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US to establish West African Trade Hub in Nigeria

Representatives of the US government say plans are underway to establish the West African Trade Hub (WATH) in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria.

This is in a bid to support the bilateral trade between Nigeria and the United States.

Grace Adeyemo, director of the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), said this at a conference for Prosper Africa, an initiative of the US government targeted at “creating an enabling environment for foreign and direct investment” in African countries.

Adeyemo expressed optimism about the economic prospects of the President Donald Trump-backed trade initiative, which, according to her, prompted the decision to move the trade hub into Nigeria.

She, however, noted that Nigerian entrepreneurs who seek access to opportunities that would accrue from the initiative through the hub would need to meet the regulatory standards required to break into the US/global market.

According to her, the NACC would also offer advice to prospective exporters who would like to take advantage of the tariff-free market on the US-Nigeria bilateral trade agreement.

“US representatives have told us that the West African Trade hub would now move into Nigeria to be situated in Abuja and Lagos. This is so that we can address our challenges and have the hub serve as an overseer reciprocatory for all we’re going to be doing in the US,” she said.

“It will be launched anytime soon. It has always been in Ghana. US government is willing to support a partnership between US investors and Africa. Nigeria can latch onto that but we need to get it right first. We need to try to grow our businesses and add value to them.”

WHAT IS THE WEST AFRICA TRADE AND INVESTMENT HUB?

WATH is a one-stop shop organization backed and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase the value and volume of West Africa’s exports by addressing challenges in intra-regional and export-oriented products.

Apart from synergizing with local regulatory agencies and policymakers to influence the business environment and attract investors, it is also targeted at promoting the two-way trade between Africa and the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

AGOA is a US policy that accords duty-free treatments to virtually all products that are exported to the US by beneficiary sub-Sahara African countries. Acclaimed as the cornerstone of US trade policy with Africa, it is aimed at facilitating the export of over 6,000 goods with no tariff.

WHAT IS THE PROSPER AFRICA INITIATIVE?

Prosper Africa, a trade initiative launched by the Trump’s administration, is one aimed at synchronizing the efforts of the US government agencies to facilitate more deals between the US and African businesses and address trade/investment barriers.

Earl Gast, executive vice president of programs at Creative Associates International, said the end-result of the initiative would create more jobs for Nigerians. He said it would significantly grow the economies of both countries and improve the export capacity of Nigerian businesses.

“With Africa’s prosperity should come the US’ prosperity. We’re looking at how we can marry up the private sectors of both countries and, in the context of Nigeria, partner with the US capital; knowhow; and exports,” he said.

“Economies would grow, jobs would be created through private sector development. Nigeria would export into the region, through AGOA strategy, and to the US. We’re also looking at US exports that might help grow companies in Nigeria so that they can take advantage of the US market.”

On her part, Florie Liser, CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), said the initiative would support US firms that intend on investing in Africa and develop the value of Nigerian products to enable the private sector benefit substantially from the value chain.

“Now Prosper Africa is focused on incentivizing and facilitating US investments into Africa in key sectors, whatever they may be. Agro-business is one of them. But there are others: health, ICT, infrastructure and places where the US government can bring value in terms of products and services,” she said.

“The reason that Africa accounts for only 3 percent of world trade today, notwithstanding that they have so many resources they sell the world, is because they are always on the lowest end of every value chain. You ship raw products while somebody else processes it into something that has more value.

“As long as that stays that way, Africa wouldn’t be able to benefit much from global trade. Why shouldn’t Africa ship its value-added products instead of raw products? The focus of the initiative is going to be on the investment into productive capacity that adds value.”

Source: thecable

India’s LPG model offers solution to Nigeria’s liquidity, growth crisis

Nigeria’s finances are in a precarious state and unless there is adequate liquidity for the government and the private sector, the country will continue to remain fragile to external shocks.

Since the collapse in global oil prices, Africa’s largest economy has seen actual revenues dwarf projected revenues, which has made the government resort to taking on huge external borrowings to meet its expenditure obligations.

