Connect with us

Money market

AfCFTA set to boost African exports by over 81%

Published

on

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has expressed his confidence in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost economic growth in Africa. Speaking at a breakfast meeting with African Heads of State to launch the Action Plan for AfCFTA, Shettima highlighted the potential of the trade agreement to increase Africa’s GDP by $450 billion in 2035 and exports by over 81%.

He emphasised the importance of increasing intra-Africa trade, which currently stands at 15 percent, and stressed that the AfCFTA agreement must not be allowed to fail due to its potential to raise the continent’s GDP. The breakfast meeting took place on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“African trade is to be boosted by 52.3 percent by 2025. We should increase these targets and look at the trillions of dollars.

“African countries need to move quickly to iron out whatever agreements and impediments remaining to ensure free and smooth trade.

“Information sharing with private sector players must be optimized and prioritised. Trade is a private sector imperative, which governments only facilitate.”

Shettima observed that negotiations have turned out to be too slow, with clashes between national and continental priorities.

This, according to him, has led to too few consummated deals among countries since January 2021 to date.

“Looking ahead, there is a need for speed and cohesion among African countries. The idea of AfCFTA must not fail, and there is no room for mediocrity in today’s world.”

Citing examples of trade unions in Europe, the Americas and Asia, Shettima said African trade could not continue to be externalised.

“Even though we have increased intra-Africa trade from a mere seven per cent a decade ago, to about 15 per cent today.

“While Intra-European Trade is around 70 percent, there is a need for African leaders to do a lot better in organically empowering countries on the continent to solve their problems.”

He urged Africa’s private sector players to be proactive in stepping up to the plate to occupy their pride of place in trade on the continent.

Similarly, Shettima at a forum to welcome investors to a parley with Nigerian officials, told foreign investors that Nigeria was on the right path to becoming their delight.

He said President Bola Tinubu’s administration was on a drive to bring in the entire ecosystem of investors.

“From private equity players, to venture capitalists, impact investors and competent contractors from all over the world to partner with us in this quest.

“Nigeria occupies an enviable position as the continent’s largest economy and with the largest population.

“Nigeria is currently repositioning her economy away from crude oil dominance, with deeper footprints in technology, arts, culture, creativity and industrialisation.

“Recent developments in our energy sector portend that Nigeria is leading the region in energy security and energy transition.”

He said that international and domestic energy companies were already engaging the global community and subscribing to the innovations of the future.

Shettima maintained that Nigeria remained open to engage with willing nations on mutually beneficial and sustainable terms.

“This underscores why the country is a reference point for best global practices.

“We have our export, Dr Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala heading up the World Trade Organisation, meaning that Nigeria must show to be a shining example in the best global trade practices.

“Recently, Nigeria removed the infamous 43 trade items from foreign exchange ban, opening up the space entirely, in what is actually a very bold move, signifying full trade liberalisation.”

On efforts by the Tinubu administration in ensuring a conducive environment for investment, Shettima said Nigeria also totally liberalised the downstream petroleum sector.

He added that Tinubu removed the burdensome subsidies and instituted a market-driven foreign exchange market, which outlawed multiple exchange rates in the economy.

Shettima said the country intends to participate fully in the Global Value Chains (GVC) at many levels, aiming for good value capture as it becomes even more relevant to global supply chains.

He listed priorities for the country to include “repositioning our energy sector, investing in major infrastructure like our rail system, roads, new seaports, and digital technology for our vibrant youthful population to engage the world.

“Nigeria also targets a $1 Trillion economy within eight years and this requires that we grow our economy in leaps and bounds.

“A new era of accountability and productivity is being instituted under the guidance of President Tinubu.

“Nigeria is an investor’s delight. There is so much to do. So many sectors to engage in.

“We intend to make the country into a huge construction site in a matter of months. We have rejigged our revenue administration, and will soon match up with some of the most efficient countries in the world.”

Shettima also spoke about the emergence of new sectors such as the Blue Economy, Digital Economy, Steel sector, Gas Subsector, and Alternative Energy, among others.

