experience as a guru in property development.

The MD noted that OPIC was established in September 1984, as a self-sustaining body, to drive focused economic growth through well planned property development activities and investments, especially along major border areas.

She said: “A major attraction for all OPIC Estates is the special consideration that is accorded security, peace and comfort of residents and tenants. The estates have schools, hospitals, police posts, shopping complexes and other basic infrastructure.”

Mrs. Salako-Oyedele thanked the team for the visit, saying one of the missions of the Dapo Abiodun led-government was to provide affordable housing to the people.

The deputy governor lauded the Family Home Funds initiative, and described it as an affordable and sensible project to embrace. She noted that for real estate to thrive, land must be available at the right place, adding that the present administration would engage more public-private partnership to invest in the state.

According to the deputy governor, the Ogun State Investment Promotion Council proposed by the government would ensure that a template is put in place to legalise and ensure good guide for business to thrive.

Source: thenationonlineng

Why you Need to Add Real Estate to Your Investment Portfolio

We all, to some extent, recognize the potential financial benefits we could get from real estate investing. It goes without saying that there are many benefits of investing in real estate that outweigh the costs, and you as an investor stand to enjoy a steady flow of income to secure financial freedom for the long haul.

Real estate has proven to be one of two major investment spikes to wealth growth, the other being financial market. The key to investment success is spreading your investment over a range of assets and this is what smart investors do. Creating a balanced portfolio means you are spreading your money across various asset classes: stocks, bonds, and real estate.

This year holds prospects for investors given the fact that the property market registered a positive growth of 0.93 percent in the first quarter of the current year, after 12-quarter contraction and the momentum is expected to be sustained as the broader economy continues to pick up.

Here are some benefits associated with real estate investing when you add the asset class to your portfolio.

Portfolio Diversification

Have you spoken to a financial planner about investing? If yes, then you must have been told about the importance of diversification.

When you diversify your portfolio, you are spreading out the risk. Real estate serves as safe tangible assets to minimize risk in your portfolio. This holds true because real estate reacts differently to economic conditions compared with equities and bonds.

Risk never disappears in the capital market and there are numerous factors beyond your control that can negatively impact on your investment but real estate gives you more control of your investment because your property is a tangible asset.

Value Appreciation

The secret to success in real estate is investing at the right time in the right location. If you’re aiming for both short and long-term gains in your investment portfolio, then real estate should be thrown in. One major benefit of real estate investing is the appreciation of capital assets (land) overtime. In other words, your property’s value will worth way more than 30 years now.

Steady Income

This is no brainer. Smart investors diversify to real estate for the steady flow of cash they earn in the form of rental income. Depending on the location, you could be earning significant income to cover your expenses, with extra income in your pocket. Urban centers tend to reap higher income because demand is high in those areas.

If chosen wisely, you can secure a steady income flow for a long time, and even save for retirement. And you do not have to stop investing in one property a time; you can increase the pace and invest in multiple properties, to increase your positive cash flows.

Long-term financial security

One of the big rewards of diversifying your portfolio to real estate is financial security in the long haul. Owning a property gives investors a sense of security because of the property’s appreciation in value overtime. This means your property’s value will most likely increase because land and building are appreciating asset.

With this, you have peace of mind that you have enough money saved to meet emergencies and future financial goals.

Hedge against inflation

An inflation hedge means you are investing in an asset expected to maintain or increase its value over a specified period of time. This is why inflation is considered a hedge against inflation since property value tends to increase in times of inflation.

Real estate investors embrace inflation because as the cost of living increases, so also their cash flows. It is an appreciative long-term investment with inflation-adjusted rental income.

By investing across different asset classes over long periods of time, you increase the likelihood of achieving your long-term investment targets. While having other asset classes in your portfolio is a smart move, but real estate has proven again and again that it is superior to other investment classes, and it is advisable you include it in your portfolio.

