Olukayode Olusanya is the Chief Executive Officer of Oak Homes Limited, a real estate development company that focuses on its niche clientele in the highbrow Ikoyi and Victoria Island. In this interview with PAUL OGBUOKIRI, he says his company is taking luxury a notch higher to home seekers by offering first of its kind in the Nigerian real estate sector a fully automated smart apartments. Excepts
You are making some waves in the real estate, it is not expected to have just happened; what were you doing before now?
All my life until 2015, I have been a banker. The last place I worked was the Corporate Banking unit of Skye Bank. And of course, that was where I got familiar with real estate business.
How deep is Oak Homes in the real estate sector?
Oak Homes is in the business of developing real estate, so we build and deliver luxury apartments to our target customers. That’s basically what we do transforming land and those raw material into houses
Will it be right to say that there is lull in the real estate market now?
Yes, I will say so because the earning power of Nigerians has reduced and also, maybe because of my background as a banker, the access to finance/ credit for individual Nigerians has also reduced, banks are not providing facility for borrowing. Of course, when peoples’ earning capacity is reduced, naturally, it leads to lull in the economy.
The Nigerian population is increasing by the day, and it is expected that the demand for residential and office apartments should equally be on the increase, but the situation seems to be on the contrary. What is the implication of that to the economy?
There is still a lot of activity in the sector, but it may not be as busy as you would want it to be, but it is just the realities of the time; the country just exited recession just a couple of years ago and the economy haven’t yet picked up fully.
I am not an active economist or in a position to advise the government, but anything the government can do to encourage spending, that will stimulate bigger economic activities and growth. That is why you hear the saying, ‘spend your way out of recession’.
Are the price houses, either for rent or outright purchase coming down with the lull in the market?
The truth of the matter is that Nigeria is a peculiar country. In a place like Lagos which is very huge there are more people coming into the city than those leaving, so the demand pressure is there, moreso, the land which we need to build the hoses is decreasing because it is a is diminishing asset, as you use, it does not expand; unless you want to do reclaim land and that does not come cheap.
So it is the role demand and supply that is at play here. Demand continues to surpass supply such that as it closes up, the price goes up, so that’s why instead of the price land in Banana Island decreasing, it is going up even though there is less money in circulation.
So you realize that some of these things follow the economic theories of demand and supply, however, as the land reduce, you go up by doing multi-floor skyscrapers. If you go to my village now, you will probably be doing more bungalows or at best a 2 floor building, but if you’re in Lagos you have to go up because the cost of per square meter of land is increasing.
It is a well known fact when investment is rising and economy is booming, demand for residential and office apartments increase. As a player in this industry, will you say that investors are still coming into Nigeria new?
I will say yes, investors are still coming into the country. Nigeria is an interesting country, when you see foreigners coming into the country, to be honest to you it is not because the like us so much, even though often times they say Nigerians are good people, accommodating, hospitable and all that. I have a lot of white friends saying such nice things about us, but when you see them; foreigners coming into the country, you will begin to ask why would one want to leave the comfort of United States, United Kingdom, Dubai etc, to come Nigeria? It’s not because they love us but it is because of the resources that abound here. Seriously, I tell people that I cannot leave this country because the solution to the economic difficulties of the country lies in our hands. There is limitless world of opportunities in Nigeria. Now I will also tell you why I think Nigeria is a fantastic place, mind you, I had the opportunity of studying in the United Kingdom. The UK and US are perfect countries, if there is anything like perfection, there are no much innovations that you can bring there that can wow anybody there, it is what they have done over 20 years ago. But if you’re doing such thing in Nigeria, it makes whole lot of difference. Take for a example, we are doing what is called smart estate, meaning everything is automated, your taps, your lights, everything is operated from the control of a button of a device, this is something in our minds we are trying the blow the minds of people, taking luxury a notch higher, but if go to the US, they will say you guys are not doing badly, but in Nigeria, we are making some noise about it, that Oak Homes is this, we are bring this and that, so we are making some noise about it and we are proudly doing so because if you look around, pockets of individuals have been doing it, but as a developer, we are coming out to do it on a large scale.
In that case, what should your clients expect you now?
We’re not just in the market to take money from those in need of apartments, we are focused and our sole intent is to do things differently, we have a target market and we have market focus. Our market focus is Ikoyi and Victoria Island. For us, it is more than making a buck,
Now I will tell you what we have done is that we are redefining luxury for our target market. That’s what we are trying to do. So luxury in itself, when people hear it, they will come and say that it is expensive, we are trying to make it affordable, so what we are selling at N70 million, our competitor will probably sell to you at N90 million. We have tried our best to cut it down to N70 million, that is what we call affordable luxury. So for our own target market, it is affordable option, but if you take it out of that target market, they will say it is too expensive; why is it not going for N5 million. That’s a different market entirely, but for our own market, it is affordable. So we are trying to redefine luxury in the market we operate, which is Ikoyi and Victoria Island.
