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Nigeria Navigates Through Choppy Global Macroeconomic Waters

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

The Nigerian economy continues to display resilience against heightened geopolitical risks in the form of trade uncertainty, Brexit, volatile oil prices and global growth fears.

Nigeria’s encouraging economic growth in the third quarter was one of the bright spots in the emerging market universe. GDP defied the slowing trend seen in other large economies to grow by 2.3 percent from upwardly revised 2.12 percent in the second quarter and 2.1 percent in the first quarter.

Nigeria Navigates Through Choppy

Lukman

What is helping to support the country’s growth in the face of growing risks to the global economy?

The Nigerian state’s drive and ongoing quest to diversify the economy has broadened its potential to earn from economic activity other than the commodities sector. It could be said that in this case, state policy is creating new opportunities for economic growth through diversification, slowly leading to less reliance on the Oil sector.

The same cannot be said for inflation, which jumped to 11.61 percent in October thanks to Benin border closures. Although the closure is intended to put an end to smuggling, it has also dampened trade and hiked inflation.

Still, on an annual basis, growth in the manufacturing sector recorded the fastest growth in 2019 by expanding 1.1% during the third quarter. Given how the value added by the manufacturing sector is roughly 8% of GDP, this should support the improving sentiment towards Nigeria. It is worth keeping in mind that growth in the manufacturing sector has escaped many other economies because of the pressure from trade disputes between the US and China.

 

Nigeria’s outlook still influenced by China

If Nigeria’s economy is displaying resilience against depressed Oil prices and trade uncertainty, some of the credit goes to the healthy relationship with China. Total trade with China was worth over $10 billion in 2018 and $3.1 billion in the third quarter of 2019.

The Naira/Yuan swap deal gets around the trade hindrance of a strong USD by allowing importers of Chinese goods to settle payments in Yuan instead of Dollars.

According to the half-year report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), this has had the effect of increasing liquidity and reducing foreign exchange pressure. It’s also likely to have reduced exposure to the effects of the US-China trade dispute. In addition, the interest rate incentive for deposits in Yuan in Nigeria is not inconsiderable after the CBN left rates unchanged at 13.5 percent.

Having said that, China’s economy cooled to six percent in Q3 and this may start impacting Nigeria’s export sales if the slowdown deepens. Nigeria’s exposure to a slowdown in China may be significant when we remember that three-quarters of its 2017 mineral exports went to the Asian giant. And this is just one example.

A further slowdown in China could also impact Nigeria’s borrowing for much-needed infrastructural projects. The state has borrowed $6.5 billion from China since 2002 and relies on these funds for development. Indeed, around 80 percent of Nigeria’s funding comes from China. Other than that, Chinese companies’ investments in Nigeria hit $20 billion according to Ye Shuijin, the president of the China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria.

While the Naira/Yuan swap deal may cushion the local economy from the global effects of the US-China trade dispute, a trade deal between the world’s largest economies would be good for Nigeria.

Looking ahead to 2020, other external factors influencing the outlook for Nigeria’s economy are Oil prices, interest rate developments from the Federal Reserve and Brexit. Domestically, I’m watching for more positive signs that Nigeria is diversifying, breaking away from Oil reliance to more sustainable sources of growth. Already, growth in the non-Oil sector rose to 1.8 percent annually, adding 1.6 percent in Q2 on an annual basis, reflecting quickening growth in the agriculture and industrial sectors.

 

 

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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SEC, EFCC Partner Against Ponzi Schemes

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The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are committed to strengthening the partnership between the agencies with a view to tackling the menace of Ponzi schemes in the country.

This commitment was restated during a courtesy visit by Mohammed Danladi, the Kano Zonal Head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to his EFCC counterpart, Sanusi Aliyu Mohammed on Tuesday.

The SEC Zonal Head described his visit to EFCC as an effort to solidify the already existing relationship between EFCC and SEC.

“This visit is nothing more than to solidify the existing relationship between EFCC and SEC which dates back to the inception of EFCC. We are here to renew that relationship, foster it and fight the common enemy together”, he said.

Mr. Danladi expressed concern about his Commission’s challenges dealing with operators of wonder banks which are on the rise especially in the northern part of the country.

According to him, “the operators of the illegal scheme are taking advantage of the financial illiteracy of the public to defraud them in the name of investment”.

He added that most of the Ponzi scheme operators avoid SEC registration because they know they would be monitored.

