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Business Confidence Inching Up



Australian business confidence
  • Business Confidence Inching Up

At -1.5 index points, respondents’ overall Confidence Index in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Business Expectations Survey Report on the macro economy in second quarter (Q2) 2017 was less pessimistic, when compared with the level recorded in Q2 2016.

This was driven by the opinion of respondents from industrial (1.2 points), wholesale/retail trade (-0.6 points) and construction (-0.5 points) sectors.

The outlook of businesses for the third quarter 2017, however, indicated greater confidence on the macro economy at 47.5 points.

The drivers for this optimism were services (19.9 points), wholesale/retail trade (12.2 points), industrial (11.6 points) and construction (5.3 points) sectors (Fig. 2).

Furthermore, outlook by type of business in last quarter was driven by import-oriented businesses (-1.8 per cent), neither import nor export kind of businesses (-0.2 per cent), and both import- and export-related businesses (-0.1 per cent), while the sole driver by size of business was the small sized business (-3.2 per cent).

According to the central bank, the Q2 2017 Business Expectations Survey (BES) was carried out during the period May 22 to June 03, 2017, with a sample size of 1,950 businesses nationwide.

It explained that a response rate of 98.8 per cent was achieved during the reporting quarter, and covered the services, industry, wholesale/retail trade and construction sectors.

The services sector was made up of Financial Intermediation, Hotels and Restaurants, Renting and Business activities, and Community and Social Services.

The respondents firms were made up of small, medium and large organisations covering both import- and export-oriented businesses.

The report showed that respondents from the services, construction and wholesale/retail trade sectors expressed more optimism on own operations in the current quarter with indices of 1.1, 0.3, and 0.3, when compared with 0.5, -1.2, and -1.6 in the corresponding quarter of 2016, respectively.

Access to Credit

Respondents’ outlook in the volume of total order though negative, increased by 17 points above its level in the preceding quarter, leading to increases in the business activity and their internal liquidity positions (financial conditions). Similarly, their expectations of access to credit improved during the period under review.

Employment and Expansion Plans

At 56.8 and 29.7 index points, the positive outlook in the volume of business activities and employment index, respectively indicated a favourable outlook in the next quarter.

The employment outlook index by sector showed that the services sector (32.1 per cent) indicated higher prospects for creating jobs, followed by construction (31.0 per cent), wholesale/retail trade (30.7 per cent) and industrial (24.8 per cent) sectors.

“An analysis of businesses with expansion plans by sector in the next quarter showed that the wholesale/retail trade indicates disposition for expansion with an index of 58.7 points.

“Similarly, services, construction and industrial sector firms registered expansion plans for Q2 2017 with indices of 58.5, 57.4 and 50.6 points, respectively,” it stated.

Business Constraints

According to the report, the surveyed firms identified insufficient power supply (66.9 per cent), financial problems (58.0 per cent), high interest rate (53.6 per cent), unfavourable economic climate (52.5 per cent), competition (41.6 per cent), unclear economic laws (40.7 per cent), unfavourable political climate (40.5 per cent) and access to credit (40.0 per cent) as the major factors constraining business activity in the current quarter.

Majority of the respondent firms expected the naira to appreciate as the confidence indices stood at 3.4 and 18.4 points, respectively. Respondents’ expectations could be ascribed to the CBN’s recent policy intervention in the foreign exchange market.

Respondent firms expect inflation rate to rise in the current quarter but moderate in the next quarter, with confidence indices of 12.4 and -6.4 points for the current and next quarters, respectively.

Similarly, respondent firms expect the borrowing rate to rise in the current quarter, but decline in the next quarter as the confidence indices stood at 8.6 and -0.7 points, respectively.

Consumer Expectations Survey

Also, the highlights of the Q2 2017 Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) showed that overall outlook of consumers moderated in the current quarter though remained down beat. This was attributable to an anticipated consumer confidence in the economy, with an expected draw down on their savings /getting into debt and a decline in net household income.

