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Nigeria’s Debt Profile Rises to N38 Trillion in September 2021

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U.S Dollar - Investors King

No end in sight for Nigeria’s rising debt profile despite the country’s vast natural resources and human capital. A recent report from the country’s Debt Management Office (DMO) revealed that Nigeria’s total debt rose by N2.5 trillion or 7.2 percent from N35.5 trillion in June 2021 to N38 trillion at the end of September 2021.

On a yearly basis, total public debt grew by 17.9 percent or N5.8 trillion and it is equivalent to 24.9 percent of 2020 nominal GDP. This is within the DMO’s target of 40 percent of GDP for the period 2020 – 2023 and domestic to external debt ratio of 70:30.

In the first nine months of 2021, Nigeria spent N2.5 trillion on debt servicing payments, N1.7 trillion was spent on servicing domestic debts and N755 billion spent on external debt servicing.

As at end-September, total domestic debt was N22.4 trillion. This constitutes 59.0 percent of total public debt. On a quarterly basis, the FGN domestic debt increased by 3.1 percent from N17.6 trillion at end-Q2 to N18.2 trillion at end-Q3 ’21. This was largely due to increased issuances of FGN bond and Nigerian treasury bills (NTBs) over the three months.

In terms of composition, FGN bonds and NTBs make up 93 percent of total domestic debt while FGN sukuk, treasury bond, savings bond, green bond and promissory notes make up the remaining 7 percent.

The share of states and the FCT’s domestic debt increased by 1.9 percent from N4.1 trillion at end of June to N4.2 trillion at end-September, with Lagos (N532 billion), Akwa Ibom (N234 billion) and Rivers (N226 billion), as the most indebted states.

We note that with the securitization of the ways and means advances from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the domestic debt stock is likely to increase. As at end-October ‘21, the stock of CBN’s ways and means advances stood at N12.8trn.

During the period under review, external debt stock stood at USD37.9 billion (N15.6 trillion). On a quarterly basis, the external debt increased by 13.4 percent from USD33.5 billion (N13.7 trillion) at end-Q2. This was largely due to the USD4 billion Eurobonds issued by the FGN in September ’21 as part of the new external borrowing in the 2021 appropriation act.

Multilateral and bilateral loans make up the bulk of the external debt at 59.7 percent, while commercial loans and promissory notes make up the remaining 40.2 percent. We note that the current external debt stock constitutes 40.9% of total public debt and this exceeds the 30 percent target set by the DMO.

Turning to debt service costs, domestic debt servicing increased by 150 percent from N322 billion in Q2 ’21 to N808 billion in Q3 ’21 and external debt servicing increased by 74.2 percent from USD298.9 million (N123.8 billion) in Q2 ’21 to USD520.7 million (N215.7 billion) at end-Q3 ’21.

Although the National assembly has recently approved external borrowings of USD5.8 billion from multilateral and bilateral sources under the FGN’s 2018-2020 external borrowing (rolling) plan. We understand that the FGN is unlikely to issue additional Eurobonds this year.

The 2022 FGN budget has been pegged at N16.4 trillion. The FGN aims to earn N10.13 trillion to fund the budget and the resulting deficit of N6.3 trillion is expected to be financed by new external and domestic borrowings, privatisation proceeds, and multilateral /bilateral loan drawdowns.

As a percentage of total GDP, Nigeria’s public debt burden is relatively low compared to peer emerging market economies. The onus is on the FGN to make productive use of the borrowed funds to improve GDP growth and by extension, ensure economic development.

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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Economy

Manufacturing Activities, Macroeconomy Witness Gradual Growth in Q4 2021: MAN

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said that Nigeria’s macroeconomy and manufacturing operating environment were buttressed by the marginal recovery of some key manufacturing indicators allowed a gradual improvement in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.

In its Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index (MCCI) Q4 report, the President of the association, Mr. Mansur Ahmed clarified that although changes in almost all manufacturing indicators as measured in the report are still not as desired, the fourth quarter performance is better than what was obtained in the 2021 Q3.

