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Interswitch kicks off 20th anniversary, launches NeverStop Brand Campaign



To herald its 20th-anniversary commemoration, Interswitch has launched a new brand campaign to project its positioning as a pioneering and integral enabler that has not only actively supported the growth and development of fintech and payments across Africa over the last 20 years.

The brand’s progressive outlook as a frontier-driving company which keeps pushing boundaries and facilitating the creation of new ecosystems that help businesses and individuals scale and thrive, in line with its purpose of inspiring Africa to greatness through innovation, value-creation and excellence.

In the words of Mitchell Elegbe, Founder & Group CEO, at the anniversary kick-off media parley on Tuesday, 30th August 2022, “Today, as we flag off our celebrations, there is quite a lot of excitement within Interswitch, but also some deep reflection as we look back on the journey of the last two decades – twenty years of transforming Africa’s digital economy.

“Interswitch was founded to solve a social problem – to make people’s lives easier when it came to payments, transactions and accessing their funds. We saw a way to do this by developing products and services with the consumer at the heart, leading with technology and innovation.

“As is the case with many pioneers, while we navigated uncharted waters, there were times when we pushed ahead with absolutely no assurances and buoyed up by just sheer tenacity and grit.  At those times, the big picture kept us going, our dream to deliver a prosperous Africa, driven by a seamless exchange of value and commerce.”

Elegbe goes on to assert that the foregoing was the foundation upon which Interswitch’s two flagship products, Quickteller and Verve, were created – born from the over-arching mission to solve problems and focused on delivering comprehensive solutions for individuals to make everyday payments, to help connect and simplify the lives of our consumers across the continent.

Capturing the essence of Interswitch’s new ‘Never Stop’ campaign, Cherry Eromosele, the company’s Executive Vice-President for Group Marketing and Communications stated that “anniversaries not only give the chance to celebrate how far we’ve come in our journey but also provide the opportunity to stop, reflect and launch out again with fresh passion, a renewed zeal and a clearer vision.

“This is what underpins the philosophy that has given rise to #NeverStop. As we look ahead, we see enormous potential for future growth and the furthering of our vision. The outlook is rapidly evolving; At Interswitch, we also see the application of digital payments as being sector-agnostic and, with the increasing adoption of technology and digital payments across Nigeria and Africa, opportunities to broaden the fintech/payments landscape continue to present themselves.”

From Elegbe’s perspective, the runway for growth remains significant as well over 50% of Nigeria is still unbanked or underbanked and 85% of transactions in sub-Saharan Africa still occur in cash. He opines that “today, technology is at the forefront of society and will continue to play a significant role in how we work and live.

“Nigeria is fast becoming the tech-capital of Africa, with one of the fastest growing tech markets in the world. Interswitch has always been focused on the bigger picture, with the understanding that ‘going it alone’ is not the answer, and that we do better by working together.

“Building a profitable, thriving business has been important, but in order to achieve our purpose of Inspiring Africa to Greatness, we had to play our part in providing an enabling environment for the holistic ecosystem to thrive.”

Over the next 6 months, the company intends to progressively unveil a line-up of brand campaigns, commemorative events and thought-leadership initiatives centered around this significant corporate milestone on a Pan-African level.

Money market

UBA pledges $6bn to support SMEs in Expert expresses confidence in Tinubu’s 2024 budget proposaltrade deal



A Professor of Capital Market at Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Uche Uwaleke, has expressed optimism about the proposed 2024 budget presented by President Bola Tinubu.

Uwaleke, who is also the President of the Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria, made this statement during an interview with journalists in Abuja on Sunday.

While acknowledging the promising nature of the budget, Uwaleke highlighted the challenges posed by the distortionary impact of the Foreign Exchange (FX) regime.

He emphasised that addressing this issue is crucial for the successful implementation of the budget.President Bola Tinubu presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill, titled the “Budget of Renewed Hope,” to a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The proposed budget amounts to N27.5 trillion. In Uwaleke’s view, the 2024 budget proposals offer significant potential for the economy if effectively executed.

“A major snag, however, stems from the likely distortionary impact of the new fx regime.

“A Naira float in the face of weak supply and strong demand with its attendant FX market volatility introduces uncertainty in budget implementation.

“This is why I consider the N750 to the dollar rate used for the 2024 budget as a tall order.

