The latest statistics showed that Nigeria’s diaspora remittances were estimated at $25.08 billion in the year 2018.
According to the available reports obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), remittances from Nigerians in Diaspora rose from $3.24 billion in 2013 to approximately $25.08 billion in 2018. This means Nigeria’s diaspora remittances rose by 126% in 6 years (2013-2018). Thus, over the last 6 years, Nigerians in Diaspora sent an estimated $96.5 billion to the country.
The Rising trend of Remittances inflow
In recent times, the inflow of diaspora’s remittances has been on the rise as more Nigerians who abandon the country in search of greener pastures abroad, send foreign currencies to their families. For instance, recent statistics showed that Nigeria ranks third in the rating of the countries with the highest number of Express Entry invitations to Canada in 2018.
- Further breakdown shows that Nigeria’s diaspora remittance inflow accounted for 5.74% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
- Specifically, in 2013, Nigeria’s remittance was put at 4.31% to Nigeria’s GDP, while in 2018 it stood at 5.74%.
- An earlier forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) shows that the total remittance inflow to Nigeria will grow by almost double from US$25.08 billion in 2018 to US$34.89 billion in 2023.
- This suggests that as more Nigerians desperately leave Nigeria for other countries, remittances inflow is expected to rise marginally.
- According to reports, Egypt and Nigeria accounted for the largest inflows of remittances in Africa in 2018.
Remittances edging out other financial flows
The Nigerian economy is internationally opened to several sources of financial flows which include export revenue, capital flows, remittances, Official Development Assistance (foreign aid), loans, grants and so on.
- Over the years, experts have argued that while other sources of financial flows to Nigeria have declined, inflows through remittances is the country’s new oil.
- Recently, the World Bank in a report stated that remittances have been stable during episodes of financial volatility when capital flows fell sharply. According to the World Bank, in the period of financial crisis, remittance-receiving countries with a more dispersed migrant population enjoy greater stabilising effect.
- A quick check into capital importation data shows that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which is a major component of Nigeria’s capital importation fell from $2.27 billion in 2014 to $1.19 billion in 2018. This means FDI inflows into Nigeria dropped by almost 90%.
- Similarly, the further breakdown shows Nigeria’s total capital importation (FDI, Portfolio Investment and other investments) dropped from $20.7 billion in 2014 to 16.8 billion in 2018.
- While other sources of foreign capital inflows have marginally dropped, remittance has instead been on the rise.
Recently questioning the country’s diaspora remittances in a recent report, renowned Economist, Henry Boyo alleged that commercial banks in the country in connivance with the Central Bank of Nigeria are ripping off Nigerians, thereby halting the growth and developmental effects of remittances inflow.
Analysing further, Henry Boyo noted that since the dollar that CBN supplies regularly to banks and over 3,000 Bureau-De-Change operators are derived from the foreign reserves and instead of Diaspora remittances, then diaspora remittances is simply an illusion as a national asset.
Also, Henry Boyo disclosed that thousands of Nigerian pensioners may have been robbed of over 20% of the real value of the dollars regularly remitted to them, as the banks pay remittances at the rate of $1 to N305, as against the prevailing N350-360 to $1 bureau-de-change rate as provided by the law. According to him, the almost $26bn of Diaspora remittances are warehoused abroad and do not supplement the size of the CBN’s regular dollar auctions.
Meanwhile, speaking extensively to Nairametrics, the Chief Economist for Businessday, Nonso Obikili (Ph.D.), stated that although remittances have been on a steady rise for over a decade, they are still a small fraction of the foreign exchange inflows.
“Remittances have been steady and rising slowly for over a decade but. They are still a small fraction of FX inflows. Crude oil is still the dominant source and so fluctuations in crude oil prices still have effects on the currency. This doesn’t mean that remittances have no effect but because they don’t fluctuate so you tend to not see those effects.
Speaking on the alleged rip-off of remittances’ recipients by banks, Dr. Nonso expressed a contrary view.
