ABCON Canvass For Downward Review of Exchange Rate

Aminu Gwadabe -President ABCONAminu Gwadabe -President ABCON
Aminu Gwadabe -President ABCON

The volatility in the exchange rate of the naira to other foreign currencies often associated with the yuletide season is not likely to be witnessed this year, so says Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON)

Alhaji Gwadabe who stated this in a chart with BusinessUpdate expressed optimism that the naira exchange rate will neither be affected by the influx of dollars from diaspora remittances nor will it be affected by outflows from such obligations as  payment of school fees and similar other expenses.

The ABCON president made this declaration against apprehension in some quarters that demand for foreign exchange from Nigerians for businesses and foreign trips as well as inflows from diaspora remittance is likely to upturn the current trend of stability in the forex market.

According to him, this development is not likely to affect the market rates in any way “I do not see anything that will affect the market or alter the rate significantly”

He argued that the market had enjoyed relative stability over the last 30 months and as such is not likely to witness any major upset this season.

The ABCON boss stated that “while I do not foresee any rate hike, the authorities should reduce the rate further”. He insisted that the relative stability that has pervaded the market over the last couple of years has made it imperative for a downward adjustment in the exchange rate.

While calling on the authorities to effect a reduction or downward review of the exchange rate expressed the view that it will further enhance the rates stability that has been enjoyed at least in the last 30 months.

ABCON as an association has remained a major catalyst in ensuring price stability in the nation’s foreign exchange market. The association was formed to enhance ease of accessibility of FOREX to Nigerians at very reasonable pricing.

As members of ABCON, Bureau De Change (BDC) operators facilitate funds transfer to all parts of the world for a number of reasons to carry out legitimate business to fund educational pursuits, to facilitate health concerns, help in the purchase of travellers’’ chequ.es and other legitimate businesses

Established on the 4th of February 1997, the association has been consistent in upholding and creating an environment of sanctity in the business of foreign exchange.

SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc Announces Roger Brown As New CEO.

Roger Browncover

Seplat Petroleum Development Company PLC (“SEPLAT”) has announced that her pioneer Managing Director and later CEO, Mr. Austin Avuru will be retiring in July 2020 after 10 years of leading the company.

In these 10 years, Mr. Avuru led the development of a strong organization, the deployment of agile systems, processes and stakeholder relationships that allowed the organization to grow rapidly from a gross production of 22,700boepd as at December 2010 to peaks of 111,368boepd gross production as at December 2018 through major drilling campaigns and major new Oil and Gas plants development.

The acquisition of 45% of OML 53, post Company’s IPO of 2014, created an opportunity in partnership with NNPC, to spawn a mid-stream subsidiary, ANOH Gas Processing Company Ltd currently progressing what will ultimately be a 300MMscf/d of Gas, 22,500bdp of condensate and 1,200boepd of LPG processing Company. All these could not have been achieved without Mr. Avuru’s leadership skills, personal dedication and hard work, at the head of the Company.

The Board of SEPLAT is grateful to Mr. Avuru for these accomplishments and is looking forward to his continued service at the Board level.

Looking forward, Seplat plans to position itself for a next phase growth ambition which would see the expansion of its footprint in terms of energy business activities, a plan to pursue offshore assets as well as opportunity driven entry into different geographies. The Company believes that such a corporate transition would require a different kind of organizational structure, people skills set and mentality to compete well in the expanded space. In view of this, Seplat will be reviewing its current organizational and systems structure.

To lead the Company in her latest aspirations, the Board has selected Mr. Roger Brown as the successor to Mr. Avuru as CEO, when Mr. Avuru steps down on 31 July 2020. The Board also decided that the CEO designate will lead the restructuring during the Transition period between now and final exit date of Mr. Avuru on 31 July 2020.

Mr. Brown joined SEPLAT in 2013 as the CFO and played a key role in the successful dual listing of the Company in 2014.  Similarly, since joining the Company, he has played significant roles in various asset acquisitions by the Company.

Mr. Brown brings to the CEO role, a deep knowledge of the Company in his 6 years as the CFO and a member of the Board.  He has strong financial, commercial and M&A experience as well as proven people skills which will be an asset as the Company embarks on the next phase of its growth plan.