“It is most likely the exchange rate will be the major cause of wide variances in the 2024 budget on account of Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) operations,” he said.

Uwaleke said that a volatile and high exchange rate would increase the cost of servicing external debt and further widen the budget deficit.

“This is particularly so in respect of the dollar-denominated component of the budget, much of which can be found in the over three trillion Naira proposed defence spending as well as in recurrent debt expenditure.

“In my view, a well implemented and corrupt-free dual, not multiple, exchange rate regime helps to bring certainty in government procurements and short term planning in general,” he said.

He said that one tier of the dual rates should be official, including for debt service, and the other tier for other transactions.

According to Uwaleke, a related issue has to do with the mode of financing the over nine trillion Naira deficit and its likely impact on cost of capital for firms and the stock market.

“In previous budgets, the amount voted for new borrowings were split fairly equally between domestic and foreign sources.

“This time around domestic borrowing is taking up a huge chunk at about 78 per cent, N6.1 trillion out of N7.8 trillion, provisioned for new borrowings

“This can have the effect of crowding out the private sector, hiking interest rates, increasing cost of funds, and depressing the equities market as investors migrate to fixed income securities.

“The outcome will be a further weakening of the productive sector,” he said.

He advised the Federal Government to explore more opportunities for concessional project-tied loans from multilateral and bilateral sources.

He said that this would help to boost fx reserves and stabilise the exchange rate.

“With respect to borrowing domestically, it’s important that emphasis should be placed on the use of the right instruments such as infrastructure bonds as opposed to Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) bonds that are inflationary prone,” he said.

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Money market

Access Bank boosts MSME loan scheme to N50bn, receives Govt praise



Access Bank Plc has received commendation from the Federal Government for increasing its loan scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) from N30 billion to N50 billion.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs and Job Creation, Office of the Vice-President, Mr Temitola Adekunle-Johnson made this announcement in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

In November, Access Bank had initially announced the provision of N30 billion to support four million MSMEs, women, and youth businesses in Nigeria.

The Group Managing Director of the bank, Mr Roosevelt Ogbonna, had disclosed this during a meeting with Vice-President Kashim Shettima at the Presidential Villa.

The decision to increase the loan scheme was made to benefit more individuals and have a greater impact on livelihoods.

The loans will be given to beneficiaries at a discounted rate of 15 percent. Any further adjustments to the loan scheme will be based on its performance after a year.

Vice-President Shettima expressed his appreciation for the bank’s gesture and praised the impact of its partnership with the Federal Government in the MSMEs sector.

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Money market

Subscribe to FG bonds with competitive interest rates for Dec. 2023 — DMO invites investors



…Auctions N406.10bn worth of T-bills in July

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has announced the subscription process for two-year and three-year Federal Government of Nigeria bonds for December 2023.

The bonds will have an interest rate of 12.287 percent and 13.287 percent respectively and will mature on March 13th, 2024. The subscription period will last for 5 days, from December 4th to December 8th, 2023.

The DMO made the announcement on its official website..

The statement read, “Under the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act 2003 and the Local Loans (Registered Stock and Securities) Act, CAP. L17, LFN 2004 DEBT MANAGEMENT OFFICE on behalf of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA Offers for Subscription and is authorized to receive applications for the Federal Government of Nigeria saving bonds.”

The interest rate for the two-year bonds stands at 12.287 percent per annum, while the three-year bonds offer an interest rate of 13.287 percent per annum.

The statement also specifies the settlement date for both bond offerings as December 13th, 2023, with coupon payments scheduled for March 13, June 13, September 13, and December 13.

These bonds will accrue interest payments every quarter.

The DMO outlines the units of subscription as “N1,000 per unit, subject to a minimum subscription of N5,000, and subsequent multiples of N1,000, with a maximum subscription limit of N50,000,000.”

Potential investors are advised to reach out to stock brokerage firms authorised by the Debt Management Office (DMO) to inquire about FGN bonds.

These bonds can be traded on the NGX (Nigerian Exchange Group). It is crucial to understand that FGN bonds are completely supported by the federal government of Nigeria.

…Auctions N406.10bn worth of T-bills in July

Also, DMO has announced that it sold Treasury bills (T-bills) valued at N406.10 billion in its auctions in July 2023. This information was revealed in the FMDQ Markets Monthly Report for July.

