The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, weekend stated why the cost of doing business in the country is very high, stressing that it is a component of many factors and not interest rate alone as generally perceived.
The CBN further stated that the exclusion of 41 items is meant to conserve foreign exchange and encourage local production to boost the country’s export earnings.
Speaking at the Vanguard Awards, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the policy had been used to achieve significant sufficiency in cement production, a product whose importation could have been costing the nation over US$3.2 billion.
His words: “I sympathize with people when I hear the call on the CBN to reduce interest rates. I share their goal of a reduced single digit interest rate regime in Nigeria. But many people do not seem to understand that in times of high inflation, reducing interest rates make inflationary pressures much worse, with a second round effect of making economic growth even less possible.
“It is also important to note that interest rates reflect both cost of capital as well as cost of doing business. If we can approximate cost of capital as the average saving interest rate, which is about six percent, what then accounts for lending rates at 25 per cent or more? It is cost of doing business. For example, a typical Nigerian bank must employ the services of policemen and other security people deployed constantly to protect its branches. The bank must also provide a significant amount for reliable electricity and broadband internet services to keep its systems running. These expenditures only further increase costs of doing business for lenders, a cost they must pass on to borrowers.
“This is why the CBN’s fight to bring inflation down is strongly connected to our quest to ensure that lending rates also come down in due course.”
Why high-interest rate is bad – LCCI
But the Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, articulated the agonies businesses and the entire economy are passing through as a result of high interest rate.
He stated: “We have monetary policy effects on business confidence. The monetary policy regime has not been supportive of efforts to rescue the economy. First, on account of interest rates, it is ranging between 25-30 per cent. How can domestic investors invest profitably when you are having an interest rate of 25-30 per cent?
“There are no incentives for domestic investors to even play significant roles, and these are the kind of things that shape economy and the investments people do. Because as they say, “an economy gets the kind of investments it deserves.” It is the incentives, the policy that determines the kind of business people will do, and that is why there are so many disincentives for investors to go into real sector (Manufacturing, Agriculture, Solid minerals) investments because of the issue of cost of funds.
“How can you make any reasonable returns on investment at 30 per cent in agriculture, industry, property? Maybe it is buying and selling which is even very difficult now. So, monetary policy regimes have been big issue.
“Then, there is the challenge of the way government borrows. Government’s borrowing has become a major problem for investors; government is borrowing at 18 per cent, 20 per cent; zero risks, how can the private sector compete? And that is why all funds in the economy now are going into treasury bills, they are going into federal government wallet, so that has made it very difficult for the private sector to play its role in the economy in terms of this rescue mission.
“As it is now, there is no way you can compete with government in the financial market, even the banks, they would rather buy treasury bills and bonds than to give money to manufacturers. That is the kind of investments disincentives or structure that the policy has created.”
CBN continues intervention to save Naira
There were indications this week that the foreign exchange market may witness another round of sustained appreciation of the local currency, Naira, against world’s major currencies at the parallel market segment, while narrowing the premium.
Nigeria to Become Leading Gold Producer in West Africa – Adegbite
Adegbite Says Nigeria to Become Gold Hub in West Africa
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has said Nigeria is on its way to becoming a leading gold producer in West Africa.
Adegbite made the statement in Abuja while taking stock of his first year in office as minister.
He said, “Indeed, the international roadshows we have had in the past have produced fruits. Today, we have Thor exploration in Osun State through the Segilola Gold project.
“The exploration firm is projected to start producing (gold) in the first half of next year. The project is expected to create about 400 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs.”
According to Adegbite, the Federal Government has licensed two gold refineries that would refine in line with the London Bullion Market Association standard.
He added, “Numerous industries will spring up when our gold economy becomes full-fledged. Some of them will include equipment leasing and repairs, logistics and transport, as gold requires a specialised means of transport, security, insurance, aggregators, and so on.”
The minister noted that for the first time, the country had mined, processed and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative for use as part of Nigeria’s external reserves.
Adegbite also stated that the mines ministry had initiated a process that would lead to local capacity development in the production of barite.
“Presently, the barite that is used in the oil and gas industry is imported. But we are resolved to reverse this trend. As you may know, barite is a critical weighting material in drilling fluids due to its high specific gravity,” he said.
NUPENG, Lagos State Agree to Call Off Strike
NUPENG Agrees With Lagos State, Call Off Strike
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Gas (NUPENG) has ordered Lagos State Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTDs) to call off its ongoing strike.
This was disclosed in a joint communique signed by the Lagos Commissioner of Energy and Mineral Resources, Olalere Odusote, and the NUPENG Deputy National President, Solomon Kilanko.
It would be recalled that Investors King had reported that NUPENG directed all PTDs to withdraw their services from Lagos State effective from Monday 10 August 2020 because of the persistent extortions and harassments of PTDs by both uniform security agencies and touts.
However, on the 10th of August, the commencement day of the strike, Lagos State government met with the leadership of NUPENG to address the union concerns and eventually agreed on a way forward.
Part of the communique reads “The Lagos State Government met today with the representatives of NUPENG, which agreed to call off its strike immediately.
“Other decisions taken at the meeting are security – the state government will meet the heads of all security agencies and secure their commitment to ensure the free passage of petroleum products vehicles given their importance to the economy.”
“Area boys’ – the menace of ‘area boys’ will be handled by relevant government agencies and a dedicated phone number will be established, within the next week to ensure the petroleum products transporters have prompt access to security agencies.”
The communique also stated that the Lagos State government will set up a standing committee to communicate with the union on an ongoing basis, saying it will help address a similar issue going forward. See the complete communique below.
Crude Oil Expands Gain on US Stimulus talks, Better Than Expected Chinese Factory Data
Crude Oil Gains on US Stimulus, Better Than Expected Chinese Factory Data
Oil prices extended its gains on Tuesday following a better than expected factory data from China and a possible agreement between Democrats and Republicans on economic stimulus.
“The oil complex is heavily reliant on that aid. We need people to be able to boost economic activity to spur demand,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York.
President Trump on Monday said House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, top Democrat in the chamber of Congress, wanted to meet him to discuss or make a deal on coronavirus-related economic stimulus.
The possibility of a stimulus deal, coupled with a reduction in China’s factory deflation in the month of July due to the surge in oil prices and improved industrial activity bolstered the outlook of the energy sector.
China is the world’s largest importer of crude oil. Therefore, improved factory activity generally boosts the oil market.
Also, the announcement from Iraq that it planned to cut an additional 400,000 barrels per day in August and September to compensate for its previous overproduction above OPEC+ quota aided the oil market this week.
“This would send out a strong signal to the oil market on various levels. That said, this would also require the international companies operating in Iraq to join in with the cuts,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.
The Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, expanded from $41.30 per barrel it traded on Monday to $45.40 per barrel on Tuesday at 10:10 am Nigerian time.
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