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Jaguar I-PACE voted ‘Best SUV’ in the mid-size class

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aguar’s all-electric performance SUV has won Germany’s most famous car award, the Golden Steering Wheel. The I-PACE triumphed in the mid-size SUV category, ahead of the Audi Q3 and Seat Tarraco.

 

 

Designed and developed in the UK, the I-PACE was created from a clean sheet of paper with the aim of delivering the world’s best premium electric vehicle – and a true Jaguar driver’s car. Its combination of sports car performance, zero emissions, exceptional refinement, and all-wheel drive SUV usability and practicality make I-PACE the stand-out choice in its segment.

 

 

A 90kWh lithium-ion battery enables a range of up to 470km (WLTP) and is capable of charging from 0-80 per cent in around 72 minutes (60kW DC). The two light, compact and efficient Jaguar-designed motors generate a combined output of 294kW and 696Nm of instant torque, delivering 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.

 

Prof Sir Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer, accepted the Golden Steering Wheel for the Jaguar I-PACE at the award ceremony in Berlin, and said: “As part of our ‘Destination Zero’ vision, Jaguar Land Rover is pursuing an ambitious goal: To establish an environmentally friendly closed-loop economy. The Jaguar I-PACE is the clear and creative representation of our vision – an exciting, emissions-free electric vehicle. As a British manufacturer of premium vehicles we are delighted to win the Golden Steering Wheel in the world’s most demanding and competitive premium car market.

 

 

“This award is one of many prestigious awards the I-PACE has won. We will use this validation to intensify our efforts to offer desirable and highly innovative vehicles to our customers. I thank the readers and the experts for rewarding the courage and forward thinking of our designers and engineers with their vote for the I-PACE.”

 

For the 43rd Golden Steering Wheel Awards, millions of readers of Auto Bild and its sister publications in over 20 European countries, together with readers of the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag chose their favourites. After the votes had been counted, the 21 finalists – three in each of the seven categories – were thoroughly tested at the Lausitz-Ring circuit by the jury of racing drivers, leading motoring journalists and other car experts, with a focus on driving dynamics, connectivity, design, and total cost of ownership.

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WFE launches work plan to drive CCPs

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he World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the global industry group for central counterparties (CCPs) and exchanges, has said it is starting a 12-month work plan to ensure that the role and nature of CCPs is correctly understood, and is not undermined by narrow interests that diverge from good public policy.

 

In doing so, the WFE will engage with all stakeholders, while continuing to promote the principles that first made the CCP model the trusted approach to counterparty credit issues.

 

 

The WFE programme will take a comprehensive, first-principles look at all relevant questions, including the rationale for CCPs in the financial system and society. It will factor in research that has been produced in this area, while avoiding a selective or one-sided approach.

 

 

According to WFE in a statement, It took a collapsing banking and credit system in 2008 for the wider world to see what some already knew: that there is a major role for neutral, central entities who can enforce discipline on risk takers and, in the process, reduce systemic risk.

 

 

“Ten years on, in close collaboration with supervisors, this is the role that central counterparties continue to perform, requiring those who build up positions to put not just promises but cash (or other collateral) on the table, commensurate with the risk they bring to the system.

 

 

“This is the primary reason why public policy rightly aims to maximise central clearing. Such an approach to risk enforces discipline, rather than allowing risk-originators to pass on responsibility. It is the reverse of the situation pre-2008, where the perception of a public backstop led to excessive risk taking, in a severe case of ‘moral hazard’. As such, it would be irresponsible and reckless to have any CCP act as the system’s underwriter-of-last-resort.

 

 

This, however, is a recurring theme in an increasing number of advocacy programmes.

 

“CCPs’ own resources perform an important but entirely distinct role, backing their own operational continuity and signalling their responsibilities to measure and monitor accurately and impartially the degree of risk being taken in the market. CCP resources are not there merely to insure or underwrite risks assumed by others. While commercial tensions can arise in clearing – for example, regarding the balance of liability as between clearing brokers and their customers – other issues around incentives require particular care, in order to avoid jeopardising the public good.

