…as government plans with inaccurate population figures
As Nigeria continues to make its budgetary projections using estimates from the discredited and rejected 2006 census figures, PAUL OGBUOKIRI in this report avers that national enumeration of Nigerians, which is already over by three years, is the worst hit by President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent observation that “some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relation to the facts on the ground.”
Accurate census data
Demographers and population experts at the weekend agreed with President Buhari that” we can only plan realistically when we have reliable data.” They said the 2020 budget, like past budgets, will not be impactful on the life of Nigerians unless an accurate population census of Nigerians is carried out.
Speaking in reaction to President Buhari’s reported statement during the inauguration of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) last Wednesday in Abuja, they said the reported government prioritisation of agriculture as a critical sector to create jobs and bring prosperity to Nigeria’s rural communities will only be successful if the accurate number of people living in those communities and their age brackets are known.
The demographers who spoke to Sunday Telegraph in different interviews, said assuming the 2006 census figures on which the estimation of the current population figures is based, was accurate and accepted; “it would still have ceased to be scientifically reliable after 10 years when the structure of the population used for the calculation of the 2006 census should have changed.”
A census was supposed to be conducted since 2016, 10 years after the last one, but this has not happened three years after and like the 2019 Appropriation Act, no provision was made in the 2020 Appropriation Bill for census, an indication that President Buhari’s administration does not a plan to use accurate census figures for its 2021 budget plan.
One country, many population figures
According to Prof. Olasupo Ogunjuyigbe of the Department of Demography and Social Statistics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, censuses conducted after independence suffered from the problem of over-count.
He said: “The people who refused to be counted during the colonial era were counted more than once and some had multiple counts.”
Sunday Telegraph notes that results of the first post-independence census conducted in 1962 were withdrawn. The reliability of the 1963 census was questioned. The results of the 1973 census were discredited and never saw day light, and no census was conducted in 1981.
The 1991 census was marred by allegations of cheating when some states showed every household in the states having exactly the number of members as the census form provided lines to list people. Dr. Akinyemi said unsurprisingly, the 2006 census was subject to all the same flaws as before.
“There was huge influence from the communities and political class to manipulate the whole processes. In my view, there was a competitive manipulation across many communities and states,” he said.
Arguments and counter arguments since have revolved particularly around the number of people in Lagos State in the South and Kano in the North. In a report on the 2006 census process, former Chairman of National Population Commission, Eze Festus Odimegwu said: “Even before the census was conducted, highly placed individuals and organisations in several states had already determined to the decimal point the population of a particular area or region.”
Chairman of the Commission, Yusuf Anka, in a media briefing to mark the 2019 World Population Day in Abuja, said the current population of Nigeria is about 198 million people. Three months earlier, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had announced a figure of 201 million populations for Nigeria.
However, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) using the Africapolis urban study puts Nigeria’s population at 190.56 million for 2019.
“The OECD has adjusted Nigeria’s population figures on the basis of the much reduced urban populations estimated by the Africapolis team,” Dr Deborah Potts, a reader in Human Geography at Kings College London told Africa Check.
She said: “Their calculations put Nigeria’s population at 110.1 million in 2000, compared to a UN estimate for that year of 123.7 million.”
In a report, the organisation estimated that Nigeria’s population in 2006 was just over 134 million; below the 140 million reported in the census. “Using a similar growth rate to project the OECD figure to today gives an estimate of around 190.56. It was 162 million in 2014”.
Rigged census figures
Controversy over Nigeria’s census figures is nothing new. Accusations that the country’s official population figures had been rigged date back to even before independence in the 1950s, then 1962/63; and have continued under both military and civilian regimes.
In the run up to independence in 1960, the British authorities were accused of skewing census figures to favour the interest of northern political elite. After independence, the same accusations were made about the seriously flawed 1963 census.
The next official population count, conducted in 1973, was no better. It was officially annulled and no figures were published. After that, there was no attempt at a head count until 1991 when a census was conducted and just as quickly discredited and annulled.
The most recent attempt came in 2006, which declared that the population had reached just over 140 million. The census figure was seen to follow the 1963 pattern which was believed to be based on allocating numbers.
Speaking on the issue Dr. Akanni Akinyemi, another lecturer in Demography and Social Statistics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said cultural practices in the North and difficult terrains in the South had made head counting almost impossible in the country.
“There is a concept of ‘Ba Shiga’ in the northern part of the country, which forbids entry, particularly of a male guest into house. That means that enumerators must accept potentially erroneous numbers given to them by the male head of the household,” he explained.