In his response, Sanusi Mohammed, the EFCC Zonal Head, suggested a joint operation between the two agencies to curtail the spread of Ponzi schemes and prevent the public from falling victims of the scam.

Mohammed further assured the SEC of the Commission’s continued support as the two agencies share common objectives to fight financial crimes. “As long as the mandate of EFCC and that of SEC remain, you cannot separate the SEC and EFCC. We will continue to work together institutionally, “he said.

“Where the SEC’s main concern is to make sure investors are protected from losing their investments, the EFCC’s concern is the protection of the general public from the activities of fraudsters, which are one and the same,” the Zonal Head added.


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Oreoluwa Adesakin, First Bank Staff Jailed for Stealing N49m

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Oreoluwa Adesakin, a staff of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has been convicted for fraud and handed a total term of 98 years in prison by Justice Muniru Olagunju of the Oyo State High Court.

Oreoluwa Adesakin, First Bank Staff Jailed for Stealing N49m

Oreoluwa Adesakin

But she will spend just seven years in jail.

Adesakin was found to have committed financial fraud against First Bank to the tune of N49,320,652.32.

She also stole $368,203.00 belonging to the bank, which she converted to her personal use.

Adesakin, before she was busted by the bank and sacked, was its Money Transfer Operator, saddled with the responsibility of effecting payments through Western Union Money Transfer and MoneyGram platforms.

The convict was prosecuted by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), on a 14-count charge, bordering on stealing, forgery and fraudulent accounting.

One of the counts read: “That you Oreoluwa Adesakin sometime between the months of May, 2013 and November, 2013, at Ibadan within the Ibadan Judicial Division, whilst being a staff of First Bank PLC stole the sum of N25,974,116.13 (Twenty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand, One Hundred and Sixteen Naira, Thirteen Kobo) from First Bank PLC MoneyGram Payment Naira Account, property of First bank PLC.”

She pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Usman Murtala, prosecution counsel, presented every vital document and witnesses which nailed the convict.

Justice Olagunju noted that the EFCC presented incontrovertible evidence against the convict and did a diligent investigation and prosecution.

He thus pronounced Adesakin guilty of all the counts.

He sentenced her to seven years in prison without an option of fine on each of the 14 counts. The sentencing will run concurrently.

Apart from the jail term, the convict is also to restitute the First Bank, through the EFCC, all the money she stole.

The convict was arraigned April 4, 2014 by the EFCC following a conclusion of investigations against her which arose from a petition from her former employer, dated December 18, 2013.

The bank alleged in the petition that Adesakin fraudulently manipulated its Moneygram accounting and withdrew N49,320,652.32 and another $368,203.00 for herself, which the bank only uncovered while reviewing its internal account.

The EFCC was also able to establish that the convict used part of the proceeds of her crime to acquire landed properties in different parts of Oyo State.


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CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider

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Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has recertified the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Academy as a training service provider for various professionals in the banking industry.

CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider

The council also renewed the academy’s accreditation for the next three years, effective from June 2020.

Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, said the recertification followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since it initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.

The recertification, according to Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, Head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since its initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.

He noted that there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to.

Mr Ogunpola commended the NDIC for its consistent efforts toward meeting the high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy.

He described the NDIC’s readiness to subject itself to the rigors of the Institute’s accreditation process as a testimony of its Management’s commitment to capacity development for all stakeholders.

In his reaction, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim, managing director/chief executive, NDIC, described the recertification as another milestone in the NDIC efforts to consolidate the position of the Academy as a center of academic excellence in the nation’s banking industry and on deposit insurance in Africa.

Mr Ibrahim disclosed that the Academy had so far trained a total of 13,368 participants cutting across the NDIC’s workforce.

“It had also trained 135 participants from relevant stakeholders, including the EFCC, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

“On the international front, 19 employees from sister deposit insurance agencies in other African countries had benefitted from the expertise of the Academy,” the managing director noted.

He stated that the NDIC Academy has been designated to host the African Centre for Studies on Deposit Insurance System (ACSDIS) recently established by the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurance (IADI).

Mr. Ibrahim reiterated that with the recertification, the NDIC Academy is positioned to fulfill the NDIC’s goal of serving as a center of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He added that the NDIC prides itself on establishing the highest standards of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program at Bangor University, Wales in partnership with the CIBN.

The NDIC boss emphasized that the Corporation places high premium on capacity building and continuous high level training of its staff to achieve the NDIC mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, bank distress resolution and liquidation.

“The ultimate goal would be to enhance depositor protection and public confidence in the nation’s banking system,” he said.


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