He said under President Tinubu a lot was being done to reposition Nigeria’s image, tackle remaining pockets of insecurity and project Nigeria to the world.

“Nigeria’s diversity is her strength. We have over 300 different languages. Each culture has something to learn from others. And something to teach.”

 

Money market

Oyebanji hails Alebiosu’s appointment as acting MD/CEO First Bank

Published

on

Gov. Biodun Oyebanji has congratulated Mr Olusegun Alebiosu on his elevation as the Acting Managing Director/ CEO of First Bank Plc by the bank’s board.

Alebiosu, who was until the appointment, the Executive Director, Chief Risk Officer and Executive Compliance Officer of the Bank, takes over from Dr Adesola Adeduntan.

Oyebanji, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Yinka Oyebode, congratulated Alebiosu, describing the new position as a befitting cap to his illustrious career and meritorious service to the financial institution.

The governor described the Omuo-Ekiti born banker as a thoroughbred professional who rose to the peak of his career through hard work and commitment to excellence and innovation.

Oyebanji said he was convinced that the new Acting Managing Director possesses the track record, experience and expertise to successfully drive the bank’s development agenda.

In wishing Alebiosu a successful tenure, Governor Oyebanji prayed that God would grant him wisdom and speed needed to take the bank to a new level of greatness.

“I convey the best wishes of the Government and good people of Ekiti State to one of our stars, Mr Olusegun Alebiosu on his appointment as the Acting managing Director of First Bank plc.

“This, no doubt, is a recognition of his capacity and competence.

“We wish him a successful tenure that would be characterised by irreversible progress for the bank,” he said.

Continue Reading

Money market

POS transactions crash by N226bn in Q1, 2024

Published

on

Point-of-Sale (POS) transaction values witnessed a downturn in Nigeria for the first quarter of 2024, registering a N225.73 billion drop when compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

This significant decline marks a 7.94 percent fall in the use of POS systems for transactions within the country as the currency outside banks surged.

The contrasting trends of POS transaction values and volumes—sourced from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) with the data of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on currency circulation offer a complex picture of the financial habits of Nigerians in the first quarter of 2024.

While this analysis encompasses the first quarter of 2024, the CBN has not yet released the data for March 2024. This limits the analysis for cash outside banks to February 2024.

The quarter opened with a slight uptick in POS transaction values, which stood at N850.09 billion in January 2024, surpassing January 2023’s figures.

However, the initial growth was short-lived, as February 2024 saw a reduction in transaction values to N805.05 billion, down from N883.45 billion in February of the previous year. The downward trajectory extended to March 2024, where the value of transactions through POS systems further decreased to N961.86 billion from March 2023’s high of N1.15 trillion.

The total value of transactions for Q1 2024 summed up to N2.62 trillion, failing to match the N2.84 trillion recorded in the same period in 2023.

The decline in Nigeria’s POS transaction values for Q1 2024 is further mirrored by a similar fall in transaction volumes. Alongside the N225.73 billion drop in transaction value, the number of POS transactions also reduced considerably.

January 2024 saw an initial rise in transaction volumes to 112.78 million, an increase from 96.35 million in January 2023. Despite this initial rise, the overall trend for the quarter was a decline.

In February 2024, the volume of POS transactions decreased to 97.57 million from the 113.53 million recorded in the same month of the previous year. March continued this decline, with volumes falling to 103.65 million, down from the high of 177.93 million seen in March 2023.

When totaled, the first quarter of 2024 saw POS transaction volumes reach 314 million, which is a significant drop of 73.81 million, or 19.03 percent, from the 387.81 million transactions recorded in the first quarter of 2023.

This decline in POS transaction values and volumes can be seen in the context of the cash scarcity that hit Nigeria in the first quarter of 2023.

The cash shortage during that period led to a surge in cashless transactions, including the use of POS systems, as citizens sought alternatives to conduct their daily business in the absence of sufficient cash circulation.

The recent decline in POS usage suggests a reversal of the cashless trend, possibly indicating that the aftereffects of the previous year’s cash scarcity might be normalising, or that new patterns in consumer transaction behavior are emerging.