Source: BusinessdayNg

Cytonn Plans one Housing Project At A-Time

Real-estate market slowdown has seen Cytonn Investments adopt one project at-a-time strategy for its future investments.

Speaking in Nairobi when he launched its pension business, Cytonn executive director Edwin Dande said slow economic growth has hurt property sales across the real-estate market forcing it to change tack. The firm will start with the Sh4 billion Ruaka The Alma mixed-use development comprising 477 units where the first 123 units will be handed over to owners soon.

“We started in Karen, went to Kiambu and currently have 10 investor-ready mixed-use developments on our cards. Some projects were done and sold off, others are under development with the rest being prime plots secured for future developments.

“We are now concentrating on The Alma before embarking on our next project The Ridge next year and after that we will take on the next project, 18-villa development, aka Applewood Karen that sits on a 10 acres,” he said.

Mr Dande spoke when Cytonn launched its personal retirement benefits scheme product where individuals can contribute as low as Sh1,000 monthly via mobile phones.

Mr Dande said Cytonn had opted for digital platform to ease cost of managing the pension scheme as well as give Kenyans a simple and readily available online access to their savings accounts.

“The digital platform eases costs of operations for us and enables customers receive their personal accounts information instantly as well as advice on how to invest more for their retirement,” he said.

The firm also launched the Umbrella Retirement Savings Scheme targeting small and medium enterprises as well as an income drawdown fund where senior citizens can invest between Sh5 million and continue drawing a monthly stipend.

Source: businessdailyafrica

Experts say Infrastructure, Security, Channel Expansion will Position Nigerian ports as W/African hub

For Nigerian ports to attain hub status with capacity to attract transshipment cargoes (meant for landlocked countries), there is need for the Federal Government to invest in building supporting infrastructure, address waterways security concerns and improve efficiency in service delivery, experts say.

Landlocked countries are countries that lack territorial access to the sea and are geographically secluded from international markets. They, therefore, depend on neighbouring countries to transit their export and import cargo to other markets.

Owing to Nigeria’s location, its ports can serve as transit for import and export cargo for landlocked countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad.

But Nigerian ports are currently recording low throughput volume due to inefficiency, high cost of doing business, poor infrastructure and difficulty in hinterland connectivity.

“Infrastructure is critical to attaining the hub status. For example, Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports were planned over 20 to 30 years ago. The supporting infrastructure has not grown but the volume of cargoes in these ports has grown tremendously,” said Aamir Mirza, managing director, West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) located at Onne Port, Rivers State.

“The entire hinterland connecting infrastructure has to be upgraded along with the upgrading of the terminals to enable the handling of increased volume of cargo,” he said.

Nigerian-billed cargoes are currently diverted to other West African ports that run more efficient system with deeper depth and capacity to accommodate mega ships with 8,000-20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), findings show. Nigeria runs the risk of losing even more cargo if the challenges are left unaddressed.

Compared with Apapa, Nigeria’s premier port, which has 13 metres draft, the Port of Lome in Togo has draft of up to 15.5 metres, Cotonou Port has draft of 15 metres, Tema Port in Ghana to has draft level of 19 metres at the completion of the expansion, and Cameroon Container Terminal has 16 metres draft, according to a study tagged ‘Nigeria Poorest Rating of 183 on the Ease of Trading Across Borders’. The study did a comparative analysis of the waterways infrastructure of five West African ports including Nigeria.

Lucky Amewiro, managing director, Eyis Resources Ltd, promoters of the study, said the state of the nation’s seaports allows most Nigerian shipment to be shipped through other West African ports.

Amewiro said Nigeria lost the transit status to neighbouring West African ports due to lengthy and cumbersome procedure involved in cargo clearing, outdated procedure, lack of modern transit facilities, lack of transit module, and lack of coordinated government agencies.