 

“The WFE’s work will seek to analyse and explain the structure and incentives within central clearing. Its objective is to maximise clarity among market participants who benefit from clearing and to help ensure they are prepared to honour all their commitments. The WFE will discuss some of the empirical findings and work to date at IOMA: WFE’s Clearing & Derivatives Conference in March 2020, where the federation will bring together stakeholders on these issues,” WFE noted.

 

 

Nandini Sukumar, Chief Executive Officer, WFE, said: “As the global industry group for CCPs and exchanges, we consider it vital that there is greater understanding around the role of CCPs. CCPs should not simply take on the risk of others; indeed, the global clearing system is one which aims to ensure that the defaulter pays – not the creditor. There is currently much misinformation around the role, responsibility and working of the CCP. We will be working hand-in-hand with all market constituents, to ensure that stakeholders are well-informed on the topic of risk management.”

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FXTM: Moody’s downgrades dealt blow on investor sentiments

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senior research analyst at FXTM, Lukman Otunuga, has said that investor sentiment towards the Nigerian economy was dealt a blow after Moody’s changed the outlook on government of Nigeria’s ratings to negative from stable.

 

 

Global financial ratings company, Moody’s Investors Service, had downgraded its outlook of Nigerian economy to negative from stable as a result of what it termed the fragility of the country’s public finances and sluggish growth prospects.

 

 

According to Otunuga, given how the negative outlook reflects Moody’s view of increasing risks to the government’s fiscal strength, this should act as another wakeup call for the nation to diversify and move away from oil reliance.

 

 

“Weak government finances exacerbated by depressed oil prices and sluggish economic growth may disrupt fiscal consolidation. With both monetary and fiscal policy needed to support the Nigerian economy, the mounting pressures from the fiscal side must not be overlooked,” he said.

 

 

According to Moody’s, the increasing fragility of Nigeria’s public finances is evident in the greater reliance by the government on financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the last three years. It added that the government is dependent on oil export proceeds to cover persistently large fiscal deficits, with CBN cash advances reaching 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on a net basis at the end of September 2019.

 

Next year, the CBN is aiming to generate $4 billion from non-oil exports revenue in 2020 but even if this is achieved, it pales in comparison to the $25 billion got from crude oil shipments. Also, $4 billion represents a minute percentage of Nigeria’s total GDP of about $375 billion and with a tax-to-GDP ratio of just 6 per cent, the government is struggling to find ways of funding much-needed infrastructural projects.

 

 

A Moody’s spokesman said: “In particular, CBN advances are more expensive than debt-funded on the domestic capital market as the CBN applies a penalty rate on top of its monetary policy rate currently at 13.5 per cent. Moody’s expects general government revenues to remain very low at around 8 per cent of GDP until 2022, despite measures to such as the value added tax rate increase to 7.5 per cent from 5 per cent in 2020.

 

 

“Consequently, debt affordability will remain weak, with general government interest payments at around 25 per cent of revenues in the next few years. The economy has yet to fully recover from the oil price shock of 2015 and the subsequent recession in 2016, while real growth remains below population growth, denoting an erosion in incomes from already low levels.”

 

Moody’s also projected Nigeria’s real growth to remain weak, at just over 2% over the next few years. It added that this low growth environment makes achieving the government’s objectives of job creation, improvement in social indicators and fiscal consolidation via increased revenue collection highly challenging.

 

 

“However, the continuation of the current policy mix, including the rationing of the supply of US dollars in the economy while suppressing part of the demand for foreign currency aimed at supporting domestic production and job creation over the long term, will constrain economic growth over the short to medium term. Overall, given Moody’s expectation that general government fiscal deficits are likely to remain around 4 per cent of GDP and 50 per cent of revenues and growth subdued over the coming years, rapid debt accumulation will continue,” the Moody’s spokesman added.

