The shift in consumer patterns in the light of the economic situation in Nigeria and corresponding squeeze on disposal income have continued to take their tolls on the earnings of Nigerian Breweies Plc. Chris Ugwu writes
Following the challenging macro-environment and the squeeze on household wallets, growth in the mainstream segment of beer industry has been constrained, with more growth seen among cheaper brands.
Notable among the changes to the architecture of alcohol business in the country is the rising to prominence of a new variant of alcoholic drinks, which mixes bitters with spirit.
For instance, the introduction of Alomo Bitters produced by a Ghanaian company, Kasapreko Limited, in Accra, led the charge of this category of beverages, which in Nigeria today are Action Bitters, Bajinotu, Origin Bitters, Agbara Bitters, Osomo Bitters, among others. This led the market share of all other alcoholic brands to be re-configured, making the beer brands to suffer a significant loss of market.
To this end, the financial results of some of the companies in the sector have not been encouraging and the expectations were that the subsequent results will be brighter enough to erase the negatives in the accounts but unfortunately the trend has continued unabated.
Coupled with increased excise duty rates, Nigerian Breweries Plc like its peers has not been unable to sustain its performance despite innovative and proactive responses to market dynamics and competitive pressures.
Analysts are also forecasting slow down in earnings, as operating environment remains challenging due to an increasingly competitive landscape.
Despite that it remains among tops in the industry, Nigeria Breweries share price movements has receded and remained susceptible to the challenges facing the manufacturing businesses in Nigeria due to the upset in financial sector.
The company had its fair share from the current lull in the market following massive profit taking that saw the market lose considerable chunk of investors’ wealth. The share price, which closed at N107.90 per share in May 31, 2018, stood at N64.65 when the closing bell rang last Friday, a decrease of N43.25 or 40.08 per cent year to date.
Nigerian Breweries Plc began the year 2018 unimpressive with a profit after tax of N10.2 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018.
The unaudited and provisional results released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that the N10.2 billion represents 11.8 per cent decrease over the N11.4 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2017.
The company’s revenue dipped by nine per cent from N91.3 billion in 2017 to N83.0 billion in the current period. In a filing statement to the NSE by the Board of Directors, the brewer stated, “while there are some signs of improvement in the macroeconomic conditions, these are yet to be reflected in consumer spending.”
Further analysis showed that results from operating activities declined by eight per cent from N19.2 billion in 2017 to N17.7 billion in the corresponding months in 2018. Profit before Tax also dropped by 12.6 per cent from N17.4 billion in 2017 to N15.2 billion in the period under review.
Nigerian Breweries sustained decline profile with record of a profit after tax of N18.434 billion for the first half of 2018, according to the unaudited financial results released to the Exchange.
The N18 billion represents a 22 per cent decrease over the N23.751 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2017.
An analysis of the filing sent to The Exchange indicated that the company’s revenue dipped by 5 per cent from N181 billion in the same period in 2017 to N173 billion in the current period.
A further analysis of the statement show that results from operating activities declined by 20 per cent from N39 billion in 2017 to N32 billion in the corresponding months in 2018, just as Profit before Tax also dropped by 19 per cent from N34 billion in 2017 to N28 billion in the period under review. Cost of sales stood at N96.578 billion in 2018 from N99.176 billion in 2017, while administrative expenses rose to N10.343 billion from N9.407 billion in 2017.
Similarly, Nigerian Breweries Plc 9M’18 top line declined by 6.5 per cent YoY to N238.1 billion. In the same vein, after-tax earnings dipped significantly by 38.4 per cent YoY to N14.8 billion.
According to analysts at CardinalStone, given the unimpressive 9M’18 financial result, the company cut its interim dividend by 40.0 per cent YoY to N0.60/share. This represents a dividend yield of 0.7 per cent on current price of N88.0.
“In Q3’18, NB’s net revenue slumped by 11.2 per cent YoY to N65.4 billion. According to the parent company, Heineken, beer volume declined high-single digit, attributable to increased competitive pressure. “We are not surprised by this development, given INTBREW’s aggressive strategy to grow volumes in recent times, through expansion and competitive pricing. In addition, we note the significant impact of higher excise duty tax (+31.2 per cent YoY) on overall sales,” the experts stated.
