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Brexit: ‘UK, Nigeria’s Trade Ties Won’t Change’

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  • Brexit: ‘UK, Nigeria’s Trade Ties Won’t Change’

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has given an assurance that the exit of his country from the European Union would not change the existing bilateral trade relationship between both nations.

Arkwright, who spoke at the African Business Roundtable in Lagos on Thursday, said though the decision to leave the EU five months ago had been accompanied by changes and uncertainties, the decision would not affect the trade relations between Britain and Nigeria.

He emphasised that there would be no attempt by the UK to remain inside the EU or re-join the continental body as there would be no second referendum.

The envoy added that Nigeria’s economic potential, investment by British companies in the country and cultural links between the two nations remained the same.

Arkwright said, “The UK remains the fifth largest exporter to Nigeria. Our bilateral trade relationship is worth $3.8bn per annum. Shell, a British-Dutch company, has still invested billions of pounds in Nigeria and has around 60 onshore or shallow water oilfields and 700 wells. Shell still owns approximately one-third of the oil produced in Nigeria.

“Nigeria also remains the largest oil producing country in Africa in spite of the depressed price of oil at this time. The historical and cultural links between Nigeria and the UK, the common language of English that the vast majority of Nigerians speak, and the strong educational and business links don’t change.”

He predicted a stronger relationship and more opportunities for the UK to “grow its market share, to encourage more businesses to come to Nigeria and to invest and to encourage more inward investment into the UK from Nigeria.”

In his welcome address, the Executive President, African Business Roundtable, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who was represented by Chief Erelu Dosunmu, said that there had been concerns about the impact of Brexit on trade, investment, national security, politics, immigration, and tourism in the light of Nigeria’s present economic challenges.

Tukur, however, said that Nigeria businesses could take advantage of openings in the UK’s economy if truly Britain would leave the European Union.

This, according to him, is because Nigeria has one of the highest rates of returns on investment from across the globe.

“With a market of over 170 million population, a growing middle class and a gateway to West Africa, Nigeria is the place to be for international businesses,” Tukur said.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Nigerian Brewers Post Combined Loss of N169.7 Billion

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Nigerian Breweries - Investors King

Nigerian brewers collectively faced a significant setback in the first quarter of 2024.

According to a comprehensive analysis of financial statements from leading brewing companies, including Champion Breweries Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, International Breweries Plc, and Guinness Nigeria Plc, the industry reported a combined loss of N169.7 billion.

This downturn is in contrast to the same period last year when three of the four major brewers recorded a total loss of N54.3 billion, while Guinness Nigeria managed to eke out a modest profit of N1.84 billion.

Experts attribute this dramatic reversal to a multitude of factors, with the foremost being the steep devaluation of the Nigerian naira coupled with soaring interest rates.

The fluctuating exchange rates have exacerbated the financial woes of brewing companies, particularly those with significant dollar exposures.

International Breweries, for instance, saw its foreign exchange loss balloon to N162.2 billion in the first quarter of 2024 from an FX gain of N1.22 billion in the same period last year.

Similarly, Nigerian Breweries and Guinness Nigeria reported substantial FX losses of N72.85 billion and N37.06 billion, respectively, compared to much lower losses or gains in the previous year.

Even Champion Breweries, which did not record any FX loss in the comparative period, reported a loss of N0.74 billion in Q1 2024.

Industry analysts emphasize that the weakened naira has intensified the costs associated with servicing foreign debt obligations, further straining profit margins.

The shift to a floating exchange rate regime has led to rapid depreciation of the naira, resulting in significant FX losses across the brewing sector.

Moreover, the decline in consumer spending has added to the sector’s woes. Inflationary pressures have eroded the purchasing power and disposable income of consumers, forcing them to prioritize spending and seek cheaper alternatives.

Femi Egbesola, the national president of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, notes that inflation has significantly reduced consumers’ purchasing power, impacting their willingness to spend on alcoholic beverages.

