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First MPC Meeting in 2019 …MPR Retained at 14%

The Monetary Policy Committee held its first meeting of the year on the 21st and 22nd of January 2019. The Committee voted to maintain the MPR at 14.00%.

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The Monetary Policy Committee held its first meeting of the year on the 21st and 22nd
of January 2019. The Committee voted to maintain the MPR at 14.00%, CRR at 22.5%
while also retaining the asymmetric corridor at +200bps & -500bps and liquidity rate
at 30%.
The Committee considered the divergent performance across most economies in
2018, which led to the moderated global output. The Committee further noted the
rising global uncertainties due to the increasing financial market volatilities, trade
tension between the US and China, slowdown in Chinese economy, amongst others.
On the back of increased downside risks, the IMF moderated its global growth
projection to 3.5% from 3.7%.
In the domestic space, the Committee noted the improvement of some key economic
indicators in 2018, which includes; the gradual improvement in output growth,
Q3:2018’s GDP grew by 1.81% from 1.50% in Q2:2018; stability in exchange rate,
supported by the continuous CBN interventions; and the moderation in inflation rate
for most part of the year.
The heightened political uncertainties due to the upcoming elections may continue
to weigh on activities within the financial market. The decision to keep rates
constant should therefore not have any major impact on the performance of the
equities and fixed income markets.

Committee’s Considerations

  • The Committee assessed both the global and domestic macroeconomic and
    financial environment in 2018. The Committee considered the key risks and
    outlook in the short to medium term.
  • In the global economy, the Committee noted the heightened uncertainties in
    2019, as a result of factors such as the increasing financial market volatilities,
    trade war between the US and its key allies, continued monetary policy
    normalization by the US, negotiations surrounding Brexit, and the slowdown in
    China.
  • On the domestic front, the Committee commended the improved output growth
    as shown by the higher GDP growth of 1.81% in Q3:2018 from 1.5% in Q2:2018.
    The Committee highlighted the major drivers of growth to include the services
    and agriculture sectors, but however mentioned that the herdsmen and farmers
    conflict, alongside flooding in some part of the countries moderated agricultural
    and livestock outputs. While growth in 2019 is expected to be driven by improved
    oil and non-oil sector receipts, the Committee however stated that the growth
    outlook remains fragile.
  • The resurgence of inflationary pressure in the economy was of concern to the Committee, as the headline inflation rate inched up to 11.44% in December 2018
    from 11.28% in November 2018. The Committee observed that the near-term risk
    to inflation remains the residual impact of flooding on agricultural output,
    insecurity in agriculture producing states and campaign related spending towards
    the 2019 general election.
  • The Committee stated the improvement in credit to the private sector and the
    government in December 2018. The Committee noted the aggressive growth in
    credit to the private sector which has been a constraint to real sector growth and
    further expressed optimism for improved lending to MSMEs in the economy.
  • In the case for tightening, which was more likely, the Committee noted that
    tightening will result in the reversal of gains achieved thus far and will drive banks
    to reprice assets, thus increasing the cost of credit and elevating credit risk in the
    economy. The Committee further noted that it may result in an increase in Non-Performing loans, and also dampen investments and the improvement noted in
    output growth.

▪ Key Decisions

  • Maintain MPR at 14%
  • Maintain CRR at 22.50%
  • Retain liquidity ratio at 30%
  • Retain asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500bps around the MPR.

Anticipated Impacts

Unflinching Investors’ sentiment, despite MPC Decision
Since the last MPC meeting, Treasury bills yields have remained relatively high,
recording a 0.53% increase to reach 14.69% on January 22, 2019. The secondary market for bonds however recorded a 0.24% decline in yields to settle at 15.21% on January 22,2019. The high yield in both markets, coupled with the poor performance of the equities space due to the cautious choice for low-risk investments should continue to encourage the influx of participants to the fixed income space. Consequently, we do not foresee any changes in the yield environment, due to the decision to keep the rate constant.