How can prospective buyers locate you?
Oak Homes has a brand and an identity you cannot miss. I believe we are in the faces of our potential clients, and moreover, we constantly open up avenues to be within the reach of the investing public. One of such is our unveiling event this Sunday, we are showcasing some new products and new estates, we are bringing to the fore some of the things we have doing already. At that event, our select audience is invited. We can be found on www.oakhomeslimited.com.
Also, at that event; The Unveiling II, (the second in the series in Nigeria); the idea is that we introduce our developments to the investing public for the first time. We are unveiling our smart estate we are doing in partnership with Schneid Electric, we are introducing developments in Victoria Island in Ikoyi, topnotch luxury. Where everything is carefully intended to be perfect, everything is intended. We are in partnership with one of the best interior designers in the country. So you can be rest assured that from the beginning to the end, everything is intended, everything is intentional, intentional designs. We are trying to take care of all the details.
Now, we didn’t get here by a stroke of luck or by accident, we have really been flogged before, we have gone through the cold, through trial; however we are still learning, constantly evolving to do better than the automation we are have done. It will get better, so I enjoin everybody, if you have the chance, join us at the event.
What will be your advise to freshly out graduates, on struggling to stand on their own rather than waiting for non-existent jobs somewhere?
First and foremost, I would say that nothing fell on my laps, I can tell you for free, right from my undergraduate days. I used to sell packet shirts. There is someone from my past whom I still respect; Pastor Dele Jayeoba, who used to patronize me a lot. I don’t know if he was buying the shirts to help me or he needed the shirts. He will just say Kayode go and bring five. From there I went to other businesses, at a time, I had a telephone call business. So when I finished my undergraduate days and went onto for my NYSC, I remember I went to some corporate organisations in Apapa submitting my CV. What I telling them was that I will work for free, that was in 2002.
Let me summarise by saying that you don’t sleep and wake and expect things to happen. Ofcourse, there has been a God factor in everything I’m doing. I don’t have a godfather somewhere, just God. However, I have helpers who have played crucial roles in my life. I have a lot of supporters, a lot of mentors; I have read a lot of books. But I tell you that nothing fell on my laps, even if you are praying for God’s blessing, lay your hands on something, so that God will find something to bless for you.
Along the story of my life, most of the people who have assisted me are people I do not know. God has always sent helpers our way and I have also tried not to disrepute my name. One of the things that my father taught me is that your name is your greatest possession and I have grown up to learn that there are people that speak for me where I don’t have access to.
Have you diversified?
Ah, there is something I learnt from Aliko Dangote, he said that he will not put his money in any business he does not understand. I have lot friends who say that they are into crypto currency, that they are doing oil and gas, I like the good life but I also know you cannot make all the money. So I engage only in the enterprise I am comfortable with. The one that you can make and go but when you put your hand into what you don’t understand and you get burnt, so real estate is what I understand. I love the art of creation. Real estate is what we do, but we recently started facility management.
125-year-old US dime sells for N.5bn
A dime doesn’t buy much these days, but this rare dime that recently sold at auction cost a pretty penny.
The 1894-S Barber dime is considered among the rarest and most coveted coins in the country — only nine are known to exist — according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries, which specializes in antique coins and currency.
Dell Loy Hansen, a Utah businessman and owner of the Real Salt Lake soccer club, paid $1.32 million (N 471,240,000) for the 125-year-old coin last Thursday at the Stack’s-Bowers Rarities Night Auction in Chicago.
“This was an opportunity to buy yet another famous rarity for the growing collection,” Hansen said in a statement.
The 1894-S dime was designed by engraver Charles E. Barber and struck in San Francisco on June 9, 1894, according to the Professional Coin Grading Service.
The dime, which was once owned by former Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, is ranked No.6 in the respected “100 Greatest U.S. Coins” listing, behind the likes of 1804 silver doll and the 1913 Liberty Head nickel, reports abcnews.com.
Hansen has been collecting coins for years, and is amassing the first privately-held coin collection of items from 1792 to the present day, according to David Lawrence Rare Coins, which is helping Hanse in the pursuit.
John Brush, president of David Lawrence Rare Coins, called Hansen’s purchase “one of the most exciting acquisitions that we have made.”
“This opportunity to acquire such a legendary rarity is something that you can only dream about as a child,” Brush said in a statement.