“Notwithstanding, cost-of-sales declined at a slower pace (-3.2 per cent YoY)—driving the cost-to-sales ratio to a high of 71.5 per cent (vs. Q2’18: 54.2 per cent Q1’18: 57.6 per cent, FY’17: 58.3 per cent). In our recent note, Amidst competitive pressures, we mentioned that NB was a cost leader in the brewery industry, and as such, anticipated that the company could absorb some costs to retain attractive price points and had projected an increase in cost-of-sales to 65.0 per cent in Q3’18 (6.5 ppts less than actual of 71.5 per cent).
“We note that the company’s gross profit for the period (N18.6 billion) was not sufficient to cover its operating expenses of N22.7 billion for the period, which resulted to an operating loss of N3.9 billion. This coupled with net finance cost amounting to N1.2 billion, resulted to a loss-before-tax of N5.1 billion in Q3’18 (vs. Q3’17 PBT: N400 million).
“However, the company recorded a tax credit of N1.4 billion during the quarter, which moderated loss-after-tax to N3.6 billion (vs. Q3’17 PAT: N300 million).”
For the financial year ended December, 2018, the brewer announced a profit after tax of N19.4 billion for the 2018 Financial Year. According to the audited financial results released to The Exchange, the Company also made a Revenue of N324.4 billion during the period.
The 2018 Profit after Tax was lower than the N31.6 billion recorded in 2017, representing a 41 per cent decline, while the Revenue also dipped from the N344.5 billion recorded in 2017, a six per cent decline.
According to analysts FBNQuest Research, “Nigerian Breweries’ (NB) Q4 2018 earnings missed our forecasts because of negative surprises in gross margin and net interest expense. The results suggest that headwinds were most pressing in 2018, as NB recorded its worst sales (-6 per cent y/y) and PBT (-37 per cent y/y) declines since 1998.”
According to management, the company suffered 4-6 per cent volume losses caused by stronger competitive headwinds in the value lager segment (where NB has its highest exposure).
The Company also began the 2019 financial year on the decline, as the first quarter ended March 2019 showed a Profit after Tax of N8 billion, lower than the N10.2 billion recorded in the same period in 2018, signifying a 21.4 per cent decline.
The statement signed by the Company Secretary/Legal Director, Uaboi Agbebaku, said that the increase in net Revenue was offset by higher excise duty following the excise duty regime introduced in 2018. Cost of Sales increased by 7.3 per cent primarily driven by Raw Materials and Consumables while Marketing and Distribution expenses increased 7.9 per cent over the same period in 2018.
Administrative Expenses reduced by 12 per cent, partially driven by the right sizing exercise undertaken by the Company in Q3, 2018. The impact of inflation and currency devaluation was minimized by the continued focus on cost efficiencies delivered through Cost Leadership initiatives.
Profit deflators /outlook
According to Agbebaku, the company’s the 2018 results were adversely impacted by the increased excise duty rates that came into effect during the year and a challenging operating environment.
He noted that the 2019 operating environment so far, has shown similarities with the difficult environment witnessed in 2018. Notwithstanding, the Board remains confident that it has a clear strategy to deliver good return on investment.
To analysts at FBNQuest, although double-digit volume growth was realised from NB’s premium lager segment, this did not drive overall volume growth given the segment’s lighter weighting in the brand portfolio. NB’s market share was particularly challenged by International Breweries’ (IB) expansion into the south-west. On top of this, the company’s woes were further compounded by an excise tax increase that was not passed on.” Over our forecast period, we see IB’s aggressive pricing strategy, particularly in value larger, posing a key challenge to NB’s performance,” the experts said.
Though operational challenges have remarkably weighed down on the manufacturing sector, it is pertinent for the company to continue to manage its cost base tightly to deliver moderate operating margins improvement for growth and profitability.