Prior to joining SEPLAT, Mr. Brown was an advisor to the Company since 2010 while he was the Managing Director and head of EMEA Oil and Gas at Standard Bank Group.  During his time at the bank, he was instrumental in providing advice and deploying capital across the African continent in the Oil & Gas, Power & Infrastructure and the renewable energy sectors.

While we thank Mr. Avuru for a meritorious service, we welcome Mr. Brown and wish him every success in his upcoming new role.

 

SEC Announces Q3 2019 CMC Meeting Date

Securities-and-Exchange-Commission
Securities-and-Exchange-Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that the Third Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in 2019 has been scheduled for Thursday November 21 to Friday November 22, 2019 at Harbour Point, 4 Wilmot Point Road, Off Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.

While the key stakeholders in the capital market will meet on November 21, members of the media would be briefed on the outcome of the CMC meeting on November 22.

According to the SEC, “Attendance to both events is strictly by invitation. Invited participants are expected to come with their identity cards to be admitted into the venue and all invited participants are expected to be seated by 9.45am,”

The CMC is an industry-wide committee comprising members of the commission, representatives of capital market operators and trade groups and other stakeholders. The CMC meets every quarter to deliberate on various issues affecting the market and other policy matters.

It was mainly established to serve as a medium for exchange of ideas among market stakeholders as well as for feedback to SEC on how to continuously improve the market activities and regulation.

Issues bordering on implementation of the Ten Year Capital Market Master Plan as well as others relating to the capital market, Fintech Roadmap and the economy would be discussed at the meeting and the outcome made known to the media.

The ten-year master plan for the Nigerian capital market which is expected to refocus the market and help double its size over time and grow the economy was unveiled November 2014.

Recall that the Commission has vigorously implemented some initiatives in the Master Plan with the aim of attracting more investors to the market.

Some of the initiatives, include direct cash settlement, regularisation of multiple subscription, dematerialization, transmission of shares and e-Dividend Registration, as they promote transparency, protect and enhance investors’ confidence in the capital market.

The SEC therefore enjoins all shareholders to take advantage of the initiatives introduced in the capital market aimed, primarily, at strengthening the market and accelerating economic development.

This, SEC said is in consonance with the present administration’s economic strategy focused on deepening the capital market as a vehicle for encouraging a private sector-led economy with enhanced productivity.

Those who have been invited to attend the expanded session are Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all registered capital market firms (i.e Broker Dealer, Capital Market Solicitors, Custodians, Fund Managers, Issuing Houses, Rating Agencies, Registrars, Reporting Accountants, Trustees, and Consultants, etc.);

Others are Chief Executive Officers of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), The Financial Markets Dealers Quotations (FMDQ), Africa Exchange Holdings (AFEX), Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX), Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS); as well as representatives of relevant Financial Services’ Agencies, among others.

SON Committed To 35% Local Value At Free Zone

By Andy Nssien

The Director General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON),  Osita Aboloma has reiterated the Organisation’s resolve to continue to support manufacturers at the Guandong Free Trade Zone Igbesa, Ogun State (OGFTZ) in meeting the required 35 percent minimum local value added to products and continual improvement in products quality.

Aboloma who made the commitment while on a working visit to Ogun State, described the zone as an important economic area, adding that his visit was to promote and enhance quality assurance and conformity assessment of products coming out of the zone.

The SON Chief Executive added that his visit was also to promote the ease of doing business with SON in particular and Nigeria in general in line with the Federal Government’s policy.

He assured companies operating in the zone of expertise and professionalism from the SON staff as well as prompt attention and a quicker turnaround time.

Aboloma reiterated that the 35% minimum local value addition to products manufactured within the Free Trade zone is stipulated by law to be carried out by SON adding that it is binding on all manufacturers and regulatory authorities operating within the zone.

Welcoming the SON Chief Executive and entourage, the Sole Administrator of the Zone, Juwon Falope acknowledged the support of the SON State office in Ota in ensuring prompt certification of products in the zone especially on the 35% minimum local value addition and necessary guidance in standards implementation.

Falope extolled the various conformity assessment and certification programmes of SON, stating that they were brilliant in ensuring the zone remains one of the best in the country in terms of product quality.

He therefore challenged all regulatory agencies with oversight functions within the OFTZ to close ranks to avoid rancour from overlap of functions, stressing the need to recognize each other as stakeholders in the ease of doing business in the country.