Loan performance continues to Improve

At the recent meeting, the MPC noted the encouraging growth in the lending to the
private sector in 2018. The Committee however reiterated the need for improved
lending to the private sector as net credit to the private sector increased by 5.13% YoY
in November 2018, annualized to 4.95% which was lower than the 2018 benchmark
rate of 12.4%. The MPC also expressed satisfaction regarding the reduction in the level
of NPLs in the banking sector.
We expect that with the intensified efforts towards increasing credit to the private
sector, the improved asset quality and partnership between the Banker’s committee
and Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL)
will go a long way towards achieving this goal. We also envisage some payment to
contractors by the government in the coming months which should further
moderate the NPLs in the banking sector.

Improved Activities within the Real Sector

The credit to the real sector improved towards the end of 2018. Increased funding
came through the industry-wide interventions such as the anchor borrowers’
programme, CBN agribusiness scheme and MSME funds. By December 2018, the real
sector sustained its healthy performance, with the manufacturing PMI rising by 2.2pts
to 61.1pts, the highest in 2018.
The industry’s economic welfare was also buoyed by the continuous FX interventions
by the CBN; however, the sector faced some headwinds as consumer spending grew
slowly, moderating the growth in the sales of goods and services offered by the
sector. Logistical challenges, owing to insecurity and flooding also pressured growth.
Despite the political uncertainties which heightened towards the end of 2018, the
sector grew, owing to the incentives put in place by the CBN. We expect the CBN to
continue to support the real sector through concessionary lending schemes and
moral suasion strategies with the banks. We also expect the continued CBN intervention to sustain FX liquidity and stability, in a bid to curtail FX pressures in the industry.

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The Market Set to Look Away

The mood in the equities market remains largely negative. Increased political
uncertainty ahead of the elections continues to sour investor confidence. Opportunities
for bargain hunting has however supported the moderation of the decline in the
NSEASI. We do not expect the decision to hold rates to alter the current bearish course of the market, especially given the attractive yield environment in the fixed income space.
In our opinion, the prevailing political risks has more weight in dictating the current course of market activities, at least for the rest of this quarter.

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Sanwo-Olu gifts families of slain police officers N10 million each

Governor Sanwo-Olu has compensated the families of slain police officers with the sum of N10 million each.

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Sanwo-Olu to stop pension for former governors, deputies, #EndSARS: Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution to include Lekki toll gate incident – Sanwo-Olu, Lagos approves resumption of all classes in public, private schools, Lagos takes major step towards delivery of Fourth Mainland Bridge, Lagos to construct rail line to airport terminal for international passengers, COVID-19: Lagos State to begin curfew on Sunday to disinfect metropolis, Lagos state government discharges 7 more coronavirus patients, Lagos state will reverse to full lockdown, Sanwo-Olu to virtually inaugurate projects as he presents scorecard of first year in office, Lekki regional road: Sanwo-Olu revokes land titles of Elegushi Royal family, Lagos pays N1.3 billion into the RSA of 246 retirees, Lagos State to empower 2.5 million youths in Arts and Crafts

The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has brought respite to the families of police officers killed during the violence witnessed in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

According to the disclosure on the Twitter page of the Lagos State Government, the families were handed a cheque of N10 million each and the children of the slain officers awarded scholarships by the government.

What they are saying: Commenting on the recent development, a tweet by the Lagos State Government read thus: “Governor @jidesanwoolu handing over a cheque of 10 million naira each to the families of police officers who lost their lives during the unrest that followed the EndSARS protest and awarding scholarship to their children.’’

Why this matters: The recent effort by the Governor is in fulfillment of the promise he had earlier made to compensate affected victims of the post-EndSARS protest which led to the loss of lives and valuable properties both in the state and the country at large.

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The compensation will be viewed by serving officers as a motivation, aimed at promoting patriotism, loyalty, commitment and dedication to national service.

What you should know

  • Lagos State Government had earlier set up a N200 million fund for victims of police brutality
  • As a follow-up, Nairametrics had earlier reported that Lagos State Government offered scholarships to children of slain police officers.

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Corporate Press Releases

How digital transformation will impact Nigeria’s projected $8.79 billion economic expansion

Businesses will need to invest in appropriately reskilling and upskilling the national workforce to create a better digital Nigeria.