The MCCI is an index set up by MAN to measure changes in the quarterly pulsation of manufacturing activities in relation to movement in the macroeconomy and government policies. The Index is considered as MAN’s barometer used to aggregate the views of CEOs of manufacturing companies on changes in the economy.

In the report, Ahmed stated that manufacturers’ resilience, seasonal transactions, and passive policy support sustained manufacturing in the quarter despite the prevalence of familiar and emerging excessive tax-related challenges faced by manufacturers.

The manufacturing sector in Q4 of the year under review, overall recorded a mixed grilled performance occasioned by meagre improvement in the operating environment indices and macroeconomic ambiance evidenced by the high points. This he said, cumulatively triggered the increase in the aggregate MCCI score for the quarter to 55.4 points from 54.0 points recording the preceding quarter.

“Manufacturing performance is still below the mark,” Ahmed explained, saying, “notwithstanding the marginal improvement in the operating environment during the quarter under review, as the sector is still plagued by numerous familiar constraints. Some of these challenges enumerated by manufacturers are clearly presented in this report.”

The president further advised the government to implement mechanisms such as providing incentives to encourage investments in raw materials, pharmaceutical and petrochemical materials, iron and steel, etc. He also beckoned on the government to specifically provide security to lives and investments in industrial areas.

“In order to improve the performance of the sector, the government needs to intentionally put in place a mechanism that will address these challenges permanently by considering and implementing the following recommendation:

“Further incentivize investment in the development of raw materials locally through the Backward Integration and Resource-based industrialization initiates. Government should call for more investors to key into these initiatives with appropriate and definite incentives.

“For instance, there is need for urgent investment and production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in the country; investment and production of machines; iron and steel; petrochemical materials, etc to support manufacturing activities.

“Give specific attention to the security of life and investment in industrial areas; properly delineate and upscale security infrastructure in the various industrial areas in the country, particularly in the northern part of the country for priority attention. Government should also quickly invest in modern security such as drones, cameras, etc. for robust monitoring of the areas,” Ahmed stated.

The MAN president in the MCCI report stressed the need to ensure effective allocation of available foreign exchange to productive sectors, especially to the manufacturing sector for the importation of raw materials and vital machines and equipment that are not available locally.

He also buttressed the need for the government to expressly direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to consult with the Ministries of Industry Trade & Investment and effectively engage MAN on measures to improve forex supply to manufacturing concerns.

He said that the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation should be directed to inaugurate the Secretariat that will implement the strategies for the Executive Order and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON). The Secretariat will designate local manufacturers of LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) Gas Cylinders as priority provider of the 10 million Cooking Gas Cylinders to be procured by the government for 12 States in the federation.

Ahmed added, “Return milk and other dairy products to the National list in the fiscal policy guidelines to maintain consistency with the Backward Integration Programme, which has spurred heavy investments in the dairy production.

“Unify academic curriculum with industrial skill needs and requirements to guarantee the sustainable development of skilled manpower for the industries. Government should as a matter of urgency synchronize the curricular of tertiary institutions, particularly the Polytechnics with the skills requirements of industries. The various government vocational and training centers should also be re-engineered to offer those skills that are needed by the industries.

“Revisit the resuscitation of the existing national refineries to produce fuels locally, embark on the rehabilitation of major highway corridors, improve trade facilitation infrastructure and deepen the ongoing development of rails system to change the narrative on the operating environment from being a high cost to low production cost environment.”

On electricity, Ahmed said there is a need to sustain the eligible customer initiative to ensure that more power is supplied to the manufacturing sector.

The Manufacturing Association of Nigeria in its Index Report, further adviced the government to, “Strengthen the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to adequately provide liberal finance for the manufacturing sector;

“Monitor the implementation of Executive Order 003 to ensure compliance by MDAs so as to boost activities in the manufacturing sector, Publish the list of approved harmonized taxes and levies for the manufacturing sector by the Joint Tax Board (JTB) to address the issues of multiples taxes and levies.

“Rationalize Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies, parastatal and Commissions to resolve the issues of over-regulation and duplication; Improve the time taken to clear machines and raw-materials at the national ports while making the link road accessible.”

