‘How to curb delisting of firms in stock market’

To reduce the persistent delisting of firms’ on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to the barest minimum, investors have stressed the need for government to fast-track the acceleration of its industrialization plan.This will help to resuscitate the ailing manufacturing industries and other services sector.

Delisting is the process of removing a company from the official list of the stock market, either voluntarily or by compulsion.

The exchange, however, listed only five new companies- The Initiatives, in 2016 and Transcorp Hotels, Global Spectrum Energy Service, Jaiz Bank and Med-View Airline in 2017.

The investors, who spoke in an interview with The Guardian, argued that for Nigeria to become a strategic economic frontier in Sub-Saharan Africa and across the globe, it must have vibrant manufacturing sector that would help spur activities in the stock market.

According to them, if the manufacturing sector of any economy were not recording a significant improvement, the companies operating in the environment would find it difficult to grow and make profit.

This, according to him would continue to reflect on the company’s financials and share prices in the stock market.

Specifically, an independent investor, Tony Ibeh, said: “If the manufacturing sector of any economy were not recording a significant improvement, the share price will drop in the stock market and nobody would come to such market to raise capital because the market cannot support it.

“Regulators must seek to provoke more domestic demand in the economy so that the demand can drive supply for consumer companies to make profit and make it cheap for people to borrow and companies can employ more people, hire and train more workforces.” He added.

The former Secretary General of the Independence Shareholders Association, Adebayo Adeleke explained that one of the two biggest socio-economic challenges facing the nation is the issue of job creation.

He argued that Nigeria cannot create jobs without having a strong manufacturing base and industrialised economy.

He wondered why government would subsidize dollar for pilgrimage, while manufacturing sector that creates job and stimulate economic growth is neglected.

He added that if the processes and procedures involved in the implementation of the industrialisation plan is strengthened, it would spur economic growth, facilitate job creation and repositioning Nigeria at a competitive level in international trade.

Furthermore, Adeleke pointed out that manufactures are facing untold hardship due to harsh operating environment, noting that if government fails to revive the sector, more firms’ would be delisted from exchange .

“We need to get our priorities right in this country, it is true that we are highly religious, a situation where government is subsidizing the rate if dollar for people who wants to go on pilgrimage selling dollar to them at N197 per dollar and then giving about N316-N320 rate to manufacturers.

“These are people that who keep the engine of business running, employ other people and make them productive, get more products in to the system, make life more affordable for every body. Don’t you think we are getting things essentially wrong?

“Some of these companies cannot just cope, probably the volume of business they are doing is not that large and that is why some of them are delisting, even though some are voluntary, they are facing difficulties and challenges.”


MAN kicks against Nigeria’s ratification of African free trade agreement

Nigeria’s’ possibility of ratifying the free trade agreement –African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – before the end of the 180 days deadline set by African Union (AU) member-countries, after the deal was signed on March 21, may suffer another setback as local manufacturers have dissociated themselves from the outcome of the consultations being presented for Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval.With Nigeria’s Chief Negotiator, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe and technical drafting group set up by the Federal Government expected to submit the outcome of the consultations for presidential approval this week, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said the issues raised by major stakeholders, including those expressed by manufacturers, still remained unattended to.

The manufacturers are, therefore, asking government to provide details of how concerns bordering on the tariff lines and product lines (categorised using HS codes) that have been agreed for liberalisation, as well as the exclusion and sensitive lists, implementation of market access without negotiating the rules of origin and other safeguard measures, would be addressed once the AfCFTA is ratified.

President Muhammadu Buhari had declared that his administration was not disposed to entering into any agreement that would make the country a dumping ground and jeopardise its security architecture following concerns expressed by MAN and other private sector players.

Specifically, MAN noted that the draft of the consultations, held with the private sector, remains shrouded in secrecy as no technical paper was presented for validation by the affected stakeholders before presentation to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and ratification of the trade agreement.

The presidential committee on AfCFTA had last week met to discuss findings from the consultations held with stakeholders across the country’s six geo-political zones, with a draft report expected to be presented this week.

MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs, who addressed journalists yesterday in Lagos, said the Nigerian Office of Trade Negotiations’ (NOTN) version of the outcome of the stakeholders’ engagements and sensitisation did not adequately reflect the overall proceedings and factual expressions at those meetings.

