Nigeria’s Public Debt: DMO DG Speaks At CAMCAN Workshop

DG DMO, Ms. Patience Oniha
DG DMO, Ms. Patience Oniha
The Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha, will lead other market regulators to discuss the prospects of Nigeria’s public debt at the 2022 annual workshop of the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN).

The workshop scheduled to hold on December 3, 2022 at Orchid Hotels, Ajah, Lagos, is being organised by the association as part of its efforts to contribute to the development of the country’s capital market and economy.

The theme of the programme is: “Nigeria’s Public Debt and the Capital Market,” and the Director-General of the DMO, Oniha is the guest speaker.

The workshop will be declared open by the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, who will be the special guest of honour, while the Chief Executive Officer of the NGX Exchange, Mr Timi Popoola, the guest of  honour, will give more details how the exchange is  positioning itself as the  Africa’s investment window.

The apex regulatory institutions in the Nigerian Capital market expected to grace the event include SEC Nigerian Exchange Ltd., NGX, FMDQ Exchange Ltd., as well as other market operators.

The Managing Director/CEO, FMDQ Exchange, Mr Bola Onadele, will bring perspectives on how the potential in the debt capital market can be unlocked to grow the economy.

Other dignitaries expected at the forum are: Chairman of Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Mr Sam Onukwue and President of Chartered Institutes of Stockbroker (CIS), Mr Oluwole Adeosun. 

Also expected to herald the workshop are, the DMD UBA Group, Mr Muyiwa Akinyemi and the TGI Group, amongst others.

The Guest Speaker, Oniha, will also throw more light on the high-yielding opportunities in the Nigerian debt space, and how the country and corporates could tap into the opportunities that abound in the local market for infrastructure development funds.

Equally,  she is expected to further unveil opportunities for retail investors in debt investing, as well as the commitment of government in ensuring sound policies, and environment towards enhancing a vibrant local debt market.

In her 14 years at the DMO, Oniha spearheaded the introduction of benchmark bonds to develop the domestic bond market in order to improve liquidity and create a sovereign yield curve where the public and private sectors can access long-term funds to finance Nigeria’s growth and development.

Oniha led the successful issuance of Nigeria’s debut USD500 million Eurobond in January 2011 as a new source of funding for the Federal Government, as well as the first 30-year-tenor Eurobond in the International Capital Market which represents the first by a sub-Saharan country other than South Africa, and established the basis for long-term infrastructure funding for Nigeria.

She was also responsible for the inclusion of FGN Bonds in the J.P. Morgan Government Bond Index – Emerging Markets (GBI–EM) in October 2012, which made Nigeria the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to have its local currency sovereign bond included in the Index.

The inclusion of FGN Bonds in this Index attracted foreign investors to the domestic bond market as a whole. This was followed by the inclusion of FGN Bonds in the Barclays Capital Emerging Markets – Local Currency Government Bond Index (EM – LCBI) in March 2013.

While at the DMO, Oniha was also appointed the Head of the Efficiency Unit at the Federal Ministry of Finance.

To execute the mandate of the unit, which was to moderate the government’s overhead expenditure and generate savings from the procurement process, Oniha introduced a number of initiatives.The initiatives included issuance of seven circulars to control expenditure on specific overhead items and negotiation of discounts with airlines.

These delivered savings estimated at N17 billion to the government. She was working on the introduction of new processes for payment and procurements when she was appointed Director-General of the DMO with effect from July 1, 2017.

Under her leadership, Nigeria issued its debut N100 billion Sovereign Sukuk in 2017, and with her at the helm of affairs, Nigeria has successfully issued four tranches of the Sovereign Sukuk in 2018, 2020 and 2021, raising over N612 billion in proceeds for construction and rehabilitation of roads and other infrastructural projects across the six geo-political zones of the country. 

Oniha obtained a B.Sc. Economics, (First Class Honours) from the University of Benin in 1983 and secured  an M.Sc. Finance from the University of Lagos in 1985.

She  became a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in 1990 and a Fellow of the institute in 2008.

She is  an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.