Furthermore, increased competition from alternative beverages and a more diverse range of beer options have intensified market competition, squeezing profit margins for brewing companies.

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Appointments

United Bank for Africa Welcomes Emmanuel Nnorom to Board

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Emmanuel Nnorom

The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Africa’s leading global bank, has announced the appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom as its new non-executive director, effective April 30, 2024.

This strategic appointment has received the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as of May 13, 2024.

In an official statement, UBA highlighted the significance of Nnorom’s addition to the board. “Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), hereby announces the appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom as a non-executive director effective April 30, 2024.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted approval for this appointment on May 13, 2024.”

Tony Elumelu, Group Chairman at UBA, expressed his enthusiasm about the appointment.

“The appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom, a professional with considerable experience in the sector, emphasizes our Group’s commitment to strong governance and excellence. Nnorom brings a track record of working in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, including power, and a pan-African perspective that complements our existing Board.”

With over 40 years of experience in financial services and audit, Nnorom’s extensive background includes significant board roles with listed companies.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Also, he is an alumnus of Templeton College, Oxford, further underscoring his vast expertise and qualifications.

UBA, which provides retail, commercial, and institutional banking services across several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, and the United Arab Emirates, continues to lead in financial inclusion and the implementation of cutting-edge technology.

This appointment comes at a time when UBA is celebrating record-breaking financial achievements. The bank recently reported over N2 trillion in revenue and a profit of N607.69 billion, the highest in its banking history.

Nnorom’s appointment is expected to bolster UBA’s board, bringing a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to the bank’s operations. His experience in both financial services and critical sectors of the economy will be invaluable as UBA continues to expand its footprint and reinforce its commitment to excellence and strong governance.

As UBA continues to navigate the complexities of the global financial landscape, the addition of a seasoned professional like Emmanuel Nnorom signals the bank’s dedication to sustaining its growth trajectory and maintaining its position as a leading financial institution in Africa and beyond.

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Dangote Refinery Raises Diesel Price to N1,100/Litre Due to Naira-Dollar Crash

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Aliko Dangote - Investors King

Dangote Refinery has announced an increase in the price of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) from N940 per litre to N1,100 per litre.

This significant adjustment in pricing reflects the refinery’s efforts to mitigate the impact of currency depreciation on its operations.

The decision to raise the price of diesel comes amidst ongoing challenges in the foreign exchange market, with the naira experiencing a downward spiral against the dollar in recent weeks.

The refinery cited the unfavorable exchange rate as the primary driver behind the price hike, signaling the intricacies of operating in a volatile economic environment.

It is worth noting that just a few weeks ago, on April 24, 2024, Dangote Refinery had announced a reduction in the prices of diesel and aviation fuel to N940 per litre and N980 per litre, respectively.

This move was aimed at responding to calls from oil marketers for a reduction in diesel prices, demonstrating the refinery’s willingness to adapt to market dynamics.

However, the recent depreciation of the naira has necessitated a reversal of this downward trend, prompting Dangote Refinery to adjust its pricing strategy accordingly.

Some dealers reported purchasing diesel from the plant at even higher rates, reaching up to N1,200 per litre for those procuring lesser volumes.

Abubakar Maigandi, the National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, attributed the price increase to the rising exchange rate, as communicated by the refinery.

He emphasized the direct correlation between currency fluctuations and the cost of imported commodities, such as crude oil, which forms the basis for diesel production.

While officials of the refinery have remained tight-lipped on the matter, industry sources and major marketers have corroborated reports of the price adjustment.

Chief Ukadike Chinedu, the National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the adverse impact of the naira’s depreciation on refined product prices.

The recent fluctuations in the naira-dollar exchange rate underscore the challenges facing Nigeria’s economy, with implications for various sectors, including energy and transportation.

Despite initial signs of stability earlier in the year, the naira’s recent depreciation has reignited concerns about inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty.

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