The amount sold represents a 0.39 percent increase (N1.59 billion) compared to the previous month of June 2023, when T-bills worth N404.51 billion were sold.

In addition, the DMO reopened two 10-year, one 15-year, and one 30-year Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds, totaling N657.84 billion in July 2023.

The report highlighted that the total sale of these bonds was oversubscribed by 182.73 percent and represented a 39.03 percent increase (N184.68 billion) compared to the amount sold in June 2023 (N473.16 billion) for the same bond maturities.

The report also mentioned that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not conduct any public Open Market Operations (OMO) Bills auctions in July 2023.

Furthermore, the FMDQ report revealed that no corporate bonds were listed on the FMDQ Exchange in July 2023, in contrast to the N17.50 billion worth of corporate bonds listed in June 2023.

According to the report, there were no corporate bonds listed on the FMDQ Exchange in July 2023 compared to N17.50 billion worth of corporate bonds listed in June 2023.

“As a result, the total outstanding value for corporate bonds remained unchanged at N1,757.95 billion in the review month,” it said.

The report stated that the total value of Commercial Papers (CPs) quoted on the FMDQ Exchange in July 2023 was N117.32 billion, representing a MoM increase of 42.85 percent (N35.19 billion) from the value of CPs quoted in June 2023.

“Quoted CPs were issued by institutions from various sectors including Financial Services (5), Manufacturing (4), Real Estate (3), Agriculture (2), Chemical Supply & Oil Field Services (2), Commodities Trading (1), Public Sector (1), Telecommunications (1) and Consumer Staples (1)./

“As a result, the total outstanding value of CPs increased MoM by 14.10 percent (N117.32 billion) to N949.26 billion,” it said.

According to the report, secondary market turnover on the FMDQ Exchange in July 2023 was N19.92 trillion, representing a MoM decrease of 8.37 percent (1.82 trillion) and a YoY increase of 0.81 percent (N0.16 trillion) from June 2023 and July 2022 figures, respectively.

It noted that Foreign Exchange (FX), Money Market (MM), and CBN Bills transactions dominated secondary market activity, accounting for 73.98 percent of the total secondary market turnover in July 2023.

“Total spot market turnover for all products traded in the secondary market was N18.47 trillion in July 2023, representing a MoM increase of 3.68 percent (N0.66 trillion) from June 2023 figures./

“The MoM increase in total spot market turnover was driven by an improvement in turnover across MM and FI transactions which increased MoM by 16.35% (N0.90 trillion) and 12.16 percent (N0.91 trillion), respectively, despite the MoM decline in FX transactions by 24.34 percent (N1.16 trillion)./

“The uptick in MM turnover was driven by an increase in Repos/Buybacks, offsetting the MoM decline in Unsecured Placement/Takings transactions. Likewise, the improvement in FI turnover was driven by a MoM increase across all FI products, excluding CBN Special Bills and FGN Bonds which decreased in the review period,” the report noted.

According to the report, “Spot FX market turnover was N3.61 trillion ($4.66 billion) in July 2023, representing a MoM decrease of 24.34 percent (N1.16 trillion) from the turnover recorded in June 2023 (N4.77 trillion).

“In the FX Market, the US Dollar appreciated against the Naira, with the spot exchange rate ($/N) increasing by 22.94 percent ($/N143.60) to close at an average of $/N769.51 in July 2023 from $/N625.90 recorded in June 2023./

“In July 2023, the Nigerian Naira experienced decreased exchange rate volatility, with the currency trading within a range of $/N740.08 – $/N803.90. This was a significant improvement compared to the range of $/N464.67 – $/N770.38 recorded in June 2023.”

The report also highlighted that the turnover in the financial instruments (FI) market reached N8.43 trillion in July 2023, showing a month-on-month increase of 12.16 percent (N0.91 trillion) compared to the turnover of N7.52 trillion in June 2023.

The increase in FI market turnover was primarily driven by significant upticks in turnover across T.Bills, OMO Bills, and Other Bonds, which saw increases of 52.55 percent (N0.94 trillion), 63.75 percent (N0.98 trillion), and 402.37 percent (N0.03 trillion) respectively. These increases offset the decreases in turnover for CBN Special Bills and FGN Bonds, which experienced declines of 57.36 percent (N1.00 trillion) and 1.24 percent (N0.03 trillion) respectively.

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