- US Nigeria Council Targets More Investments
A new business organisation, US Nigeria Council, is set to advance diversification, job creation and increased investment in Nigeria.
The council said it aimed to create partnerships between Nigerian and American businesses and forge a backbone of strong United States-Nigeria relations.
The council was launched on March 15, 2017 at a dinner of leaders of Nigerian and American businesses in Lagos, hosted by the Chairman of Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, Mr. John Coumantaros, and the Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority,Mr. Uche Orji.
The launch was attended by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele; the US Counsel General, Mr. John Bray; and leaders of Nigeria’s blue chip companies and major US investors.
The commitment of Nigerian businesses to USNC was demonstrated by the active participation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group, Oba Oteduko of Honeywell Group, Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank Plc, Akinsowon Dawodu of Citibank Nigeria, Adewale Tinubu of Oando Plc, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede of WAPIC Plc, Abdulsamad Rabiu of BUA Group and others.
The US businesses represented at the launch by senior executives included Dow Chemical Company, Chevron, UPS, Procter & Gamble, ExxonMobil and Uber, Coca Cola and 7Up through their bottlers. Among the leading investors at the event were Emerging Capital Partners, Development Partners International, Greenwish Capital and The Carlyle Group.
The council also boasts young entrepreneurs who have started companies in technology, agri-business, e-commerce and education, including Tomato Jos, Mall for Africa and Andela.
The co-host of the launch and co-chair of the council, Coumantaros, while stressing the aim of the council, noted that, “The US Nigeria Council has been formed to bring US and Nigerian businesses together in developing catalytic projects that will develop capacity and accelerate economic diversification in Nigeria.”
He added, “This council is unique among councils because it is business-to-business focused.”
The council’s work, he reiterated, would aim to develop partnerships, investments, and develop capacity in the agro-allied and food, infrastructure, oil and gas, and technology sectors.
Ecobank Profit After Tax Declined by 298 Percent in Q3, 2020
Ecobank, whose official name is Ecobank Transnational Inc., reported a 298 percent declined in profit after tax for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020.
In the unaudited financial statements released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the leading lender’s profit after tax declined from N19.347 billion profit posted in the same quarter of 2019 to -N38.250 billion in the third quarter of 2020. Representing a decline of 298 percent.
Similarly, profit before tax dipped by 182 percent from N36.052 billion filed in the corresponding quarter to -N38.250 billion in the quarter under the review.
However, net interest income rose by 45 percent from N64.563 billion in 2019 to N93.621 billion in 2020. But the 163 percent plunged in other operating income from N77.939 billion in the third quarter of 2019 to -N4.505 billion in the quarter under review weighed on non-interest revenue by 1 percent to N77.229 billion.
Similarly, operating expenses rose by 12 percent to N106.321 billion, up from N94.526 billion. Net monetary loss arising from hyperinflationary economy rose from zero in the third quarter of 2019 to N8.817 billion in Q3 2020 with Goodwill impairment hitting N60.584 billion from zero in the corresponding quarter of 2019.
This, coupled with N8.762 billion tax dragged profit before tax to -N29.635 billion in the third quarter.
First Bank, GTBank, UBA, Others Generate N133.92 Billion from Electronic Payment in Nine Months
Rising investment in financial technologies and the growing adoption of electronic payments have earned 12 Nigerian banks a total sum of N133.92 billion in the first nine months of the year.
Billions spent in ensuring that bank customers have access to their funds and can perform financial transactions 24 hours a day paid off during the COVID-19 lockdown as many customers were able to maintain social distancing by carrying out financial transactions on numerous digital platforms.
Some of the electronic platforms banks generated revenue from in the first nine months were Automated Teller Machine transactions, USSD, online transfer, electronic bills payments, Remita, Point of Sale payments and agency banking, among others.
While some of the twelve banks were Access Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and Sterling Bank Plc.
The other five were Jaiz Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Wema Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC Plc.
A breakdown of the banks’ unaudited financial statements showed Access Bank’s revenue from electronic payments rose by 105 percent to N38.80 billion in the period under review, up from N18.96 billion posted in the same period of 2019.