Consumers however, had a positive outlook for the next quarter and the next 12 months.

On average, more households nationwide expect some increase in their expenditure on basic commodities and services in the next 12 months. Consumers expect to spend substantial amounts of their income on food and other household needs, education, savings, purchase of consumer durables, medical expenses and investment.

Majority of consumers nationwide believe that the next 12 months would not be an ideal time to purchase big-ticket items like motor vehicle and house & lot.

Most respondents expected that borrowing rate will fall and naira will appreciate in the next 12 months, while inflation and unemployment rates will rise.

The major drivers of the expected upward movement in prices are: house rent, education, medical care, transport and electricity.

The Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) for Q2 2017 was conducted during the period May 22—June 3, 2017 covering a sample size of 1,950 households drawn from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Master Sample List of Households.

The overall response rate for the Q2 2017 CES was 98.9 per cent. The distribution of respondents by educational attainment showed that 47.3 per cent had university education, 27.6 per cent had higher but non-university education, while 15.5 per cent had senior secondary school education. Respondents with primary and junior secondary school education accounted for 3.0 and 4.1 per cent, respectively; while those with no formal education accounted for the balance of 2.5 per cent.

The consumers’ overall confidence outlook moderated in Q2 2017 while still remaining down beat.

Though, the index stood at -17.0, the proportion of respondents that are optimistic about the economy increased when compared with the corresponding quarter of 2016.

While some of the respondents attributed this moderation in their outlook to increased confidence in the economy, majority ascribed the development to a decline in their net income, leading to draw-down on savings/getting into debt. The consumer outlook for the next quarter and that of the next 12 months were however, positive at 21.3 and 34.2 points, respectively.

The outlook could be attributed to the anticipated improvement in Nigeria’s economic conditions, expected increase in net household income, and expectations to save a bit and/or have plenty over savings in the next 12 months.

With an average index of 14.3 points, more households nationwide expect some increase in their expenditure on basic commodities and services in the next 12 months. Majority of consumers expect to spend a substantial amount of their income on food and other household needs, education, savings, purchase of consumer durables, medical expenses and investment. However, they do not plan to expend on large ticket items such as purchases of car/motor vehicle and house.

Most respondents expect the prices of goods and services to rise in the next 12 months with an index point of 23.1. The major drivers are: house rent, education, medical care, transport and electricity.

The overall buying conditions index for consumers in the current quarter for big-ticket items stood at 38.2 points. This indicates that majority of consumers believed that the current quarter was not the ideal time to purchase big-ticket items like consumer durables, motor vehicles, and house & lot.

Similarly, buying intention index for consumer durables such as furniture, gas cooker, refrigerator, air conditioner, television and other durables in the next 12 months stood at 48 index points, indicating that majority of consumers believed that the next 12 months would not be an ideal time to purchase motor vehicles and house & lot.

Contrarily, the buying intention index for the big-ticket items like consumer durables were above 50 points, indicating that the next twelve months would be an ideal time to purchase these items.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


Plant Power: Nestlé Launches Dairy Free Milo in Asia



milo dairy free feed

As consumers in Asia are including more dairy alternatives in their diet, Nestlé is launching plant-based versions of some of its most-loved brands in the region.

That now includes a new plant-based version of Milo, the world’s leading chocolate malt beverage that is enjoyed in many Asian countries.

It will be launched in Asia, starting first in Malaysia, a country with generations of Milo fans going back 70 years to its launch there in 1950. Nestlé Malaysia will also be introducing a range of plant-based Nescafé lattes. Both will appear on shelves this April.

Chocolate malt plant-based deliciousness

People are deeply passionate about their Milo, so the development teams worked hard to deliver the ionic Milo taste while using only plant-based ingredients.

This new version replaces the milk in the original recipe with almond and soy, but the other two core ingredients – malt and cocoa – remain the same.