Food imports: Divergent views trail Buhari’s directive to CBN
Financial experts and stakeholders continue to hold varied views on the implications of President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement, last week, that he had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to allocate foreign exchange to importers of food items to help the nation attain full food security. Tony Chukwunyem reports
eactions to the President Muhammadu Buhari’s widely reported speech last Tuesday that he had directed the Apex Bank to stop allocating foreign exchange to importers of food items, as part of efforts to conserve the country’s foreign reserves, continue to come thick and fast from financial experts and stakeholders.Indeed, it does appear that confusion still lingers in some quarters over exactly what the implications of the President’s statement are especially with regard to CBN autonomy and his claim that the move will help the nation attain full food security.
Presidency denies FT’s report
For instance, just last Sunday, the Presidency reacted to a Financial Times (FT) of London report on the issue, describing it as incorrect.
In a letter addressed to the Editor of the publication made available to journalists, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, stressed that the Federal Government had not banned or placed restrictions on the importation of agricultural products into the country, as the report, according to him, seemed to have insinuated.
Mr. Shehu’s statement reads in part: “To be absolutely clear, there is no ban or restriction on the importation of food items whatsoever. President Buhari has consistently worked towards strengthening Nigeria’s own industrial and agricultural base. A recent decision sees the Central Bank maintain its reserves to put to use helping growth of domestic industry in 41 product sectors rather than provide forex for the import of those products from overseas.
“Should importers of these items wish to source their forex from non-government financial institutions (and pay customs duty on those imports – increasing tax-take, something the FT has berated Nigeria for not achieving on many occasions) they are freely able to do so,” he stated.
However, as the FT pointed out in its report, many analysts believe that instead of boosting Nigerian agriculture, the forex ban on food imports would create food shortages, increase smuggling activities, and send prices higher.
The publication reported Africa Director for the Eurasia Group, Amaka Anku, as saying that the problem was not whether Buhari’s directive would be implemented or not, but that it sent a troubling message for an economy suffering from high unemployment, low foreign direct investment and sluggish growth.
Specifically, she was quoted as saying: “Most actors, especially the central bank, should know that a total ban of food imports is not practical and I doubt that will be the policy. But his comments will continue to drive home the sense that Buhari has no idea how to manage an economy and will raise uncertainty about what other (foreign exchange) restrictions are coming, and contribute to already low business confidence.”
Similarly, the publication reported Chief Economist at NKC African Economics, Mr. Cobus de Hart, as saying that President Buhari’s call for a currency ban raised more “serious concerns,” adding that it also cast doubt on Nigeria’s commitment to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, which the country signed last month after more than a year of delay.
According to him, the move: “Stands in stark contrast to the strategy outlined in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, and this policy will certainly not set Nigeria’s agricultural sector up to take full advantage of a liberalisation of trade barriers across the continent.”
NECA, others fret over directive
Even before international financial analysts faulted President Buhari on the directive, their counterparts in Nigeria, as well as stakeholders in the country, had also picked holes in the President’s call.
For instance, reacting to the directive, the Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, was reported by Reuters as saying that directive could have consequences for Nigeria given that the country signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which seeks to create a continent-wide free trade zone where tariffs on most goods would be eliminated.
He was quoted as saying : “At this point in time, these rules will be manipulated in the interest of smugglers and their accomplices.”
Also, former Deputy Governor of the CBN, Professor Kingsley Moghalu, said the issue was not whether or not CBN should allow access to Forex for food imports, but whether such an economic policy should be imposed by a political authority.
He said: “Our economy will not be saved by Ad Hoc political decisions like this, handed down by the very institutions that should be shielded from the whim and caprice of politicians. Nigeria’s entire economy appears to have been sub-contracted to our Central Bank, including industrial and trade policy. In the process, the economy has fared poorly, and the Central Bank has lost its independence. This is sad!”
Similarly, the Centre for Social Justice and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), said in separate statements that the move was coming at a wrong time.
In the statement issued by the Centre for Social Justice’s (CSJ), signed by its Lead Director, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, the organisation also pointed out that the directive was not in line with S.1 (3) of the CBN Act 2007, which, according to him, states : “The CBN shall be an independent body in the discharge of its functions.
“There are no provisions in the CBN Act or any other existing law empowering the President to run or give directives on foreign exchange management or any other component of Monetary Policy. This directive erodes the independence and autonomy of the apex bank,” Mr Onyekpere said.
Besides, he argued that Nigeria was far from attaining food security and had not even started the race for food sovereignty.
“Stopping the allocation of foreign exchange for the importation of needed food items will only increase their prices since there will still be demand for the goods,” he said. “Unless there is a ban on the importation of these food items, importers will still be free to source for foreign exchange from alternative sources to import them.