However, if there are countries in the world that have successfully scaled through similar situations as Nigeria, India, the world’s most populous nation after China, is a sure example to learn from. Reforms the nation enacted some 30 years ago helped it attract sufficient investments, reduce unemployment and lift well over 370 million of its populace out of poverty.

In the late 90s, the Indian government flagged off economic policy reforms in the business, manufacturing and financial services industries, targeted at boosting economic growth.
The reform was a model referred to as Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation (LPG). The major aim of the LPG model was to slacken government regulations hurting the growth of investment in the country, transferring of state-owned assets and positioning the country for consolidation among various economies of the world.

With these reforms, the Indian economy grew the overall amount of overseas investment to $5.3 billion in four years from a microscopic $132 million in 1992. Today, the country is ranked the second-highest destination for investment in the world, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

For Africa’s most populous nation, the government has over time complained of a shortfall in revenue even though it currently sits on idle assets scattered around the country.

Nigeria has dead capital that is worth as much as N900 billion majorly in the real estate and agricultural sector, according to estimates done by global consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers. The country got about $23 billion in remittances in 2018, and a dismal amount of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), compared to peers. It also has low levels of external liquidity (compared to the size of its economy) in the form of foreign reserves.

“By unlocking idle assets, improving remittances and making the environment more attractive for FDIs, the government can create the needed liquidity that is required for economic growth,” Ayo Teriba, chief executive officer, Economic Associates, said.

“Going to FDIs puts you in the driver’s seat. Egypt unified its exchange rates and boosted its supply of liquidity. As for remittances, if you can’t embrace your non-residents to send money home, how do you attract foreign investors? We need to move up the remittances and FDI table to join the likes of India and China,” he said.

Teriba added that Nigeria could securitise (not sell) its financial assets (such as LNG/oil JV equity stakes) to get more liquidity, privatise brownfield assets and liberalise other sectors of its economy like rail, for investors to pump money into, leading to increased overall liquidity in the economy.

According to Teriba, if there is no liquidity in the system, there won’t be stability; ease of doing business in a country would be threatened; growth would be slow; infrastructural deficit would widen; diversification agenda can never be achieved; unemployment would skyrocket and the well-being of the populace would continuously diminish.

Nigeria’s postal service currently has about 2,000 buildings in prime locations around the country, BusinessDay investigation shows. Nigeria also has a total of 2,000 police stations and 235 prisons all located in commercial locations across the country.

Teriba argued that the government could securitise or commercialise these assets by opening equity investments as these would attract more external liquidity and help the country in building buffers.

Data compiled by BusinessDay show that Nigeria is the most domestic illiquid country across Africa. In 2017, the total money available in circulation as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at 19.5 percent.

This figure represents an abysmal amount when compared with peers around the continent. For Africa’s most industrialised economy (South Africa), money supply as a percentage of GDP stood at 72.2 percent while Angola had 56.5 percent.

In a bid to encourage lending to the real sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria sent two clear options to banks. Either they lend 60 percent of their deposits or they would be forced to pack a higher amount as cash reserves with the apex bank.

The CBN also reduced the amount which deposit money banks can keep with the CBN to yield overnight interest by 73 percent to N2 billion from as high as N7.5 billion.

Ever since the apex bank released the guideline, stocks of Nigeria’s biggest banks have taken a beating, making investors worry about the apex bank’s next line of action.

Teriba argued that there is a clear positive correlation between a country’s external liquidity and the money available in its domestic economy.

“When external liquidity increases, the country becomes stronger to withstand shocks, which would make the exchange rate stable and invariably, increase liquidity in the domestic market,” he said.

He noted that the CBN should focus on increasing external liquidity rather than force the banks to lend when there is no sufficient liquidity in the system.

