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FG Implores Parastatals to Promote the Country’s Digital Economy Initiative

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digital economy

FG Tells MDAs to Promote the Country’s Digital Economy

The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under the management of Dr. Isa Pantami, has implored all the federal government parastatals to promote and safeguard the country’s digital economy initiative.

Dr. Isa Pantami, while presenting the keynote address in a virtual forum organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON),  said based on the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for critical data infrastructure and broadband is now high.

The minister urged government parastatals to put in effort to uphold and promote government’s digital economy initiative designed to reduce the effect of the pandemic on the nation. He also disclosed that the interests of all Nigerians would also be protected by the government.

Federal government will continue to develop its digital economy policy for a digital Nigeria. Both the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) that are under the supervision of my ministry, now have special departments that promotes digital economy initiative and I urge them and all other parastatals under my supervision, to ensure that they promote the digital economy initiative of the federal government in order to maintain investor’s confidence and to protect the interest of Nigerians, especially telecoms consumers.

Government on its part will ensure that the interests of telecoms companies and the interest of Nigerians are protected. Government is currently addressing the challenges in the cost of investments such as the issue of vandalisation of telecoms infrastructure, and President Muhammadu Buhari has officially directed all security institutes, through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), to protect telecoms investments in the country,” Pantami said.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, when making his presentation said “The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly and sharply ravaged the globe, Nigeria is no exception. Governments therefore, faced unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 pandemic. The impact affects most sectors of the global economy, ranging from health, to education, to finance, to trade and investment.

While explaining the Commission’s efforts at resolving consumer-related issues, Danbatta noted that less than 500,000 people activated Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code as at 2015 when the code was introduced by the Commission but presently, over 22,722,366 people line on the code.

He also made it known that the commission has resolved 98 per cent of service-related complaints received from telecoms consumers from January 2019 to April 2020.

according to Danbatta “the Commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working group on Quality of Service and Short Codes, and is currently monitoring 2G Key Performance Indicators, while the KPIs for 4G are being prepared.

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Finance

First Bank, GTBank, UBA, Others Generate N133.92 Billion from Electronic Payment in Nine Months

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global banking

Rising investment in financial technologies and the growing adoption of electronic payments have earned 12 Nigerian banks a total sum of N133.92 billion in the first nine months of the year.

Billions spent in ensuring that bank customers have access to their funds and can perform financial transactions 24 hours a day paid off during the COVID-19 lockdown as many customers were able to maintain social distancing by carrying out financial transactions on numerous digital platforms.

Some of the electronic platforms banks generated revenue from in the first nine months were Automated Teller Machine transactions, USSD, online transfer, electronic bills payments, Remita, Point of Sale payments and agency banking, among others.

While some of the twelve banks were Access Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and Sterling Bank Plc.

The other five were Jaiz Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Wema Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC Plc.

A breakdown of the banks’ unaudited financial statements showed Access Bank’s revenue from electronic payments rose by 105 percent to N38.80 billion in the period under review, up from N18.96 billion posted in the same period of 2019.

First Bank’s electronic payment revenue stood at N34.59 billion, representing an increase of 0.5 percent over the N34.42 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.

Similarly, fees and commissions FCMB earned from digital payments in the first nine months amounted to N6.62 billion, a 17 percent contraction from the N7.98 billion earned in the same period of 2019.

Jaiz Bank posted a 24 percent contraction on its electronic payment earnings from N406.65 million in 2019 to N309.55 million in the same period in 2020.

Also, Stanbic IBTC’s electronic earnings dropped by 15 percent from N2.49 billion posted in 2019 to N2.12 billion in 2020.

Fidelity Bank’s e-payments revenue contracted by 34 percent in the first nine months of the year to N1.74 billion, down from N2.63 billion in 2019. While GTBank posted a 26 percent decline in electronic banking income to N8.21 billion in the period under review, below N11.04 billion earned in the same period of 2019.

