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FG Must Address ‘Pressure Points’ in Economy, FSDH Says

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  • FG Must Address ‘Pressure Points’ in Economy, FSDH Says

Following the conclusion of the presidential election, analysts at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited believe there are pressure points in the economy that the federal government must quickly address to stimulate broad-based and inclusive growth.

According to the Lagos-based financial institution, the Nigerian economy has not been expanding enough to lift its citizens out of poverty.

Owing to this, the bank in a report stressed the need for the economy to expand faster than it is at the moment.

Providing insights on the report, the Head of Research and Strategy at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, Mr. Ayodele Akinwunmi, listed the economic pressure points to include weak disposable income in the country; high unemployment rate; weak infrastructure development in the economy that may not support the growth ambition of the federal government; economic depression in the real estate sector; fragile foreign exchange market and weak revenue generation for the federal government, which has led to large fiscal deficits.

Akinwunmi listed policy option to address the economic challenges to include the removal of all administrative delays in obtaining licences and approvals.

This, he stated includes titles to landed properties for building and agricultural purposes.

He urged the federal government to support the provision of long-term mortgage loans at concessionary terms for workers, in order to activate economic activities in the real estate sector in Nigeria

Furthermore, he recommended investment in data generation in the solid mineral sector.

“Government can sell the data to potential investors interested in the sector. This will reduce the risk inherent in this untapped sector of the Nigerian economy

“Urgent restructuring, deliberate and consistent investments in the nation’s educational system to enable it provide relevant trainings that are needed in the modern digital age.

“We observed critical skill gap in the nation’s educational system, particularly in the public schools at all levels. The sector can create more jobs for teachers and administrators and can also attract foreign investments and save foreign exchange earnings.

“There is the need for human capacity building in business management and leadership. This must not be left to business schools, which are only affordable to a few people

“Establishment of well-funded technical training centres in all local government areas in the country in conjunction with private sector operators,” he added.

In addition, Akinwunmi called for investment in infrastructure (through partnership with the private sector) that would reduce risks involved in agriculture and agro-allied industries.

He also advised the government to reduce import duties on imported manufactured cars. This, according to Akinwunmi, would help avoid high cost associated with brand new cars in the country so that Nigerians are not pushed to buy fairly used vehicles with their associated negative environmental impacts.

“While we understand the need for the government to use the import duties to encourage investments in the local auto industry, a graduated import duty policy for a few years, say five years, will be appropriate

“Investments in affordable public healthcare system to increase productivity of workers, reduce brain-drain and reduce foreign medical tourism with its associated drain on foreign exchange earnings

“Adjustment of the electricity tariff to reflect current costs in the economy and to enable the sector attracts investments and guarantee efficient metering system

“The removal of the ‘subsidy’ on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to free up more resources to critical sectors of the Nigerian economy and to drive competition among the operators and attract investment in the sector,” he added.

According to him, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) needs to maintain its tight monetary policy stance to ensure price stability.

In addition, he said the CBN may also consider the removal of its multiple exchange rate system.

Continuing, the FSDH report projected that February 2019 inflation rate would drop marginally to 11.31 per cent, from 11.37 per cent in January, even as it anticipated that inflation to remain in double digits.

“The external reserve dropped consistently in the month of February. However, we observed that the external reserves have been rising since the beginning of March largely driven by portfolio investment. The current position of external reserves continues to provide short-term stability for the value of the naira.

“Capital importation via Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) in the Investors’ and Exporters’ Foreign Exchange Window (I&E window) increased for the second consecutive month in February 2019. This provided support for the foreign exchange rate

“The medium-term stability in the foreign exchange market will depend on the country’s foreign exchange receipts from both crude oil and non-oil products. Appropriate policies, some of which we have mentioned above, to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) into Nigeria, will be necessary to guarantee medium-term to long-term stability in the foreign exchange market,” it added.

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.

Economy

Stop Maize, Soybean Export to Reduce Scarcity – NIAL

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Farm input

Stop Maize, Soybean Export to Reduce Scarcity – NIAL

The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to halt the continued export of maize and soybean to reduce the scarcity of the commodities as well curb their price hike in Nigeria.

Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, NIAL, Prof. Eustance Iyayi, told journalists in Abuja that the poultry sector was currently hit by the severe scarcity of maize and soybean.

This, he said, was due to the continued export of the commodities, the COVID-19 pandemic, which had disorganised the international supply chain, lingering insecurity in the North-East, farmers/herders conflict and flooding in some parts of the country.