“There is need to re-claim our cargo from neighbouring countries’ ports that are hub for Nigerian cargoes, by working out mechanism for a better developed regional hub to consolidate on the destination of Nigerian cargo that has been siphoned by regional ports,” he said.

Amewiro, a former member, Presidential Taskforce on the Reform of Nigeria Customs Service, said Nigeria needs to look into the issues of port inefficiency associated with unwholesome practices and manipulated delays by providers of shipping services and other government agencies which result in payment of high demurrage, rent and transaction cost.

“Nigeria Customs has not deployed the scanners that are required. An additional tool we need to deploy for trade facilitation is the single window. That is also another infrastructure ports in neighbouring countries have that make cargo clearance fast and seamless. If you deploy single window, every agency will now key into that,” said Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The port operational activities from the NPA show the number of vessels that called at the ports dropped by 7.3 percent to 969 in the third quarter of 2018, from 1,045 recorded in the same period in 2017. Containerised imports dropped by 9.9 percent to 368,976 TEUs, from 409,454 TEUs recorded in 2017.

Mirza of WACT said terminal operators were investing massively in terminal development to attract more cargo. However, the effort would be futile if the connectivity from the port to the hinterland was not reliable due to lack of government investment in fixing the roads, he said.

“Addressing the issue of waterways security for the shipping lines will help reduce the premium charge paid to vessel owners by importers due to security threats from pirate attacks. Dredging of channels will aid navigation, and investment in road construction will attract bigger ships to come to our ports,” he added.

Jonathan Nicol, president, Shippers Association of Lagos State, said Nigeria needs to bring back its importers who have taken their businesses to other countries by making the trade platforms simple.

“This government needs to look at the Ease of Doing Business by making reasonable adjustment in the system. We need to focus on removing risks and bottlenecks in the supply chain. Cargo clearing process is another problem we must address, and it includes the road problems,” Nicol said.

Source: BusinessdayNg

Emefiele’s Signal for Banks’ Recapitalisation Gains Wide Acceptance

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on Monday signalled plans to get the banks to recapitalise to a new level that makes them more resilient and rank among top 500 globally.

At a world press conference in Abuja where he outlined his agenda for the next five years as the head of the CBN, Emefiele said the present N25 billion capital base of banks was no longer sufficient, having been eroded substantially by the weakened naira.

He said at about N100 exchange rate in 2004, the N25 billion was about $200 million, but today, at N360 exchange rate, the amount is substantially lower than $75 million.

He said, however, that the proposed policy was subject to the final decision of the committee of governors who would then agree on the framework.

“The capitalisation has weakened quite substantially and it is time to recapitalise the banks once again,” Emefiele said.

Analysts believe that the recapitalisation of the Nigerian banking sector would help banks resilient to risks inherent in the macroeconomic space. This may, however, pose more challenge to mid-tier banks within the industry.

“It is our expectation that as more banks move to the adoption of the I&E FX rate for reporting purposes, there will be a need to shore up capital levels at some institutions. This is especially so, where foreign currency lending has been especially prevalent,” said Razia Khan, managing director/chief economist, Africa and Middle East Global Research, Standard Chartered Bank, London.

“We expect the process of capital-raising to be gradual, and to support the eventual recovery in lending growth from the Nigerian banking sector,” Khan said in an emailed response to BusinessDay.

The extent to which policy can play a more supportive role in helping bank loan growth has yet to be demonstrated, she said, adding that the need to balance domestic growth considerations with relative FX stability means that the pace of easing will need to be measured.

“The Nigerian economy is still vulnerable to shocks in the global market from trade tensions, volatility in crude oil prices, etc., which upon crystalising will have an effect on the banking sector, hence justifying the policy plan of the CBN,” Gbolahan Ologunro, research analyst at CSL Stockbrokers, said.

While increasing regulatory capital requirement should conveniently see the big lenders meet the new requirement (not disclosed yet), the struggle may be inherently more within the mid lenders.