By LOLADE AKINMURELE, BALA AUGIE, MICHAEL ANI & OLUFIKAYO OWOEYE

Africa’s Wealthiest Five are Over 4 Times Bigger Than Rwanda’s Economy

Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index has placed Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote as the only African in its top 100 ranking.

According to ranking as at Friday, the fortune of Africa’s five wealthiest people ($42bn or N13trn at N306/$) is similar to the entire market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Aliko Dangote $16.3bn

Fun fact: At N306/$, Dangote’s wealth is equivalent to 7 percent of Nigeria’s economy in 2018.

Dangote is doubtless Africa’s richest person and 77th in the world. The 62 year old is the only African to feature in the top 100 on Bloomberg’s big money list.

The self-made billionaire is the owner of the Dangote Group which owns Dangote Cement, the biggest cement producer in sub-Saharan. Although Dangote has other businesses in sugar, salt, flour, fertilizer and packaged food. Dangote’s cement business is the worth N3 trillion on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Dangote is currently building a refinery capable of producing 650,000 barrels of crude per day. The facility is situated in Lagos and would be the biggest Refinery, taking over from South Africa’s Sapref Refinery upon completion.

Johann Rupert $7.34bn

Fun fact: Rupert’s wealth can buy 137 million barrels of crude oil.

Rupert is the second richest African and 221 in the world. He is 69 and built his wealth by investing in businesses across different industries. Rupert inherited his wealth, he is the eldest of business typhoon Anthony Rupert.

The South African’s biggest asset is the Cie. Financiere Richemont, the world’s largest luxury watchmaker, which he controls the through a family trust. He chairs the board of CFR as well as Remgro, South-African based investment holding firm.

Nicholas Oppenheimer $7.08bn

Fun fact: At 306/$, Nicky would have to pay N30,000 to 72.22 million Nigerians to exhaust his wealth

Nicky, as fondly called, is Africa’s third and world’s 232th wealthiest man whose fortune came majorly from diamond.

The 74 year old was formerly the chairman of De Beers Diamond Company and subsidiary, the Diamond Trading Company, and former deputy chairman of Anglo American. His family, the Oppenheimer, are one of the richest in South Africa.

Nicky, the heir to his family’s fortune sold his 40 percent stake in diamond firm DeBeers to a mining group Anglo American for $5.1 billion cash in 2012.

Natie Kirsh $6.22bn

Fun fact: At 306/$, Kirsh can create 1.9 million Nigerian millionaires

Nathan Kirsh, 87, is a self-made South African/Swazi business magnate. He heads the Kirsh Group, which holds a majority stake in New York cash and carry operation Jetro Holdings.

The Group holds equity and investments in Australia, Swaziland, United Kingdom, United States and Israel.

Natie, 283rd richest person globally, founded his corn milling business in Swaziland, and expanded into food business after apartheid in South Africa. He acquired wholesale food operations in 1970, and transformed it as a cash and carry business that makes it as the country’s black-owned local grocery stores.

He later expanded his ventures to real estate, and sold 49 percent of the conglomerate to insurance firm, Sanlam, which has about 90 Restaurant Depot and 10 Jetro Cash and Carry stores.

Naguib Sawiris $5.20bn

Fun fact: At 306/$, Sawiris’ wealth is more than the combined current market value of Nigeria’s two biggest lenders

Naguib, the Egyptian billionaire mogul is fifth wealthiest in Africa and 362nd in the world. He chairs the Board of Wind Telecom, a telecommunication firm headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Since joining Orascom, his family business in 1979, Sawaris has contributed to the growth and diversification of the company into what it is today as Egypt’s largest and most diversified conglomerates and the country’s largest private sector employer.

The business magnate built the railway, information technology and telecommunication sectors of Orascom. He also led the acquisition of La Mancha Resources Inc through a tender offer launched by Weather Investments II.

The company is an international gold producer based in Canada with operations, development projects and exploration activities in Africa, Australia and Argentina.

