President Muhammadu Buhari was seemingly dealt a bad deck in his first term, with the economy sliding into recession. This in turn triggered a foreign exchange crisis, which led to a sharp devaluation, after several demand management measures failed.
Many listed firms on the exchange suffered a double whammy: difficulty in accessing foreign exchange, and hampered consumer spending.
This time, things are much better, though the market has done poorly this year due to the first elections held in the first quarter, and global trade tensions.
The President will today be sworn in for his second and final term at the Eagle Square, Abuja. The election was a keenly contested one (with his main opponent Atiku Abubakar challenging the results in court).
As is typical, business activities slowed down in the first quarter of the year, with several parties adopting a wait and look posture. One hopes, that from today, it’s back to business.
Here are four key points, that may boost activities in the capital market, if implemented by the Buhari administration.
Appoint a board for the Securities and Exchange Commission
It is shameful that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been without a board for the last four years. Key decisions required to move the market forward have thus been kept in abeyance. Beyond merely using board appointments as “rewards for the boys and girls,” the President must go further by placing round pegs in round holes.
Fast forward the privatization programme
The privatization programme has largely slowed in President Buhari’s first term. The snail pace is even more surprising considering the private sector antecedents of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
In their second term, the Buhari administration needs to fast forward the privatization of state owned enterprises and have them listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Only one of such firms (Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) was listed sometime this year.
Listing FG’s share of Joint Venture Oil Assets
In what seems to be a largely ceremonial activity, the Federal Government has once more mandated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to sell down its stake in joint venture oil assets to 40% this year.
NNPC owns a 55 percent stake in its joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell, and 60 percent stakes in others.
While one hopes, that the corporation will for once walk the talk, the government can use this as an opportunity to deepen the stock market by listing on the NSE.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is in dire need of big ticket listings. MTN Nigeria and Dangote Cement account for roughly 30% of the market capitalization.
A clearer macro environment
Above all, the government must articulate a clearer macroeconomic policy. Reforms must be driven at a faster pace and institutionalized.
Despite the seeming lethargy, there have been a few positive moves. President Muhammadu Buhari signed the requisite laws enabling the demutualization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Demutualization is the process by which an exchange is converted from a company owned by members or brokers, to one in which members of the public can buy shares.
Having led the country for four years as a civilian, President Buhari must hit the ground running. It would be a shame if the President has to wait for several months to appoint members of his cabinet.
GDP numbers for the first quarter of 2019, came in at 2.01%. While a slight improvement on a year on year basis, (2018 Q1 GDP growth was 1.89%), on a quarterly basis, they show a slow down compared to the 2.38% growth recorded in Q4 2018. If the Buhari administration does not get its acts faster this time, growth may slow even further.
Senate endorses ex-Service Chiefs as Non-career Ambassadors
The Senate has confirmed President Buhari’s nomination of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.
The Nigerian Senate has endorsed the nomination of the past serving Military Service Chiefs as Non-career Ambassadors.
This was confirmed during Tuesday’s plenary session and announced in a social media statement by the Nigerian Senate.
Their confirmation follows the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chaired by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa.
According to reports, the Senate Minority Leader Enyinaya Abaribe, however, questioned the nomination and confirmation of the ex-service chiefs when the Senate had on 3 different occasions called for their sack.
Senator Abaribe also raised issues on the petitions against the former service chiefs and questioned why they were dismissed without explanations.
But Senate President Ahmad Lawan dismissed Senator Abaribe’s concerns, ruling that the nomination of the former service chiefs cannot be nullified simply because the upper chamber had called for their sack, noting that this is totally a different assignment.
In his concluding statement, the Senate President, Senator Lawan added that these nominees that have just been confirmed have served this country to the best of their abilities. He appealed to the executive to make sure they use their experience as military men to the best.
“These nominees that we have just confirmed are nominees that have served this country to the best of their ability. Our appeal to the Executive is to make sure they use their experiences as military men to the best,” Lawan said.
Lawan, on behalf of the senate, wished them a very successful career in their capacity as Non-Career Ambassadors.
What you should know
- Recall Nairametrics reported earlier this month that President Muhammadu Buhari nominated ex-Service Chiefs for Senate approval as non-career Ambassadors-Designate.
- Their appointment came barely a week after their retirement as service chiefs and their replacement with new ones.
- This led to a spate of criticisms from some Nigerians who felt that the nation’s security situation got worse under their watch.
- They were reported to have tendered their resignation from their positions amid heightened calls that they should be sacked due to the increasing rate of insecurity across the country.
2020 budget performance: FG achieves 89% capital release in December 2020
The Minister of Finance has revealed that the FG achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to MDAs as of December 2020.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that the Federal Government achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as of December 2020.
She said that the 89% capital funding for MDAs was achieved with the release of N1.74 trillion.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Ahmed at an interactive session with the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, February 22, 2021.
She also revealed that the government had disbursed N118.37 billion for Covid-19 capital expenditure from the fund.
What the Minister for Finance is saying
Ahmed said the Nigerian economy faced serious challenges in 2020, with the macroeconomic environment significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said this led to a 65% drop in projected net 2020 government revenues from the oil and gas sector, which adversely affected foreign exchange inflows into the economy.
On the delayed release of funds to implement the 2020 capital budget until March 31, the Minister said the complaint had decreased.
She said, “I think the complaint was earlier in the year when we were trying to transfer the balances. As far as I know, in the past three weeks, I haven’t heard any such complaints and we have been able to address them.
“But when we started the transfers, we couldn’t transfer to some agencies because of some limitations in the system, but we have since been able to transfer the capital component that is being utilised by the agencies budget to the system.”
While pointing out that the implementation of the MDAs projects was tied to procurement processes and capacity of the MDA, Ahmed also said the extension of the 2020 capital budget implementation to March 31 had recorded 30% performance as at January.
However, Ahmed said that she expected that the extension would record 100% performance in March.
Speaking during the interaction, the Senate’s Chief Whip, Senator Orji-Uzor Kalu, commended the Minister on the capital performance of the 2020 budget.
He said, “I want to commend the minister and her team because this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that by December 31, we are having 89% performance expenditure of the budget. It has never happened before; Last year was the very first.
“The budget had been going 49%, 27%; this means from what the Senate President was asking, it means by March, we should be looking at implementing the budget 100%.’’
Earlier, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the meeting was to get an update on the capital implementation of the 2020 budget given its extension for implementation by the national assembly to March 31.
What this means
- The 89% capital release for the 2020 budget as of December 2020 is quite encouraging as it occurred despite the economic challenges and disruption caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
- There seems to be an improved effort by the Federal Government at the budgeting process with the early passage of the 2021 budget and the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget.
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