While tier-one banks have recorded average capital adequacy ratio of about 20 percent above regulatory ratio of 15 percent, giving them more buffer ability to absorb shocks, mid-tier banks still lag behind with CARs below 20 percent.

However, CBN’s early announcement of its plans to recapitalise the banks should see management of these banks “be proactive to preserve their earnings to shore up their capital base”, Gbolahan said.

On the timing of the recapitalisation move by the CBN, Gbolahan said, “Although banks are still recovering from the 2015 economic crises, I don’t think the timing is inappropriate. We should expect the recapitalisation move the CBN by 2023.”

At the world press conference on Monday, Emefiele also committed that the CBN in the next five years would strive towards a single-digit inflation rate as well as help government attain the 5 percent growth target.

He said monetary policy measures embarked upon by the CBN would be geared towards containing inflationary pressures and supporting improved productivity in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

“Working with other stakeholders, we intend to bring down the cost of food items, which have considerable weight in the Consumer Price Index basket. Our ultimate objective is to anchor the public’s inflation expectation at single digits in the medium to long run,” he said.

Also in the next five years, he said, the CBN would work in developing a framework that would enable banks to securitise mortgage loans, which can then be sold in the capital markets.

The move to boost lending to the real estate sector of the economy through the securitisation of mortgage loans which will then be sold at the capital market is said to have the capacity to open up the economy for growth in areas of employment, investment and market deepening.

Securitisation is the conversion of an asset, especially a loan, into marketable securities, typically for the purpose of raising cash by selling them to other investors.

“The real estate sector development is important to creating jobs for both the skilled labour and unskilled labour, so any policy that frees more money to the real estate sector will have a multiplier effect on the economy of being able to provide job opportunity for artisans, professionals and also provide investment opportunity through securitisation for investors, hence deepen the market,” Ayo Akinwunmi, head of research at FSDH Merchant Bank, told BusinessDay.

The CBN has also moved the financial inclusion target from 80 percent in the year 2020 to 95 percent in 2024.

On exchange rate stability, the governor said the CBN would continue to operate a managed float exchange rate regime in order to reduce the impact which continuous volatility in the exchange rate could have on the economy.

“We will support measures that will increase and diversify Nigeria’s exports base and ultimately help in shoring up our reserves,” he said.

Reacting to this, Khan said continuation of a managed float has largely been anticipated by investors.

“While the need to preserve relative FX stability means that policy cannot be as loose as would otherwise be the case, this has not precluded the CBN from financing government,” Khan said.

Emefiele said the current enrolment of 38 million unique banking customers will be expanded to 100 million over the next five years, adding that ongoing partnership with NIMC would also enable integration between the two databases.

He further announced plans to aggressively implement the CBN’s N500 billion facility aimed at supporting the growth of non-oil exports, which will help to improve non-oil export earnings.

“We will launch a Trade Monitoring System (TRMS) in October 2019, which is an automated system that will reduce the length of time required to process export documents from 1 week to 1 day,” he stressed.

On targeted development finance, Emefiele said building on the success of Anchor Borrowers Programme and other intervention programmes geared towards supporting the growth of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, and in keeping with the recent presidential directives, the CBN intends to boost productivity growth through the provision of improved seedlings, as well as access to finance for rural farmers in the agricultural sector, across 10 different commodities – rice, maize, cassava, cocoa, tomato, cotton, oil-palm, poultry, fish, and livestock/dairy.

The choice of these 10 crops is driven by the amount spent on the importation of these items into the country and the over 10 million jobs that could be created over the next five years if efforts are made to expand cultivation and processing of these items in Nigeria, he said.

“We believe these measures will help to boost not only our domestic outputs but also improve our annual non-oil exports receipts from $2bn in 2018 to $12bn by 2023,” he said.

Source: BusinessdayNg

Minorities Struggle to Secure Homeownership

Information from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that homeownership rates for minorities fell to 64.2% in Q1 2019 from 64.8% in Q4 2018.