 

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Infrastructure: FBNQuest harps on sound policy frameworks

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Retail investor size sums to circa 3 million and to have meaningful participation would require a great deal of education of this investor category

 

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BNQuest has stressed the need for sound macroeconomic policy frameworks to enable the capital market capture investors in long term domestic projects.

Head, Debt Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, Mr. Oluseun Olatidoye, stated this in his presentation tagged “Bridging Nigeria’s infrastructure Gap, the capital market option” at the 2019 annual conference of Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) in Lagos at the weekend.

 

Olatidoye said: “To successfully tap into the capital market for infrastructural financing, the existence of sound macroeconomic and policy frameworks are pre-conditions, hence, freedom must be given market forces to take its course.

 

“As much as the government has its role, political interference must be limited. This insures investors against any form of political risk, and most importantly corruption which has the potential of crippling the entire endeavour.”

 

 

He explained that on the retail side of the market, it was largely unarguable that capacity was limited in the case of Nigeria.

 

“Retail investor size sums to circa 3 million and to have meaningful participation would require a great deal of education of this investor category. Besides, the mobilization of retail funds is more likely through mutual fund schemes,” he added.

 

Olatidoye, who noted that foreign capital was a great deal in the domestic debt capital market, added that project bonds, Sukuks and other infrastructure-based fixed income products may be unappealing to foreign interest for a couple of reasons.

 

“Top of such concerns include foreign exchange policies, liquidity, and tenor (money market has been the major destination for FPIs). However, asides luring investors with reasonable yields, mitigating structures need to be in place to address risk factors, and this is largely reliant on a significant degree of macroeconomic policy stability and direction to capture offshore investors in long term domestic projects,” he said.

 

He noted that foreign exchange volatility if not addressed in the ‘most market’ approach could deter the interest of foreign counterparties.

 

“Depending on the structure of the bond, projects could be of a nature that exposes the financers to devaluation risks, which will whittle down the dollar value of local currency cash flow from such projects.

 

“Hence, may fail to service the debt (especially if denominated in the dollar). Moreover, investors will be wary of rating characteristics of the issue. As it is often the case for government-sponsored issuances where the state’s creditworthiness influences the rating of its issue or SPV.

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ASHON, five others unveil global securities group

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ssociation of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) and five international  associations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU) that effectively established the African Stockbrokers and Securities Dealers Association (ASSDA) in Botswana, Southern Africa.

 

The agreement was in a strategic move to facilitate cross-border trading and settlement of securities, promote innovation and diversification.

 

The MOU, jointly signed by ASHON and other founding member securities associations from Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco , and the West African Economic and Monetary Union,  ASSDA, is to deepen Africa’s financial market through cross border trading and seamless clearing and settlement of securities among the participating markets in Africa.

 

 

The President, African Stock Exchange’s Association (ASEA), Mr Karim Hajji, is an observer.

 

The Chairman, ASHON, Chief Patrick Ezeagu, who represented Nigeria at the ceremony, explained that the decision to establish ASSDA was taken at a roundtable organised by African Development Bank in Abidjan on April 24, 2019, for the African Exchanges Linkage Project (AELP).

 

According to him, the AELP is a co-initiative by the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to enable and facilitate cross-border trading and settlement of securities across participating exchanges in Africa.

 

A statement from ASHON  provides more insight to the philosophy and benefits of the MOU:

 

 

“It would foster Pan-African investment and trading of securities, and actualize the AELP. The Members present unanimously resolved to create a Pan-African association to be called the African Stockbrokers and Securities Dealers Association (ASSDA) through which they would achieve these and other objectives.

 

“The membership of ASSDA shall be an association of associations constituted of full members that are registered stockbrokers or securities dealers or associations whose members deal in securities in one form or another as approved by the Governing Council of ASDDA. The AfDB and ASEA shall also serve as Observer Members of ASSDA.