OVH Energy fires 2 oil dealers over profiteering
Downstream oil major, OVH Energy Marketing Limited, on Wednesday declared that it had sacked two of its major dealers, sounding note of warning to others.
The Chief Executive Officer of OVH, Huub Stokman, who declared this on the side lines of a media briefing at the company’s office in Apapa, Lagos, maintained that the dealers were sack based on their violation of OVH’s firm stand against profiteering and cheating of customers.
“We released two dealers over cheating. We found out, we kicked them out,” he said, adding: “We will not pretend about it. We abhor cheating of our customers and with us they will always be in a safe hand.”
Noting that his company had surged investment in key areas of business like jetty and loading gantry, quality control, OVH academy and aviation, Stokman maintained that the war on cheating of customers is also taken seriously.
“If you keep doing the same thing over the time, you will keep having same result. When you desire improvement, you need to look at an improved way of doing the same thing.
“We invested in new equipment to guarantee efficiency. We also upgraded 50 of our retail sites. We have done a lot also on our lube bays. All of this is to give our customers a new exciting experience,” he said.
Elumelu: Job creation, inclusive growth, key to Africa’s devt
ounder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman, United Bank for Africa Group (UBA), Mr. Tony. Elumelu , has proposed job creation for youths, inclusive growth, and gender diversity as priority areas for Africa’s development agenda that will lead to achieving peace and stability on the continent.
He said this while speaking on a high-level panel with Macky Sall, President of Senegal, and Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of Mauritania.
Other speakers on the panel include Florence Parly, Defence Minister of France; and Pierre Buyoya, a former President of Burundi and representative of the African Union.
Elumelu stressed the urgency in tackling poverty, the root cause of extremism in Africa.
He said: “We know, and we say, that poverty anywhere is a threat to mankind everywhere. What manifests itself in what we call security breakdown or terrorism, or extremism is actually deeply rooted in poverty, in joblessness.
“So with due respect, we can have 101 seminars like this but unless and until we begin to address these issues of poverty, joblessness amongst our young ones, they will continue to allow themselves to be brainwashed by people who see no future, and they will continue to engage in extremism.”
He emphasised that while it is no doubt important to discuss weaponry, and other means to deal with insurgency, a lasting peace can only be attained in the long run by investing in young people across Africa.
Macky Sall acquiesced to the need for the public sector to collaborate with the private sector to tackle poverty on the continent.
He said: “Addressing the threats cannot be done on a standalone basis due to the fact that the challenges know no borders.”
He called for a more collaborative approach to alleviate violence and extremism to boost investments in Africa.
Elumelu cited the impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme as one of the practical ways the private sector in Africa can intervene to bring about peace and stability on the continent.
Speaking further, he referenced the partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to empower 100,000 young Africans in 10 years with a focus on the Sahel region for its first year.
CBN: Federally-collected revenue drops to N894.09bn
he nation’s federally collected revenue (gross) stood at N894.09billion in October 2019, representing a 28.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent decline respectively, when compared with both the monthly budget estimate of N1.246.07 billion and the preceding month’s receipt, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed.
The decline in federally-collected revenue relative to the provisional monthly budget estimate was attributed to a shortfall in both oil and non-oil revenue in the review period.
Data from CBN’s economic report for October 2019 posted on its website yesterday showed that oil receipts, at N577.30 billion, constituting 64.6 per cent of total revenue, was below the monthly budget estimate of N798.83 billion by 27.7 per cent.
However, according to the CBN, the figure exceeded the receipt of N467.58 billion in the preceding month by 23.5 per cent.
“The decrease in oil revenue relative to the monthly budget estimate was attributed to shut-ins and shut-downs at some NNPC terminals due to pipeline leakages and maintenance activities,” the CBN stated.
“Similarly, at N316.79 billion or 35.4 per cent of total revenue, non-oil receipt was below the monthly budget estimate of N447.24 billion and the preceding month’s earning of N434.52 billion by 29.2 per cent and 27.1 per cent, respectively. The drop in collection, relative to the monthly budget estimate, was due to decline in revenue from Corporate Tax, VAT, Education Tax and Federal Government Independent Revenue,” the apex bank added.