Source: businessdayng

Housing Fund Eyes N500b Capital

A firm, Family Homes Funds, said it plans to raise its capital base to N500billion by 2023 to facilitate access to affordable housing for millions of Nigerians on low to medium income groups.

Its Managing Director, Mr. Femi Adewole, said the Fund is the largest affordable housing-focused fund in sub-Saharan Africa.

He said the firm will soon commission its 650 housing units project in Delta, adding that it is one of the Federal Government’s special interventions in tackling the country’s housing deficit.

He said it is a partnership between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Adewole told The Nation at the weekend that through strategic partnerships with various players in the sector and some of the world’s main Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), the Fund has an ambitious commitment to facilitate and supply 500,000 homes and 1.5 million jobs for the low income earners by 2023.

As a sign of commitment, the 650 housing units in Asaba, Adewole said, was developed in line with this critical objective.

On payment options, he said beneficiaries of the project will enjoy a deferred loan for up to 40 per cent of the cost of their home.

He said: “For the first five years of the loan, no payments need to be made but from the sixth year, monthly payments will be made to start repaying both interest and capital to assist the subscriber. The amount paid starts low and increases each year in gradual steps at an average of 6.5 per cent per annum up to 20 years.”

He said the fund, as structured, will not exceed 40 per cent of household income while beneficiaries will have an option to buy at any time they are able to do so.

On other projects on the line, he said projects have been completed or ongoing in states such Nasarawa, Borno, Ogun, Delta, Kaduna and others.

He said Fund has employed about 15, 000 workers, artisans, suppliers and all categories of housing professionals, with about 360,000 to be created from current development pipeline. He said the project has been of significant economic impact through the commercial activities and jobs that have been created in relation to the housing projects.

The Fund which is developing projects in the six geopolitical zones of the country had also recently announced that it is currently building 4700 homes in Borno State, out of which 3000 will be very low cost homes for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Source: thenationonlineng

Bank Stocks Sell-Off on CBN’s Lending order may be Overdone

…as investors price in worst case scenario

Bank stocks have been selling off since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced plans to force commercial banks to maintain a loan to deposit ratio (LDR) of 60 percent, or effectively lend at least 60 percent of their deposits to customers.

Investors, spooked by the potential downside of the July 3 order by the CBN, have largely sold some of the country’s largest banks.

The big lenders are down by an average of 2.19 percent since July 3.

Guaranty Trust Bank has been the biggest 1080p hd film loser, after sliding by as much as 6.7 percent since July 3. First Bank follows with a 2.4 percent decline. United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Zenith bank are down 1.64 percent and 0.26 percent respectively.

Access Bank however has been unfazed by the new regulation.

Investors are interpreting the regulation by the CBN as negative for the banks and that has fuelled the sell-off.

Investors are well aware that there is a risk that the new regulation could lead to banks underwriting high-risk loans which could lead to further asset quality deterioration and destabilisation of the industry, at a time when the regulator has limited scope for further bail-outs.

However, Ronak Ghadia, Director of Sub-Saharan African Banks, at EFG Hermes research points out that based on conversation with the management team of some the banks, the LDR will be calculated using gross loans and not net loans as indicated earlier.

On this basis, the impact of the regulation will be even less than earlier estimates.

Access, FBNH and Zenith’s LDR ratios were already above 60 percent as at the First Quarter (Q1) of 2019, while GTB and Stanbic’s (Q1) 2019 LDRs were moderately below the threshold.

“UBA is the only bank with an LDR significantly below the regulatory threshold. Likewise, GTB and Stanbic would have to grow their loan book by a modest 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent respectively to meet the 60 percent LDR threshold while UBA would have to increase its credit portfolio by 8.8 percent, hefty but manageable,” Ghadia said in a July 9 note to clients.

On the upside, the sell-off could also serve as opportunities for bargain hunters to take advantage of the low price of bank stocks and take positions.