“There are a plethora of remittance companies now, from MoneyGram to TransferWise, so there is enough competition to ensure that one bank can’t really rip off people and get away with it, unless the customers don’t know they are being ripped off which they probably can because everyone can use a calculator. Right now the CBN sets the rate at which remittance companies must exchange their FX. I think its N355 or so.”
Reacting to why the rising remittances inflow is not easing off pressure on Nigeria’s external reserves, Nonso explained that remittances may not ease off pressure on the reserves.
“When someone sends you money from abroad, the bank does not have to carry those dollars to Nigeria to give you. They can credit you naira and then use those dollars to fulfill some other obligation there, like if someone wired money abroad for school fees for instance. That’s what financial intermediation is all about.
“We see from CBN’s balance of payments data that remittances are around $22 billion or so. It doesn’t mean that someone put $22 billion on a ship and sent it to Nigeria. It just means that there were $22 billion inflows officially. If there were also $22 billion outflows say by people paying school fees or importing stuff, then the banks just balance accounts without having to move money up and down. That’s financial intermediation. No fraud there.”
Over the years, it has been widely established that the officially recorded remittances into the country are much lower than the actual remittances that take place through unofficial channels. This means a larger chunk of Nigeria’s remittances flows through the unofficial channels.
Also, a report has shown that only 30% of remittances inflow into Nigeria go into investment-related purposes.
[READ FURTHER: Nigeria’s diaspora remittance to hit $34 billion by 2023 – PwC]
Hence, for the country to attract and benefit more from the positive spill-over effects of remittances inflow, the government (federal and state) must develop a holistic diaspora strategy that will improve the confidence of Nigerians abroad on the financial system and investment climate in the country.
Nigerian Breweries leveraging, but stacking cash through rising input costs
The marathon continues for Nigerian Breweries with its 2020 financials.
Humanity might need more booze to survive the increasingly daunting intricacies of life, but Nigerian Breweries 2020 financial statement is proof that even the best can get caught up in the reality of changing business lifecycles.
Nigerian Breweries Plc had floored the market providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic premium quality beverages across the nation. But with brands like Star lager beer launched as far back as 1949, Gulder lager beer launched in 1970, and even the family-friendly Maltina introduced as far back as 1976, it is only natural that both the old and new generation competition gives them a run for their market share.
Much like other old money companies, Nigerian Breweries has done its bit to remain relevant in the industry from creating new variants of existing favoured brands to paying dividends consistently annually for the past few years. Yet within the same period, the company’s financial statements have been a testament to its streamlined market share and reducing profits. The marathon continues with its 2020 financials. The industry giant may as well be setting itself up for a debt quagmire peradventure its projections do not match the true reality of events.
2020 financials: A tale of higher costs & larger debts
2020’s unfavourable financial/ business environment led to the increase in the prices of raw materials and disruptions in logistics for many Nigerian-domiciled businesses including Nigerian Breweries. Raw materials and consumables witnessed a 17% increase despite the marginal growth in revenue.
While the group’s 2020 results revealed a 4.35% increase in revenue from N323 billion in the prior year to around N337 billion, these gains were curtailed by a higher-than-par increase in cost of sales which had risen by 13.9%, from the N191.8 billion expended in 2019 to N218.4 billion as its 2020 financials reveal and interest rates going way up.
The company’s lower operating expenses were not enough to salvage the disruption caused by the raging interest expense following increased charges paid on bank loans and overdraft facilities as well as the significant increase in overall debt. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, long term loans and borrowings increased by 974% from N4.8 billion to as much as N51.8 billion. Even trade and other long term payables increased by 35%.
In its financials, the company noted that it has revolving credit facilities with five Nigerian banks to finance its working capital. The approved limit of the loan with each of the banks range from ₦6 billion to ₦15 billion (total of ₦66 billion) and each of the agreements had been signed in 2016 with a tenor of five years. The Company had also obtained Capital and Working capital finance from the BoI in 2019.
It is no news that the company is involved in diversified lease arrangements. Following reclassifications made in 2019 to some of its lease assets, the 2020 asset base also witnessed significant increase in Right of Use Assets which increased by 288%% from N11.1 billion to N42.9 billion. Yet, the fact that in one year, interest expense on Lease Liabilities rose from N19.7 million in 2019 and to a whopping N4.171 billion shows that the company is taking way more debt than its books require.