Dr. Loretta Ntoimo of the Department of Demography and Social Statistics, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, who could not agree less with Dr. Akinyemi, admitted that the population of Nigeria is not certain. “We depend on projections. It was from the projections that the 200 million figures for 2019 were arrived at.”
She said the projection was based on the 140 million census figures of 2006 which was questioned by experts because they did not analyse it. She added: “If you do the projections from past censuses like that of 1991, you will get something close to the 200million figure being bandied as the country’s population this year.”
However, according to the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 70 per cent of the children born annually in Nigeria are not registered at birth. It noted that this failure to track the biggest source of population growth – babies – makes it “difficult to verify the information on census forms” later on.
Other demographers spoken to by Sunday Telegraph insisted that no one can give a firmly reliable estimate for the total population of the country, saying the figures commonly cited are from the World Bank, “and they are extrapolated from the derided and rejected 2006 head count.
“That implies that today’s statistics – taken from faulty figures – are equally misleading,” they said.
Controlling population growth
It has been suggested that Nigeria should consider population control. Family planning allows people to attain their desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies and thus control population growth of a country. It is achieved through use of various contraceptive methods.
There are about 15 different types of contraceptives which allow one to enjoy sex without the risk of getting pregnant. Some of the popular ones are the pills, condoms, Intrauterine Device (IUD), Contraceptive Implant and others like them.
However, lack of adequate family planning by citizens in a country is one of the major causes of population explosion and its consequences.
According to the World Health Organisation, (WHO) family planning is key to slowing unsustainable population growth and the resulting negative impacts on the economy, environment, and national and regional development efforts.
Going by the WHO analysis, by 2050, Nigeria will have twice the population it has today; more than half will live in cities, and about 60 per cent of them will be under 25. According to the projections, at the present rate of child birth, in about 30 years Nigeria will overtake the US to become the world’s third most populous country behind China and India.
Speaking on the danger of uncontrolled population growth, Chairman of Siverbird Television, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, said over 20,000 babies are born everyday in Nigeria, yet we are not even creating up to 2,000 new jobs each day. We either have to control our population growth rate, which is the highest in the world, or be prepared to provide jobs for them. If we don’t, we will have future crisis.
Uncontrolled birth rate
Dr. Nura Jummai Ibrahim of the Department of Social Science, Bayero University, Kano, faulted government’s lack of vision and political insincerity in knowing how many people we have in the country.
He is worried that with the way things are going and with lack of accurate plans as to how to tackle increase in birth rates some of which are unnecessary, the nation is entirely sitting on a key of gun powder.
He said already, many states are grappling with the problems of Almajiris and other redundant elements and this does not include the huge number of students graduating from secondary schools and universities.
In an article warning of the dangers, Peter Ogunjuyigbe, a demographer said: “Population is key. If you don’t take care of population, schools can’t cope, hospitals can’t cope, houses are not enough – there’s nothing you can do to have economic development.”
Already, the nation is grappling with the lack of jobs and the inability of universities to absorb the millions of youngsters leaving secondary schools every year is there for all to see.
Consequently, the rising population and the inability of the economy to match it, has led to the rising crime wave, kidnapping and other social vices across the land, he said.
The danger ahead
Food insecurity is already a major threat to Nigeria. Despite a food production rate consistently on the rise, there is still not enough to meet the national food demand, and as such, the country must rely on costly food imported directly or smuggled in through the porous borders.
In a country that benefits immensely from its oil exports and is often touted as an honorary BRIC member, hunger and malnutrition continue to be a constant threat. The World Bank has stated that as many as 90 million Nigerians -about 45 per cent of the population-suffer from chronic food shortages. Despite the bank committing US$1.2 billion for Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) to increase farm production in Nigeria since 1974, the issue of food security shows no sign of letting up, and the problem will only be exacerbated by the increase in population over the next decade.
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.
Sports10 hours ago
World’s Richest Club revealed, Real dethroned
Metro and Crime16 hours ago
Victim: Five policemen collected N700,000 from me via POS
Sports16 hours ago
FIFA names Eaglets for MVP awards
News16 hours ago
Wike: Enemies coming for Rivers after Bayelsa
The Mega City / Life16 hours ago
11 years after: Ibadan’s house of horror resurface
News22 hours ago
Kalu, Secondus, CUPP mourn as Atiku’s aide dies in Dubia
The Mega City / Life16 hours ago
A path of sorrow called Erio-Aramoko road
Politics15 hours ago
Bayelsa guber: PDP as own albatross