The “all minority” homeownership rate, which includes African American, Hispanic and “other households” (Asian, Native American, etc.), came in at 47.1% in Q1 2019—a slight year-over-year decrease from 48%, and a decline from 47.7% in Q4 2018.

Recent NAHB information revealed that the amount of newly-formed owner-occupied home grew in the first quarter. Expansion during Q1 2019, though, was slower than last year, indicating the decline of affordable housing due to elevated home prices.

First American’s Real Estate Sentiment Index (RESI) published last week found that while falling mortgage rates have given the housing market a boost, price remains a factor for potential buyers.

“According to 57% of title agents and real estate professionals surveyed, the unexpectedly low mortgage rates of 2019 have increased home buyer demand in their market. In fact, only 15% disagreed with this sentiment,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American.

“However, despite lower mortgage rates boosting affordability and stimulating demand, 40% of survey respondents indicated that affordability is the primary obstacle to becoming a homeowner – this is not surprising as house prices nationally continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace in 2019.”

Fleming said the RESI found affordability to be the primary obstacle to homeownership, as those who found affordability to be an obstacle increased to 40% from 30.1% year-over-year.

According to the NAHB and the Census Bureau, homeownership rates fell for all minorities during Q1 2019, with the African American rate falling the most by 1.3% to 41.8%. Hispanic homeownership rates fell to 47.4%, while “other, non-hispanic” rates fell by just 0.7% to 56.3%.

Homeownership rates for African Americans have been on a steady decline, and have fallen from almost 50% in 2004 to the reported rate of 41.8%.

White, non-hispanic rates, however, grew by 0.7% to 73.2% during the first few months of 2019.

Source: themreport

AfDB Calls for Increased Private Sector Investments

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has reiterated the need for African countries to maintain sound policies to improve investors’ interest as well as addressing fiscal sustainability concerns on the continent.

The bank, on its website said that heightened fiscal vulnerabilities were weakening fiscal revenues and growth, particularly for commodity-exporting countries in Africa.

Director-General of the bank’s Southern African Bureau Kapi Kapoor said this during the Think20 (T20) conference in Tokyo.

The T20 summit convened top policy experts to detail innovative T20 Japan policy solutions for consideration during the G20 Leaders’ summit in Osaka on June 28 and 29.

As Lead Co-Chair of the Cooperation with Africa Task Force, Kapoor emphasised that African countries needed to strengthen domestic resource mobilisation and improve public investment management, to entrench fiscal sustainability.

According to him, increasing tax revenue collections, savings mobilisation and efficiency of public spending are critical factors.

Kapoor called on the G20 to support several initiatives, including data harmonisation, tax compliance and  development of effective debt resolution frameworks.

In the policy brief on the “G20 Compact with Africa (CWA)”, which covered macroeconomic, business and financing frameworks, Kapoor stressed the need to improve conditions for mobilising private sector investments.

He said it would promote sustainable development in African countries.

Kapoor called on G20 partner countries and international organisations to coordinate more closely, increase technical assistance and provide support for early-stage project preparation to drive more investments.

He also encouraged member countries of the CWA to commit to implementing key reforms that would  create better environment to attract private investment.

“This includes setting up reliable regulations and institutions, establishing investor protection and providing political risk insurance amongst others,” Kapoor added.

While decrying decline in development assistance, Kapoor assured the AfDB’s commitment to driving development through investment.

According to him, the bank’s maiden Africa Investment Forum held in Johannesburg in Nov. 2018 secured investment interest in 40 deals across the continent worth over 38 billion dollars in just two days.

In a video message, the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Shinzo Abe, underscored the value of the meeting.

Abe said: “I am delighted to hear that T20 members have discussed various solutions for realising a sustainable, inclusive and resilient society.”

“I also expect you will present new perspectives and a clear path towards resolving the challenges that the world faces.”  

Source:  VON

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