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EU agrees to tighter money laundering supervision

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uropean Union (EU) finance ministers at the weekend  backed plans for greater powers to combat money laundering after a series of revelations about large amounts of dirty money flowing through European banks.

 

 

According to Reuters, the EU last year experienced its largest money-laundering scandal when it emerged that 200 billion euros ($220 billion) in suspicious payments were made between 2007 and 2015 through Danske Bank’s (DANSKE.CO) tiny Estonian branch.

 

Several other cases have emerged since then, the latest involving Malta’s largest lender, Bank of Valletta, which the European Central Bank said had for years failed to address dirty-money risks.

 

In a joint statement, ministers called on the European Commission to explore the possibility of transferring supervisory powers to an EU body and to amend rules to strengthen coordination among national authorities.

 

Despite criminal organizations frequently laundering the proceeds of their illegal activities abroad, the fight against financial crime in the EU is currently mostly handled by national authorities, which do not always cooperate fully.

Ministers said an EU body “with an independent structure and direct powers” over banks should be considered, reversing opposition to such a move last year.

 

 

They also urged a fresh overhaul of EU rules to fight dirty money, only a year after the bloc adopted the fifth revision of its anti money-laundering rules.

 

 

 

Last year’s reform was watered down by conflicting interests among EU states, and quickly appeared insufficient as new scandals emerged.

 

Before the meeting, some of the EU’s largest states, including Germany, France and Italy, said powers should be transferred to an EU authority because national watchdogs had proved incapable of tackling financial crime.

They went as far as saying there was a risk of some national supervisors “being influenced directly or indirectly by supervised institutions or interest groups”.

 

Smaller states, such as Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus and the Baltic countries, have been accused of lax controls which have allowed repeated cases of money laundering.

 

Most ministers supported the joint statement at a public session of their meeting on Thursday, but some, such as Luxembourg, did not join the discussion, leaving it unclear whether they would back the reform.

 

 

Malta’s finance minister, Edward Scicluna, said he fully backed the overhaul. He faces a criminal probe over money laundering in which he denies wrongdoing. The Maltese government has also confirmed support for state-owned Bank of Valletta after its dirty-money shortfalls emerged last month.

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‘Reliance on FPI affects Nigeria’s current account’

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ecent measures introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to attract and retain foreign portfolio investors’ interest in Nigerian fixed income instruments, thereby ensuring adequate capital inflow for defending the naira, could be negatively impacting the country’s current account, analysts at Coronation Research have said.

 

In a note obtained by New Telegraph at the weekend, the analysts pointed out that despite oil prices being only marginal lower during the period compared with 2018, there was a cumulative negative of $5.68billion in Nigeria’s current account for the first two quarters of 2019 compared with a positive of $5.77billion for the same period of last year.

 

 

According to the analysts, “a part of the deficit in the current account comes from the combination of strong demand for services by Nigerians and payments to the rest of the world for holding financial assets which are greater than the surplus in the goods account.

 

“The latter shows that there is a cost to the CBN’s policy of currency stabilization through lucrative carry trades for foreign portfolio investors,” they added.

 

Specifically, the analysts said: “Portfolio investment in H1’19 was 32 per cent higher than H1’18. At the same time, average bond yields in H1’19 (at anchor) were one percentage point higher than in the same period last year. The short end of the yield curve also partook in the lift-up in yields with average yields on money market securities in H1’19 cfrom their respective levels in 2018.”

 

According to Wikipedia,“ current account is an important indicator of an economy’s health. It is defined as the sum of the balance of trade (goods and services exports minus imports), net income from abroad, and net current transfers.

 

“A positive current account balance indicates the nation is a net lender to the rest of the world, while a negative current account balance indicates that it is a net borrower from the rest of the world. A current account surplus increases a nation’s net foreign assets by the amount of the surplus, and a current account deficit decreases it by that amount.”