FiBOP Workshop: Regulators, Operators Set To X-ray Fintech, Service Delivery In The Capital Market

FiBOP logo
FiBOP logo
The Apex regulatory institution in the Nigerian Capital market, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC; the Nigeriian Exchange Ltd, NGX, the Debt Management Office, DMO, as well as Market Operators such as Cowry Assets Ltd. are set fot the Finance and Business Online Publishers, FiBOP, workshop slated for Thursday, November 17, 2022.by 10.00am at the Airport Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos
According to the organizers, all is now set for a robust discuss on the theme of the workshop; ‘ Hanessing Fintech for Capital Market Growth and Development”

The discuss will focus on the deployment of Fintech services in Nigeria for Capital Market sustainability and growth.

In a statement, President of FiBOP, Charles Onwuatogwu, said the choice of the topic is borne out of the need to further deepen and enhance the efficiency of the Nigerian capital market, boost earnings of investors and operators as well as draw attention to other challenges and benefits of deploying Fintech services to boost activities in the Nigerian capital market.

“There is no doubt that the market is facing a lot of challenges at this critical time, hence the import of Fintech in addressing such problems as unclaimed dividends which today stands above N1.8billion, and similar other issues.’

“Moreover, the need to attract more Fintechs to the capital market has become highly imperative in view of the increasing deployment of technology in virtually every facet of life as well as the need to further deepen the market by getting a larger number of our teeming youths to become interested in the capital market.” He said

Dignitaries expected to grace the event include; the Director General Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Lamido Yuguda,, Director General Debt Management Office, DMO, Patience Oniha and the Managing Director/CE, Cowry Assets Management, Johnson Chukwu

Others are; Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Umar Danbatta, Group CEO Nigeria Exchange , NGX, Oscar Onyema, CEO, FMDQ, Bola Koko, Managing Director CSCS, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, captains of industry, CEOs of quoted companies and shareholder groups among others.

FiBOP is the foremost Association of seasoned online publishers in Nigeria, formed with a view to contributing to the economic growth and development of Nigeria through informed, analytical and balanced reportage of events and activities in the economy.

SEC, NGX, DMO, Others Set To Brainstorm On Fintech For Capital Market Growth and Development At FiBOP Workshop

Lamido Yuguda, DG Securities and Exchange Commission,SEC
Lamido Yuguda, DG Securities and Exchange Commission,SEC

All is now set for second in the series of Finance and Business Online Publishers (FiBOP) capacity building workshop on deployment of Fintech services in Nigeria for economic growth.

The latest workshop with the theme; ‘Harnessing Fintech for Capital Market Growth and Development’ is scheduled to take place on Thursday November 17th, 2022 at Airport Hotel Ikeja, Lagos by 10.00 am

In a statement, president of FiBOP, Charles Onwuatogwu, said the choice of the topic is borne out of the need to further deepen and enhance the efficiency of the Nigerian capital market, boost earnings of investors and operators as well as draw attention to the challenges and benefits of deploying Fintech services in the Nigerian capital market.

“There is no doubt that the market is facing a lot of challenges at this critical time, hence the import of Fintech in addressing such problems as unclaimed dividends which today stands above N1.8billion, and similar other issues.’

“Moreover, the need to attract more Fintechs to the capital market has become highly imperative in view of the increasing deployment of technology in virtually every facet of life as well as the need to further deepen the market by getting a larger number of our teeming youths to become interested in the capital market.” He said

Dignitaries expected at the event include; the Director General Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Lamido Yuguda,, Director General Debt Management Office, DMO, Patience Oniha and the Managing Director/CE, Cowry Assets Management, Johnson Chukwu

Others are; Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Umar Danbatta, Group CEO Nigeria Exchange , NGX, Oscar Onyema, CEO, FMDQ, Bola Koko, Managing Director CSCS, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, captains of industry, CEOs of quoted companies and shareholder groups among others.

FiBOP is the foremost Association of seasoned online publishers in Nigeria, formed with a view to contributing to the economic growth and development of Nigeria through informed, analytical and balanced reportage of events and activities in the economy.

