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Naira May Reverse Loss This Week

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  • Naira May Reverse Loss This Week

The naira is seen strengthening in the near term as Bureau De Change operators expect dollar supplies from international money transfer agents to boost liquidity.

The local currency held steady at 490 to the dollar on the parallel market on Friday, the same level as the previous week, while the naira was quoted at 305 to the dollar at the official interbank window, Reuters reported.

“We continue to see the naira hovering between 400 and 480 as the Central Bank of Nigeria fine-tunes its policy to streamline rates and as we see an increased dollar supply,” the President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Aminu Gwadabe, said.

Economic and currency experts have expressed divergent views over the outlook of the naira this year.

While some said the naira would experience further decline at the parallel market this year, others said the volatility noticed in the exchange rate last year could not continue this year.

“We will continue to see reasonable volatility of the naira during the first half of this year. The fundamental issues underlying the volatility of the naira have not been addressed,” a currency analyst at Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ezun, said.

According to Ezun, the naira will continue to depreciate at the parallel market while the Central Bank of Nigeria will keep managing the official rate around 305/dollar.

“It will depreciate further but there has been some resistance around 500/dollar. The CBN seems to have come to the end of monetary policy because it is the issue of liquidity,” the Ecobank analyst added.

For a director at the Union Capital Markets, Mr. Egie Akpata, the direction of the naira-dollar exchange rate this year will be determined by the CBN’s policies, oil output and price.

He said, “A lot depends on what the CBN does because exchange rate is driven by the kind of administrative management in place at the forex market. The direction of the oil price and output this year will also determine which way the exchange rate will go.”

An economic analyst at EY, Mr. Bisi Sanda, believes most economic indicators are moving in the direction that is favourable to the country.

He, however, said that unless the economic and forex managers used this to the country’s advantage, the naira and the economy in general would be thrown into further chaos.

Sanda said, “Everything depends on what the Federal Government decides to do. For example, we don’t need more than 3000 Bureau De Change operators in this country, and the CBN does not need to allocate forex to them.

“The leakages that have characterised forex management in the country are the reason for the current volatility in the exchange rate. The oil output and price are now going in the directions that are favourable to us. So we should take advantage of this.”

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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Banking Sector

CRC Credit Bureau Celebrates 15 Years with Record 14% Credit Penetration in Nigeria

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CRC Credit Bureau Limited celebrated its 15th anniversary with a record 14% credit penetration rate.

The occasion was marked with the CRC Finance and Credit Conference 2024 held in Lagos, where key industry stakeholders gathered to reflect on the bureau’s journey and discuss future trends in credit risk management.

Founded in January 2010 and licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), CRC Credit Bureau has played a pivotal role in enhancing access to credit across Nigeria.

Dr. Tunde Popoola, the Group Managing Director/CEO of CRC Credit Bureau Limited, highlighted the bureau’s journey, noting that from its inception with a single product, CRC has expanded its offerings to 18 products covering all aspects of the lending value chain.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Popoola underscored the bureau’s contribution to Nigeria’s financial sector, stating, “CRC Credit Bureau has been instrumental in transforming access to credit in Nigeria over the past 15 years. We started with a vision to simplify credit access through reliable data and have since grown to serve millions of Nigerians.”

The event focused on the theme “Sustainable Financing Options: Innovations in Credit Risk Management,” emphasizing the importance of sustainable finance amid economic challenges.

The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss strategies for mitigating risks and enhancing the efficiency of credit operations in Nigeria.

Reflecting on the current state of credit penetration, Dr. Popoola noted that while Nigeria has made significant progress, the 14% penetration rate still falls below global benchmarks.

He highlighted that CRC Credit Bureau currently holds credit scores for 33 million Nigerians, facilitating over 29.4 million searches in 2023 alone, with an additional 10 million searches conducted in the first quarter of 2024.

Joel Owoade, Chairman of CRC’s Board of Directors, acknowledged the economic headwinds impacting businesses in Nigeria but stressed the importance of sustainable financing to mitigate risks associated with lending.

“As we navigate economic fluctuations, sustainable financing remains crucial to fostering economic stability and growth,” Owoade remarked.

The conference also featured insights from industry experts on leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in credit risk management and regulatory frameworks to support AI-driven innovations.

Olaniyi Yusuf, Managing Partner of Verraki, highlighted the potential of AI to create jobs and enhance economic productivity, calling for supportive regulatory environments that balance innovation with risk management.

Representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) emphasized the regulator’s efforts to promote sustainable credit practices.

Dr. Adetona Adedeji, Acting Director of the Banking Supervision Department at CBN, outlined initiatives such as the National Collateral Registry and Global Standing Instruction aimed at enhancing credit access while minimizing risks.

As CRC Credit Bureau looks ahead, Dr. Popoola expressed optimism about the future, stating, “We remain committed to driving greater financial inclusion and expanding credit access in Nigeria. Our focus is on leveraging technology and strategic partnerships to deliver innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of consumers and lenders.”