 

In a statement  last Wednesday, in which it announced that it has changed its outlook on Nigeria’s ratings to negative from stable, one of the world’s  leading credit rating agencies, Moody’s Investors Service,  had explained  that its negative outlook  on Nigeria was also underpinned by rising vulnerability to an adverse change in external capital flows.

 

It said  that the CBN’  increased issuance of short-term bonds to encourage inflows and protect the naira was hurting the country’s economy  and also leaves it vulnerable to outflows when foreign portfolio investors leave for more attractive prospects elsewhere.

 

The agency stated: “Official foreign exchange reserves at around $40 billion at the end of October, or 5-6 months of import cover, at first appear to be relatively comfortable. However, Nigeria’s external position is increasingly dependent on foreign capital inflows in the form of portfolio investments, which by definition are volatile and susceptible to reversal.

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Lender shines at PEARL awards

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tanbic IBTC Group has added to the number of laurels and recognitions for its contributions and performance in Nigeria’s finance sector. The organisation won three awards at the 24th edition of the PEARL awards, which held recently in Lagos.

 

 

Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC emerged winner of the 2019 Sectoral Leadership award (Financial Services – Other Financial Institution). Two subsidiaries of the company were also recognized for their outstanding achievements in their various sectors. While Stanbic IBTC Capital won the PEARL Issuing House of the Year award, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers won the PEARL Stockbroking Firm of the year award.

 

 

Funso Akere, Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Capital, said while the award was evidence of the hard work and the customer-centric culture of the group, it also reflected the transparency and high ethical standards of Stanbic IBTC. He hinged his assertion on the fact that the PEARL awards seeks to celebrate excellent performance as well as integrity.

 

He said: “We are glad that the PEARL awards have accorded Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, Stanbic IBTC Capital and Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers this honour. It is common knowledge that winners of PEARL awards emerge from a painstaking process based on empirical evidence of performance and strict adherence to the tenets of ethical business practice. These awards will spur us to deliver better services to our customers while also innovating to ensure that we remain market leaders in the sectors we operate in.”

The PEARL Award was instituted in 1995 to recognise companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange for outstanding operational and stock performance. The award aims to enhance the vibrancy, growth and development of the capital market.

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Keep borders closed, rice farmers urge FG

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Keep borders closed, rice farmers urge FG

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has urged the Federal Government to sustain its current border closure, saying it would help boost the economy.

Idris Abini, the chairman of Niger State chapter of the association, made the call in Minna during an interview with newsmen on Sunday.

Abini said that the closure has increased rice production in the state due to increased demand by marketers and consumers.
“Although we are yet to meet local demand for rice.

“We have started the journey to produce more rice due to the closure of our borders because efforts will be made by both government and farmers to produce enough food.

“The border closure is a right step in the right direction because it is already increasing wealth among farmers as consumers are beginning to patronise our local rice,” he said.

He said that Nigeria has different varieties of rice that can compete favourably with foreign ones.

The RIFAN chairman said that the closure would ensure security in the country as smuggling of illegal arms and ammunition would be curtailed.

“Those criticising the closure of the borders are not true Nigerians because it is one of the best decisions of this administration,” he said.

Abini expressed optimism that the policy would succeed as the government was providing the enabling environment for agriculture to thrive by supporting farmers with inputs and implements, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“The Federal Government has demonstrated this through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Scheme by allowing farmers to access more loans even when previous ones have not been fully repaid,” he said.