Seplat Energy Grosses N258.7bn Q3 Revenue

Roger Brown, CEO., Seplat Energy
Roger Brown, Seplat CEO

Seplat Energy Plc, a leading Nigerian independent energy company listed on both the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the London Stock Exchange, announces its unaudited results for the nine months ended 30 September 2022, recording a rise in profit before tax by 90.3 per cent to N77.5bn from N38.6bn year-on-year. The company also generated cash from its operations to the tune of N154bn from N64.9bn year-on-year, rising by 124.7 per cent.

The energy Company’s also grew its revenue by 34.4 per cent to N258.7bn from N182.7bn year-on-year; as its gross profit soars to N118.5bn from N58.1bn year-on-year, rising by 93.5 per cent.

Seplat Energy is paying Q3 dividend of US2.5 cents per share, taking 9M 2022 total to US7.5 cents per share ($44.1 million paid in the period).

In its operations, Seplat Energy demonstrated a strong safety record, which extended to 30.5 million hours without lost-time injury at Seplat Energy-operated assets; eight (8) wells completed, another seven wells to be drilled in Q4 (currently drilling four wells); and the Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline commenced commercial operations in August, with 700 kbbls lifted in October.

Financial highlights

• Revenues up 34.4% to $618.6 million ($678.9 million including underlift), driven by higher realised oil prices of $108.25/bbl.

• EBITDA up 27% to $337.9 million (adjusted for non-cash items)

• Strong cash generation of $368.1 million, capex of $110.3 million

• Strong balance sheet with $304.8 million cash at bank, net debt of $452.2 million

• Production opex of $9.3/boe

• Average realised gas pricing sustained at $2.80/Mscf despite pricing pressure on domestic gas delivery obligation

• Received $13.4 million out of a total of $55 million in accordance with Ubima divestment agreement

• Q3 dividend of US2.5 cents per share, taking 9M 2022 total to US7.5 cents per share ($44.1 million paid in the period)

Operational highlights

• Strong safety record extended to 30.5 million hours without lost-time injury at Seplat Energy-operated assets

• Volumes of 43,337 boepd, impacted by oil theft and outages of key infrastructure

• Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline commenced commercial operations in August, 700 kbbls lifted in October.

• Eight wells completed, another seven wells to be drilled in Q4 (currently drilling four wells)

• Full-year guidance adjusted downwards to 40-44 kboepd owing to pipeline and export terminal outages, which were materially worse in Q3; capex maintained at $160 million, capex per well lower due to improved drilling performance

Update on proposed acquisition of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU)

• Seplat Energy reiterates that the Sales & Purchase Agreement (SPA) signed on 25 February 2022 to acquire Exxon’s shallow water operations in Nigeria, MPNU, remains valid

• The Company remains confident that the proposed acquisition will be brought to a successful conclusion in accordance with the law

Q3 corporate updates

• Provisional applications to the NUPRC (Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission) for the voluntary Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) conversion of operated Oil Mining Leases

• Successfully refinanced existing $350m RCF due September 2023 with a new three-year $350 RCF due April 2026

• Seplat West (OMLs 4, 38 &41) awarded ISO 55001 (Asset Management), a first for an African E&P company

Commenting on the results, Mr. Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Energy Plc, said:

“Despite an unusually challenging quarter for the Nigerian oil and gas industry, with key export routes being unavailable because of force majeure, we have demonstrated that we have a resilient business. The Amukpe-Escravos Pipeline has been operational since August and we have had our first oil export this month. The Trans Forcados Pipeline has now resumed operations and we continue to increase our use of alternative export routes, giving us confidence that the final quarter of the year will show some improvement in volumes.”

“We are working closely with all the relevant stakeholders on our transformational acquisition of MPNU and remain confident that the proposed acquisition will be brought to a successful conclusion in accordance with the law. The acquisition will add significant reserves and production capacity that will strongly reinforce Seplat Energy’s position as Nigeria’s leading indigenous oil and gas producer.”