According to him, local producers are worried that rather than squarely addressing those critical issues, all efforts were geared towards extolling the laudable objectives of the AfCFTA.

Jacobs noted that Nigeria should lead the process of ensuring that concerns of the private sector are addressed.

However, the Director-General of MAN, Olusegun Ajayi-Kadir, said the people needed to know what is being signed by the government and trade.

Fayose vows to defeat federal might, win election for party

Governor Ayodele Fayose has vowed to defeat the federal might of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to win the poll.The governor, who made the declaration at the 23rd Convocation of Ekiti State University (EKSU) in Ado-Ekiti, which he attended as visitor, explained that he had succeeded in giving Ekiti the party’s candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, who is a scholar.

He described Olusola as a “level-headed, humble man, a pastor and man of God,” who Ekiti people needs at this critical point of its history.The governor credited Olusola with the “giant strides recorded by the state in the field of education,” especially its coming tops back-to-back in the National Examinations Council (NECO) among the 36 states of the federation.

He said there was the need for continuity of policies and projects, which are being carried out by his administration.He said: “People will always remember that it was Fayose who constructed the first dual carriageway, as well as the first flyover in Ado-Ekiti.”

The governor explained that it was during his time that Ekiti State quit number 35th position in WAEC and NECO, and came first, back-to-back in NECO. He added: “We did all these within the limited resources available to us. We have the people’s strength behind us, since power not only belongs to God, but also that God is with me.”

Also, Fayose, who yesterday congratulated the Adams Oshiomhole-led APC, urged the presidency to be prepared for defeat.The governor, who stated this through his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, said the defeat would be a shocker to the presidency.He spoke in reaction to the quit notice given by the presidency to his party, during the APC’s national convention in Abuja at the weekend.

Meanwhile, a group loyal to the Director General of the Kayode Fayemi campaign organisation, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, has launched an aggressive evangelism campaign to mosques and churches.The group, under the aegis of MOB Progressive Youth Vanguard (MPYV), said it took the strategic step to boost the APC’s campaigns.

Led by its Coordinator, Ahmed Salami and Director of Operations, Isiaka Adedipe, they campaigned in some communities in the area, including Odo-Iro, a farmstead in Iyin Ekiti.
Adedipe said the group embarked on the campaign to fill the vacuum left by their principal, Bamidele.He added that the strategy was aimed at drawing the attention of Ekiti people to the evil inherent in allowing Fayose to plant his successor.According to him the independent-minded position of the Ekiti people led to the Kiriji War of 1877 and 1886, which it fought with the Ajeles from Ibadan in Oyo State.

APC convention a starter to 2019 victory – National Secretary

The National Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, said the newly elected leadership of the party has increased the party’s fortunes to victory in the 2019 elections.

He stated this on Monday in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), saying it provides a new opportunity for dialogue and renewal of commitment to the party.

“The speeches delivered by the Party chairman Adams Oshiomole, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at the convention also provides a new prosperous page for the party” the secretary said.

Mai Mala said “the enthusiasm, confidence and commitment demonstrated by the party from the six geo-political zones were also indicative of its success towards 2019 and beyond”.

He assured that the party will extend hands of fellowship to all aggrieved members to promote dialogue and unity to strengthen the party

According to him, the party would explore the experience of the national chairman in dispute resolution to calm all fraying nerves.

“As an indisputable labour leader and astute administrator, the chairman will bring his wealth of experience to bear for the new leadership to settle all differences within the party.

“We are all optimistic that this leadership will enjoy support from our members in the executive and the legislative arms of government for us to consolidate the strength and fortunes of the party.” he said.

He called on stakeholders and party members to support and cooperate with the new leadership to build a virile political party “we shall be proud of.”

Mai Mala described the just concluded convention as a monumental success, adding, “it was a collective success, we all emerged victorious, there were no losers in this convention.

“Every member will be carried along, we will listen to advises and opinions, including constructive criticisms that are geared towards building a strong and united party.”

Development Bank of Nigeria opens Lagos office

The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has opened its Lagos office, located on Idejo Street in Victoria Island, to service Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) domiciled in the commercial city of the country.

Declared open by its Chairman, Dr Shehu Yahaya, at the weekend, the lender was set up as a wholesale development finance institution, providing sustainable financing through eligible PFIs, who would in turn, lend to end-borrowers- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for the development of that segment.