“Increase in the price of food at a time of grave economic crisis, increasing poverty and misery can only deepen the already fragile and precarious living conditions of the average Nigerian. Even an outright ban will be a misnomer in the circumstances”.
Equally, in a statement signed by its Director-General, Mr. Timothy Olawale, NECA said that while the intention behind the directive was laudable, the country could not afford such policy at the moment, as it had not yet attained self-sufficiency in food production.
He warned that an immediate withdrawal of forex for food importation without giving a buffer period for businesses to adjust might negatively impact the economy.
The NECA D-G said: “Though the recent thrust towards withdrawal of forex for imported foods is laudable and welcome, the timing, however, calls for concern.”
Only a few days ago, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) also issued a statement in which it said that it was yet to fully understand the implication of the President’s directive. According to the association, a close examination of the directive reveals that it is broad and would have to be both specific and targeted and there should also be strategic implementation to achieve the purpose intended by government.
For instance, the association said it wanted to know what type of food import was affected by the directive, whether it is finished and ready to eat items or as input for further processing.
Director General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, who spoke for the association, said that while MAN lauded the move, it needed more clarity on it, especially given, “trade agreements that require the country to be more open to imports and the well-known antics of our neighboring countries.”
He further stated: “We are not necessarily worried about the directive and we prefer to see it as an expression of Mr. President’s mindset. We are sure Mr. President is aware of the independence of the CBN and that such policies may be counterproductive if implemented by fiat, without ensuring necessary alignment with the fiscal policy and other economic policy initiatives of this administration.”
However, the directive seems to have received a blanket endorsement from Economist and analyst, Mr. Tope Fasua. He commended President for giving the directive, which he described as the right step in the right direction.
In fact, he urged the President to ensure full implementation of the directive to enable Nigerians consume what is produced in the country.
He said: “I believe it is in the right direction but we need more than pronouncements. The boost in food production needed to bridge the gap cannot be left to the mere pursuit of profits. It should be strategically pursued using several instruments including mass mobilisation.
“Otherwise, this may end up counterproductive if only a few moneybags with stolen cash or unfettered access to bank loans are able to produce while the majority is at their mercy.”
However, as a top banking industry source pointed out at the weekend, contrary to popular belief, President Buhari’s directive to the Apex Bank last week was not new; the President was only reiterating something the CBN has been implementing in the last few years.
Naira stability: CBN sells N299bn T-bills in one week
ith the recent downward movement in oil prices resulting in a decline in the nation’s external reserves and triggering concerns over naira stability, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) auctioned a total of N299billion worth of Treasury Bills between August 7 and 15, to lure foreign inflows, findings by New Telegraph show.
According to traders, the recent drop in oil prices, coupled with falling yields, led foreign investors to booking profits on local bonds, thereby putting pressure on the naira at the Investors and Exporters’ (I&E) foreign exchange window.
The CBN responded to the development by holding an unscheduled Treasury bill auction on August 7, during which it sold a total of N114.6billion worth of T-bills.
The auction was the apex bank’s first T-Bills sale since mid-July and it saw the CBN offering to sell N100billion of bills in maturities of three, six and 12 months, but getting bids of N454.9billion, with the one-year paper winning around 80 per cent of the demand.
Specifically, the CBN sold the most-liquid one-year bill at 12 per cent, lower than the 12.25 per cent it paid at its last auction in July and compared with as high as 18 per cent it fetched a year ago.
The CBN followed up this auction with another after the Sallah break on August 14, during which it sold N34.4 billion worth of bills.
On the 91-day bill, N4.38billion was offered at 9.70 per cent. A total subscription of N15.06billion was recorded while N4.38billion worth of bills was sold.
Also, the N10billion 182-day tenor bill, which was offered at 11.35 per cent, recorded a total subscription of N8.59billion while N3billion was sold.
A total of N27billion was recorded from the sale of the N20billion 364-day bill, which was offered at 12 per cent up from 11.2 per cent it paid at its last sale and recording a total subscription of 122.88billion.
In addition, the CBN auctioned another N150billion open market bills last Thursday, a sale that clearly showed that the regulator was trying to lure foreign inflows as traders said it had told them to increase their rates from last auction rates.
Interestingly, the T-Bills auctions in the last week took place amid ongoing moves by the regulator to limit commercial banks’ investment in treasury bills and Federal Government bonds and get the lenders to increase lending to the real sector of the economy.
Last month, for instance, the apex bank first announced that all deposit money banks would be required to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 60 per cent by September 30, 2019, sub ject to quarterly review.