The regulator further disclosed that at N316.91 billion, the estimated Federal Government retained revenue for the month of October 2019 was below the monthly budget estimate of N705.44 billion by 55.1 per cent.
“A breakdown showed that Federation Account was 88.4 per cent of the total retained revenue, while VAT, FGN Independent Revenue and Exchange Gain amounted to 4.2 per cent, 7.3 per cent, and 0.1 per cent, respectively,” it said.
In addition, the CBN revealed that at N695.89 billion, the estimated total expenditure of the Federal Government was below the monthly budget estimate of N865.31 billion by 19.6 per cent and also below the N949.56 billion recorded in the preceding month by 26.7 per cent.
Interswitch bags Linkedin’s sub-Saharan Africa rising star award
nterswitch Group has been recognized as the inaugural winner of the Linkedin sub-Saharan Africa Rising Star award at the 2019 edition of the Linkedin Talent Awards held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In a press release, the group said it was nominated in the “Rising Star”Category for Sub-Saharan Africa alongside Debswana Diamond Company (Botswana) and Union Bank of Nigeria.
LinkedIn analyzes the performance, results and impact of thousands of companies across various regions globally to determine outstanding performers who are then short-listed as finalists with respective category winners in specific geographical regions then awarded at an annual grand ceremony.
Expressing her delight at the recognition, Tolulope Agiri, Group Chief Human Resources Officer at Interswitch, said: “We are extremely proud and excited to be the inaugural recipient of the Linkedin sub-Saharan Africa Rising Star Award.
“This recognition means a lot to us, and we’d like to thank the Linkedin team for putting this awards initiative in place, and particularly for creating such a valuable platform in which employers are able to leverage on and build upon to drive a wide variety of talent engagement initiatives. This recognition is a strong testament to the inherent value in collaboration, not only between Interswitch with the Linkedin team, but also internally between our different teams.”
Also commenting on the recognition, Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Interswitch, said:
Access Bank appoints Awosika chair as Belo-Olusoga retires
he Board of Directors of Access Bank Plc has appointed Dr. (Mrs) Ajoritsedere Awosika as Chairman of the bank.
The bank also announced that its Chairman, Mrs. Mosun Belo-Olusoga, would be retiring in January 2020.
This, according to a statement from the lender, follows her completion of the maximum 12- year term limit allowed by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s code of corporate governance for aanks and discount houses.
Mrs Belo-Olusoga became the chairman of the Board in July 2015.
According to the bank, Belo-Olusoga confirmed that she had no disagreement with the board and there are no issues relating to her retirement that need to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the company or regulatory authorities.
“To lead the board in the next phase of the bank’s transformation into becoming Africa’s gateway to the world, the board has in line with its robust leadership succession plan appointed Dr. (Mrs) Ajoritsedere Awosika, as the Chairman of the Bank when Mrs Belo-Olusoga steps down on January 8, 2020,” the bank said.
Awosika joined the board in April 2013 as an Independent Non-Executive Director and has been the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board Credit and Finance Committee and the Board Audit Committee respectively in addition to membership of other Board Committees.
She is an accomplished administrator with over three decades experience in public sector governance. She was at various times the permanent secretary in the federal ministries of Internal Affairs, Science & Technology and Power.
Awosika is a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacy.
She holds a doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Technology from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom.
She is the Chairman of Chams Plc and Josephine Consulting Limited and a Non-Executive Director of Capital Express Assurance Limited.
The board expressed its appreciation to Belo-Olusoga for her contributions to the bank’s transformational growth and wishes Awosika success in her new appointment.
Time to leverage on dividend paying stocks
The current low prices of stocks occasioned by downturn in the economy present bargain hunters investment opportunity in dividend paying stocks. Chris Ugwu writes
he ongoing downward swing in the market, prompted by massive sale of shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange has led to extraordinary drop in value of price of securities.
This has also affected investor confidence adversely, leading to apathy and lull in activities at the stock exchange.