Access Holdings Plc Announces Acquisition Of Majority Equity Stake In Angolan S.A

GMD, Access Bank PLC, Herbert Wigwe
GMD, Access Bank PLC, Herbert Wigwe

Access Holdings Plc trading as Access Corporation (‘the Corporation’) Tuesday announcds that its wholly owned subsidiary, Access Bank Plc has entered into a binding agreement with Montepio Holding SGPS S.A (‘Montepio’) to acquire a 51% majority shareholding in Finibanco Angola S.A.

Finibanco Angola S.A. (“Finibanco”) is a profitable, well-capitalised full-service commercial bank with over 20 branches and around US$300 million in total assets that has operated in Angola since 2008. The Transaction will be effected via the purchase of existing shares owned by Montepio-the holding company for Banco Montepio, one of Portugal’s well-established commercial banks. 

The Angolan market as the 6th largest economy in Africa and the 7th largest country overall, with a vast and diversified natural resource base and a growing population represents a strong potential for the Bank’s growth aspiration. The Transaction furthers the Bank’s strategy to be Africa’s payment gateway to the world whilst working with other Africa-focused multilaterals to provide robust and efficient payment platforms and ecosystems to serve the continent. The prospective operation is expected to contribute strongly to the Bank’s overall growth path and financial results over the long-term.

Access Holdings company Secretary, Sunday Ekwochi in a statement made available to BusinessUpdate revealed that the Transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Angola is expected to close in the first half of 2023 following fulfillment of customary conditions precedents. It will be consummated at 1.0x tangible book value less pre-agreed adjustments to be determined by a customary completion audit. Upon completion of the Transaction, the Bank is expected to increase its shareholding in Finibanco S.A and has reached certain conditional agreements in this regard.

Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Herbert Wigwe – Group Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, said:
“At Access, our vision remains clear as and our determination to harness accretive Opportunities within and outside Nigeria is our core strategic focus. Angola represents an opportunity for our shareholders to participate in what we believe will engender stronger value upside as Africa fully emerges. We remain committed to making these disciplined and well-structured investments towards creating a strong, holistic platform that will be competitive, diversified, and compelling for years to come.”

The Corporation shall continue to update the market on the Transaction in line with its disclosure obligations.
    

SUNDAY EKWOCHI
COMPANY SECRETARY
FRC/2013/NBA/0000

NCC-CSIRT Urges Firmware Update As Lenovo Alerts Of Vulnerabilities In Own Products

Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umaru Dambatta
Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umaru Dambatta

Equipment manufacturer, Lenovo, has disclosed several vendor vulnerabilities in some of its products, which it said could lead to information disclosure, privilege escalation, and denial of service.

The vulnerabilities primarily affect Lenovo Products (Desktop, Desktop-All in One, Hyperscale, Lenovo Notebook, Smart Office, Storage, ThinkAgile, ThinkPad, ThinkServer, ThinkStation, and ThinkSystem).

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT), in its recent advisory, rated the probability of the vulnerability as high with an equally high damage potential. It, therefore, urged users of affected products to update their firmware.

The advisory cited the Lenovo report, first published in the second week of this month, indicating that the vulnerabilities are caused by flaws in the System Management Interrupt (SMI) Set BIOS Password SMI Handler, other systems used to configure platform settings over Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and a buffer overflow flaw in WMI SMI Handler.

Successful exploitation of the vulnerabilities could allow an authenticated local attacker to bypass security restrictions, gain elevated privileges and execute arbitrary code on the targeted system. The attacker could also send a specially crafted request to the targeted user to gain sensitive information, which could result in unauthorized Information disclosure, privilege escalation and denial of service on the targeted system.

According to NCC-CSIRT, the solution to addressing the vulnerabilities is for users to update their system firmware to the newer version(s) indicated for their product model.

The CSIRT is the telecom sector’s cyber security incidence centre set up by the NCC to focus on incidents in the telecom sector and as they may affect telecom consumers and citizens at large. The CSIRT also works collaboratively with the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), established by the Federal Government to reduce the volume of future computer risk incidents by preparing, protecting, and securing Nigerian cyberspace to forestall attacks, and problems or related events.