Responding on behalf of the Chinese manufacturers, the Deputy Manager Guandong Free Trade Zone, Mr. Daniel Chin acknowledged SON for its efforts at leveraging on the partnership to industrialize the nation through its technical support to OGFTZ

According to Chin, there are about 30 companies with over 4,000 Nigerians and 250 Chinese gainfully employed at various factories within the cluster which has helped to curb crime and youth restiveness within the host community.

He also alluded to the fact that the visit of the DG SON was an eye-opener as they were now aware of other capabilities of SON in the areas of laboratory facilities and metrology for calibration of machinery and equipment.

Mr. Chin enumerated various corporate social responsibility activities that have been undertaken by the companies within the zone including provision of infrastructures like roads, health facility and educational scholarships which according to him has ensured relative peace and harmony in and around the OGFTZ.

 

Nigeria’s £4bn Gold Market Presents Very High Prospects – Heritage Bank

Managing-Director-of-He
Managing-Director-of-He

Nigeria’s Gold market worth £4 billion Pounds presents very high prospects for profitability for all players in the subsector.

The MD/CEO, of Heritage Bank Plc Ifie Sekibo, stated this at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit, held in Abuja, disclosing that the enormous potential of the industry was one of the reasons why Heritage Bank delved into the mining sector despite enormous risks.

According to him, the bank has Dukia Gold as its partner that would facilitate access to local miners and artisans to get value for their commodity at international market price after being registered with Dukia Gold.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that prior to now, local miners of Gold found it difficult to trade their commodities favourably but with the involvement of Dukia and its partner, Heritage Bank, a Quality-and-Quantity test will be conducted based on the arrangement they made with Dukia Gold and that will lead to additional value to the small holder miners. He explained that this will leverage the small miners the opportunity to also trade their commodities at international market price.

He further stated that a metric tonne of Gold is currently valued at $30million adding that it is worth investing in the industry, especially as gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.

He said: “Mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured $1 billion funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.

“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market.

“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.

“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, the crunch, the numbers we see that is a space that the Bank will definitely earn a lot of income.”

He also expressed optimism that other banks would like to come into the Nigerian mining sector, but may be studying to understand the sector properly.

“Definitely other banks will come into the sector. For us we are leading, but the truth is they need to play in an area and space that they understand, as not everybody would be able to play in that space.

“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like the Gold commodity, this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, on the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” the MD noted.

Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing, adding that this was expected to make the equipment accessible and affordable.

Bello said, “For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.

“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happen in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.

“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme.”

Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, raised concerns on human resources development that would sustain the sector.

Waziri also said there is need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.

SON Wants 35% local value at Free Zone

SON-Logo2
SON-Logo2

By Andy Nssien

The Director General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON),  Osita Aboloma has reiterated the Organisation’s resolve to continue to support manufacturers at the Guandong Free Trade Zone Igbesa, Ogun State (OGFTZ) in meeting the required 35 percent minimum local value added to products and continual improvement in products quality.

Aboloma who made the commitment while on a working visit to Ogun State, described the zone as an important economic area, adding that his visit was to promote and enhance quality assurance and conformity assessment of products coming out of the zone.

The SON Chief Executive added that his visit was also to promote the ease of doing business with SON in particular and Nigeria in general in line with the Federal Government’s policy.

He assured companies operating in the zone of expertise and professionalism from the SON staff as well as prompt attention and a quicker turnaround time.

Aboloma reiterated that the 35% minimum local value addition to products manufactured within the Free Trade zone is stipulated by law to be carried out by SON adding that it is binding on all manufacturers and regulatory authorities operating within the zone.

Welcoming the SON Chief Executive and entourage, the Sole Administrator of the Zone, Juwon Falope acknowledged the support of the SON State office in Ota in ensuring prompt certification of products in the zone especially on the 35% minimum local value addition and necessary guidance in standards implementation.

Falope extolled the various conformity assessment and certification programmes of SON, stating that they were brilliant in ensuring the zone remains one of the best in the country in terms of product quality.

He therefore challenged all regulatory agencies with oversight functions within the OFTZ to close ranks to avoid rancour from overlap of functions, stressing the need to recognize each other as stakeholders in the ease of doing business in the country.

Responding on behalf of the Chinese manufacturers, the Deputy Manager Guandong Free Trade Zone, Mr. Daniel Chin acknowledged SON for its efforts at leveraging on the partnership to industrialize the nation through its technical support to OGFTZ

According to Chin, there are about 30 companies with over 4,000 Nigerians and 250 Chinese gainfully employed at various factories within the cluster which has helped to curb crime and youth restiveness within the host community.