Each bottle offers 6.5 grams of protein and is also low in sugar, with a combination of vitamins and minerals to support effective energy release.

It follows the launch of a plant-based Milo powder in Australia in 2020, a launch that created huge excitement in the country where Milo was first introduced in 1934.

Mayank Trivedi, Head of the Dairy Strategic Business Unit at Nestlé, said: “Milo is an iconic brand in Malaysia and across Asia, and much-loved across generations. We want to provide consumers with on-trend alternatives in formats they want. That’s why we’re delighted to launch Milo Dairy Free to support people’s lifestyle choices.”

A whole ‘latte’ flavor

Nestlé is a pioneer in innovate plant-based coffee mixes, and Nestlé Malaysia is now introducing a plant-based version of another iconic brand – Nescafé oat and almond lattes.

Plant-based coffee mixes are a popular and growing category. Nestlé has already launched them cross a number of countries in Europe, Latin America and Oceania, and most recently launched a range of plant-based Nescafé and Starbucks lattes in Japan.

The Nescafé Dairy Free Almond Latte combines almond and pea, while oat and soy are the main ingredients for the Nescafé Dairy Free Oat Latte. Both are blended perfectly with smooth Nescafé coffee and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Plant-based discovery

Using its expertise in dairy products and plant-based proteins, Nestlé is focused on developing a wide variety of dairy alternatives that complement the everyday diet of people. This includes products made from pea, rice, oat, soy, coconut and almonds.

“We’re expanding our offerings across Asia by developing a variety of great-tasting, nutritious and sustainable plant-based products.” says Guglielmo Bonora, Head of Nestlé’s R&D Center in Singapore. “We want to make it easier for people to embrace plant-based alternatives in their diet, while also reducing our carbon footprint across the supply chain.”

Nestlé’s R&D center in Singapore serves as the regional innovation hub for the development of plant-based dairy alternatives in Asia. The center collaborates closely with Nestlé’s global R&D network of around 300 scientists, engineers, and product developers who are active in the research and development of plant-based products.

A rising trend

According to a recent survey by GlobalData, over 40% of consumers in the Asia region are shifting to more plant-based diets, with 11% opting for vegetarian and vegan food, and a third moving to a ‘flexitarian’ diet that is lighter on meat and dairy products.

The need for plant-based dairy alternatives that taste great and offer strong nutritionals is rising, as more families are following this trend. In particular, many consumers cite environmental reasons, as plant-based proteins are produced with significantly lower emissions, land- and water usage.

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MoneyGram Advances Payments As A Service Offering With Sigue Partnership



MoneyGram International, Inc., a global leader in the evolution of digital P2P payments, today announced a partnership with Sigue Corporation, a leading U.S. based transnational P2P and B2B payment company. 

The partnership enables Sigue’s U.S. customer base to access MoneyGram’s domestic and international receive network, adding scale to Sigue’s existing global footprint.

“Over the last few years, we’ve built a modern, mobile, and API-driven organization that enables companies to seamlessly plug into our global network to provide expanded services for their customers, and we’re thrilled to announce our latest partner integration with Sigue,” said Alex Holmes,MoneyGram Chairman and CEO.

“Opening our global platform to companies like Sigue enables us to increase payment volumes through our network and process additive transactions. MoneyGram has built an extremely valuable, tech-enabled, and scalable global payments infrastructure that can absorb significant volume at very low marginal cost. As other companies plug into our platform, we have the opportunity to create meaningful processing revenue in the years ahead, and I’m excited about the momentum in the market leading to a strong partnership pipeline.” He added.

The MoneyGram and Sigue partnership is the most recent successful integration in the new MoneyGram as a Service business line. Partnerships such as this expand processing volume by enabling other financial institutions to access the Company’s global payout capabilities through its powerful API-driven infrastructure and best-in-class technology.