The ripple effect of this on the economy is that on the one hand, the culture of savings and investment among the populace is in dire stress, and on the other, the productive sector is being starved of long-term investible funds usually garnered through intermediation processes provided by the capital market.
However, the most important thing to keep in mind during an economic slowdown is that it’s normal for the stock market to have negative years as it is all part of the business cycle.
For a long-term investor (meaning a time horizon of 10+ years), one option is to take advantage of naira-cost averaging model.
By purchasing shares regardless of price, the investor ends up buying shares at low price when the market is down. Over the long run, the cost will average down with a better overall entry price for the shares.
Just as Investopedia puts it, “having a percentage of your portfolio spread among stocks, bonds, cash and alternative assets is the core of diversification. How you slice up your portfolio depends on your risk tolerance, time horizon, goals, etc. Every investor’s situation is different. A proper asset allocation strategy will allow you to avoid the potentially negative effects resulting from placing all your eggs in one basket.”
In a critical situation like this and as risk aversion measures, it behooves on the regulators and economic stakeholders to educate and impart financial literacy knowledge to help individuals make informed decision through investment advisers for increasing wealth by taking advantage of the different investment opportunities, which abound in the Nigerian capital market.
Now that activities in the equities market is dropping significantly following drop in government security yields, and most investors are presently embracing mutual funds and collective investment scheme as alternative investment window, market operators believe local investors should target dividend paying stocks to reposition for future capital appreciation.
Market analysts are of the view that keying into dividend paying stocks becomes necessary following the downturn the Nigerian capital market is witnessing, which resulted in investors experiencing heavy losses.
Reasons for dividend paying stocks
Major reasons why dividends matter for investors include the fact that they substantially increase stock investing profits, provide an extra metric for fundamental analysis, reduce overall portfolio risk, offer tax advantages, and help to preserve purchasing power of capital.
One of the basics of stock market investing is market risk, or the inherent risk associated with any equity investment.
Stocks may go up or down, and there is no guarantee they increase in value, while investing in dividend-paying companies is not guaranteed to be profitable, dividend stocks offer at least a partial return on investment that is virtually guaranteed.
It is very rare for dividend-paying companies to ever stop paying dividends, in fact, most of these companies increase the amount of dividends over time.
According to an international stock market analyst, J.B. Maverick, dividends are a major factor in reducing overall portfolio risk and volatility.
“In terms of reducing risk, dividend payments mitigate any losses that occur from a decline in stock price. But the risk reduction benefit of dividends goes beyond that basic fact. Studies have consistently shown that dividend-paying stocks significantly outperform non dividend-paying stocks during bear market periods. While an overall downmarket generally drags down stocks across the board, dividend-paying stocks usually suffer significantly less decline in value than non dividend-paying stocks.
“A stark example of this fact was displayed during the overall market downturn in 2002, when non dividend-paying stocks fell by an average of 30 per cent, while dividend-paying stocks only declined on average by 10 per cent. Even during the severe 2008 financial crisis that precipitated a sharp fall in stock prices, dividend stocks held up noticeably better than non dividend stocks,” Maverick said.
Maverick, in a report, noted that just as the impact of dividends on total return on investment is often overlooked by investors, so too is the fact that dividends provide a helpful point of analysis in equity evaluation and stock selection.
Evaluation of stocks using dividends is often a more reliable equity evaluation measure than many other more commonly used metrics such as price-to-earnings ratio.
“Most financial metrics used by analysts and investors in stock analysis are dependent on figures obtained from companies’ financial statements. The potential problem with evaluating stocks solely based on a company’s financial statements is companies can, and unfortunately sometimes do, manipulate their financial statements through misleading accounting practices to improve their appearance to investors. Dividends, however, offer a solid indication of whether a company is performing well. In short, a company has to have real cash flow to make a dividend payment.
“Examining a company’s current and historical dividend payout gives investors a firm reference point in basic fundamental analysis of the strength of a company. Dividends provide continuous, year-to-year indications of a company’s growth and profitability, outside of whatever up-and-down movements may occur in the company’s stock price over the course of a year. A company consistently increasing its dividend payments over time is a clear indication of a company that is steadily generating profits and is less likely to have its basic financial health threatened by temporary market or economic downturns.