The celebration of CRC Credit Bureau’s 15th anniversary underscored its pivotal role in Nigeria’s financial sector, marking a milestone in the nation’s journey towards broader financial inclusion and sustainable economic growth.

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Loans

Nigeria’s Public Debt Hits N101tn as World Bank Loans Soar to $4.95bn

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Nigeria’s public debt has breached the N101 trillion mark, driven by a substantial influx of loans from the World Bank totaling $4.95 billion over the past twelve months.

This surge in borrowing has raised concerns about the country’s ability to service its growing debt obligations amidst economic challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and fluctuating global oil prices.

As of December 2023, Nigeria’s debt stood at approximately N97 trillion, according to data from the Debt Management Office (DMO).

The recent borrowing spree has propelled this figure to N101 trillion, reflecting a rapid escalation in the country’s indebtedness.

The loans from the World Bank are earmarked for various developmental projects, including critical sectors such as power, women empowerment, education, renewable energy, and economic reforms.

These initiatives are part of Nigeria’s broader strategy to enhance infrastructure, socio-economic development, and institutional reforms aimed at bolstering long-term growth and resilience.

The breakdown of the World Bank funding includes $750 million allocated for power sector financing aimed at improving electricity generation and distribution, which remains a persistent challenge in Nigeria.

Another $500 million is dedicated to women’s empowerment programs, focusing on expanding opportunities and economic inclusion for women across the country.

Also, $700 million has been allocated to support education initiatives, particularly for adolescent girls under the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment project.

This funding seeks to enhance access to quality education and empower young girls in Nigeria.

Moreover, the World Bank has committed $750 million to the Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up project, aimed at increasing electricity access through renewable energy solutions.

This initiative targets over 17.5 million Nigerians who currently lack reliable electricity.

The largest tranche of $1.5 billion is designated for Economic Stabilisation to Enable Transformation Development Policy Financing Programme. This funding is intended to bolster fiscal revenues, expand social safety nets, and support economic diversification efforts to reduce dependency on oil revenues.

Despite these investments aimed at driving economic growth and improving living standards, concerns linger over Nigeria’s ability to effectively manage its escalating debt burden.

The country’s debt servicing costs have risen significantly, diverting resources away from critical sectors such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure development.

Critics argue that while external financing is necessary for development, the government must ensure transparency, accountability, and effective utilization of borrowed funds to avoid the pitfalls of previous debt mismanagement.

There is also a growing call for stringent fiscal discipline and reforms to enhance revenue generation and reduce dependency on borrowing.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has defended the borrowing, asserting that it is crucial for bridging infrastructure gaps, stimulating economic growth, and creating job opportunities.

However, stakeholders emphasize the need for prudent debt management and sustainable economic policies to safeguard Nigeria’s financial stability and long-term prosperity.

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Insurance

Sanlam to Acquire 60% Stake in MultiChoice’s Insurance Arm for R1.2bn

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South African insurance giant Sanlam Limited has announced plans to acquire a 60% stake in NMS Insurance Services (NMSIS), the insurance subsidiary of pay TV operator MultiChoice Group, for R1.2 billion.

This strategic acquisition aims to enhance Sanlam’s footprint in the African insurance market and leverage MultiChoice’s extensive subscriber base across the continent.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, both companies revealed that the deal includes a long-term commercial arrangement designed to expand insurance and related financial services to MultiChoice’s diverse audience.

The transaction also features a performance-based cash earn-out potential of up to R1.5 billion, contingent upon the gross written premium generated by NMSIS by the end of 2026.

Paul Hanratty, CEO of Sanlam Group, expressed optimism about the acquisition, stating, “This partnership provides a unique opportunity to combine our market presence and technological capabilities, fostering growth and market penetration while creating synergies beneficial to all stakeholders.”

Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice, highlighted the strategic significance of the collaboration, noting, “This deal not only enhances the value we provide to our subscribers but also taps into Sanlam’s expertise to drive innovation and growth in our insurance offerings across Africa. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our teams.”

NMSIS has shown impressive growth, with gross written premiums increasing by 36% year-on-year and profit after tax rising by 51% in the first quarter of 2024.

MultiChoice plans to use the proceeds from the sale for working capital while retaining a 40% interest in NMSIS.

The move comes as MultiChoice faces economic challenges, including a 13% drop in subscribers in key markets such as Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, and Zambia due to economic hardships and currency devaluations.

Despite these setbacks, the partnership with Sanlam is seen as a strategic step to bolster its financial services offerings and stabilize revenue streams.

The announcement also follows recent regulatory developments, with MultiChoice entering a Cooperation Agreement with Groupe Canal+ SA after Canal+ acquired a 45.20% stake in MultiChoice, necessitating a mandatory offer under South African takeover regulations.

As the African insurance market continues to grow, Sanlam’s acquisition of a significant stake in NMSIS positions both companies to capitalize on emerging opportunities, providing innovative insurance solutions to millions of customers across the continent.

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