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Nigerian capital market, credible platform for long-term finance – Ahmed

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Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed
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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, says the Nigerian capital market is a credible platform for medium to long term finance for economic development.

Ahmed said this at a webinar organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development on Thursday.

The minister added that the nation’s capital market was a key catalyst for the development of the critical sectors of the economy.

The theme of the webinar was: “Financing the Solid Minerals Sector through the Capital Market and the Critical Role of Commodity Exchanges.”

Ahmed said the facilitation of funding and provision of structured market platforms such as the commodities exchanges portends significant addition for the mining and solid minerals sector.

She said the event and its theme were relevant to the economy given the need to diversify and grow the economy, and to enable the nation achieve sustainable development in the post COVID-19 pandemic era.

“The mining sector is strategically based as alternative source for revenue generation in the economic diversification plan of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“It also has the potential to create employment and develop rural settings for other benefits,” she said.

Ahmed noted that the mineral export guidelines by the Federal Government was formulated to address the need to keep accurate mineral trade data.

She said it was also to ensure effective monitoring of the evacuation of export proceeds, to optimise the collection of royalties, and facilitate the implementation of free shipment inspection policies.

She explained that the initiative of employing the commodities exchange in this regard would encourage responsibility accounting and fairness to governance.

The minister assured of the unwavering support of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to ensure the achievement of the overarching objective of the Federal Government to develop the mineral potential of the country.

“The reality is that the nation stands to benefit more in an organised mining and solid mineral extractive industry and the capital market is here to contribute its quota.

“This webinar is a signal that with the appropriate collaboration amongst sectors, institutions, regulators and operators, we can exceed out targets sooner rather than later and Nigeria will reap huge benefits from such forums,” she added.

In a welcome address, SEC’s Director-General, Mr Lamido Yuguda, said with over 44 minerals found across the federation, the solid minerals sector would be instrumental in the on-going quest to diversify the economy.

Yuguda said: “We believe that the Nigerian commodity trading system and indeed the capital market can be the transformational patronage to bring about this positive changes in the sector.

“With opportunities provided for better access to marketing of produce, price discovery and valuable market information, a striving commodities trading ecosystem has the potential to foster inclusive mining prosperity.

“It will also enhance financial inclusion of artisanal miners, foster mineral production, stimulate exports and ultimately engendered economic development, amongst other benefits.

“Undoubtedly, greater connectivity of the mining sector and the commodities trading ecosystem will ensure that mineral commodities could be traded on transparent, efficient and organised trading platform provided by commodity exchanges.”

In his keynote address, Minister of State, Ministry of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, described the webinar as timely because it came at a time that President Muhammadu Buhari, had put all the necessary machinery in place to revamp the sector for economic stability.

Oga, however, expressed disappointment that over 90 per cent of the artisanal miners and small scale operators’ contribution to employment was still very low with a Gross Domestic Production (GDP) contribution of 0.5 per cent.

“We eagerly want to change this through implementation of the roadmap to contribute about five per cent to the GDP by 2025.

“Inadequate funding has been the bane of underdevelopment; it is on this premise that I welcome this partnership with the SEC,” he said. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

World Bank projects Nigeria’s Diaspora remittances to increase in 2022

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World Bank has projected Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflow to increase to $29bn in 2022 because of higher food prices and the continued adoption of official bank channels.

The bank said, migrants from the country are likely to send more money home to help with the hike in the prices of staples.

A report titled, ‘Migration and Development Brief (May 2022): A War in a Pandemic: Implications of the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 on the global governance of migration and remittance flows,’ the bank stated that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are expected to increase by 4.2 per cent to $630bn in 2022.

It said: “With risks weighted to the downside, there are several factors that support a view for continued—though more moderate—7.1 per cent gain inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

“Momentum for the use of official channels in Nigeria should sustain an uptrend in the year, within flows reaching $21bn.

“Though economic activity is likely to ease in the United States and Europe, fundamentals remain positive for continued gains in remittance flows to the remainder of Africa, as the influence of ‘altruistic’ motivations that were demonstrated in Africa and South Asia during the peak pandemic years will likely carry over to the period of sharp increases in staple food prices.”

The global bank further said remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa was $49bn in 2021, with Nigerian contributing $19.2bn to the total inflow, adding that the use of informal channels to transfer money to the region caused a 28 per cent reduction in inflows in 2020.

“In 2022, remittance inflows are projected to grow by 7.1 per cent driven by continued shift to the use of official channels in Nigeria and higher food prices – migrants will likely send more money to home countries that are now suffering extraordinary increases in prices of staples,” the bank said.

The World Bank stated that the Naira-4-Dollar policy, which was an attempt to return remittance to formal channels, of the Central Bank of Nigeria helped boost inflows by 11.2 per cent in 2021, adding that the stabilisation of the naira against the dollar within a range of 410-415 per dollar over the last year also contributed to the pickup in recorded inflows.

It noted that the increased stability of the Naira and increased use of the e-Naira would help boost the nation’s chances of achieving $21bn in remittance for 2022.

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Double trouble for Ahmed Idris: arrested by EFCC, suspended by Minister

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Ahmed Idris - Account General of the Federation
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The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris has been directed to proceed on indefinite suspension over alleged laundering of N80 billion.

Idris, was suspended on Wednesday by Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

In a letter dated May 18, 2022, the minister said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

Ahmed Idris, was on Monday arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). over alleged diversion and laundering of N80 billion.

Wilson Uwajaren, Head of Media and Public Information of the EFCC, stated that verified intelligence reports showed that Idris raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.

Uwujaren added that the funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and in Abuja.

According to EFCC, Idris was arrested after he failed to honour invitations by the Commission to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts.

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NEPC, 13 trade promotion organisations shortlisted for WTOP award

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NEPC Headquarters, Maitama - Abuja.
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The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has been nominated along side 13 other Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) for the 2022 World Trade Organisation (WTPO) Awards for Excellence in Trade Promotion.

A statement released on Monday by Ndubueze Okeke Head, Corporate Communications of the NEPC, it said Nigeria is poised to clinch the “Best Use of a Partnership”.

He said the NEPC has been shortlisted along with Apex Brazil, Jamaica Promotion Corporation, Qatar Development Bank-Tesder and Saudi Export Development Authority.

The WTPO Award which is scheduled to hold on 17th May, 2022 in Accra, Ghana is open to all national TPOs.

The statement also said, “NEPC acknowledged WTPO as it recognizes excellence in providing trade support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs to become competitive in international trade.

“In 2018, Nigeria, through NEPC won the award for the ‘Best initiative to Ensure that Trade is Inclusive and Sustainable”.

The NEPC won that category with its Zero to Export initiative which builds capacity of would-be exporters and SMEs on export procedures and documentation as well as provide practical training on product sourcing and market access.

The NEPC said that the initiative had trained 560 SMEs.

The International Trade Centre Executive Director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton said, “At a time when small firms have been hit by supply chain disruptions, climate change crises and other socio-economic challenges, it important to show inspiring models that connect small firms to Trade opportunities that are Inclusive and sustainable”.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak will represent Nigeria at the Award Ceremony.

The statement further said, Austria, Canada, Malaysia, Tanzania is competing in the “Best use of Information Technology”, while Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea, Netherlands and Zimbabwe will compete for the “Best initiative to ensure that trade is inclusive and sustainable category”.

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