“An additional benefit of using dividends in evaluating a company is that since dividends only change once a year, they provide a much more stable point of analysis than metrics that are subject to the day-to-day fluctuations in stock price,” he said.
Cautions on panic sale of shares
The Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) recently warned embattled equity investors against panic sale of shares to avert avoidable losses as the stock market would soon become bullish.
Besides, ASHON has reopened the call on investors to take advantage of stockbrokers for sound professional advice before taking investment decision.
Responding to enquiries on the ongoing downward swing, ASHON’s Chairman, Chief Patrick Ezeagu, described the situation as unnecessary panic sale.
According to him, many investors adopt herd instinct, whereby they sell off just because others are selling.
Ezeagu noted that two investors may not necessarily have the same motive for sale or buy order, saying this is where the need for professional investment advice from stockbrokers becomes compelling.
He stated that a trend analysis of corporate earnings in recent time indicates that many companies across sectors have posted higher earnings with good returns but this has not significantly reflected in upward movement of their share prices.
Ezeagu explained that there was nothing unusual about this as the market generally reflects the trend in the economy, hence, investors buy into the future of these companies on the expectation of higher shareholder value.
“Those who are selling off their shares right now are speculators and not real investors. Every stock market needs speculators for liquidity but they can change investment decision in one second. Our Stock market is forward looking. Investors need not be nervous. They should consult professional stockbrokers for sound investment decision.
“There is no basis for panic sale of shares. Many companies have announced strong financial performance with prospects of increased future earnings. Why should a shareholder of such a company embark on panic sale of shares?
Patronising dividend-paying stocks
Following the current state of the local bourse, investors have been advised to target fundamentally-sound and dividend-paying stocks, to reposition for future capital appreciation, especially in the 2019 financial year.
The experts, who expressed optimism that with new investment policies from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said investors’ focus would shift towards equities, and argued that the current cheap stock prices offer investors opportunities to position for short and medium-to-long-term capital appreciation.
They advised investors to increase stake in sectors like insurance, banking, industrial goods, services, as well as oil/gas, noting that these stocks have become defensive in recent times, and could appreciate in no distant time.
According to them, discerning investors need to leverage the opportunity as a way of increasing their portfolio and recouping their investment immediately a recovery stage sets in.
The Chief Research Officer of Investdata Consulting Limited, Ambrose Omodion, said traders and investors needed to change their trading strategies due to the review of the NSE’s pricing methodology, which stipulates that all class of equities need uniform 100,000 units to effect any price changes.
“This may be part of efforts to mitigate the persistent price decline that has seen many stocks trading at between their five and 10-year lows and even more, in recent times.
“Discerning investors should latch onto this, meanwhile, as a way of averaging down and recouping their investment immediately a recovery stage sets in, helped by economic policies when things start to change gradually.
“In the process, equity prices will be influenced positively, while investors watch for sectors that have become defensive in recent times and could go bullish in no distant time,” he noted.
Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said the recent CBN restrictions on Open Market Operations (OMO) would restore confidence in the volatile stock market, considering low stock prices.
Investors at the Nigerian Stock Exchange like their counterparts in other climes need to be well informed in order to take efficient decisions about various investment products and also avoid scam.
NPA earmarks N108.94bn for capital project
igerian Ports Authority (NPA) has earmarked a total of N108.94 billion for its various capital projects in 2020.
The authority also said that a total of N93.64 billion would be spent on operations.
Its Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, disclosed this in Abuja before the House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours chaired by Honourable Garba Datti Muhammad during the defence of the authority’s N202.48 billion budget for year 2020.
Meanwhile, Bala-Usman has assured of NPA’s determination to ensure effective service delivery in all Nigerian ports with the intention of making the nation’s maritime sector more competitive and become a hub in the sub-region.
Bala Usman, who was represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello-Koko, during a visit to NPA office in Lagos by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Ports, explained that the authority was working to reduce the dwell time of cargo at the ports.
