Nairametrics| A Senior Economist at World Bank office in Nigeria, Yue Man Lee has said that it is imperative that the Federal Government (FG) increase taxes in order to generate more revenue. According to Lee, this is necessary so that Nigeria can adequately pay interest on its domestic debt.
When the Executive rolled out the 2017 budget with a N2.3 trillion deficit, the plan was to borrow the government’s way out of the deficit budget. About half of the deficit was to be sourced internally while the remaining half borrowed from external sources. The internal or domestic borrowing was to be sourced from treasury bills, bonds etc. that the FG would issue, while the Eurobonds, ADB and World Bank loans amidst others would make up the foreign borrowing.
However, Lee has exposed a problem that Nigeria is facing from its current debt profile. Although the country’s total current debt is relatively low compared to the Gross Domestic Product, the interest rate payment is not sustainable by current revenues.
“Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is relatively low. What is of concern is the ratio of interest payment to revenue. That is what is concerning. This reflects the fact that there has been a massive drop in revenues because of the drop in oil revenues.” Punch quotes Lee as saying.
According to her, Nigeria can get out of this situation by considering two options. First, the country could seek to increase its revenues, which would necessitate the diversification of the economy in order to shield revenue from the volatility of oil prices. She particularly mentioned taxes- VAT, income taxes and the excises outside of oil. The second way to correct the situation according to Lee is to adjust the debt profile so as to lean She cited the recent Eurobond subscriptions as examples of this.
Of these two options, Lee believes that the former is more important as she claims the World Bank is already discussing with the FG on the matter. “…in order not to be vulnerable to the volatility of the oil sector, the critical thing is to increase the non-oil revenues like the VAT, the income taxes and the excises outside of oil. This is something we have been discussing with the government about.
REMINDER: FGN Ijara Sukuk Bond auction closes on 2nd June 2020
Proceeds from the Ijara Sukuk Bond auction will be used solely for the construction and rehabilitation of key roads across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The Debt Management Office (DMO), on behalf of the Federal Government, has reminded the general public that the offer for subscription to the N150 billion FGN Ijara Sukuk Bond will close on Tuesday June 2nd, 2020.
The offer for subscription was announced some days ago by the DMO, as Nairametrics reported. Below are the details of the offering.
The Auction: N150, 000,000,000 – Rental Rate of 11.20% per annum IJORA SUKUK FGN JUNE 2027 (7-Yr Opening)
Arranger: FBNQuest Mechant Bank Limited and Lotus Financial Services Limited.
Opening Date: May 21, 2020
Closing Date: June 2, 2020
Settlement Date: June 9, 2020
Summary of the Offer
Instrument Type: Ijarah (Lease) Sukuk
Issuer: FGN Roads Sukuk Company 1 Plc. on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Units of Sale: N1,000 per unit subject to a minimum Subscription of N10,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter.
Rental Payment: Payable Half Yearly.
Redemption: Bullet repayment on the date of maturity
Use of Proceeds: Proceeds will be used solely for the construction and rehabilitation of key roads across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
About Sukuk bonds
Sukuk is derived from the word Sakk, which can be translated to mean legal instrument, deed, and cheque. Sakk can also mean to strike a deal on a paper document.
The origin of Sukuk dates to 7th century AD, where the first Sukuk transaction took place in Damascus, Syria in the Great Mosque of Damascus (Umayyad Mosque).
Since Islam prohibits usury – collecting interest from your loans – interest-based bonds are banned in Muslim nations.
Difference between Sukuk and regular bonds
Sukuk indicates ownership of an asset. The assets that back Sukuk are compliant with Shariah. In other words, such assets adhere to the Islamic prohibitions on gambling, alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, and adult entertainment products and services.
Sukuk notes pay a fixed percentage return as a profit-sharing percentage of the underlying assets’ revenues.
Regular bonds, on the other hand, pay a fixed rate of return as interest (coupon) semi-annually or annually.
Just In: PPPRA reduces petrol price to N121.50 per litre
“After a review of prevailing market fundamentals in the month of May and considering marketers realistic operating costs as much as practicable, we wish to advise of a new PMS guiding pump price…”
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has announced a new retail price band for oil marketers.
In a circular dated May 31st, as seen by Nairametrics, the downstream regulator said oil marketers are now expected to sell petrol within the price range of N121.50 and N123.50. Part of the circular said:
“Please recall the recently approved pricing regime which became effective March 19, 2020, and the provision for the establishment of a monthly price band within which petroleum marketers are expected to sell PMS at the retail stations.
“After a review of prevailing market fundamentals in the month of May and considering marketers realistic operating costs as much as practicable, we wish to advise of a new PMS guiding pump price with the corresponding ex-depot price for the month of June 2020, as follows; price band N121.50 – N123.50 per liter.”
Hedge funds, institutional investors rush to own stakes in Bitcoin
Hedge funds are firms that offer alternative investments to a specific type of investors (high net worth individuals), in a bid to protect their investment portfolios from market uncertainty, while generating positive returns regardless of market sentiments.
With global economic uncertainty gradually becoming a daily norm, institutional and hedge funds around the world have been rushing to have a stake in crypto assets which all have been outperforming other financial assets in 2020).
Just recently, a popular hedge fund based in New York –Grayscale Investments –caught the investment world by surprise by buying up Bitcoin (BTC) at a great rate in recent months.
Lennard Neo, the head of research at Stack Funds, told Cointelegraph that institutional investors have been seeking for other options, not just to provide returns, but also to hedge their existing portfolio from downside risks. Neo said:
“Similar to Grayscale, Stack has seen an uptick in investors’ interest — almost double that figures of pre-crash in March — in Bitcoin. I would not say they are ‘gobbling up BTC’ blindly but cautiously seeking traditional structured solutions that they are familiar with before making an investment.”
In addition, Paul Cappelli, a portfolio manager at Galaxy Fund Management, explained in detail the reasons for this demand. According to him, “we’re seeing increased interest from multiple levels of investors’ wealth channels, independent RIAs, and institutions.
“The recent BTC halving came at an interesting time amid the COVID-19 outbreak and the growing unease about quantitative easing. He noted: “It clearly demonstrated BTC’s scarcity and future supply reduction as concerns deepened around unprecedented stimulus by the Fed with the CARES Act.”
Also, Michael Sonnenshein, the Managing Director of Grayscale Investments, explained briefly why his firm uses Bitcoin as an option in hedging its firm’s portfolio position.
“All three are facing issues this time around. Bitcoin has emerged as an alternative hedge, operating independently of the dramatic monetary policies enacted by central banks,” he said.
What you need to know about Hedge Funds
They are firms that offer alternative investments to a specific type of investors (high net worth individuals), in a bid to protect their investment portfolios from market uncertainty, while generating positive returns regardless of market sentiments.