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Economy & Politics

NASD Looks To House Private Equity Deals, Crowdfunding

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The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) wants Private equity trades to be routed through its Over-the-Counter (OTC) market. It also plans to be the hub for crowd funding.

The OTC regulator sees the harnessing of private equity and venture capital deals as a means through which volume and turnover in its nascent market can grow.

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Private Equity and Venture Capital firms take up positions and sell down their positions in unlisted firms, and these trades, which are usually large, go unrecorded.

“We have set up our committee, and we are looking at how we can build the PE market”, Bola Ajomale, NASD’s Managing Director told capital market operators at a breakfast meeting.

The NASD also wants to be the hub for crowdfunding. “It is another huge market, and rather than leave it to players outside, we want to bring it into the capital market”, Ajomale said.

There are currently no rules anywhere in the world that caters to crowdfunding. “Nigeria is probably one of the first countries in the world that will come up with SEC-regulated rules for crowdfunding, and have one established market for crowd funding, Ajomale further said.

Speaking about the difficulty in raising affordable capital in the Nigerian capital markets, Ravindranath Magapu, Executive Director of Acorn Petroleum said “we are in a position where we are finding sources of capital almost an impossible task”. “There aren’t many private High Networth Individuals or common individuals who participate in Nigerian financial markets”, he opined.

The NASD has traded up to N46 billion in 1600 deals in about 2 years from its establishment. It hosts 23 companies listed on its exchange, 63 percent of which are currently profit making.

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Acording to the Ajomale, the NASD provides a new frontier of capital market opportunities.

NASD listed companies are grossly undervalued. And there are opportunities for restructurings, IPOs,  and corporate takeovers, he pointed out.

“Some companies right now are trading at about 16 kobo. That is an amazing takeover opportunity. Some of them are grossly undervalued”.

“In an OTC market, the only limitations are the imaginations of the players”

According to the NASD boss, some challenges that the NASD OTC market currently faces include: the fees that registrars charge, which were as high as one percent of the value of the security being verified and dematerialized, and which brokers have complained about. The SEC responded by issuing cease and desist order to the defaulting registrars.

The NASD also has plans to assist in solving the problem of lack of information that has hindered analysts and investors from gaining access to materials with which they can analyze the non-listed companies, before making investment decisions.

To address the problem of lack of information, the NASD plans to host executives of particular companies in analyst calls, in which analysts and investors can call-in to ask questions.

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Near term growth areas for the OTC market are linked notes for telecom firms who will be needing financing before eventually listing on the stock exchange, capital raising opportunities for power and utility companies through Special Purpose Vehicles who are thought to be in dire need of raising capital, and the selling down activity of Venture capital and Private Equity firms in which they hold positions.

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Economy & Politics

How N400 billion ecological funding can save Nigeria’s coastline

The waves of current from the ocean have become more violent, eroding the nation’s coastline which poses a serious threat.

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How N400 billion ecological funding can save Nigeria’s coastline

With the higher rainfalls predicted for the year 2020, states in Nigeria may have to worry about something more serious than a flood – the erosion of the coastlines.

According to Mr Kabiru Abdullahi, Lagos State Commissioner for Water Front Infrastructure Development, the waves of currents from the ocean have become more violent, eroding the nation’s coastline and compounding environmental degradation, and flooding.

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This development is already posing serious threats to several parts of Lagos state, which is known to be a coastal city.

According to NAN, the state government had already constructed 18 groins to wade off the violent currents from the oceans, but Abdullahi admitted that given the current situation, there is a need to construct at least 60 more groins.

These groins, he explained, would act as breakers, trapping sand from moving down the beaches.

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(READ MORE:Lagos State conducts social media poll on whether to lock down or not.)

What can N400 billion do to save the situation

Coastline erosion is a seasonal problem which will always occur when there is a rise in sea level, as is expected during the rainy season. If the government does not armour the shorelines with seawalls, jetties and groins, there could be more property and land losses.