“We are very enthusiastic about our partnership with MoneyGram, as it allows us to scale further, quicker and keep our resources free to focus on creating the best money remittance experience in the business. It strengthens our market presence as the world’s leading privately owned remittance business and confirms our credentials as a leading technology innovator for the global money services industry,” said Guillermo de la Viña, Sigue CEO and Founder.

“This reaffirms our commitment to serving millions of families through our secure, reliable, and innovative services, with the dignity and respect our customers demand and deserve. The partnership further enables Sigue to better serve our customers by expanding our commitment to provide the value-added services that our customers and agent base expect, which is the cornerstone of our success.” He added

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CAC Seeks FEC’s Approval to Bar Non-Remitting Entities from Public Contracts



Corporate Affairs Commission

The outgoing Chairman, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Governing Board, and Nigerian Ambassador designate to Spain, Mr. Ademola Seriki, has said the commission is presently seeking the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), to ensure that registered entities do not benefit from government contracts unless they filed their annual returns.

Speaking to journalists during an appreciation dinner in his honour, which was organised by the CAC, he said the adoption of Good Standing Certificate was particularly historic, pointing out that, “most companies don’t pay annual returns and it’s a problem”.

Seriki, however, said he will use his new position to enhance the country’s bilateral trade relations with Spain, adding that a team would be set up to monitor the implementation of trade treaties between both countries.

He said implementation remained one of the greatest challenges affecting Nigeria’s international bilateral relations.

He expressed concerns that people who don’t pay annual returns bid for procurements and contracts, and oftentimes, won in the exercise even though they do not comply with their financial obligations to the government, adding that there was need to put an end to the trend going forward.

He said: “So, we need to pay our annual returns and we have started the issue of Good Standing Certificate which is awaiting FEC approval. It’s going to the president and by God’s grace, I hope it will be approved.”

Seriki, who played a significant role in the current reforms being undertaken at the CAC, also said, the introduction of notification alerts on accounts transactions by the commission remained not only formidable but unprecedented.

He said he would love to see the reforms initiatives actualised to usher a regime of world class services in company registration in Nigeria.

He said: “We did something formidable in the issue of Good Standing Certificate, it has not been done in history because most companies don’t pay annual returns and it’s a problem.

“And you will see a company that would bid for procurements of hundreds of billions of dollars and never paid annual returns in 20 to 30 years.

“In a very civilised country, even in Ghana, I was in Ghana two weeks ago and I met with the registrar general- all companies that have not paid their annual returns, they have to pull down their names and will no longer be valid.”

According to him:”People register companies to buy properties as a matter of hiding their identities from the public – they should be paying annual returns.”

On the alert notifications option, the outgoing chairman, assured that it will stem abuses from unilateral accounts alterations without full consent of interest parties.

He said: “Husband and wife who have being together do fight, either of them will go behind and change the ownership or siblings when their father and mother die, you know all kinds of things. People do a lot of illegalities and they commit such without having to regret it.

“So, when you opt for notification alert, you get a short code, you get a text message and you get email that your file had been tampered with.

“And that way, you are on the alert and you can go back to CAC and say look, I didn’t do this.”
He added: “We have thousands of cases where people change information without the principal owner’s consent or knowledge.”

Seriki, added that as much as he would have loved to see the reforms come into force, his new ambassadorial assignment, “is a higher job for me, it’s a higher assignment of which I believe it will put my name on a good stead.”

Also, in his remarks at the dinner, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, commended the ambassador designate for having a among the staff of the commission, which helped to achieve significant milestones within his one-year duration.

Similarly, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Maryam Katagun, urged Seriki, to make a difference in spain not only in bilateral relations but also pay attention to Nigerians in diaspora.

Meanwhile, the Registrar-General of CAC, Mr. Garba Abubakar, has assured that companies’ registration procedures would be completed within three hours before the end of the year as part of measures to ensure efficient service delivery to the public.

He added that companies’ registration can now be completed without physical presence at the commission’s offices.

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