Despite the downturn in POS transaction values and volumes in Nigeria for Q1 2024, there has been an uptrend in the registration of POS terminals during the same period.

In Q1 2023, the number of registered POS terminals increased by 218,475, from 2,318,947 in January 2023 to 2,537,422 by March 2023. By the same quarter in 2024, the number of registered POS terminals had increased by 289, 154, from 3,441,287 in January 2024 to 3,730,441 by March 2024.

Overall, between the end of Q1 2023 and that of Q1 2024, Nigeria has witnessed an additional 1,193,019 POS terminals, marking a 47.02 percent increase.

This rise in terminal registration seems counterintuitive given the simultaneous decrease in transaction value and volume. It could suggest that while the immediate usage of POS systems has dropped, the infrastructure continues to expand.

Amid the decline in POS transaction values and volumes, alongside the significant rise in registered POS terminals in Nigeria for Q1 2024, the scenario is further compounded by the increasing trend of cash outside the banking system.

The CBN data show a notable preference among Nigerians to keep cash at home. In January 2024, cash outside banks escalated to N3.28 trillion, which is an increase of 314 percent from N792.18 billion in the same month of 2023. For February, the amount skyrocketed further to N3.411 trillion, marking a 305 percent  increase from the N843.31 billion recorded in February 2023.

Similarly, the amount of currency in general circulation followed this upward trajectory. The CBN reported that in January 2024, the currency in circulation rose by 163 percent to N3.65 trillion, from January 2023’s N1.39 trillion. In February 2024, the amount reached N3.69 trillion which represents a 276 percent increase from February 2023’s figure of N982.1 billion.

Approximately 92 percent of all currency in circulation in February 2024 was outside the banking system. This is a notable increase from February 2023, when the figure stood at 86 percent.

The growth in the proportion of currency held outside banks is significant and suggests a deepening trend of cash retention by Nigerians, a pattern that may have influenced the observed decrease in POS transaction activities despite the expanding availability of POS terminals.

Together, these figures from NIBSS and CBN suggest a period of adjustment and a possible recalibration of trust in cash-based transactions, likely still echoing the cash scarcity challenges of the previous year.

Continue Reading

Money market

Naira will continue to appreciate against dollar – Shettima

Published

on

Vice President Kashim Shettima has expressed optimism that the Naira would continue to appreciate against the dollar at the forex market.

Spokesperson of the Vice-President, Mr Stanley Nkwocha, in a statement on Saturday, said Shettima stated this at a meeting with officials of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), at the President Villa, Abuja.

He said President Bola Tinubu ended the fuel subsidy and ensured the unification of the multiple exchange rate because the former arrangement was producing billionaires overnight.

“Naira went haywire and some people were celebrating but inwardly we were laughing at them because we knew that we have the leadership to reverse the trend.

“Asiwaju knows the game, and truly the Naira is gaining and the difference will drop further.”

He recalled that the quality of leadership provided by President Tinubu as governor of Lagos laid the foundation for the massive development witnessed in the state.

Shettima assured that the Tinubu administration is doing its best to address challenges in the power sector.

According to him, Tinubu’s administration is aware that power is absolutely essential for development.

“We are determined to ensure that we generate jobs for our youths. Honestly, the President’s obsession is to live in a place of glory, to transform this country to a higher pedestal.

“He wants to leave a legacy, one of qualitative leadership because the hope of the black man, the hope of Africa rests with Nigeria.

“I want to assure you that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one of you. He understands your ecosystem. In this government, you have an ally and a friend.”

Earlier, the President of LCCI, Gabriel Idahosa, emphasised the need for the Federal Government to consider more innovations to address the insecurity challenge in the country.

He also urged the Tinubu administration to ensure a significant upswing in the pace and scale of alternative policy measures that promote credit access, stimulate investment, and support entrepreneurship.

“This could include targeted interventions such as concessional lending facilities, loan guarantees, and interest rate subsidies tailored to the needs of SMEs and key sectors of the economy like agriculture, manufacturing and power technology.”

Continue Reading

Trending