First Bank’s electronic payment revenue stood at N34.59 billion, representing an increase of 0.5 percent over the N34.42 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.
Similarly, fees and commissions FCMB earned from digital payments in the first nine months amounted to N6.62 billion, a 17 percent contraction from the N7.98 billion earned in the same period of 2019.
Jaiz Bank posted a 24 percent contraction on its electronic payment earnings from N406.65 million in 2019 to N309.55 million in the same period in 2020.
Also, Stanbic IBTC’s electronic earnings dropped by 15 percent from N2.49 billion posted in 2019 to N2.12 billion in 2020.
Fidelity Bank’s e-payments revenue contracted by 34 percent in the first nine months of the year to N1.74 billion, down from N2.63 billion in 2019. While GTBank posted a 26 percent decline in electronic banking income to N8.21 billion in the period under review, below N11.04 billion earned in the same period of 2019.
Union Bank Plc realised N5.34 billion from electronic payments charges in the first three quarters of the year. Meaning, the bank’s electronic payments decline by 5 percent to N5.6 billion.
For Sterling Bank Plc, electronic products earned the bank N4.31 billion in the very first nine months of 2020, again a reduction of 16 percent from N5.11 billion posted in the same period of 2019.
UBA Plc, Unity Bank and Wema Bank Plc generated N26.71 billion, N1.74 billion and N2.02 billion from electronic payment income, respectively.
Ghana/Kenya: Eurobonds to Decouple as Fiscal Challenges Come to Fore
Ghana and Kenya, two of the sub-Saharan African sovereigns with the highest amount of outstanding Eurobonds, could see a widening of their risk premiums over 2021, according to a Senior Credit Analyst at Redd Intelligence, Mark Bohlund.
Faced with fiscal challenges, the two African nations are expected to return to the Eurobond market in the first quarter of 2021, but this time with bigger risk premiums as investors are expected to incorporate a higher likelihood of frontier-market issuers being pushed into debt restructuring.
Mark Bohlund said, “Ghana and Kenya are likely to return to the Eurobond market in 1Q21 but see a widening of their risk premiums over 2021 as investors incorporate a higher likelihood of frontier-market issuers being pushed into debt restructuring.”
With Ghana’s outstanding Eurobonds presently estimated at US$10.3 billion and Kenya’s outstanding Eurobonds put at US$6.1 billion, spreads on Ghana’s Eurobonds will increase over those of Kenya in 2021.
“It is likely that spreads on Ghana’s eurobonds over those of Kenya will increase over 2021 as concerns rise over its weak fiscal position and high reliance on commercial overseas financing,” Bohlund stated.
Commenting on the countries’ fiscal positions, Bohlund said both countries are likely to post double-digit fiscal deficits this year, as contracting economies add to already faltering government revenue.
“With interest costs absorbing close to 50% of government revenue, Ghana will struggle to find sufficient cost- savings in other areas to reduce the fiscal deficit substantially in 2021.”
“In contrast to Kenya, Ghana has already cut back its capital expenditure to a bare minimum. The Bank of Ghana stepped up its purchases of government bonds sharply in September and we expect this to continue during 2021.
“In Kenya, part of the solution should be to encourage county governments to raise more revenue, but this will be challenging to implement before the August 2022 elections.
“Having shied away from bi- and multilateral creditors in favor of commercial borrowing, Ghana is likely to struggle to secure sufficient external financing in 2021. This makes increased central bank financing likely and poses downside risks to the cedi.
“Neither Ghana nor Kenya is likely to seek DSSI participation in 1H21 even if they deem that international bond issuance will not be possible.
“We have changed our view and now expect both Ghana and Kenya to issue Eurobonds in 1H21.
“Kenya is likely to continue to draw on funding from the IMF, the World Bank and other multilateral creditors, as well as bilateral financial support from China as the Standard Gauge Railway, continues to bleed funds.”
Bohlund added that the spreads between Ghana and Kenya Eurobonds are likely to widen further as a higher risk of a debt restructuring is priced into Ghanaian assets.
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