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Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s Gold Market

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Gold
  • Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s Gold Market

As the federal and state governments continue to seek ways to diversify their revenues, experts believe that opportunities in the gold value chain should be unlocked, writes Nume Ekeghe

Gold remains one of the world’s most coveted commodities, based on its rarity and malleability. In 2001, the precious commodity’s average price was $US 271 and by 2017 it had jumped to almost $US 1,257.

Countries with largest estimated reserves are Australia, South Africa, and Russia. Currently, China is the world’s leading producer of gold, followed by Australia and Russia.

Also, Nigeria isn’t lacking of gold. Actually, the country has a thriving underground gold economy that if regulated, could unlock the as the gold market Centre of Africa. Despite the mostly informal structure of the gold market, Nigeria has one of the largest economies, the largest population in Africa, and is a top contender for the largest emerging market for luxury goods in Africa.

The lustre and luxury items visualised at the mention of gold is part of a long value chain that Nigeria does not participate in. Maru gold (gold from Maru Zamfara) is identified on sight by gold merchants in the gold souks of Dubai. Mumbai, Valenza and Arezzo Gold districts feel the groan of the Nigerian Foreign currency crunch when their Nigerian customers spend less.

Cotonou smuggling paths continue to thrive and create an undocumented supply of gold to Dubai and Asia.
But the emergence of the Nigerian gold purchase scheme and the development plan for an internationally certified gold refinery in Nigeria creates an opportunity for an intervention in a critical sector that would promote economic growth and reduce unemployment. According to experts, harnessing opportunities in the gold sector would boost Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and promote non-oil exports.

Therefore, to sustain this development, Nigeria would need to reconsider its view on gold – the issues and ownership of gold as a commodity mined, recycled, and imported as a financial instrument, scientific product and as a potential instrument for economic warfare make it a matter of national security and importance.

Furthermore, experts stressed that developing the gold value chain would drive innovation, stimulate the economy, and generate income for government coffers.

Also, they pointed out that Nigeria could become a gold economy irrespective of whether it mines gold or not. India, UAE, Singapore, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and London are renowned world gold markets without the classification of gold mining countries.

West African Value Chain

While world gold mine production has been declining, West African gold production has been growing. In 2011, West Africa became the hub of African gold mining when the total production of gold from West Africa overtook South Africa’s gold production. Out of the 15 ECOWAS countries, Cape Verde, Benin and Togo are the only countries without notable gold reserves. However, Benin and Togo are notable for gold trade.

All other ECOWAS countries have either significant documented gold reserves, internationally listed gold mining companies or significant footprint of artisanal gold mining. The recently released World Bank 2018 figures now have Ghana as the leading producer of gold in Africa. West Africa is becoming synonymous for gold.

At a June 2019 stakeholders’ session in Lagos between the private sector and the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Aliko Dangote iterated that activities of smuggling from the Benin Republic route is killing manufacturing in Nigeria and that it would be difficult for a country to survive with Benin Republic as a neighbour.

A recent World Bank report on smuggling showed that about N1.45 trillion worth of goods is smuggled into Nigeria annually through Benin Republic. With Benin and Togo having 0% royalty on gold, neighbouring countries will find it almost impossible to prevent major royalty revenue leakages and counteract gold smuggling.

Dangote’s warning coupled with Ghana’s new status echoes the major premise for the solution towards the development of the gold value chain in West Africa – issues of different trade and monetary policies across the ECOWAS region must consistently support the development of the gold sector.

A report by Reuters titled: ‘Gold worth billions smuggled out of Africa,’ had revealed that most of the gold traded out was not recorded in the exports of African states.

Backed with confirmation from several trade economists that large amounts of gold are leaving Africa with no taxes being paid to the states that produce them, evidence points to this being a higher concern in countries and areas with large artisanal mining.

Although artisanal mining organisation and formalisation is part of the process needed towards regulating and developing the gold economy of the region, fiscal trade and monetary policy harmonisation are vital for the development of a gold market in West Africa.

Ghana, which has become Africa’s biggest gold producer, shares borders with Togo, one of the top gold exporting countries of Africa with abysmal records of production.

It is true that Ghana wears the cap for gold production, Cote D’Ivoire is the present favourite destination for gold mining investment and Nigeria pulls the strings for trade volumes, but as far as developing the gold value chain, no West African country can succeed on its own as it would take a regional effort to build a sustainable gold economy and make West Africa a gold market.

According to the Managing Director of Kain Smith Trade & Co Limited, Mrs. Nere Teriba, the Nigerian narrative on gold is advancing from “gold exploration and mining to gold market and economy.”

She said the planned Gold West Africa conference was focused on developing the gold value chain in the region towards establishing West Africa as a gold market centre.

The development of the gold value chain in Nigeria has strong dependencies on gold, trade and monetary policies across ECOWAS and the geographical region of Sub-Saharan Africa, she added.

“Economic and sustainable solutions towards artisanal gold mining, trading, refining and creating gold products and markets can only be achieved when public and private stakeholders in the gold sector of West Africa jointly create the eco-system for the gold economy to thrive above ground,” she added.