Source: businessdayng

CBN Reduces Banks’ Daily Excess Cash Deposit by 73.3% to N2bn

The Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) on Wednesday reduced the amount of excess cash that banks and merchant banks (discount houses) deposit with it, which is known as Standing Deposit Facility (SDF), by 73.3 percent to N2 billion from N7.5 billion since 2014.

In a circular, FMD/DIR/ CON/OGC/12/019, to all banks and discounts houses on ‘Guidelines on Accessing the CBN Standing Deposit Facility’ and signed by Angela Sere-ejembi, director, financial markets department, the CBN said the remunerable daily placement shall not exceed N2 billion.

The circular published on the CBN’S website yesterday stated that the SDF deposit of N2 billion shall be remunerated at an interest rate prescribed by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) from time to time.

“Any deposit by a bank in excess of N2 billion shall not be remunerated,” the CBN said in the circular which takes effect from today July 11, 2019. Reacting to the development Uche Olowu, president/chairman of council, Chartered Institute Bankers Committee (CIBN), said the CBN is trying to change the behaviour of banks towards lending to the real sector of the economy. Olowu who spoke with Businessday by phone said banks have to look for an alternative way of making sure they direct credit to the real economy. “We are going to be better for it as we are going to have the productive sector to put the excess cash,” the CIBN president added. Before now, banks have had preference for keeping their idle funds with the CBN as well as transacting on government securities rather than lending to the productive sector.

Ayodele Akinwunmi, head of research, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, said this means that the amount of excess money that Nigerian banks can place with the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) to earn overnight interest rate of 8.5% per annum has been reduced from N7.5 billion to N2billion. Any amount in excess of N2billion will not earn interest income for banks. “This, in a way, will reduce the interest income of banks going forward.

It will also force banks to trade more with one another in the interbank market than before”, Akinwunmi said. He said It may also reduce the cost of managing system liquidity for the CBN as the apex bank will now have access to more funds from the banking system at no cost than before. In addition, interbank interest rates may drop further as a result of increased system liquidity.

This is part of the efforts of the CBN to increase banks’ credit to the real sector of the economy in order to stimulate growth of the economy. In his response, Ayodeji Ebo, managing director, Afrinvest Securities limited said, this is another regulatory pressure on the banks in a bid to get them to lend. The reduction of the SDF from N7.5bn to N2.0bn may lead to revenue loss (8.5% on N5.0bn in a year is N425m assuming the average deposit placed with the CBN daily N7.5bn and above). This may not translate into improved lending as the banks will prefer to earn zero interest on their funds than risk the funds.

Source: businessdayng

N-Power Stipends Hit N279 billion

The Federal Government on Friday disclosed N279 billion has been spent on Nigerian youths under the N-Power programme since December 2016.

The N-Power programme is one of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) introduced by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration towards creating jobs and ameliorating poverty in the land.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Job Creation and Youth Employment, Office of the Vice President, Afolabi Imoukhuede, said the money was spent on the N30,000 monthly stipend paid to the 500,000 youths engaged under the N-Power programme.

He said that the youths were not owed a kobo under the N-Power programme.

According to him, the first batch of 200,000 youths have earned a total of N180 billion for 30 months from December 2016 to June 2019 with a monthly bill of N6 billion.

He further disclosed addition N9 billion monthly bill was paid from August 2018 to June 2019 totalling N99 billion for the second batch of 300,000 youths engaged under the N-Power programme.

Asked how much has been spent since the inception of the programme, he said “It is every simple in talking about amount that has been invested. I am saying that in Batch 1, they started earning from December 2016, so roughly we invest N72 billion annually just for Batch 1 alone. That is aside from the gadgets that they get and aside from from all the sponsored trainings that they get.

“For instance, all the training on agric for N-Agro, training for health for those who are in health, we sponsor all of that through the federal agencies, ministry of agriculture and ministry of health.

“So direct in our people is N30,000 x 200,000 = N6 billion every month for the first batch which started in 2016. So they have been there for over two years, that is N72 billion multiply by two years or thereabout.