43rd AGM: Ardova Group Announces 10.71%  Revenue Growth for 2021 Financial Year

L

Ardova Plc held its 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi on 27 September 2022. In adherence to the guidelines from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the AGM was held by proxies that could exercise shareholder voting rights. Also, the proceedings of the AGM was broadcast in real-time for all stakeholders via an online livestream.

At the AGM, the company declared a gross revenue of N192.47 billion in the 2021 financial year, representing a 5.95 % increase from the 2020 revenue of N181.66 billion, whilst the group revenue closed at N201.44 billion which is a 10.71% increase from 2020.

The company also grew shareholders’ funds by 6.58% y-o-y, to N20.91 billion in FY 2021 (FY2020: 19.62 billion) as a result of an 11.85% growth in retained earnings. The group also expanded its total asset base by 95.7% y-o-y to N126.80 billion.

Commenting on the 2021 performance and AP’s strategy going forward, Chief Executive Officer, Ardova Plc, Olumide Adeosun said:

“Ardova continues a journey of growth and economic impact. Our shareholders are a major part of our vision to drive business expansion and transformation. We have ventured into partnerships in areas of our diversified investments resulting in capital projects that will deliver efficiency for the group. Our revenue growth is an attestation to the efforts and positive decisions made despite bearing economic challenges and we hope to continue to outperform market expectations with solid profit margins”.

Mr. Adeosun also added that “Ardova remains focused on a future beyond traditional fuels and taking necessary bold initiatives. By expanding our footprint across the nation through the acquisition of Enyo, we have widened the network of AP’s retail station outlets and shortened our proximity to the end customer, making it easier to deliver at widescale retail the cleaner energy products that will materialise from our present capital investments.”

Mr. Moshood Olajide, Chief Financial Officer/Executive Director, Finance & Business Support, Ardova Plc, noted, that the increase in the group’s revenue was primarily driven by growth in the fuels business which constituted 86.7%. Lube sales recorded 52% growth resulting in 12.8% of revenue, the transport and logistics business constituting 0.3%, and LPG & Cylinder sales with 0.2% of the group revenue.

Mr. Adeosun stated that Ardova remains committed to delivering shareholder value saying “The capital investments we have carried out in 2021 are primed to make us a fully transformed integrated energy company, where the value we create for customers by being increasingly integrated into their lives, sustainably impacts our balance sheet”.

Ardova Plc’s shareholders approved all proposals made by the Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting (AGM):

• Ratification of Annual Report and Financial Statements
Shareholders unanimously accepted the Audited Financial Statements with the Statement of Profit or Loss and other Comprehensive Income for the year ended 31 December 2021, the Report of the Directors, Report of the Auditors and Statutory Audit Committee thereon.
• Un-issued shares
The directors were authorised to take all steps necessary to comply with the requirements of Section 124 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 and the Companies Regulations 2021, as it relates to the unissued shares of the Company.

Ardova Plc logo
Ardova Plc logo
NGX Group Releases Dividend Policy

Temi Popoola, CEO, NGX
Temi Popoola, CEO, NGX

Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX Group) Plc has released its dividend policy in ensuring that shareholders received returns on their investments.

The policy document which was approved by the Group’s Board of Directors of NGX Group Plc and published on the company’s website was formulated in accordance with the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, investment and tax legislations, Codes of Corporate Governance, as well as internationally recognized best practices and principles.

According to the NGX Group Policy document, “NGX Group, through its Dividend Policy, seeks to guarantee shareholder rights especially as it relates to return on investment. The policy is developed to address issues relating to the determination and payment of dividend. The Group shall apply the policy, accordingly to determine any claim by any shareholder, individual or institution, regarding the dividends payouts by NGX Group subject to provisions in the Articles of Association of the Company”.