In a statement by its General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications, Engr. Adams Jatto, the mananging director said that the NPA would embrace multimodal transportation through the use of locomotive trains and barges for the evacuation of cargoes in and out of the ports to the hinterlands.
She explained that more than 95 per cent of the cargoes coming into the ports were transported to hinterlands by trucks.
Bala-Usman said: “There must be multimodal means of transportation to include trains and barges in order to reduce congestion and we are working towards this.”
On his part, Mohammed said that the visit was to appraise the 2019 budget performance in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to ministries, departments and agencies of government during the presentation of the 2020 budget.
He thanked the management of NPA for the cooperation that the committee has received from the organisation.
Shipping: Re-addressing Nigerian flagged vessels’ absence
For over a decade, Nigeria has lost huge amount of money to 25,256 foreign vessels in terms of freight earnings due to unfavourable policies and terms of trade, BAYO AKOMOLAFE reports
he National Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC) set up by the Federal Government in 2016 to reclaim Nigerian shipping business currently dominated by the foreign ships is still at a crossroad and struggling to float a national carrier.
The idea to set up a national fleet by government came 23 years after the demise of Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
Three years after, NFIC explained that unfavorable trade policies, high taxation and poor business practices were major impediments to the successful establishment of the long-awaited national fleet.
Despite heavy investment and subsidies, the first shipping line established by government in 1959 with its 24 vessels was unable to compete with European and Asian liners.
Ever since the demise NNSL in 1995, the country has not been able to establish shipping lines that would fly Nigerian flags, thereby creating rooms for dominance of the business by foreigners.
However, Malaysia, which started its shipping line almost the same time with Nigeria, is currently sailing with 245ships of various sizes and types.
Conversely, all the 24 fleet acquired by Nigeria under the defunct NNSL had disappeared.
Presently, the country has no national fleet to boost local and international trade despite the fact that 92 per cent of all import/export cargo in and out of the country is done via seaborne trade.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said in Lagos recently that the inability of local investors to raise funds for equity participation had stalled the establishment of a national fleet and licensing of private national carriers.
The director general said that recession had also made it difficult for Nigerian ship owners to raise funds to take up the 60 per cent equity under the new arrangement with a Singaporean liner, Pacific International Lines (PIL).
Nevertheless, it was learnt that the only thing, which could have been the saving grace, was the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed in August 2016 between the Federal Government and a Singaporean firm, Pacific International Lines (PIL).
It was gathered that the Nigerian maritime laws obstructed the process as government was reluctant to amend the loopholes in the Maritime Act, which could enhance the growth of the industry.
For instance, a former President of Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, said at a shipowner forum in Lagos that Nigeria’s tax laws had put off PIL from the MoU because of its unfavourable terms and policies.
He recalled that PIL put it in writing that unless the tax laws were reviewed, it won’t be able to fly Nigerian flag as planned.
Since the collapse of the national fleet, it was revealed that each year, the NFIC headed by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, explained that the country had been losing $9.1billion in freight to foreign ships.
For instance between 2004 and 2017, the country recorded total vessel traffic of 25,256 vessels with the total gross freight of $39 billion.
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) managed to earn a paltry $1billion as levy from the proceeds.
According to Bello, the country had lost over N43.39 trillion ($120.53 billion) in gross freight paid on import and export cargoes to foreign owned vessels between 2004 and 2018.
He noted that a total of $57.94 billion was lost on freight paid by Nigerian shippers on imports and $62.59 billion on freight paid on export.
According to the committee chairman, the foreign owned vessels have been dominating the country’s shipping business following the absence of indigenous ship owners in the carriage of import and export cargoes in and out of the country.
Already, Bello, who is sad that Nigeria as a maritime nation does not own ships, explained that the country needed to change a lot of unfavourable government laws and policies hindering indigenous ship owners from participating in shipping business.
He stressed that owning of Nigerian registered, flagged and crewed ships would have an immeasurable effect on the economy.
Bello noted that shipping business, together with other aspects of maritime industry would finance Nigerian annual budget if properly harnessed.