“But since August last year, the wage bill moved from N6 billion to N15 billion because it’s now 500,000 of them that earn N30,000 monthly.

“We have been on N15 billion for almost one year because by end of July it will be one year that we have been making that investment every month.

“So if you put it together that just tells you how much investment we have made and like I have said, we don’t owe anyone because the money is paid directly to them not through a proxy.” he stated

He explained the scheme was designed to solve the employability problems being faced by Nigerians youths after graduation.

According to him, plans are currently ongoing to recruit many of its trainees into the police force in collaboration with state governors to actualize the community policing agenda.

Source: thenationonlineng

How Diaspora Bonds Work and Benefits

Sometimes in 2017, Nigeria’s Former Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun revealed the Federal Governments (FG) plans to launch a $300 million diaspora bond bid in March 2017. I knew a lot of people were confused. And, in order to help esteemed Nairametrics‘ readers, I took out time to develop this article. So what is a diaspora bond and how can you invest?

A diaspora bond is basically a government debt that is targeted but not limited to the nationals of the country that are living abroad. The idea is based on a presumption that because of emotional ties to their country of origin, expatriates may find investing in such products worthwhile, especially if they are financing development projects like infrastructure.

According to World Bank Migration and Remittances Fact-sheet 2016, 247 million people, or 3.4% of the world population live outside their country of birth. In 2015, $581.6 billion was remitted, of that figure, $431.6 billion went to developing countries. In the same year, Nigeria was the highest remittance receiving country in Africa and 6th highest in the world, receiving $20.8 billion. In 2018, the figure jumped to $25 billion, to remain Africa’s highest.

NIGERIA REMITTANCE 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Nigeria’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora said that in 2016 Nigeria recorded a massive increase receiving a total of $35 billion in remittances.

Most of the remittances are informal, meant for family and friends. Diaspora bonds provide the government with an opportunity to tap into the wealth of their diaspora community to fund national level development. In other words, governments can tap into capital markets beyond foreign direct investment, foreign investors and conventional loans to finance development.

This is particularly important during periods of economic downturns when other lenders may be reluctant. Policy makers, however, should not assume that this is a quick and easy way to raise capital. Many countries have launched bids but with varying levels of success. Israel and India have been the most successful till date, although both set up bonds for different purposes and in different ways.

ISRAEL INDIA DIASPORA BOND

Israel has issued diaspora bonds by the Development Corporation for Israel (DCI) since 1951 raising a total of $32.4 billion as at 2015. The bond was set up to finance development projects in various industries including energy and transport. On the other hand, India set up its bond to support their balance of payments and it has done this three times Indian Development Bonds in 1991 ($1.6 billion), Resurgent Indian Bonds in 1998 ($4.2 billion) and Indian Millennium Deposits in 2000 ($5.5) raising a total of $11.3 billion.

The bond issued by the DCI was listed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and thus, it was open to foreign nationals as well as the Diaspora of Israeli origin. Whereas India’s bonds were issued strictly to the Diaspora of Indian origin and were not listed in the SEC.

Israel-Diaspora Bonds were fixed, floating rate bonds with maturity periods ranging from one to twenty years and bullet repayment, with large financial incentives including making its interest rate slightly higher than US Treasury bills.

To make the bonds more accessible, the DCI set up retail agencies in the US and other countries. India, on the other hand, chose fixed rate bonds with five-year maturity and a bullet maturity. As financial incentives, the bonds were two percent higher than US Treasury bills and were exempt from Indian income and wealth tax.

The problem with Diaspora bonds

However, African countries like Ethiopia have had limited success. Its first bid the Millennium Corporate bid to finance a hydro-electric dam in 2008 was unsuccessful because take-up was low. Experts have opined that lack of trust of repayment were the key issues that deterred potential buyers.