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2020 budget: Opposition lawmakers insist on strict monitoring

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By Philip Nyam

Abuja

Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Hon. Ndudi Elumelu has declared that the opposition caucus will step up its oversight activities in order to ensure effective monitoring and implementation of the N10.59 trillion budget for 2020 fiscal year.
Elumelu, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said that the minority leadership has already worked out an end-to-end monitoring strategy that will ensure effective implementation, check corruption, diversions and plug waste.
The Minority Leader noted that Nigerians have placed confidence on the opposition for solution and as such “has directed opposition lawmakers to braced up to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that budgetary provisions, especially those that have direct bearing to the wellbeing of the masses, are all fully and evenly implemented”.
Consequently, the Minority Leader has directed all opposition lawmakers to insist on intensified budget oversight in their respective committees to guarantee transparency and strict compliance to expenditure items, figures and location, as passed.
He said: “Part of the implementation monitoring strategy is to stimulate citizen’s ownership of budgetary project by carrying the people along through free flow of information, especially on siting, size, utility, cost, releases and job execution progress.”
Hon. Elumelu called on all lawmakers to ensure effective and timely implementation of constituency projects in line with their avowed commitment to the people.

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Finance Minister directs suspension of $300m Customs modernisation contract

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Paul Ogbuokiri

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed has directed compliance through the ministry’s Permanent Secretary for the suspension of a $300 million Customs modernisation contract following a resolution and letter addressed to her by the House of Representatives.

In a letter titled: “Suspension of Proposed Concession Arrangement for the Customs Modernisation Project” , jointly signed by James Faleke, Chairman Finance; Jerry Alagbaoso, Chairman Public Petition and Yuguda Hassan Kila, Chairman Customs, the lawmakers described the proposed concession as curious.

The letter with reference number NASS/CHR/9/2019/JOINT/001 dated October 30,2019, sources disclosed resulted to the minister directing the Permanent Secretary for compliance

They wrote that: “The House of Representatives on Thursday 10th October 2019 at the plenary passed resolution No. HR132/10/2019 mandating a joint committee on Finance, Customs and Public Petitions to investigate the curious proposed concession agreement between the consortium Bionaca Technologies West Africa Limited- Sponsors) ,Bergman Security Consultant and Supplies – (Co sponsors), African Finance Corporation (lead financiers) and Huawei (lead technical service provider).”

The lawmakers added their action is pursuant to Section 88 (1)( a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended , which confers on the National Assembly power to conduct investigations

They urged all parties involved including the Nigeria Customs Service and Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission to maintain the “Status Quo Ante pending outcome of investigation”.

On October 10, 2019, Alagbaoso, moved a motion that the deal be investigated and his motion was agreed upon via a unanimous voice vote by the House.

Alagbaoso said: “There are some foreign companies who are very eager to sponsor , finance and provide technical services to what they call the modernisation of Customs , without recourse to the National Assembly.

“My motion is the need to investigate the curious concession proposed arrangement between the consortium Bionica Technologies West Africa Limited, who are the sponsors; Bergan Security Consultants and Supplies, who are co sponsors ,African Finance Corporation, who are lead financiers and Huawei, Nigeria Customs Service and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission(ICRC) for customs modernisation project.

“The House is aware that various customs modernisation projects in the past. For example in the 90s, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for the installation of ASYCUDA++ and training of customs officers for three years.

“The House is also aware that the Federal Government agreed to engage former pre shipment companies for valuation and classification of goods, hence some service providers namely Webbfontaine, Cotecna, SGS and Globalscan were engaged for that purpose.

“This contract was to last for seven years, from 2005 to 2012 when the service providers handed over to Nigeria Customs Service.

“By 2011, one could say the positive effects of this included competent and committed workforce for Nigeria Customs Service, personnel understanding of the new process and benefits to stakeholders.

“It resulted to collection of proper revenue due, elimination of corruption and other benefits. The House notes that with these put in place, there exist a one stop shop which allows all trade transactions to be conducted through a single system domiciled with the customs.

“For example, all other government agencies like NAFDAC, SON and the rest have dissolved into a single platform with the Nigeria Customs Service.

“In 2011 there was an illegal concession between the Federal Ministry of Finance and a company with inadequate capital base called Single Window System and Technologies, signed in secrecy during the government transition period and this responsible house of representatives had a public hearing and stopped it to save Nigeria billions of naira.”

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