It stated that this was meant to encourage lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), retail and mortgage customers which shall be assigned a weight of 150 per cent in computing the stipulated LDR.
The regulator emphasised that any DMB’s failure to meet the new minimum LDR by the specified date would result in a levy of additional Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) equal to 50 per cent of the lending shortfall of the target LDR.
A few days later, the CBN tweaked the guidelines on DMBs’ access to Standing Deposit Facility (SDF), capping the remunerable daily placements by lenders at the SDF window at N2 billion (down from N7.5 billion).
It stated that while the N2 billion would be remunerated at the interest rate prescribed by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) from time to time, any deposit by a bank in excess of the N2 billion will not be remunerated.
Clearly, however, with falling oil prices and foreign investors taking profits, the CBN’s unending battle to ensure naira stability is again on the front burner.
Although the naira continues to remain stable at the parallel market, exchanging at N360 to the dollar, the same rate it had largely traded at over the last 12 months, the local currency is currently under pressure at the I&E foreign exchange window.
Last Friday, at the window, the naira eased to 364 per dollar, from a quote of 363.50 amid thin liquidity.
In a recent note, analysts at Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited predicted that the decline in oil prices would eventually lead to a depreciation of the naira.
It would be recalled that the CBN in its third quarter 2019 Nigerian Treasury bills issue calendar, stated that it hoped to raise the total sum of N809.37billion through new issues of Treasury bills from June 13 to August 29, 2019.
The data showed that the CBN would sell N90.62billion worth of three-month bills, N188.04billion of six-month bills and N530.71billion of one-year bills.
As part of its mandate to raise funds for the Federal Government, the CBN sells treasury bills twice a month. The regulator also regularly issues T-bills as part of monetary control measures to mop up excess liquidity and control the money supply.
Findings by New Telegraph indicate that the CBN had planned to raise a total of N1.006trillion and N823.43 billion from treasury bills sales in the second and first quarters of 2019 respectively.
Port haulage charges drop
A well structured haulage rate and services for road transport is to be introduced by government following the 40 per cent drop in container haulage charges, BAYO AKOMOLAFE reports
Haulage charges which has gone up from N120,000 to N700,000 within the last two years in Lagos due perennial gridlock and extortion at port access roads are gradually coming down due to slight improvement on the roads.
Prior to the latest development, importers had been paying exorbitant charges and high rent on goods to terminal operators and truckers because of delay caused by traffic gridlock and port inefficiency.
Last year, the National President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Lucky Amiwero, complained that the cost of transporting a 20 feet container from Tin Can/Apapa ports to Alaba International Market in Lagos jumped from N200,000 to N400,000, while 40 feet container cost between N700,000 and N900,000.
Also, he noted that the cost of transporting a 20 feet container from Tin Can/Apapa to Kaduna was N900,000, while it cost N1 million to transport a 40 feet container from N600,000 previously.
Other charges include the cost of evacuating and transporting containers, illegal charges by shipping lines, extortion by security operatives and loss of container deposits due to late return of empty containers.
Another factor is that extortion by security operatives has been reduced as the Presidential Task Force in charge of traffic at the Apapa port has reduced the gridlock.
The task force was set up as a result of a presidential directive, which ordered the removal of trucks on bridges and roads in Apapa as well as the restoration of law and order on the port roads.
The Vice President of National Association of Roads Transport Owners (NARTO) Dry Cargo section, Mr Abdullahi Mohammed, told New Telegraph that truckers had stopped paying between N60, 000 and N70, 000 to security operatives.
He said that extortion at the port road had assumed in a new dimension, stressing that some security operatives not assigned to the port roads were using hoodlums to extort money from truck drivers.
He said: “We have stopped paying money for parking space. You know before now, truck drivers pay as much as N60,000 to N70,000 to the officials of the Nigerian Navy and other military formations just to gain entrance into the port.”
In order to bring sanity to the road, the truck transit park being constructed by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing at Tincan Island was forcefully opened three weeks ago by the Presidential Task Force in order to forcefully to decongest the road.
Also, Abdullahi stressed that the Lilypond container terminal at Ijora had been temporarily converted to holding bay for trucks and empty containers.
Also, as part of efforts to tackle the challenges of doing business within the port environment, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman, also noted that the management of the authority had introduced the automation of Call Up System (CUS) for trucks and other incentives given for the transfer of cargo through barges from Ikorodu, Epe and Ijegun among others.
The outcome, according to Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), had made haulage fares charged by truck owners to drop by 40 per cent.
It was learnt that importers now paid N240,000 instead of N400,000 for 20 feet container and N420,000 instead of N700,000 for 40 feet container within Lagos.