[ALSO READ: A legal view of corporate taxation in Nigeria]

THE NIGERIAN STORY

Against the backdrop of falling oil prices and the loss of value of the naira, the diaspora bond bid may be a good alternative for Nigeria to raise much-needed funds to finance the huge infrastructure deficit. However, foreign investors exited the Nigerian market in 2015 because of unclear economic policies and lack of trust in the government financial management.

So the question is how well will the FG communicate with the Nigerian diaspora community to build enough trust so that people can invest in the bond? To tackle some of these issues, the FG has said the Debt Management Office will manage the bond.

BENEFITS

Using the March 2017 $300 million diaspora bond bid to illustrate the benefits derivable from Diaspora Bonds. While enumerating the returns on the bonds, the SSA on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Mrs Abike Dabiri noted that the bonds will have at least five to ten-year maturity and annual dividends between five to eight percent, which is higher than bank deposit which is within two percent.

As further financial incentives the Director General of the DMO, Dr Abraham Nwankwo said that the bonds are exempt from tax, could be used as collateral from borrowing from banks and discounts on the FG housing scheme.

Read what each Nigerian State is Owing, the Biggest and Least Debtors

Lagos State, Nigeria’s richest state remains also its biggest debtor, accumulating as at March this year N542 billion in domestic debt.

Figures published by the Debt Management Office on Wednesday showed Rivers and Delta state, both oil rich states, in a photo finish for the second position.

Rivers has Nigeria’s second biggest domestic debt figure with N225.6 billion. It is followed by Delta with N223.4 billion.

Akwa Ibom, also an oil state, has the fourth biggest debt profile at N199.7 billion. It is followed by Cross River with N167.2 billion.

Federal Capital Territory, which depends on funds from the Federal Government is sixth with N163.5 billion. Osun has a debt burden of N147 billion, Bayelsa N133.3 billion, Kano N121.3 billion and Ekiti N118 billion.

The least indebted state in Nigeria is Yobe with N26.9 billion.

Debts by states of Nigeria

Source: pmnewsnigeria

CBN Change in Customs Duty Exchange Rate will Exacerbate Challenges Faced by Investors — LCCI

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) change in Customs duty exchange will exacerbate the challenges faced by investors and the citizens in the economy.

The President of LCCI, Mr Babatunde Ruwase noted that three weeks ago, the exchange rate for the computation of import duty was reviewed from N306/ dollar to N326/dollar. “This was purportedly done at the instance of the CBN. The worry here is that this action by the CBN will exacerbate the challenges faced by investors and the citizens in the economy. What the CBN has done is to impose another form of tax on investors and citizens.

According to him, coming at a time when the government has repeatedly stressed its commitment to the investment growth and economic diversification, this policy action is a negation of what the present administration professes as far as economic management is concerned. Investors are currently grappling with a difficult operating environment manifesting in the high infrastructure deficit, weak purchasing power, increasing poverty incidence, high unemployment and fragile economic growth.

“This is not a time to introduce a policy measure that would impose an additional cost on investors. Already the sharp depreciation in the exchange rate in the last few years had resulted in high import duty across all sectors, including duties on raw materials and intermediate products used in the industries.”

 

“The CBN in its five-year plan presented recently by the CBN Governor also underlined the imperative of growth, investment promotion and job creation.

This recent exchange rate review for import duty is not consistent with the aspirations of the CBN as contained in that plan. The loss to the economy and the welfare cost to citizens will certainly outweigh the revenue gains to the government.

Excessive focus on revenue drive could undermine the realization of the objectives of the ERGP, especially from an investment and poverty reduction perspective” he said. He noted that some of the implications of the exchange rate review are High cost of raw materials for manufacturers, Inflationary pressure on products and services across sectors, Erosion of profit margins for investors, Negative welfare effect on citizens as general price level increases, Capacity of businesses to create jobs is weakened and Weaker purchasing power of citizens leading to higher poverty incidence.

“On account of the foregoing adverse implications for the Nigerian economy and the welfare of citizens, we call for an immediate reversal of the exchange rate increase for the purpose of computation of import duty” he stated.

Source: vanguardngr

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