He said: “Owning of ships was a vital qualification for a country to be called a maritime nation. The employment potential of the maritime industry is better imagined. It will impact on training and certification of cadets, especially with the existence of ship building and repair yards, insurance and banking industries as well.
“For Nigeria to have a viable national fleet, we need to clean up by working on the unfriendly government policies. We also need to introduce policies that would trigger and incentivise the indigenous shipping business. In addition to owning ships, we need to reserve contract for the ships.”
Lack of political will to review the country’s tax laws and maritime policies will continue to hinder the emergence of a new Nigerian fleet under public private partnership.
‘Google current accounts may boost banks’ deposit drive’
Consumers are flocking to newer, digital-only banks
oogle’s new checking (current) account service could help deposit money banks (DMBs) in their battle for consumer deposits, Bloomberg reported analysts as saying on Sunday.
The technology giant said last week it’s exploring how it can partner with banks to offer checking accounts through its Google Pay app.
Citigroup Inc. and a credit union in California signed on as initial partners for the effort — a move that could help them pick up extra customers as the industry contends with slowing growth in deposits.
The news agency quoted Betsy Graseck, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, as saying “it’s a war for deposits. An opportunity to deliver value to corporate customers and pick up incremental checking accounts as well is a good business decision.”
According to the news agency, deposit growth at the biggest U.S. banks slowed to 2.2 per cent last year, the lowest level since 2010. Consumers have increasingly flocked to newer, digital-only banks that come with flashy mobile apps and often offer higher interest rates for their savings.
Citigroup has been making a push for consumer deposits after it debuted its national digital bank and restructured its U.S. consumer operations last year, bringing Anand Selva from the firm’s Asia business to lead the new unit. Average deposits in the firm’s U.S. retail banking arm have climbed 2.9 per cent this year to $186 billion.
With the Google partnership, Selva is leaning on a playbook he learned in Asia, where Citigroup has forged partnerships with consumer companies including Paytm, India’s largest payments platform, and Grab, the ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia.
Banks will essentially be using Alphabet Inc.’s Google as a method for adding customers, “kind of like how airlines act as an account acquisition tool for credit cards,” Graseck said, adding that “this is not attaching your current checking account to Google Pay. It must be a new checking account.”
For Google, the bank partnerships will give the tech behemoth a better ability to show advertisers how marketing dollars spent on its system can drive purchases, according to Graseck. In a Morgan Stanley survey, consumers expressed high levels of confidence in Google’s ability to offer banking services, she said.
NSE rebounds, records 0.18% gain
rading activities on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday closed positive to upturn previous day’s loss as bulls regained grip following gains recorded by blue chip firms.
The local bourse recorded 20 gainers against 13 losers to begin trading on positive route.
Consequently, the All-Share Index appreciated by 48.35 basis points or 0.18 per cent to close at 26,739.44 index points as against 26.691.09 recorded the previous trading session while market capitalisation of equities grew by N23 billion from N12.882 trillion the previous day to N12.905 trillion as market sentiment remained on the positive territory.
Meanwhile, a turnover of 394.3 million shares exchanged in 4,405 deals was recorded in the day’s trading.
The premium sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 159.2 million shares exchanged by investors in 1,926 deals.
Volume in the sub-sector was largely driven by activities in shares of Access Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.
Also, other banking sub-sector boosted by activities in the shares of GTBank Plc and Wema Bank Plc followed with a turnover of 27.3 million shares in 540 deals.
Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that in percentage terms, Ekocorp Nigeria Plc topped the day’s gainers’ table with 10 per cent to close at N4.07 per share while Conoil Plc followed with 9.74 per cent to close at N16.90 per share. Learn Africa Plc added 9.43 per cent to close at N1.16 per share.
On the flip side, ABC Transport Plc led the losers’ table with a drop of 8.89 per cent to close at 41 kobo per share while UCAP Plc shed 5.22 per cent to close at N2.18 per share. AIICO Insurance Plc trailed with 5.19 per cent to close at 73 kobo per share.
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