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MPC: Experts Predict Unchanged Rates, Rise in Inflation

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  • MPC: Experts Predict Unchanged Rates, Rise in Inflation

Financial and economic experts have said the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria will likely leave the Monetary Policy Rate, also known as the benchmark interest rate, unchanged at the end of its two-day meeting today (Tuesday).

The Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane, said consumers must prepare for rising inflation from August.

Rewane, in an interview on a Channels TV programme, ‘Sunrise’, said there were predictions that Nigeria would be a high inflation environment in 2019.

The National Bureau of Statistics, in its June 2018 Consumer Price Index and Inflation Report, which was released on Monday, stated that inflation rate slowed to 11.23 per cent year-on-year in June but increased month-on-month to 1.24 per cent from 1.09 per cent in May.

Rewane said, “The consumers have to prepare themselves. We are going into a planting season, minimum wage negotiation, and budgetary spending; we have to prepare ourselves for an increase in inflation after 17 months of consecutive decline. Inflation is set to start increasing from next month. There is no question about that; that is the likely outcome.

“The MPC will be concerned that if they do anything about interest rates now, they might actually just trigger inflation as the International Monetary Fund has warned sternly that any push or attempt to lower interest rates could trigger inflationary pressures.”

Nigerian inflation at a 17-month year low is unlikely to move the CBN to start easing rates this week, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

It said the MPC, which held its key rate at 14 per cent for two years to curb inflation and help support the currency in the country, would continue to hold the MPR constant.

The Managing Director, Blackbit Limited, Wale Ajibade, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, stated that although the inflation rate had looked good over the last 17 months, any reduction in the MPR might not be sustainable over the next six months, considering the forthcoming elections.

“My suggestion is that they hold it constant and watch the economy. Once we have a 24-month stability, then it can be reduced,” Ajibade said.

He added that the MPC ought to pay attention to other forms of financial inclusion and financial technology.

According to him, the last regulation by the CBN on the USSD transfers is likely to have a negative effect on financial inclusion in the country.

Analysts at FBNQuest Capital said in an emailed note on Monday that they anticipated an unchanged stance by the MPC towards the rates.

They stated that the committee’s principal fears were that the expansionary fiscal policy would undermine macroeconomic stability and that in line with trends in selected emerging markets such as Argentina and Turkey.

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

Banking Sector

Peter Obaseki Retires as Chief Operating Officer of FCMB Group Plc

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The Board of Directors of FCMB Group Plc has announced the retirement of Mr. Peter Obaseki, the Chief Operating Officer of the financial institution, with effect from March 1, 2021. He was also an Executive Director of the Group.

His retirement was approved at a meeting of the Board of the Group on February 26, 2021. This has also been announced in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by the financial institution.

The Chairman of FCMB Group Plc’s Board of Directors, Mr Oladipupo Jadesimi, thanked Mr. Obaseki for his valuable service and excellent support to the Board for many years.

FCMB Group Plc is a holding company divided along three business Groups; Commercial and Retail Banking (First City Monument Bank Limited, Credit Direct Limited, FCMB (UK) Limited and FCMB Microfinance Bank Limited); Investment Banking (FCMB Capital Markets Limited and CSL Stockbrokers Limited); as well as Asset & Wealth Management (FCMB Pensions Limited, FCMB Asset Management Limited and FCMB Trustees Limited).

The Group and its subsidiaries are leaders in their respective segments with strong fundamentals.

For more information about FCMB Group Plc, please visit www.fcmbgroup.com.

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Banking Sector

COVID-19: CBN Extends Loan Repayment by Another One Year

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Central Bank Extends One-Year Moratorium by 12 Months

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the repayment of its discounted interest rate on intervention facility by another one-year following the expiration of the first 12 months moratorium approved on March 1, 2020.

The apex bank stated in a circular titled ‘Re: Regulatory forbearance for the restructuring of credit facilities of other financial institutions impacted by COVID-19’ and released on Wednesday to all financial institutions.

In the circular signed by Kelvin Amugo, the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, CBN, the apex bank said the role-over of the moratorium on the facilities would be considered on a case by case basis.

The circular read, “The Central Bank of Nigeria reduced the interest rates on the CBN intervention facilities from nine per cent to five per cent per annum for one year effective March 1, 2020, as part of measures to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy.

“Credit facilities, availed through participating banks and OFIs, were also granted a one-year moratorium on all principal payments with effect from March 1, 2020.

“Following the expiration of the above timelines, the CBN hereby approves as follows:

“The extension by another 12 months to February 28, 2022 of the discounted interest rate for the CBN intervention facilities.

“The role-over of the moratorium on the above facilities shall be considered on a case by case basis.”

It would be recalled that the apex bank reduced the interest rate on its intervention facility from nine percent to five percent and approved a 12-month moratorium in March 2020 to ease the negative impact of COVID-19 on businesses.

To further deepen economic recovery and stimulate growth, the apex bank has extended the one year-moratorium until February 28, 2022.

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Finance

MTN Nigeria Generates N1.35 Trillion in Revenue in 2020

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MTN Nigeria Grows Revenue by 15.1 Percent from N1.169 Trillion in 2019 to N1.35 Trillion in 2020

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and challenging business environment, MTN Nigeria realised N1.346 trillion in revenue in the financial year ended December 31, 2020.

The leading telecommunications giant grew revenue by 15.1 percent from N1.169 trillion posted in the same period of 2019.

Operating profit surprisingly jumped by 8.5 percent from N393.225 billion in 2019 to N426.713 billion in 2020.

This, the telecom giant attributed to the surge in finance costs due to increased borrowings from N413 billion in 2019 to N521 billion in 2020.

MTN Nigeria further stated that the increase in finance costs was the reason for the decline in growth of profit before tax to 2.6 percent.

MTN Nigeria grew profit before tax by 2.6 percent to N298.874 billion, up from N291.277 billion filed in the corresponding period of 2019.

The company posted N205.214 billion profit for the year, a 0.9 percent increase from N203.283 billion recorded in the 2019 financial year.

Share capital remained unchanged at N407 million. While Total equity increased by 22.3 percent from N145.857 billion in 2019 to N178.386 billion in 2020.

MTN Nigeria’s market price per share increased by 61.8 percent from N105 to N169.90.

While market capitalisation as at year-end also expanded by 61.8 percent to N3.458 trillion, up from N2.137 trillion.

The number of shares issued and fully paid as at year-end stood at 20.354 million.

MTN Nigeria margins were affected by Naira devaluations and capital expenditure due to the new 4G network coverage roll-out.

Margins were adversely affected by the effect of naira devaluation and expenses associated with new sites’ roll-out to boost 4G network coverage in FY’20.

“On the former, we note that MTNN expanded the scope of its service agreement with IHS Holding Limited and changed the reference rate for converting USD tower expenses to NAFEX (vs CBN’s official rate previously). Thus, over the full-year period, the company’s operating margin contracted by 1.9 ppts YoY to 31.7%,” CardinalStone stated in its latest report.

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