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Economy

Adoption, Utilisation Of ICT Pivotal To Nigeria’s Socio-economic Development – Danbatta

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The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is no doubt, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the country’s GDP and is emerging as its most important long-term growth prospect.

The adoption and utilisation of digital revolutions by the government is creating multiplier effects across critical sectors, aiding job creation, better governance, youth empowerment and overall socio-economic development.

Investors King recalls that the sum of N160.59bn was budgeted for the ministry for the year 2022. This is more than the combined N129.59bn allocated to the ministry from 2016 to 2021.

Indeed, for over 10 years, ICT has consistently contributed more than 10 per cent of the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the telecom sector alone contributed 12.45 per cent to GDP as at the fourth quarter of 2020.

In the second quarter of 2021, the ICT sector contributed 17.92 per cent to the real GDP of the nation.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, in all continents of the world, people, organisations and countries have continued to witness leaps and bounds in economic, social and political activities through the instrumentality of ICT, which has meshed computing, information and communication technology to catalyse development in ways and manners humans never envisaged decades ago.

Danbatta who delivered a paper titled  “Empowering the Nigerian Youth though Information and Communication Technology”at the 10th and 11th combined Convocation Lecture of the Fountain University at Osogbo, Osun State recalled the impact of ICT revolution in all parts of human endeavour across countries and continents, insisting that technology will continue to penetrate and foster qualitative and quantifiable changes in all aspects of life.

According to him, Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicle; Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate; Facebook, world’s most popular public-facing digitally-mediated social networking platform, creates little or no content; Alibaba, a leading global retailer, has little or no inventory, yet they have become signposts of prosperity riding wholly on ICT resources.

These foregoing contextual demonstrations of the possibilities of ICT explain the Federal Government’s policy decisions to strengthen ICT adoption in building a robust digital economy in Nigeria, eloquently expressed in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030; the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 and other series of policies, guidelines and regulations derivative of the NDEPS and NNBP.

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Economy

ICT, Agric, Others To Drive Economic Growth In Nigeria In 2022 – Bismarck Rewane

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Mr. Bismarck Rewane

Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives, Bismarck Rewane has listed ICT, Financial Services, Transport, Construction, Manufacturing, Trade and Agriculture as sectors that are expected to drive economic growth in 2022.

Disclosing this during the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce January Breakfast Meeting themed ‘2022 Economic Outlook’, Rewane noted that this projection is based on the success and high level of productivity in these key sectors.

He further noted that economic activity in 2022 will be similar to 2021, owing to global inflationary trends linked to COVID-19.

He however projected that the country’s inflation rate was expected to remain structurally high with a full-year average of 13.3 percent. According to him, the development would be driven by cost-push factors such as fuel subsidy removal, electricity tariff and taxation.

He further stressed that Nigerians will be richer in 2022 as the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate would be revised upwards to 2.8 percent from its current 2.1 percent based on improvements in the services and manufacturing sector.

“We can expect to see sustained cost-push factors, including a planned fuel subsidy removal, new electricity tariffs and additional taxes; alongside legacy issues, such as increased debt service burden and exchange rate conversion. Inflation will remain structurally high at an average of 13.3 percent, with an increase in Q1 and Q2”, he noted.

While also noting that there has been a 90 percent surge in electronic payment, e-commerce, digitalisation and technology, Rewane projected that competition between traditional banks and Fintechs will intensify, while banks with constant innovation and regional diversification will remain resilient.

Recall that Investors king had previously reported that Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc announced plans to seek regulatory approval for the establishment of a Fintech subsidiary. The new financial services unit which will be called Stanbic IBTC Financial Services Limited will operate as a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) upon regulatory approvals, including licensing by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

This development from Stanbic IBTC came a few days after Standard Chartered Bank announced it was shutting down 50 percent of its Nigerian branches in a move to digitalise operations and reduce operating costs.

The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce is the foremost bilateral Chamber in Nigeria and was established in 1977 to promote Trade and Investment between Nigeria and Britain.

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