In terms of the administration of dividends by The Group, the Policy document added NGX Group will apply the policy on an annual basis to develop a transparent and methodological dividend consideration and payouts. “This approach will ensure that NGX Group has sufficient distributable profits and/or general reserves, as determined by a review of the Company’s audited financial statements as well as consideration of other financial factors, prior to any declaration and/or payment of dividend. To this end, the policy will guide the NGX Group in its approach to distributing surplus funds from its distributable profits and/or general reserves to shareholders, as may be determined by the profit and availability of cash for distribution; operating, and investment needs of the Company; anticipated future growth and earnings of the Company; and provisions of the Company’s Articles of Association among others”, the company added.

The NGX Group Policy document provided guidance on the dividend payable in cash in a year. According to the document, “the range of dividend payable in cash will range between a pay-out ratio 25 per cent and 75 per cent of the distributable profit of same year to which the dividend is applicable. In addition, the policy indicated that the Group’s Board of Directors may recommend a scrip (bonus) issue in any year and in any ratio as it deems fit for any year through the capitalization of any undistributed retained earnings, wherein the Board, in recommending a bonus issue, shall maintain a balance between the paid-up capital and the undistributed retained earnings”.

In keeping with best practices in corporate governance, the policy delegated the responsibility for the decision to pay dividends to the Board of Directors and the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The policy document stated, “The decision to declare and pay dividend, including the procedure for making dividend payments, shall be approved at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders, upon the recommendation of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors may in its discretion declare an interim dividend based on profits arrived at as per quarterly or half-yearly unaudited financial results, noting that where no final dividend is declared, the interim Dividend shall be regarded as the final dividend in the AGM”. The document equally provided guidance on the date for when shareholders should expect to receive dividends will be paid by NGX, stating, “dividend is to be paid on the date in which the AGM holds in the year that dividend is declared or at any other date that the shareholders at AGM shall approve and no interest shall accrue on any unclaimed dividend”.

SEC Reassures Of Its  To Commodities Ecosystem DevelopmentCommittment

DG, SEC, Lamido Yuguda
DG, SEC, Lamido Yuguda
meThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)it is commited to developing the commodities ecosystem in Nigeria as a means to boost the non-oil sector.

Director-General of SEC, Lamido Yuguda, stated this at the 2022 annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), held in Lagos over the weekend, with the theme ‘Boosting Domestic Capacity for Sustainable Export Earnings’.

Yuguda who was represented by the Director, Lagos Zonal Office of the Commission, Hafsat Rufia, noted that development of the commodities ecosystem would help the country achieve its quest for sustainable foreign exchange earnings and economic development.

The Commission’s boss said, “We believe that implementation of the roadmap for a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem in Nigeria by the Commission will support development of the agricultural sector and diversification of the Nigerian economy and, ultimately, advance the country towards attaining sustainable foreign exchange earnings.”

He added that it is imperative that the country focuses on all the sustainable foreign exchange earning avenues of the capital market for support over the medium to long term.

“We must, therefore, leverage on the capital market through the commodities ecosystem, the equity and bond markets to develop and exploit all the potential sources of forex.”

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the total value of capital importation into Nigeria in the second quarter of 2022 stood at $1.535 billion. The largest amount of capital importation was received through portfolio investments, which accounted for 49.33 per cent ($757.32 million). Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) accounted for 9.58 per cent ($147.16 million) while Other Investments stood at 41.09 per cent ($630.87 million).

The largest amount of portfolio investment went to money market instruments – 55.8 per cent ($422.56 million). Bonds followed with 42.5 per cent ($322.04 million) and Equities accounted for 1.68 per cent ($12.72 million) of portfolio investment in Q2 2022.

The SEC DG stated that the Securities and Exchange Commission continues to advocate for a unified foreign exchange rate in order to attract more foreign portfolio investments into the country, adding “We appreciate the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria in exchange rate management and will support in whatever way we can to enable achievement of the objective of exchange rate stability.”

Representing the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Olukayode Pitan, the Project Officer, Ominiaboh Uyoyou Jermila, said the national budget is heavily reliant on the revenue generated from the oil sector, lamenting that since the 70s, the focus on oil as a major source of foreign exchange has negatively impacted growth in the non-oil sector and has led to decline in its contribution to foreign exchange earnings

He noted that, nonetheless, the non-oil sector contribution to GDP has been significant, pointing out that during the 2008 global financial crisis the non-oil sector helped to absorb extra natural shocks caused by the declining oil revenue.