The co-host, of the conference, Mr. Kolade Apata, said: “For the folks who are fortunate enough to attend the conference, they will quickly realise the investment opportunities available with the launch of the Gold Refinery. For example, Nigeria could easily become the jewellery and gold trading hub in West Africa.”

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.

Finance

Emefiele Pledges Accommodative Monetary Policy to Boost Economic Growth

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Godwin Emefile

Emefiele Pledges Accommodative Monetary Policy to Boost Economic Growth

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has pledged to adopt accommodative monetary policy stance in 2021 in order to support economic growth in the country.

Emefiele, said this on Friday, while speaking at a CBN/Bankers’ Committee’s initiative for economic growth, which is a one-day special summit on the economy by bank chief executive officers.

The theme of the summit is: “How to Overcome the Pitfalls of Recession.”

Nigeria’s economy recently came out of recession, according to the Gross Domestic Product report for fourth quarter 2020 released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Owing to the slump GDP growth of 0.11 per cent that lifted the economy out of recession, Emefiele said it was imperative that, “we do all we can in 2021 and beyond to ensure that we build on the positive momentum and strengthen our efforts at stimulating growth.”

He expressed optimism that with the discovery and deployment of vaccines worldwide, 2021 would be a year of massive global recovery and Nigeria must not be left out.

“The banks CEOs are here, whether by moral suasion or by force, they will have to participate in this journey. In order to drive and sustain this recovery therefore, we need to sustain the accommodative fiscal and monetary policy measures aimed at improving access to finance for households and businesses.

“Secondly, we must prevent a resurgence in Covid-19 related cases. Thirdly, we must ensure that a significant number of our population is significantly vaccinated and also improve foreign exchange inflows into our country,” he added.

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Banking Sector

CIT Microfinance Bank Disburses Over N16bn Loans

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micro-finance-bank

CIT Microfinance Bank Disburses Over N16bn Loans

CIT Microfinance Bank Limited says it has disbursed about N16bn loans since it commenced operations as part of its contributions to the financial sector and empowerment of businesses.

The Managing Director of the microfinance bank, Mr Kingsley Eremionkhale, disclosed this during the company’s 10th anniversary in Lagos recently.

He reiterated that the bank was committed to supporting the growth of small and medium-scale enterprises in the country.

“Since inception, we have disbursed loans worth about N16bn. Our operation is not just about profit-making, but we have impacted many lives, empowered many businesses, and done a lot in terms of our core mandate as a microfinance bank.”

While appreciating its customers who had been loyal to it for years, he said it was concerned about their business success.

The managing director said, “We are part of our customers’ businesses. We provide services beyond lending and savings products and we also give financial advisory services.”

He appreciated the customers who had stayed with the financial institution for many years.

The managing director noted that the MfB is a state-licensed bank operating in Lagos, and a subsidiary of Capitalfield Investment Group.

He also attributed the success of the MfB to the board of directors which it said had been supportive, the management team and its workforce in the past 10 years.

While saying that the bank could lay claims to exponential growth, he said the public should expect more from it.

He also said that it was driving its operations through its digital offerings and our e-channels, to improve its services to our customers.

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Finance

FMDQ Approves Valency Agro’s N5.12bn Commercial Paper

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FMDQ

FMDQ Approves Valency Agro’s N5.12bn Commercial Paper

FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited has announced the approval of the quotation of the Valency Agro Nigeria Limited N5.12bn Series 1 Commercial Paper under its N20bn CP Programme on its platform.

The Exchange said in fostering the development of the Nigerian debt capital markets, it had continued to avail its credible and efficient platform as well as tailor its listings and quotations services to suit the needs of issuers and registration members through innovative and uninterrupted service delivery.

It said in a statement on Thursday that the Valency Agro Nigeria CP debut issue came at a time when the Nigerian economy was bedeviled with soaring food prices, amidst compounding challenges of insecurity.

It said the agricultural sector and its attendant transformation agenda had never been more important in driving increased and sustainable production of agricultural products as well as the derived foreign earnings through exports.

The Exchange said the proceeds from the issue of the CP would be applied by Valency Agro towards meeting the mid-term working capital requirements of the various agricultural produce under its portfolio such as cashew, sesame, cocoa and in value addition prior to export.

The Executive Director, Valency Agro Nigeria Limited, Mr Sumit Jain, was quoted as saying, “We are thankful to our investors towards showing their faith in our agenda to grow the agriculture-focused business with a clear aim to maximise value addition and create employment opportunities in Nigeria.

“We would also like to commend the efforts made by FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited’s team to build the reach and FMDQ for their unconditional support for the industry”.

The Head, Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank, Mr Oluseun Olatidoye, said, “FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited is delighted with the successful debut of the N5.12bn Series 1 CP issued by Valency Agro Nigeria Limited. This reiterates our effort to enable underserved sectors access the debt markets, optimise their capital structure and further deepen the domestic capital markets.

“We are proud of the instrumental role FBNQuest Merchant Bank played in this transaction and appreciate the trust the management of Valency Agro placed in us to assist them. Our clients remain our priority, and we strongly believe their success is our success.”

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