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Repositioning Microfinance banks to grow economy

CBN released an exposure draft guideline for the regulation and supervision of microfinance banks in Nigeria following a review of the 2012 guidelines.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday released an exposure draft guideline for the regulation and supervision of microfinance banks (MFBs) in Nigeria following a review of the 2012 guidelines.

According to the apex bank, the need to reposition microfinance banks towards improved performance following a recent review of the sector informed the decision to review the guidelines.

Recall that the CBN had in 2019 revised the categories of microfinance banks and increased the minimum capital base of each category. According to CBN, there are 902 registered microfinance banks in Nigeria. Despite the high number, the eight largest national MFBs control c.45% of the market share.

In a bid to increase financial inclusion and improve access to financial services for the economically active poor, the CBN issued the Microfinance Policy, Regulatory and Supervisory Framework in December 2005. This was later revised in 2011. Microfinance banks were expected to provide access to financial services such as micro-savings, micro-credits, and other financial products to the economically active poor.

[READ MORE: Coronavirus: FG to review budget as oil price plunges)

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Microfinance banks typically give small loans, do not have asset-based collateral and have a simpler operation when compared to commercial banks. Despite the rapid increase in the number of microfinance banks since the launch of the policy framework in 2005, available statistics do not suggest that they have significantly aided financial inclusion.

A recent survey conducted by EFInA (Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access) indicates that the proportion of those financially-included serviced by MFBs is only 3.8%. We think the major factor mitigating against the proper functioning of MFBs stem from their roots- most of the MFBs that were licensed after the launch of the CBN’s Microfinance Policy in 2005 were Community Banks. Before the repeal of their licences, Community Banks were seen as government-funded institutions who provided loans with little thought out plans towards recovery. This mindset led to the collapse of many MFBs.

That said, the concept of microfinance banks in Nigeria has not adequately achieved desired aims for several reasons such as inadequate supervision by CBN based on the large number of these banks, an attempt by operators to adopt spending and lifestyles similar to commercial banks, lack of focus on the target market and increasing cases of default especially in the face of the declining real income level occasioned by frail macro conditions.

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In our view, fostering sustainable economic development in any nation requires rural transformation and the empowerment of rural dwellers, hence, we believe there is a need to reposition microfinance banks to take on their task of alleviating poverty and aiding financial inclusion among the economically active poor. Accordingly, we believe the recapitalisation exercise which is aimed at strengthening the existing MFBs coupled with improved supervisory oversight will aid rapid and sustainable growth of the microfinance industry.

______________________________________________________________________

CSL STOCKBROKERS LIMITED CSL Stockbrokers,

Member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange,

First City Plaza, 44 Marina,

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PO Box 9117,

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Lagos State,

NIGERIA.

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Nigerian women need over 50% representation in government by 2023

In Nigeria, there is still a need for Nigerian women to have up to 50% representation in government.

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Women are taking part in the governance and nation-building of their countries. In October 2019, the global participation rate of women at the national level was 24.5% compared to 8% in 2013 which is quite reassuring. However, in Nigeria, there is still a need for Nigerian women to have up to 50% representation in government.

The reason more women are needed in governance is that they have the expertise to aid in achieving a stronger and vibrant democracy. According to Mr Ban Ki-moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nation, “When we empower women, we empower communities and nations and the entire human communities.”

A good number of women in Nigeria have made a significant impact on governance and nation-building. Historically, once women come together, they can make things happen because they understand their issues and can articulate them from a point of succinct comprehension.

Mrs. Fumilayo Ramson-Kuti was an activist and a political campaigner – 30 years ago, when there was a tax levy on women in Egba land, she coordinated a women’s union group after a long tussle with the colonial administration and traditional rulers.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is another prominent woman in the global space. She served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and also as Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister. Currently, she is on the verge of becoming the first female and the first African Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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Asides from these two, a lot of women are making waves in society – not only in politics but also in managerial positions and businesses.

Factors that hinder women’s participation in politics

 In 2016, there was a study by McKinsey that revealed that only 5% of women are CEOs of companies, 22% cabinet members, while 24% are elected to official positions in Africa.

More so, in the last election 2019 in Nigeria, there were up to 3000 women candidates across all the parties. However, only 64 women were elected and appointed into political offices. Looking at the figures, there is a clear indication that it is very low and needs to be addressed as the 2023 election approaches.

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Here are the major challenges affecting women’s involvement in politics in Nigeria.

  • Godfathers: In politics, godfatherism is a very big role. For women who are not able to build that network, it becomes a very big issue for them. To avert that, women are advised to create their own network in politics – support one another and assist each other in climbing the ladder, especially for those who are already in government.
  • Raising funds: Election campaigns are very expensive to participate in.
  • Religious factor/Traditional factors: A lot of people still feel women should be seen and not heard, because they are under a man and should be submissive. Cultural & religious barriers still exists, and it prohibits women from fully contributing to governance. The emergence of women as leaders does not need to subjugate their cultural and religious identities. Men & Women need to understand that it is only through joint decision-making and cooperation, that the society can thrive.