He explained that sectors such as telecommunications, ICT, trade, industry and agriculture were critical to the economic recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and have remained so following the twin economic recession in 2016 and 2020.

Pitan said this has highlighted the need for economic diversification, which has become a significant point in national and policy-making imperatives, though with varying degrees of success.

He added that boosting exports earnings has become more important given the naira devaluation and shrinking foreign exchange reserves.

As a result of this, he said, the government has made more concerted efforts to focus on the non-oil sector for the increase and efficient collection of customs duties and other taxes.

Pitan noted that while there have been a lot of government policies and initiatives to encourage non-oil exports, especially among small and medium scale industries, the performance of the sector is still likely to be below par due.

He attributed this to the challenges of low inputs, dependencies on primary inputs and entrepreneurial nature of basic industry, policy inconsistencies, insufficient skilled manpower, high lending rates, among others.

He added that BoI has provided financial assistance for the establishment of large, medium and small projects, as well as expansion, diversification and modernisation of existing enterprise

The Deputy Managing Director, United Bank for Africa, Muyiwa Akinyemi, in the same vein, noted that the discovery of crude oil brought a shift that has made the country to majorly depend on the oil sector to the neglect of other sectors.

According to him, this made the economy susceptible to fluctuations in revenue, occasioned by the usual instability associated with the prices of crude oil in the international market.

“Successive governments have made differing efforts at diversifying the revenue sources of the economy by promoting non-oil export trade which cumulatively impacts on overall economic growth”, Akinyemi said.

On some of UBA’s key interventions to facilitate export, he mentioned that the bank had developed a $200 million non-oil export trade financing programme to bridge working capital requirements of SMEs/commercial exporters at concessionary interest rate and favourable collateral structure and provided project and structured trade financing to enhancing export capacities of manufacturing.

NCC Reviews Short Code Services As   Broadband Penetration Hits 44.5%

NCC logo
NCC logo

Nigeria’s broadband usage has inched up significantly, moving from 40.9 er cent in February 2022 to 44.5 per cent in July 2022, a figure considered hopeful for achieving the national broadband target of 70 per cent in 2025.

Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this on Tuesday(August 9, 2022 at the opening of a three-day public inquiry on five telecom regulations and guidelines which began in Abuja, said emerging technologies and advancements in the sector demand that the Commission is prepared to match these developments with appropriate regulations and guidelines.

“With the technological advancements anticipated in the coming years, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of devices in the industry. It is, therefore, essential for the Commission to ensure that the right regulatory frameworks can accommodate such eventualities,” he said.

At the event, which was attended by all members of the Board of Commissioners, led by its Chairman, Prof. Adeolu Akande, the Commission’s CEO said the public inquiry which covered five areas of existing regulations, are aimed at achieving operational efficiency and operational excellence.

He listed the regulatory instruments under review at the public inquiry to include: Type Approval Regulations, Guidelines on Short Code Operation in Nigeria, Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure, Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions, as well as Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.

He said the focus areas were already articulated in some important documents guiding the operations of the Commission, which include the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020 – 2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, and its Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (SVIP) 2021–2025, which are being implemented towards achieving its mandate.

While stating that these strides are the results of the Commission’s regulatory efficiency and focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Danbatta said the public inquiry is in tandem with the Commission’s strategy of consulting stakeholders in all its regulatory interventions.

The EVC further stated that the amendment of these regulatory instruments were to reflect current realities, one of which is the anticipated deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology, and management of short codes in Nigeria, including the Toll-Free Emergency Code 112.

Earlier, Head, Telecoms Laws and Regulations at NCC, Helen Obi, had stated that public inquiry allows the Commission to incorporate the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders, in the development of its regulatory instruments.

She said the process ensures that the Commission’s regulatory instruments are in line with the current realities in the industry as it had done with some regulatory frameworks and guidelines in 2021mi