CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele yesterday defended the foreign exchange policies instituted by his regime. The apex bank, had in June 2015 issued a circular banning 41 goods and services that were hitherto imported, from accessing the official foreign exchange market.
We are delighted we put forex restriction on 41 items. We were castigated and I was reading in the Economist magazine that what we did was to just move around the home and pick items including toothpicks. I think it is important to know what we are doing. Today, companies that require starch and glucose for their pharmaceuticals and formulations patronise Nigerians. This has created jobs for us.
Emefiele made the remarks while receiving the Best of Africa achievement award conferred on him by Forbes Magazine in Washington DC.
The policies have had mixed success
While the CBN policies have profited some sub-sectors in the agricultural space such as oil palm production, rice production has had mixed success. Nigeria is producing more rice than ever, but domestic rice continues to be more expensive than imported rice. This has led to an increase in smuggling of rice through the nation’s porous land borders. What happens when the apex bank pulls the plug on cheap finance?
Enhanced finance is thus not the only factor necessary for successful industrialization. Nigerian businesses still struggle with infrastructural challenges, which make goods and services produced in the country more expensive than those imported.
The CBN in some ways is punching above its weight, due to the failure of the government’s fiscal policy. Recurrent expenditure still takes a greater chunk of the budget, and capital expenditure is being rolled forward to next year. Oil still remains a key driver of the Nigerian economy, and the slim recovery from recession was majorly due to a recovery in oil production and crude oil prices. Despite the much touted FX reforms, unemployment has crept to an all time high, showing the reforms have had a minute impact on the larger economy as a whole.
Covid-19 saving Nigerians millions in wedding and burial cost
As long as the pandemic persists, the ‘new normal’ is for ceremonies to remain subdued.
It was a sunny Saturday in May and like it had been for the better part of 8 weeks, the new normal was in force in Nosa’s household. The lockdown induced COVID-19 meant that all the hustle and bustle of giving attention to side hustles on weekends had all evaporated. Now he spent more time with his kids watching TV and playing video games. Whilst he has had to endure multiple weekends of lost revenue, staying indoors meant that his personal finance was still intact. But things would change dramatically this weekend.
Nosa got a call that he had just lost his aged mother to a brief illness. He had been battling with a terminal illness for years, but things seemed to be under control so her death came as a surprise. Even as he grappled with the thought of losing his mother, Nosa knew that he had to start making preparations for the expenses that are bound to come with burials in an African setting.
Thanks to the pandemic, and rules that came with it, Nosa ended up spending much less than he would have for his mother’s burial with most of the funds going towards mortuary expenses, transport and the direct cost of the actual burial itself.
“This COVID-19 is bad but it has saved me millions of naira that I would have spent in this burial,” he remarked.
“I wanted to give my mom a befitting burial but these are hard times and I may have borrowed money just to fund this. But with COVID-19 and social distancing in place I did not have to do any of this,” Nosa informs our reporter.
Nosa’s gains translate to massive losses for a whole chain of service providers in the event management industry. Similar occurrences over the last few months have resulted in the loss of revenue for such businesses.
Events in Nigeria often cost anywhere between half a million naira to over N100 million depending on the financial muscle of those spending. Burials, weddings, naming ceremonies and birthday parties, make a burgeoning industry that spans several sectors of the economy.
From mortuaries to casket makers, event planners, event Halls rentals, professional mourners, caterers, confectionaries, party rentals, photographers, video editors, tailors, newspapers , etc, its an entire value chain of businesses that provide one service or the other for this industry.
Each of these events cost millions of naira to organize hosting as many people as the budget can support. According to a CNN article quoting a report from TNS Global, Nigerians spend as much as $9,460 for a wedding ceremony. The report also indicates the party industry could be worth as high as $17 million based on statistics in 2017.
The math can be easily deducted. Assuming 50,000 ceremonies every weekend at an average cost of N1 million that is a N50 billion per weekend or N2.7 trillion ($6.75 billion) per annum. GDP data from the National Bureau of Statistics indicates sectors that support the ceremonies market in Nigeria, telecoms, transportation, Arts and Entertainment is worth a combined N18.4 trillion.
Chuks, a Partner at a top consulting firm in Nigeria admits were it not for the pandemic his wedding could have cost him about N15 million personally and another N20 million spent by family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers. He is in his forties and his wedding had been much anticipated. He went ahead with his wedding last weekend with less than a dozen people in attendance and over 140 others logging on via Zoom. He claims while he ended up not spending millions on food, drinks, wedding halls and other logistic costs, he still achieved his goal of getting married.
Necessity they say is the mother of invention and has millions stay locked in their homes, they have resorted to apps such as Zoom, Instagram Live, Microsoft Teams to hold virtual events. These days Zoom themed parties now have their own rules and conventions. Friends from all parts of the world log in with each person taking turns to say nice things about the celebrants. Games are conducted to spice up the event and stories told by the celebrant. Music is also played by the Zoom host with participants dancing and having fun.
“It is like watching a live movie and also being part of it as the audience and participant” a wedding planner informed Nairametrics. Whilst one cannot underrate the connection physical socializing brings, virtual meetings are gradually becoming a lifestyle and the longer social distancing continues its cultural significance will only continue to increase.
Aderonke Adebamibola, CEO of Unik Ushering Agency, an Event management firm, confirmed to Nairametrics that business has really slowed down in the last few months. “Even though the NCDC has now given rules to guide weddings and other events, the budget now is way less than it used to be due to the cap on numbers of guests” she explained.