As part of efforts to further reduce the cost of container haulage, NSC noted that it had presented new rates to stakeholders at a conference in Lagos.
The Executive Secretary of NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello, noted that plans were ongoing to establish a well-structured haulage rates and services for the road transport sector for port stakeholders.
He said: “The haulage rates are determined by supply and demand, but there should be benchmarking so that foreigners and investors would know that they have an idea of how much it costs.”
According to Bello, the council embarked on consultation with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), National Union of Petroleum and National Gas Union (NUPENG), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and other unions on how to bring the haulage changes down in the port industry.
Bello attributed the fall in haulage rate to efforts of the Presidential Task Force monitoring the traffic.
He said that the haulage rate was artificial because it was occasioned by the traffic and extortion.
Bello said: “Now that the traffic is leaving and there is order and sanity, the traffic rate has dropped. We are also helping by bringing sanity into the terminals, sometimes; it is what happens in the terminal that causes the traffic, so we try to achieve efficiency in the terminals so that there would not be congestion.”
Bello also assured that the new haulage rate coming up would guide transporters and port users.
There is need for government to establish a well-structured haulage rates and services to encourage importers to use the nation’s seaports. This will reduce diversion of cargoes to neighbouring countries’ ports.
UBA partners LCCI on 2019 Lagos I’tl Trade Fair
nited Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI), have partnered to organize the 2019 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair.
The fair, which holds between November 1st and 10th, 2019, is the 33rd edition and is expected to provide an avenue for networking and other business opportunities that will assist to catapult business activities in Africa’s largest and busiest city, Lagos and in Nigeria.
UBA, which is the headline partner will be working together with LCCI, to provide a veritable platform that is intended to grow both domestic and international trade. It further presents participants and visitors with opportunities to seal medium and top business deals.
In line with UBA’s unflinching support to the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the bank is giving a 20% discount to its Small and Medium business customers who register to attend the fair.
UBA’s Group Head, Marketing, Mrs Dupe Olusola, who expressed excitement at the partnership, noted that the bank, with its extensive spread across Africa and other major economies of the world, is always on the lookout for partnership opportunities that will benefit the business environment and the economies where it operates.
Olusola noted that the Bank is delighted as this year’s Lagos International Trade Fair is coming after a very successful organisation of UBAmarketplace by the Bank in Abuja, where over 120 SMEs from 20 African countries exhibited their products, attracting over 50,000 footfalls.
She said: “UBA, the Pan African financial institution, has branches in 20 African countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France and has always been involved in activities that aim to strengthen business connections and networks across key economies.
“Thus, we have decided to partner with LCCI to promote this year’s fair which is in its 33rd edition because the Lagos International Trade Fair has become a genuine avenue for both domestic and international trade through business to business meetings, product launches, enlightenment opportunities for government agencies’ programmes, and international trade partnership deals across borders. “
She added that the partnership would also offer the bank the opportunities to showcase its array of products to its teeming and new customers, adding that the bank will set up stands at various points to serve its customers and attend to various concerns.
The Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf, who praised the collaboration between both institutions, noted that it is a partnership that is expected to yield great benefits, owing to the fact that the LITF hosts an average of 2,000 exhibitors annually, with over 200 foreign exhibitors from 16 countries.
He also added that arrangements have been put in place to make this year’s fair even bigger and better than the previous editions, adding that already, existing and potential exhibitors have been responding positively to register and participate at the fair.
“We at LCCI believe that this is part of the bold initiatives of the bank with a corporate culture founded upon strong organizational values and performance-driven operating standards,” Yusuf said.
Yusuf stressed that the chamber would maintain the brand promise of the fair, with the theme ‘connecting businesses, creating value’, adding that this will be sustained this year in all its marketing campaigns.
NSE: Sell pressure dominates activities
ctivities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday returnedo to downward trajectory following sell-off that pervaded the equities market resulting in the equities market dropping by 0.21 per cent.
The decline was impacted by negative sentiments of investors on blue chip stocks.
Consequently, the All-Share Index shed 57.27 basis points or 0.21 per cent to close at 27,058.62 index points as against 27.115.89 recorded the previous day while market capitalisation of equities depreciated by N28 billion to close lower at N13.186 trillion from N13.214 trillion as market sentiments returned to the red territory.
Meanwhile, a turnover of 209.6 million shares in 3,743 deals was recorded in the day’s trading.
The banking sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 77.4 million shares exchanged by investors in 654 deals. The sub-sector was enhanced by the activities in the shares of GTBank Plc and ETI Plc.
The premium sub-sector boosted by the activities in the shares of Zenith Bank Plc and FBNH Plc followed with a turnover of 54.5 million shares in 1,364 deals.