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The Nigerian economy is projected to grow by $8.79 billion in the next three years to 2023, driven largely by the ICT, agriculture, health, finance and insurance sectors, according to a new study by global training providers elev8 and the BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU).

More than half of the projected growth will come from the ICT sector, as companies continue to create innovative products and services leveraging ICT and telecoms. To take advantage of this growth, however, businesses will need to invest in appropriately reskilling and upskilling the national workforce to create a better digital Nigeria.

The research comes off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has laid bare the digital divide, with those businesses having invested sufficiently in their digital capabilities overtaking those firms who failed to do so.

However, this trend of digitally forward businesses outperforming their technology-inferior counterparts isn’t new, the study reveals. Analysis of the data, which went back as far as 1992, showed that the major companies outperforming others in Nigeria are those that spend more on upskilling, research and development, and technology acquisition.

Economic rewards await

In recognition of its benefits, Nigeria has made efforts in the past, and continues to make more efforts at digitalizing its economy. The progress made in Nigeria’s ICT sub sector has had a positive effect on its gross domestic product (GDP). Research shows that the sector’s contribution to GDP has risen from 7.70 percent in 2012 to 14.30 percent by Q2 2020.

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Meanwhile, the Nigerian government’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, launched in 2019, aims to improve digital literacy and skills to build out the country’s digital capabilities.

However, the digital infrastructure readiness in Nigeria is still far below the global average. For this to be upgraded, the current skill set of government employees working in this area will need to be updated. This should warrant the designing of training programs that will help the government raise the level of digital infrastructure in Nigeria in the shortest possible time and at affordable costs.

The high economic rewards from closing the digital skills gap should see this become an even greater priority. If the entire Nigerian economy is digitalized, the country could take a bigger bite of the global digital economy, which is estimated at $11.5 trillion.

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Where digital leaders are made

Global training provider elev8 offers training programs focused on the latest technologies, and is uniquely placed to help businesses and the Nigerian government connect to opportunities as highlighted in the report.

Bringing together renowned industry experts, elev8 offers the flexibility of virtual classrooms or face-to-face programs, depending on what’s best for the organization and its learners.

Taking a holistic approach, power skills like communication, collaboration and analytical thinking are embedded into elev8’s technical training in order to develop well-rounded digital experts who can bring the most value to their employers.

Training methods are practical and action-based – built around projects, tackling real business challenges – enabling learners to put theory into practice from the day one.

No matter the technical need, elev8 can design and implement bespoke solutions tailored to a company’s individual requirements.

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elev8’s global academy equips business leaders, teams and organizations with the skills they need to leverage the technologies of the future and transform Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy.

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To read the report in full, or to discover more about the elev8 training academy, go to www.elev8me.com/en-us/africa.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: WHO says the promise of vaccine is a game changer

The WHO has stated that the promise of Covid-19 vaccines is phenomenal and potentially game-changing.

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The World Health Organization has said that the promise of Covid-19 vaccines is phenomenal and potentially game-changing.

This disclosure was made by the WHO’s Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, during a press briefing at Copenhagen on Thursday, December 2, 2020, according to a report from Reuters.

Kluge said there are expectations that there would be limited supplies of Covid-19 vaccine supplies at the early stages and as such countries must decide who gets priority.

However, the WHO emphasized that there is a growing consensus among stakeholders that older people, medical workers, and people that share the virus with some other health conditions will be among the first recipients of the vaccine.

What you should know

It can be recalled that yesterday, UK regulator gave its approval to the Covid-19 vaccine, which was developed by Pfizer Inc in collaboration with BioNTech, moving ahead of the rest of the world, including the United States in the race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.

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  • This follows the announcement by Pfizer that the vaccine proved 95% effective in a final analysis of clinical-trial data for its phase 3 study.
  • In addition, Biotech firm, Moderna Inc, also announced that its Covid-19 experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in a preliminary study.
  • The United States and European Union regulators are sifting through the same Pfizer vaccine trial data, but are yet to give their approval.
  • The WHO revealed on Wednesday it had received data from Pfizer and BioNTech on the vaccine and was reviewing it for possible listing for emergency use, a minimum condition for countries to authorize national use.

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