Now, most events are kept within the premises of family residences, depriving hall rentals, the money they could have made from leasing out their halls. Venue decorators also have much less on their hands to do, as they no longer have to decorate big halls.
According to Adebamibola, every single business in the chain has been affected, from caterers to ushers.
“Now, we even have to convince them to use one or two ushers for their events because they believe they don’t need ushers for 20 or 30 guests. Caterers cannot even cook a half bag of rice now because of the number of guests. This means that they are also paid less for their services, even if they expend the same energy and time” she said.
The new normal in this industry means that the things that used to be prioritized are no longer priorities. Hand sanitisers, face masks and hand washing equipment are now compulsories in events, while the hand-shaking, and hugs that would have characterized such weddings
Due to the nature of the industry, a large percentage of the staff are kept on contract basis, so the reduction has not really translated into lay-offs. However, the industry revenue has been badly hit. A contract staff with NPU Events, who preferred anonymity, noted that in the last three months, she has only been called twice for events.
Since this forms a major part of her income, it has caused a major dip in her resources. COVID-19 has brought unwanted hardship to the Nigerian economy with small businesses and workers in the informal sector suffering the most.
A recent World Bank report indicates the Nigerian economy might contract by as much as 3% in GDP growth rate this year. This informed government’s latest decision to inject about N2.3 trillion into the economy to spur economic growth. The funds will be targeted at small businesses through non-collateralized low-interest loans. Whilst all these initiatives are geared towards stimulating the economy, the spending power of Nigerians will remain pivotal and as long as the pandemic persists, ceremonies will remain subdued.
Seplat gives notice of board meeting, to consider Q2 financial result
The notification is in conformity with the rules of the Nigerian bourse on the obligations of the issuer.
The indigenous oil and gas firm, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has given notice of its board of director meeting which has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, 2020 through a teleconference in Lagos between 10 am and 3 pm.
This was disclosed in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on July 3, 2020 and signed by the oil firm’s Company Secretary, Edith Onwuchekwa.
The notification is in conformity with the rules of the Nigerian bourse on the obligations of the issuer, in this case, Seplat, to notify the Exchange at least 14 days ahead of the due date and time when the board of directors hopes to meet to discuss its financial results.
The notification from Seplat states, ‘’In line with the rules of the NSE on the obligation of the Issuer to notify the Exchange at least 14 days in advance, in respect of the date and time when the board of directors will meet to discuss its Q2 2020 Financial Results, we wish to state the meeting details as follows,’’
‘’Date: Tuesday 28th July 2020, Venue: Via Teleconference, Lagos, Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm’’
Seplat, in its statement, also said they were going to notify the Exchange of the details of the Board’s decision on the 2020 second-quarter financial results immediately after the meeting as required by the rules.
Nairametrics had earlier reported that following the global oil crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the oil and gas firm, in its released financial statement, announced that revenue declined from $159.5 million in Q1 2019 to $130.5 million in Q1 2020. That represented an 18.2% drop.
The gross profit dropped from $81.4 million in Q1 2019 to $33.1 million in Q1 2020. This shows a drop of 59.3%. The profit before deferred tax showed a loss of $105.8 million in Q1 2020 as against the profit before deferred tax of $35.8 million that was achieved in Q1 2019. This represented a huge drop of 395.5%.
The company’s CEO, Austin Avuru, said that as part of its strategy, Seplat was shifting focus to its gas business which is less exposed to the oil price drop which is currently ravaging the upstream sector.
The current share price of Seplat on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is N386 per share as at July 3, 2020.
Just in: NNPC announces top management appointments as top official resigns
The NNPC has effected a major shake-up to enable the corporation to live up to its expectations.
The state-owned oil giant, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has effected some major reorganization in the firm. They have announced some new appointments and redeployments as part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen and reposition NNPC for greater efficiency, transparency and profitability in line with the next level agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
This was disclosed in a press release by NNPC on Sunday, July 5, 2020, and signed by the corporation’s Group General Manager Public Affairs Division Dr Kennie Obateru.
In the statement released by the oil giant, Mr Adokiye Tombomieye, the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD), is now the new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream while Mr Mohammed Abdulkabir Ahmed, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC), has been appointed the new Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services, following the retirement of Engr. Farouk Garba Sa’id, last week.
Dr Kennie Obateru stated that reorganization includes the redeployment of Engr. Adeyemi Adetunji, the Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, to the Ventures & Business Development Directorate as COO, following the voluntary resignation of Mr Roland Onoriode Ewubare, from the position last week.
The top-level staff movement also affected Sir. Billy Okoye who has been redeployed from the NNPC Downstream Company, NNPC Retail Limited, as Managing Director, to replace Mr Tombomieye as the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division; while Mrs Elizabeth Aliyuda, the General Manager, Sales and Marketing NNPC Retail Limited, takes over from Sir Okoye as Managing Director.
Similarly, Mr Usman Farouk, Executive Director Asset Management and Technical Services at the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC) takes over from Mr Ahmed as Managing Director
The statement from NNPC also explained that President Buhari has accepted the resignation of Mr Roland Ewubare, who was the immediate past Chief Operating Officer, Ventures and New Business Directorate of the National Oil Company while the retirement of the immediate past Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services, Engr. Farouk Garba Said had also received the approval of President who thanked the two former COOs for their meritorious service to the corporation.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, said the new appointments would enable the corporation to live up to the expectation of her shareholders, Nigerians, and give impetus to the ongoing restructuring within the Corporation, which, he said, was in line with the corporate vision of Transparency, Accountability & Performance Excellence (TAPE).