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CBN Targets Stable Exchange Rate to Protect Naira’s Strength

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  • CBN Targets Stable Exchange Rate to Protect Naira’s Strength

A stable exchange rate to avoid depreciation of the naira is Nigeria’s target now, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele said yesterday.

He said as good as building reserves is, the present economic situation cannot allow that.

Besides, the country is not ready to increase taxes although there is the necessity to diversify the economic base, according to Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed.

They spoke yesterday, the final day of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia and after the Nigerian delegation’s meetings with investors and institutions.

Emefiele said all frontiers and developing markets had suffered depreciation and loss of reserves.

“We are very conscious of the need to build buffers but, unfortunately, I must say that we are in the period where it will be difficult to talk about building reserve buffers.

“We can only build reserve buffers if we want to hold on to the reserve and then allow the currency to go, and wherever it goes is something else.

“So it is a choice we have to make and at this time the choice for Nigeria is to maintain a stable exchange rate so that businesses can plan and we do not create problems in the banking system assets,” Emefiele said.

According to him, like other emerging markets nations, Nigeria has also lost reserves but only marginally because it has managed to sustain stability in its foreign exchange market.

The CBN governor said that the IMF and the World Bank advised that nations should build country specific policies and fiscal and structural reforms that would boost economic growth.

The Finance minister described the World Bank’s Human Capital Development Index (HCI) ranking, which placed Nigeria low at 44 per cent, as “stunting, disheartening and depressing”.

It is a wake-up call to the government, she said, adding: “We admit that this pervasive action was due to long years of under-investment in human capital, which we have before now realised and which we have been addressing.

“Apart from major policy actions, some decisive actions are being taken to address the situation.”

On possible tax hike, Mrs. Ahmed, who is the leader of the Nigerian delegation to the 2018 IMF and WBG meetings, said although there had been suggestions by the global financial institutions to increase local revenue generation along that line, raising tax was not being considered by the government.

She said government will keep the current tax regime unchanged”, as “to increase taxes would mean changing the laws and we are not ready to increase taxes”.

Mrs Ahmed, however, said she agreed with the IMF and the WBG that Nigeria should explore ways and means of diversifying the economy and increasing the country’s revenue profile.

Mrs. Ahmed, who addressed the Nigerian media, with Minister of Budget, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Emefiele, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Indonesia Hakeem Toyin Balogun and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Acting Director-General Ms. Mary Uduk, said Nigeria’s problems were not so much that of debts, as much as of revenues, adding: “What we have is revenue problems not debt problems.”

According to her, the delegation held meetings with two rating agencies-Fitch and Moody’s – and presented to them the summary and synopsis of the recent economic and financial developments in Nigeria.

She added that it was an opportunity for the rating agencies to be able to objectively evaluate Nigeria’s credit.

Mrs Ahmed said she met IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and discussed Nigeria’s economy in view of the 2019 general elections.

She assured Lagarde that the election year would not pose any threat to the nation’s economic prospects.

Udoma said to improve HCI, the nation had improved budgetary allocation to health and education.

He said that allocation to education moved from N22.5 billion in 2015 to N102.9 billion in 2018.

The allocation to health was reviewed from N26.6 billion in 2015 to N86.49 billion in 2018.

Udoma said N55.19 billion had been added to the health budget in 2018 through the National Health Act.

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.

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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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Finance

Nestle Nigeria Approves Final Dividend of N35.50k per 50 Kobo Ordinary Share for 2020

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Nestle Nigeria Approves Final Dividend of N35.50k per 50 Kobo Ordinary Share for 2020

Nestle Nigeria, a leading food and beverage company, has declared a final dividend of N35.50k per 50 kobo ordinary share for the year ended December 31, 2020.

The beverage company said N24.50k of the amount declared was from the after-tax profit of 2020 and N5 and N6 were from the after-tax retained earnings of the years ended December 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Nestle Nigeria stated that the amount declared is subject to appropriate withholding tax and approval at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders.

It also noted that payment will be made only to shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on 21 May 2021.

Dividends will be paid electronically to shareholders whose names appear on the Register of Members as at 21 May 2021, and who have completed the e-dividend registration and mandated the Registrar to pay their dividends directly into their Bank accounts.

Shareholders who are yet to complete the e-dividend registration are advised to download the Registrar’s E-Dividend Mandate Activation Form, which is also available on their website: www.gtlregistrars.com, complete and submit to the Registrar or their respective Banks.

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Dennis Olisa Invests N53.6 Million in Zenith Bank

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Executive Director of Zenith Bank Plc Buys 2 Million Shares of Zenith Bank at N53.6 Million

Executive Director of Zenith Bank Plc, Dennis Olisa, has invested a combined N53.58 million in shares of Zenith Bank.

The leading financial institution stated in a disclosure statement filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Monday.

Olisa carried out the purchase in two different transactions on February 24, 2021 at the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos, Nigeria.

He purchased 1 million units of Zenith Bank at N26.60 each and another 1 million shares at N26.50 per share.

On aggregate, Olisa purchased 2 million shares of Zenith Bank at N26.79 per share or N53.58 million. See the details below.

Dennis Olisa was appointed as Zenith Bank’s executive director three years ago.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Olisa was the Chief Inspector at Zenith Bank Plc and served as its Director from March 3, 2017 until March 16, 2017.

He also served as General Manager and Heads of the Energy Oil & Gas Group at Zenith Bank Plc and served as its Deputy General Manager. He served as Head of Internal Control & Audit Group at Zenith Bank Plc

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