How N400 billion ecological funding can save Nigeria’s coastline

According to the commissioner, N400 billion would be just enough to construct groins to cover another 60 kilometres in addition to the 7.2 kilometres done so far.

“On the Eko Atlantic City Project, so far, 18 groins have been constructed at 400 metres intervals covering a distance of about. We still have about 60 kilometres to go which is estimated to cost about N400 Billion,” he said.

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The Ecological fund is an intervention fund set up by the Federal Government to address the various environmental challenges in communities across the country, but interestingly, the Lagos state government has not accessed any ecological fund on this project so far.

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(READ MORE:Fourth Mainland Bridge to begin before December)

Lagos state budget for 2020 was put at N1.17 trillion with environment getting N66.586 billion of the sum. With this sum, there is no way the ministry of environment can take on the task of funding a N400 billion project on coastline and shoreline protection, and this is only one of the numerous environmental challenges the state has to deal with. The state budget has even been reviewed downwards in view of the COVID-19 induced economic challenges.

Illegal dredging activities and land reclamation for urban development are also creating serious environmental issues for Lagos and left on its own, and without intervention funding from the federal government, the coastline situation could be left to deteriorate even further with the onset of the rain

As the commissioner suggested, the federal government might want to consider allocating some of the “recently released tranche of Abacha loot of about $313 million” for this purpose, as it no doubt qualifies as a critical infrastructure for the country.

 

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Economy & Politics

New OPEC+ output cut proposal may stall if Russia …

OPEC is weighing the possibility of continuing with the current level of OPEC+ production cuts till the end of the year in order to support the oil market.

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OPEC+ Alliance, US, Russia, Canada, Mexico reach historic deal to cut 13.4 million bpd, Oil market still uncertain over the OPEC+ deal as prices react positively, 7 oil producing countries most affected by covid-19, see where Nigeria is placed

Some members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Country (OPEC) and Saudi Arabia are considering extending the historic production cuts of almost 10 million barrels per day beyond June.

They are weighing the possibility of continuing with the current level of OPEC+ production cuts till the end of the year in order to support the oil market; however, they are yet to get the support of Russia.

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Russia could be a stumbling block to sustaining the output cut deal beyond June, though OPEC+ and top oil-producing countries had pledged in April to restrict production to 9.7 million barrels per day in May and June, and then 7.7 million barrels from July to December.

According to reports, Saudi Arabia is pushing for the deeper 9.7 million barrel per day output cut to be extended beyond June up to the end of 2020, in order to rebalance the oil market, which is still bedevilled by a lot of uncertainty and volatility.

(READ MORE: Now that Oil is back)

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Russia on its part, which is a key ally to OPEC has been non-committal on this plan. The Russian government on Tuesday approved a plan to increase oil production as soon as the OPEC+ deal ends. This they hope to achieve by having new oil wells drilled this year and in 2021 for 2022 production.

According to a report from oilprice.com, Saudi Arabia believes the oil market still needs support and wants to continue with the current output cut until the end of the year. Russia wants the same, but the major challenge is with the oil companies who had failed to reach any agreement at their meeting on Tuesday.

About half of the Russian oil firms support the extension of the current output cut while the other half are against the extension but rather calling for the continuation of output cut that was earlier agreed by OPEC+. As a result, Russia is typically non-committal and would wait to see how much oil demand will recover.

 

 

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 reveals that many Nigerians have no emergency savings

The playout of events following the lockdowns resulting from the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic shows that Nigerians do not have emergency savings

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Though we are still grappling with the effects  of COVID-19, it may not be too early to begin to take stock and find out what we did well during the pandemic and what we should have done better.

Almost everyone’s radar has been on the ill-preparedness or lack of appropriate response by the government, with little or no time for an inward look at ourselves. The type of government we have in Nigeria should not have left anyone surprised at their response to the pandemic, especially when it came to the welfare of the populace. What do you expect from a government that is dysfunctional, at best?