Here are what women can do to thrive in politics

For women to have 50% representation in government, here are what is needed.

  • Those already elected must see themselves as a springboard and position themselves strategically, so they can increase the number of women in political offices. It is also important for women to leverage technology and use social media to enable them to build a community of women leaders/activists.
  • Having already announced the date for 2023 election, it is imperative that women start preparing themselves ahead of the election and strategize on how to get more women elected to the government.
  • Finally, having a skill is very crucial for women who want to be community leaders.

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Trump or Biden? How the US Presidential election will impact the stock market

A Trump victory will see a stock market bump, as traders buy shares to cover their Put options.

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US stocks are falling and volatility is going to increase as the US election head to a close on November 3rd. However, this is a systematic fall, meaning every stock in every sector is falling. Every sector save for a few healthcare stocks is down – irrespective of earnings. Why would Amazon stocks fall, even as demand is up?  This is a big market “tell” that the market sell-off has nothing to do with fundamentals.

Image 1 shows the Standard & Poor 500 index stocks categorized by sectors and industries.

Another key indicator that shows the market’s hand is the “VIX” – the trading symbol for the CBOE Volatility Index – that measures the implied volatility of the S&P 500 index. The VIX is muted, it’s up slightly – but nowhere near the levels seen in March and July of this year. What this tells us is that the market is less fearful. In other words, this is a planned sale by institutional investors not driven really by COVID-19 or stimulus fears.

Image 2

Why are all sectors in the market falling? The answer is simple; Investors are hedging against a Joe Biden victory in November.

Joe Biden‘s tax plan calls for an across the board tax hike on income, including Capital Gains taxes. This means if you filed as a single, bought the US Stocks in 2016 by buying the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Investor (VTSMX), your return in 2019 would have been 52.2%. This return would have triggered a capital gains tax of 20%, if your income exceeded $441.451 as a single filer.

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Image 3

Donald Trump on the other hand will tax long-term capital gain at 39.6$% on income above $1m. The maths is simple, investors that have made money in the stock market under the Trump tax cuts have an incentive to sell their stocks today or buy a Put option – to take in cash today and wait.

If Biden wins, they pay Capital gains taxes at the lower 20%; if Trump wins, they already have banked on their cash.

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Can you see the opportunity?

If Trump wins, these investors have to buy back those shares. Thus, a Trump victory and the Republican Party retaining the Senate will see a stock market bump, as traders buy shares to cover their Put options.

This is a simple play – if you think Trump will win, buy the market and go bullish.

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Columnists

October PMI reveals rebound in economic activities

Manufacturing PMI has remained below 50 index points for the past six consecutive months.

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Manufacturing: Activity levels pick up albeit readings still below water

According to the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) data released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the month of October, activity levels in the manufacturing and nonmanufacturing sectors strengthened even as readings remained below 50 index points. Specifically, the manufacturing PMI expanded to 49.4 in October from 46.9 in September, indicating slower contraction compared to the prior five months. Similarly, the nonmanufacturing PMI strengthened to 46.8 in October from 41.9 in September, halting two months of consecutive contraction in the index. That said, we note that Manufacturing PMI has remained below 50 index points for the past six consecutive months while NonManfacturing PMI has been below 50 index points for the past seven consecutive months.

Across the key indices in the manufacturing PMI, save for Supplier delivery time (-1.7) which recorded some deterioration, the remaining four indices in the manufacturing sector improved in October; Raw materials/WIP Inventory (+3.2), New orders (+4.8), Production level (+2.7) and Employment level (+1.9). We think the deterioration in Supplier delivery time reflects the impact of the nationwide unrest and peaceful protests on logistics and distribution channels of manufacturing firms. Furthermore, we note that while Employment
level and Raw material inventories improved in October, they remain below the 50-point mark which reflects weak labour employment and FX illiquidity challenges impacting ability to import critical raw materials. The data further revealed that, of the 14 surveyed subsectors in the manufacturing sector, six (compared to four in September) reported growth while 8 (compared to ten in September) contracted.

For non-manufacturing PMI, all four of the key metrics recorded improvement albeit they all remained below the 50-point mark. Across all the indices; Business Activity (+5.0), Level of new orders (+8.3), Employment level (+2.6) and Inventory level (+3.2) showed decent improvements. We think the decent recovery in Non-manufacturing PMI was driven by sustained recovery in activities of service-based organisations in the face of reduced covid19 restrictions.


CSL Stockbrokers Limited, Lagos (CSLS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. CSLS is a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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