Union Bank Plc realised N5.34 billion from electronic payments charges in the first three quarters of the year. Meaning, the bank’s electronic payments decline by 5 percent to N5.6 billion.

For Sterling Bank Plc, electronic products earned the bank N4.31 billion in the very first nine months of 2020, again a reduction of 16 percent from N5.11 billion posted in the same period of 2019.

UBA Plc, Unity Bank and Wema Bank Plc generated N26.71 billion, N1.74 billion and N2.02 billion from electronic payment income, respectively.

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Ghana/Kenya: Eurobonds to Decouple as Fiscal Challenges Come to Fore

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Ghana and Kenya, two of the sub-Saharan African sovereigns with the highest amount of outstanding Eurobonds, could see a widening of their risk premiums over 2021, according to a Senior Credit Analyst at Redd Intelligence, Mark Bohlund.

Faced with fiscal challenges, the two African nations are expected to return to the Eurobond market in the first quarter of 2021, but this time with bigger risk premiums as investors are expected to incorporate a higher likelihood of frontier-market issuers being pushed into debt restructuring.

Mark Bohlund said, “Ghana and Kenya are likely to return to the Eurobond market in 1Q21 but see a widening of their risk premiums over 2021 as investors incorporate a higher likelihood of frontier-market issuers being pushed into debt restructuring.”

With Ghana’s outstanding Eurobonds presently estimated at US$10.3 billion and Kenya’s outstanding Eurobonds put at US$6.1 billion, spreads on Ghana’s Eurobonds will increase over those of Kenya in 2021.

It is likely that spreads on Ghana’s eurobonds over those of Kenya will increase over 2021 as concerns rise over its weak fiscal position and high reliance on commercial overseas financing,” Bohlund stated.

Commenting on the countries’ fiscal positions, Bohlund said both countries are likely to post double-digit fiscal deficits this year, as contracting economies add to already faltering government revenue.

“With interest costs absorbing close to 50% of government revenue, Ghana will struggle to find sufficient cost- savings in other areas to reduce the fiscal deficit substantially in 2021.”

“In contrast to Kenya, Ghana has already cut back its capital expenditure to a bare minimum. The Bank of Ghana stepped up its purchases of government bonds sharply in September and we expect this to continue during 2021.

“In Kenya, part of the solution should be to encourage county governments to raise more revenue, but this will be challenging to implement before the August 2022 elections.

“Having shied away from bi- and multilateral creditors in favor of commercial borrowing, Ghana is likely to struggle to secure sufficient external financing in 2021. This makes increased central bank financing likely and poses downside risks to the cedi.

“Neither Ghana nor Kenya is likely to seek DSSI participation in 1H21 even if they deem that international bond issuance will not be possible.

“We have changed our view and now expect both Ghana and Kenya to issue Eurobonds in 1H21.

“Kenya is likely to continue to draw on funding from the IMF, the World Bank and other multilateral creditors, as well as bilateral financial support from China as the Standard Gauge Railway, continues to bleed funds.”

Bohlund added that the spreads between Ghana and Kenya Eurobonds are likely to widen further as a higher risk of a debt restructuring is priced into Ghanaian assets.

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Insider Dealing: Paul Miyonmide Gbededo Adds Another 612,326 Shares of Flour Mills to His Stake

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Paul Miyonmide Gbededo, the Group Managing Director, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc bought an additional 612,326 shares of the company.

The management stated this in a disclosure statement sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday.

The managing director purchased the shares at N27.75 per share on November 20, 2020 at the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos, Nigeria. Meaning, Gbededo has invested another N16,992,046.5 into the company.

This was in addition to the 3,284,867 shares valued at N91,642,269 and 4,200,852 shares worth N117.62 million purchased by Gbededo earlier in the month of November. Bringing his recent purchases to 8,098,045 million shares worth N226,254,315.5. See the details of the latest transaction below.

 

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