But what’s it using all the cash for?
Beyond rising material costs, borrowing costs have been huge and the annual interest payment by virtue of these loans make the possibility of higher profits for the company a mirage. That said, the overall increase in total liabilities might not have been such a bad idea if the funds were being used to increase revenue and profits. But having a huge chunk of all that money in cash creates a different kind of challenge. Cash and bank values in its statement of financial position significantly increased by 377% from N6.4 billion in 2019 to N30.4 billion in 2020.
Is the cash being held to mitigate possible challenges of the volatile economy or are they being used to pay dividends? Even at a share price of N52 per share, the company’s price-to-book value sits at 2.5816, testament of its dire overvaluation. Consequently, there is an ardent need for the company to come up with newer ways to attract the wider market and keep its book in the green with a little less external funding.
Secret behind MTN’s blistering performance
Despite COVID-19 disruptions, MTN Nigeria’s 2020 financials showed marked improvements compared to its 2019-year-end.
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) released its audited financial results for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.
Despite a challenging 2020 to individuals and businesses caused by COVID-19 disruptions, MTN Nigeria’s financial and non-financial information showed marked improvements compared to its 2019-year-end as well as prior quarters of 2020 results that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, the evolving pandemic which intensified lockdown, remote working, and work-from-home procedures, appeared to have led to increased adoption of MTN Nigeria data and digital services.
Specifically, year-on-year on non-financial information, mobile subscribers increased by 12.2 million to 76.5 million; active data users increased by 7.4 million to 32,6 million while the company’s mobile money business continued to accelerate with a 269.2 % increase in the number of registered agents to over 395,000 and 4.7 million active subscribers from approximately 553,000 in 2019.
Year-on-year on financial information, service revenue increased by 14.7 % to NGN1.3 trillion driven principally by voice (with revenue growth of 5.9 %) and data revenues (rising by 52.2 % led by increased data use and traffic); profit before tax (PBT) grew by 2.6 % to N298.9 billion; profit after tax (PAT) increased by 0.9 % to N205.21 billion; while Earnings per share (EPS) rose by 0.9 % to N10.1 (N9.93, 2019).
Nonetheless, significant increases were noted in its operating expenditure as well as capital expenditure. First, there was a 2.3 % increase in operating expenses arising from the rollout of new sites and the impact of naira currency depreciation affecting the costs of MTN Nigeria lease contracts. Secondly, EBITDA margin declined by 2.5 %age points to 50.9 % (from 53.4 % in 2019) There were also other significant cost rises including a 25.4 % increase in net finance cost, and 19.4 % increase in capital expenditure which had a 11.7 % knock-on increase in depreciation and amortization costs.
On the back of the year-end result, MTN Nigeria has proposed a final dividend per share (DPS) of N5.90 kobo per share to be paid out of distributable income and brings the total dividend for the year to N9.40 kobo per share, representing an increase of 18.7 %. MTN Nigeria paid N4.97 as final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019. This was in addition to an interim dividend of N2.95, which brought its total 2019 dividend to N7.92 per share.
The proposed dividend implies a yield of 3.4%. Having paid an interim dividend of NGN3.50 in 2020, the proposed dividend, if approved, will bring the total dividend per share to NGN9.40 or c.19% higher compared with 2019. We expect a positive reaction from the market due to the marked improvement in earnings. However, the market’s reaction may be dampened by negative investor sentiments on equities arising from the uptick in yields on fixed-income securities.
We expect that the introduction of additional customer registration requirements requiring subscriber records are updated with respective National Identity Numbers (NIN), and the continued suspension of the sale and activation of new SIM cards will affect subscriber growth.
MTNN share price remains unchanged at the end of trading yesterday at N174 per share.
Tade Fadare PhD, is an economist, and a professionally qualified accountant, banker and stockbroker. He has significant experience working or consulting for financial institutions in Europe, North America, and Africa.
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