He also alluded to the fact that the visit of the DG SON was an eye-opener as they were now aware of other capabilities of SON in the areas of laboratory facilities and metrology for calibration of machinery and equipment.

Mr. Chin enumerated various corporate social responsibility activities that have been undertaken by the companies within the zone including provision of infrastructures like roads, health facility and educational scholarships which according to him has ensured relative peace and harmony in and around the OGFTZ.

 

NNPC Commits To Product Sufficiency Nationwide at Yuletide

nnpc

By Andy Nssien

Respite may soon come the way of commuters at the Ijegun-Egba axis of Lagos State following a move by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to partner with the Lagos State Government, depot owners and petroleum tanker drivers to address infrastructural challenges that have perennially hampered products evacuation from the area.

This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mallam Mele Kyari, during separate visits to tank farms at the Ijegun-Egba corridor as well as the Lagos State Government House in Ikeja, Lagos,

He said as an enabler organisation to the Nigerian economy which also guarantees national energy security, the NNPC would continue to partner with stakeholders such as the Lagos Government, to sustain the current seamless supply and distribution of products nationwide, going into the Yuletide period.

“As a responsible corporate citizen, NNPC and its partners in the Downstream have made adequate preparations and our plan is robust and we foresee a very hitch-free Christmas full of products, well into the new year’’, Kyari assured.

While addressing tank farms operators at the Ijegun-Egba area, Kyari lauded their initiative to pull resources together to fix the Ijegun Road leading to the tank farms to ease movement of trucks in the area.

Mallam Kyari said although it was a palliative arrangement, the NNPC and its stakeholders would put heads together to provide a permanent solution to the problems.

Reacting to the GMD’s visit, Governor Babajide Sanwolu expressed his support to NNPC and its stakeholders’ initiative to tackle the infrastructure challenges not only at the Ijegun-Egba, but the entire state, adding that his administration would leave no stone unturned in tackling the challenges.

“This is the first time all the stakeholders are coming together to have a long-term view of the situation. We will do everything that is required to ensure that everything goes well on that entire corridor,” Governor Sanwolu assured.

Also speaking, Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Hon. Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya, expressed the National Assembly’s support to the initiative.

At the palace of the Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty Oba Rilwan Akiolu I, called on International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Country to do more Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in their areas of operations.

Other stakeholders on the GMD’s entourage were the National President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Williams Akporeha and the Chairman, Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) Unit of NUPENG, Comrade Salimon Oladiti.

 

Investors Urged To Diversify Portfolios

Mary-Uduk-Actng-DG-SEC-
Mary-Uduk-Actng-DG-SEC-

Investors in the capital market have been advised to diversify their investment portfolio in order to mitigate risk.

The Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk stated this at a one-day enlightenment programme for the Nigerian Army Ordinance School, Ojo Cantonment, Lagos..

Uduk who was represented by the Head Lagos Zonal Office of the SEC, Mr. Stephen Falomo, said that investors must learn to invest in various asset classes to mitigate risks and exposure.

According to Uduk, “Investment in the Nigerian capital market, just as in any other capital market across the world is a mixed bag of fortunes. A smart investor is expected to have this consciousness at the back of his mind at all times, even as he wades into the market, to pick his choice instruments or instrument of  investments”.

She said that there were good opportunities to achieve decent returns on investment in the market and urged investors to seek knowledge before investing.

Uduk, however, said that an investor must be smart to avoid some obvious mistake which could lead to capital erosion through mixed bag of investment.

She explained that an investment portfolio connotes a mixed bag of investment instruments such as shares and bonds adding that investment in mutual funds had continued to be a worthwhile investment in the recent time.

The Acting DG said the Commission has a number of initiatives that have been put in place to boost investors’ confidence.

“We have the E-Dividend mandate system, the Direct Cash Settlement as well as multiple subscription in place. Investors have to take ownership of their investments. They have to be able to monitor their investments, attend Annual General Meetings as well as read the annual reports sent out to them.

“We also protect them through the National Investors Protection Fund (NIPF) Risk Based supervision that enables us to supervise the operators to ensure that they do not do what they are not supposed to do. And again the Complaints Management Framework enables investors to know where to complain to and how long it takes for such complaints to be resolved” she added.