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With such government, it is time for Nigerians to begin to watch out for themselves and prepare for the unforeseen, like the times we are in currently. The playout of events following the lockdowns caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shows that Nigerians do not have emergency savings.

According to a recent publication from the Punch Newspaper, “Barely one month of a lockdown of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun state, millions of Nigerians had become stricken with hunger. Many could not bear an extension of the movement restrictions.” The ensuing protests were indicative of the fact that many Nigerians were living off their daily incomes with no savings to fall back on.

High Poverty Level

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Many may have asked how they could save without having funds, to begin with. Agreed, the level of poverty is high in Nigeria; however, people should know that having savings is not a luxury, but a necessity. It does not have to be large, but putting aside something, no matter how small on a regular basis goes a long way in times of emergency.

I have seen images of Nigerians who surprised themselves and others with how much they saved over time in their piggy banks. There is no hard and fast rule of how much one should have in emergency funds, but there seems to be an agreement among financial analysts and planners that having the equivalent of 6 months’ expenses in your emergency savings account is the ideal.

The author of the book “Richest Man in Babylon” stated it clearly that if you do not save, it means that you have paid everyone else but yourself.

How to Start Saving

Pay yourself first: In line with the instructions in “The Richest Man in Babylon,” when you receive your monthly salary or collect that sales proceed from your business, “pay yourself first” by saving at least 10% of your collections or salary. For the salary earner, set up a direct deposit account where the money would be taken out of your pay directly into a bank savings account. By so doing, you are forced to save.

(READ MORE: If you experience these signs then know your salary is not enough)

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Cultivate the savings habit: Just as spontaneous buying is a habit, form the habit of saving. Do not see saving as putting aside the remnants (if any) after all your expenses. If that is your attitude to savings, then you fall into the group that pays everyone else but themselves.

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One thing is certain; as long as you have the money, there will always be something that is going to demand that money from you.

 

Remind yourself to save: If you are a salary earner who does not want to set up a direct deposit from your paycheck or you are a businessman or woman of any means, you can set up a savings reminder around the time you receive your salary or around your peak business time.

One website that can help you with this is https://www.futureme.org/  With this website, you can send an email to yourself to be delivered around the time you expect to receive your pay or business income, reminding yourself to save. Just like you set an alarm on your mobile phone, you can do so with a reminder to save.

Start Small ASAP: The Bible says that if you are not faithful with small things, how can you be faithful with larger things. You do not need millions to start saving, all you need is the will, the determination, and consistency. So, start small and start now, but be consistent.

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Reduce your Expenses: As already noted, one of the reasons that people do not save is because their expenses keep increasing, even when income sources are shrinking. If you find yourself in that situation (and you surely will, at one point or the other), cut down on your expenses and make them fall in line with trends in your income. Avoid spontaneous, emotional and flamboyant buying. Buy out of need, not out of want.

(READ MORE: Between saving, investing, speculating, trading & gambling)

Why It Seems Difficult to Save: To a whole lot of people, it is difficult to save because they live in the now. This is what financial psychologists call scarcity of attention. This scarcity of attention stops people from seeing what is really important and makes them see the urgent current expenses they need to cover.

5 Money Mistakes You Might be Making, COVID 19 Shows that Many Nigerians have No Emergency Savings

One reason why it is difficult to save is that while the expenses keep rising (out of increased need and inflation), sources of income keep shrinking or stagnating. The good thing however, is that we have the option to shrink our expenses in line with shrinkages in our income, but often times, we do not choose to do that. That is where the inability to save starts from.

Conclusion: If there is any lesson, we learned from the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, it is and should be that emergencies happen, and efforts should be made to cushion the financial impact of such emergencies by preparing for them in advance through emergency savings.


 

Written by  Uchenna Ndimele uchenna@mutualfundsnigeria.com

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