The number of gainers at the close of trading session was 27 while decliners also closed at 10.
Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that Oando Oil Plc and Transcorp Plc topped the gainers’ table with 10 per cent each to close at N3.85 and 99 kobo per share respectively while Chams Plc followed with 9.52 per cent to close at 23 kobo per share. Berger Paints Plc trailed with a gain of 9.49 per cent to close at N7.50 per share.
On the flip side, Cutix Plc led the losers’ chart with a drop of 9.62 per cent to close at N1.41 per share. PZ Cussons Plc and Union Dicon Plc followed with a loss of 8.33 per cent each to close at N5.50 and 22 kobo per share respectively. May and Baker Plc trailed with 6.83 per cent to close at N1.91 per share.
U.S. stocks decline after 3-day winning streak
.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday after three sessions of gains, as lower Treasury yields weighed on financial shares, offsetting a boost from Home Depot’s better-than-expected earnings.
After a stormy start to the month on worsening trade tensions, the three main indexes have rebounded sharply, erasing most of their losses from a steep selloff last week on rising hopes of global monetary stimulus.
According to Reuters, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX is now about 3.6% below its all-time high hit in July. It had fallen as much as seven per cent from its record last week.
“The markets have been extremely strong over the past few days, so there is a little bit of profit taking,” said Gary Bradshaw, portfolio manager with Hodges Funds in Dallas.
Losses on the blue-chip Dow and the S&P 500 indexes were tempered by a 4.3 per cent rise in Home Depot Inc (HD.N). Its shares drove a 0.47 per cent gain in the consumer discretionary index .SPLRCD.
“Home Depot’s earnings show that people are continuing to invest in their homes, a positive for Wall Street and the U.S. consumer,” Bradshaw said.
The S&P 500 banks index .SPXBK slipped 0.81% and the broader financial sector .SPSY fell 0.50 per cent as U.S. Treasury yields slipped on rising prospects of interest rate cuts as well as political tensions in Italy and Britain’s tumultuous exit from the European Union.
All eyes this week will be on Wednesday’s release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting and Chair Jerome Powell’s speech on Friday at the Jackson Hole central bankers’ conference.
Powell’s remarks will be closely monitored for hints if more policy easing is in store, against the backdrop of an ongoing trade war and growing fears of recession, signaled by the inversion of the U.S. yield curve last week.
At 11:20 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 4.96 points, or 0.02%, at 26,140.75, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 1.82 points, or 0.06%, at 2,921.83. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 2.26 points, or 0.03%, at 8,005.07.
Shares of Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) were the biggest drag on the S&P 500, losing 3 per cent after Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) announced its streaming service would launch in Canada and the Netherlands on November.
Eight of the major S&P sectors were trading lower. The energy sector .SPNY lost 0.60 per cent, weighed by lower oil prices.
Medtronic Plc (MDT.N) gained 4.5 per cent, and was among the biggest gainers on the S&P 500, after the medical device maker raised its full year adjusted profit forecast.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.11-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 29 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 35 new highs and 54 new lows.
Domestic institutional market decreases by 53% to N45bn
Domestic transactions decreased by 66.68 per cent from N3.556 trillion in 2007 to N1.185 trillion in 2018
he institutional composition of the domestic market reduced significantly by 53.04 per cent from N96.64 billion in May 2019 to N45.38 billion in June 2019, according to a report obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Further checks showed that the value of domestic transactions executed by retail investors significantly outperformed institutional investors by 54.00 per cent.
A comparison of domestic transactions in the current and prior month (May 2019) revealed that retail transactions increased by 228.43 per cent from N47.23 billion in May 2019 to N155.12 billion in June2019.
As at 30 June 2019, total transactions at the nation’s bourse increased by 34.42 per cent from N221.13 billion (about $713.7 million) in May 20195 to N297.25 billion (about $970.1million) in June 2019.
According to the report, the performance of the current month compared to the performance in the same period (June 2018) of the prior year revealed that total transactions also increased by 58.29 per cent.
In June 2019, the total value of transactions executed by domestic investors significantly outperformed transactions executed by foreign investors by 34.00 per cent.
A further analysis of the total transactions executed between the current and prior month (May2019) revealed that total domestic transactions increased by 39.36 per cent from N143.87 billion in May to N200.51billion in June 2019.
In contrast, total foreign transactions also increased by 25.22 per cent from N77.25 billion (about $252.1 million) to N96.74billion (about $315.7 million) between May and June 2019.