“Maize and soybean are being exported and this has exacerbated the situation leading to local scarcity and price escalation of the commodities in poultry production,” Iyayi stated.

He added, “The increasing prices of the essential commodities has resulted in the increase in price of finished feeds by about 75 per cent.

“This has led to the closure of small and medium sized poultry farms thereby threatening about 10 million jobs as a result of this scarcity.

“To set the poultry industry from total collapse, the institute urges the government to immediately halt the exportation of soybean and maize and grant import permit to importers at the official foreign exchange rate.”

Iyayi said there was shortage of soybean in Nigeria and other countries, stressing that the little amount being produced across the country should not be exported.

He said the current maize yield of about one to two tonnes per hectare being produced in Nigeria would not be enough to sustain the country.

The NIAL helmsman stated that the country should be producing between seven and 10 tonnes per hectare in order to meet the requirements for humans and animals.

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Economy

Petrol Landing Cost Jumps to N186, Oil Hits $64

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stakeholders

Petrol Landing Cost Jumps to N186, Oil Hits $64

Against the backdrop of the rising price of oil prices, the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) imported into Nigeria has increased to N186.33 per litre.

Investors King had exclusively reported on February 9 that the landing cost of PMS rose to about N180 per litre on February 5 from N158.53 per litre on January 7.

Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petrol, and the deregulation of petrol price by the Federal Government last year means that the pump price of the product will reflect changes in the international oil market.

Going by the petrol pricing template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the landing cost of petrol rose to N186.33 per litre on February 16, with the pump price of the product expected to be N209.33 per litre.

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, closed at $63.96 per barrel on February 16, up from $59.34 per barrel on February 5.

The rising price of crude oil pushed the cost of petrol quoted on Platts to $560.75 per metric tonne (N163.08 per litre, using N390/$1) on February 16 from $543.25 per metric tonne (N157.99 per litre) on February 5.

Other cost elements that make up the landing cost include freight (N10.29), lightering expenses (N4.57), insurance cost (N0.25), Nigerian Ports Authority charge (N2.38), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency charge (N0.23), jetty throughput charge (N1.61), storage charge (N2.58), and financing (N1.33).

The freight cost increased to $35.41 per MT (N10.29 per litre) last Wednesday from $30.04 per MT (N8.74 per litre) on February 5.

The pump price is the sum of the landing cost, wholesale margin and the distribution margins. The wholesale margin is N4.03 while the distribution margins comprise transporters allowance (N3.89), retailer (N6.19), bridging fund (N7.51), marine transport average (N0.15), and admin charge (N1.23).

Apart from the changes in global crude oil prices, the exchange rate of naira to the dollar also affects the cost of imported petrol.

The cost of petrol would be higher if the 410/$1 rate at which the naira closed on Monday at the Investors’ and Exporters’ Foreign Exchange Window was used. The naira closed at 480/$1 at the parallel market.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which has been the sole importer of petrol into the country in recent years, is still being relied upon by marketers for the supply of the product despite the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector.

Oil marketers said recently that they were ready to resume importation of petrol if the foreign exchange was made available to them at a competitive rate.

“The discussion we should be having today is how best to maximise the benefits of the removal of price controls and subsidies while minimising the adverse effects of this action on our citizens,” the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, said at a virtual press briefing.

Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, rose by $1.67 to $64.58 per barrel as of 6:08pm Nigerian time on Monday.

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Economy

FG to Lift 100 Million People Out of Poverty With Gas Expansion Project

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Gas Plant

FG to Lift 100 Million People Out of Poverty With Gas Expansion Project

The Federal Government has said about 100 million Nigerians will be lifted out of poverty through the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP).

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, disclosed this on Monday during the inauguration of the NGEP in Ado Ekiti, Southwest.

Sylva said the project was “a practical demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by using gas value chain as catalyst for social and economic development in Nigeria”.

The minister said, “The programme has its main objective to reinforce and expand gas supply as well as stimulate demand in Nigeria through effective and efficient mobilisation and utilisation of all available assets, resources and infrastructure in the country.

“The programme is geared towards the implementation of Mr President June 12, 2019 promise to take hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within the current decade by ensuring that locally produced, available, accessible and affordable fuel is sufficiently supplied across the country”.

Sylva added that Nigeria was richly endowed with mineral resources, specifically, hydrocarbons, crude oil and natural gas with proven gas reserves of over 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which he said had presented the country with opportunity to use gas as a catalyst for social economy renaissance.

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