(AfCFTA) : We Are Prepared – SON

Osita-Aboloma
Osita-Aboloma

The Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Osita  Aboloma, has restated his organisation’ s  readiness  to check tackle quality infractions that could arise with the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) recently accented to by the country.

Aboloma expressed these views in Apapa, at an interactive session with maritime journalists. He noted that since the SON could only visit the ports on invitation as presently obtained, thiis could hinder its ability to effectively check the influx of substandard goods.

The SON boss was represented at the event, Media Roundtable, put together by the Maritime Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (MAJAN) by Engineer Enebi Onucheyo, a Deputy Director in the organization.

“We had envisaged our absence at the ports as a challenge. It’s really a challenge; you know it’s a government policy. But with your support and that of other stakeholders, the policy can be changed in the interest of the country”, he said.

He added, “this limitation notwithstanding, like I said earlier, we’re ready and with people like you, the journalists, we can still do a lot. We can’t be everywhere in the country. So, we need intelligence to access information on trade quality infractions”.

He recounted the enormous gains inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area if there were quality check in the system, noting some of them as “return on investments, reduction in crimes as it would create jobs, boost in export, more revenue for the country, among others”.

On the preparedness of the agency to handle the fallouts of the AfCFTA, Aboloma said their quality laboratories had been put in place, as exports hitherto shipped out through neighbouring countries due lack of such structures was no longer the case.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a trade agreement which is in force between 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018. As of July 2019, 54 states had signed the agreement. Its effective take-off date was May 30, 2019.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a trade agreement which is in force between 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018. As of July 2019, 54 states had signed the agreement. Ratification by 22 countries was required for the AfCFTA to enter into force and the African Continental Free Trade Area to become effective. The agreement will function as an umbrella to which protocols and annexes will be added.

Negotiations continued in 2018 with Phase II, including Competition Policy, Investment and Intellectual Property Rights. A draft shall be submitted for the January 2020 AU Assembly.

The SON is among some government agencies ordered out of the ports during the regime of former President Obasanjo.

 

 

Sterling Grows Retail Loans 200%, Net Interest Income by 19%

Sterling Bank logo
Sterling Bank logo

A 200 percent growth in the bank’s retail and consumer loans portfolio has resulted in a double-digit net interest income growth for Sterling Bank Plc. Specta, the bank’s innovative digital lending platform, supported this growth with volumes averaging N8 billion per month, reaching over 40,000 individuals as at Q3 2019.

Sterling Bank Plc, a full-service national commercial bank, reported a net interest income growth of N47.53 billion for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019 as against N39.834 billion for the corresponding period of 2018, representing a growth of 19.3 percent.

Commenting on the financial performance, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, said “Our performance continues to reflect positive results of strategic decisions and investments in our focus areas. We recorded significant improvement in transaction led revenue and our funding base riding on adoption of digital channels. Overall, we delivered a 7.7% increase in operating income and profit after tax of N7.58 billion.

“Going into the final quarter, we will continue to take a customer-centric centric approach to achieving growth and enhance our digital capacity to further support the business, while remaining focused on exceeding our performance in the previous year.”

He noted that the bank recorded a 7.7 percent improvement in operating income of N65.493 billion during the quarter ended September 30, 2019 against N60.822 billion during the corresponding period of 2018 and profit after tax of N7.578 billion in 2019.

Other financial highlights showed that customer deposit also appreciated to N853.551 billion during the period under review compared to N760.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2018, indicating a growth of N12.2 percent while loans advances to customers grew to N635.093 in 2019 from N621.017 billion in 2018, representing a growth of 2.3 percent.

In the same way, shareholders’ funds rose to N109.535 billion during the period under review in 2019 compared to N97.800 billion reported for the corresponding of 2018, representing a growth of 12 percent while operating income after impairment rose by 1.3 percent to N61.583 billion compared to N60.822 billion in September 2018.

Further analysis also showed that non-performing loans dropped to 7.4 percent during the review period in 2019 from 8.7 percent in the corresponding period of 2018, representing an improvement of 14.6 percent.

Sterling Bank Plc is a leading commercial banking establishment in Nigeria. It commenced operations as NAL Bank in 1960. It currently has more than N1 trillion in total assets, 180 business offices and over 800 ATMs nationwide.

The bank has grown into a major financial institution and prides itself as ‘Your one-customer bank’ that celebrates each customer as a unique individual.