Yahaya, said that the remarkable success of the bank within the short period of commencing operations, has been because of the enthusiasm and support by the various financial institutions that have embraced the DBN offering of empowering the all-important segment of the nation’s economy- MSMEs.

“We have realised the need to bring the business closer to the PFIs that are supposed to benefit from our services here in Lagos. The Lagos operations will accelerate our engagement with the PFIs and facilitate ease of disbursement to them to alleviate the financing constraints faced by Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), which are undoubtedly the engine room of the economy,” he said.

The Managing Director of the bank, Tony Okpanachi, assured the MSMEs that DBN has “the vision to be Nigeria’s primary development finance institution, thereby promoting growth and sustainability of the MSMEs by providing financial services, Credit Guarantees and advisory services.

These are some of the services that will equally be available to the PFIs through the Lagos office.“DBN loan cuts across all sectors of the economy. Our operation in addition to our mandate, seeks to achieve the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where financial inclusion ranks high, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and it’s also, in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal Government.”According to him, the commissioning of the Lagos Operations will lead to an improvement in various economic indices such as job creation, poverty alleviation and increase investment in human capital.

SEC reassures foreign investors of dynamic, transparent market

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Nigeria, has assured foreign investors of the safety of their investments in the Nigerian capital market.Disclosing this when representatives of JP Morgan and Stanbic IBTC visited the commission in Abuja, at the weekend, the Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, said all necessary controls are in place to ensure that the market is dynamic, free, fair and transparent for participants.Uduk said the Commission has embarked on several initiatives in a bid to ensure that investors in the market derive the benefits therein.She said the implementation of the Capital Market Master Plan has led to significant changes in the market, which include the dematerialisation of share certificates, recapitalisation of capital market operators,establishment of the National Investors Protection Fund and inauguration of its board, as well as launch of the Corporate Governance Scorecard.

Others are implementation of the e-Dividend Mandate Management System, establishment of Complaint Management Framework, transaction cost reduction, implementation of the direct cash settlement and the introduction of non-interest capital market products.She also disclosed that the commission has put in place robust investor protection machinery with severe sanctions on infractions of securities laws.

“The implementation of this regime has led to the closure of various Ponzi schemes as well as the recovery of millions of naira belonging to innocent investors.“SEC champions zero tolerance on infractions and we have a range of sanctions depending on the level of infraction and how egregious the breach is, ranging from warnings, fines, suspensions, withdrawal of registrations and jail terms.

“The idea is to improve transparency in the market and ensure that investors are safe”.On surveillance, Uduk said the Commission has surveillance mechanisms in place to detect possible suspicious trading/market manipulation activities.In his remarks, Nick Long, Representative of JP Morgan, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Nigerian capital market adding that it is one of the reasons why it continues to attract international investors.

BDC-bank rates’ merger and search for end to multiple exchanges

It is a long-drawn battle and it has not been easy, even till now. That is not only the a good description of the many challenges that beset the foreign exchange market, but also the participants, particularly the licenced Bureaux De Change (BDCs). Of course, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently made another move closer to realising the major issue of discord- multiple exchange rates and harmonisation. But it actually did, particularly with BDCs and their “competitor”- the Deposit Money Banks.

The CBN had earlier in the month, approved an upward review of the trading margin available to BDCs, which allowed them to buy dollar from the apex bank at N357/$1 and sell at N360, enabling them to earn a positive margin of N3 per dollar sold. Banks had long enjoyed the “unfair” trading position at N358/$ to sell at N360/$, while BDCs sell at N362/$, after buying at N360/$.

BDCs had earlier lamented that it is not only depriving them of customers, since they sell higher, but that the margin cannot offset their operational costs, making them to sack their workers and predisposing many of them to difficulties in obeying the rules and taking advantage of what comes around.It is certain that the latest development initiated by CBN has brought stability to the foreign exchange market and showed its proactive approach to ending multiple exchange rates tipped to permanently send currency speculators out of the market. The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) said it is commendable on the part of CBN’s policy direction and believes the rate unification will promotes efficiency, transparency, price discovery and will help phase-out the remaining part of multiple exchange rates regime. It was an idea, which time had come and a masterstroke needed to eliminate multiple exchange rates in the industry.