Highlights of the performance of the market over the last decade revealed that over a 12-year period, domestic transactions decreased by 66.68 per cent from N3.556 trillion in 2007 to N1.185 trillion in 2018 whilst foreign transactions increased by 97.88 per cent from N616 million to N1.219 trillion over the same period.
Total foreign transactions accounted for about 51 per cent of the total transactions carried out in 2018, while domestic transactions accounted for about 49 per cent of the total transactions in the same period.
The actual performance referenced 2019A (2019 actual) shows that total foreign transactions carried out year till date (YTD) is about N472.78 billion whilst total domestic transactions YTD is about N614.67 billion.
Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, said recently that the outflow had led to sell pressure accumulating into depressed prices.
This, she said, was one of the reasons the commission is mapping out strategies to build confidence in the market and encourage more retail investors.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) also said that currently there were about three million retail investors in the Nigerian capital market, representing only three per cent of the total adult population in the country.
The Divisional Head, Trading Business, Mr. Jude Chiemeka, disclosed this recently at the maiden edition of Retail Investor Workshop tagged ‘Investment Masterclass; Making your money work’ organised by the NSE.
According to Chiemeka, “Nigeria has a population of over 190 million people and is the second largest economy in Africa. However, the current Financial Inclusion indices of 48 per cent leave much to be desired.
“Financial Iiclusion is a priority of stakeholders in the capital market, and the Nigerian Stock Exchange makes it a primary concern to contribute towards the achievement of Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy of reducing the proportion of adult Nigerians that are financially excluded to 20 per cent in the year 202.0”
Chiemeka noted that the exchange recognised the need to improve investor participation, and is leveraging recent capital market initiatives such as the Tiered KYC requirements for capital market investments, as well as promoting the introduction of globally competitive investment products with low entry thresholds, to achieve financial inclusion goals.
Disbursement of lower naira denominations guidelines out
he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released guidelines for the disbursement of lower denominations of the naira through micro-finance banks (MFBs) across the country.
According to the guidelines posted on the apex bank’s website yesterday, all microfinance banks must have a Composite Risk Rating (CRR) of above average in the most recent Risk Based Supervision (RBS) target examination before they were considered for the scheme.
The guidelines stated, among others, that: “The MFBs shall accept a mixture of new and Counted Audited Clean (CAC) banknotes under the intervention scheme; the MFBs shall give 20% of any withdrawal in lower denomination banknotes subject to a maximum of N50,000.00.
“Where beneficiaries withdraw more than once a day, the disbursement under the initiative will apply to only one transaction per day.”
It further stated: ”The MFBs shall exchange banknotes subject to a maximum of N50,000.00 for customers with accounts and N10,000.00 for customers without accounts.
“The MFBs shall not exchange for same beneficiary more than once a week.”
The guidelines also warned MFBs against hawking, hoarding or using of funds obtained under the intervention for any other purpose.
SME Clinic: Unity Bank partners Signal Alliance, Businessday
Unity Bank has hosted the maiden edition of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) clinic in conjunction with Signal Alliance and Businessday newspaper as a capacity building workshop to bridge knowledge gap.
The SME clinic was designed to boost SMEs operators in leveraging effective branding and marketing strategy expected to play a key role in creating added value for products and making start up become a big brand enterprise.
Coming on the verge of the 5th industrial revolution and the need to put SMEs ahead of the fast paced developments, the clinic provided platform to expose participants drawn amongst fintech operators, retailers, social services, schools, contractors, professional service firms, wholesalers, manufacturers, hospitality, NGOs, clubs and associations, supplies and agric value chain to the opportunities available as convergence of technology and human begin to take center stage.
Commenting on the clinic, the Head of SME, Unity Bank Plc, Opeyemi Ojesina, said that as a key market focus contributing about 48 per cent of the national GDP in the last five year, 50 per cent of industrial jobs and nearly 90 per cent of the manufacturing sector in terms of number of enterprises, hosting a capacity building initiative of this nature enables the bank to have more insight for enhancing financial inclusion plan for SMEs.
He further stated that as a leading bank in the advocacy for SME, Unity Bank has developed innovative products for SMEs aimed at enhancing greater access to financial services, financial advisory and cluster marketing initiatives.
Participants were of the view that the SME clinic gave practical insights into techniques for creating distinctive brand concept centered on consumers and appreciated the three entities that organized the workshop.
The Chief Technology Officer, Signal Alliance, Mr Uchechi Nwaukwa, used the platform to launch CloudGo, an IT product built on Microsoft cloud platform.
As a “solution that enhances communication, collaboration and scales innovation for business becomes a necessity” he further stated that “the product is a results of huge investment in IT infrastructure which helps to overcome upgrade challenges, enhance data protection and disaster recovery challenges faced by small businesses.
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