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Economy & Politics

Why the strong dollar is giving Nigeria headache

Investors are fleeing emerging markets in record numbers and piling into the safe-haven greenback with two emergency interest-rate cuts this month.

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Foreign exchange market, Nigeria’s fixed income & money market update ending 13th March, 2020, Why the s, CBNtrong dollar is giving Nigeria headache, Nigerian banks broadly positive after Naira devaluation, Exchange rate sustains gain at NAFEX window as CBN orders BDCs to sell at N386/$1

Investors are fleeing emerging markets in record numbers and piling into the safe-haven greenback, with two emergency interest-rate cuts this month by the Federal Reserve doing nothing to diminish the dollar’s appeal.

With the American dollar more integrated into the world economy than ever before, its gains are an added stress for businesses and governments as they brace for soaring costs on their dollar debt.

The dilemma for emerging market central banks is that as they slash interest rates to support growth, they risk destabilizing their currencies as well if they cut too much.

Central Bank Continues intervention in Forex market to stabilize Naira

Victor Silas, an investment analyst spoke to Nairametrics on the phone that, “It is no news that there is a school of thought arguing about a possible devaluation given the oil prices hovering around $30 per barrel in recent weeks as a round of the low demand side and a price war between Russia and Saudi and most importantly the continued depletion in our FX reserves since H2 2019 currently at 36bn dollars.“ 

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However, he added that, “The CBN press release on 12 March stated that he size of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserve remains robust and comfortable, given the current realities of Nigeria’s genuine and legitimate FX demand.”

(READ MORE: OFFICIAL: Bank charge N368 per dollar for debit card transactions)

Nigeria has reacted to the crisis triggered by Coronavirus and oil’s collapse in the same way that it did when crude last crashed in 2014 by trying to prevent the naira weakening and tightening capital controls.

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With foreign reserves having fallen almost 20% since July, Nigeria needs a currency almost 40% weaker if Brent prices stay at $30 per barrel

What it means: This outlook will weaken investors’ confidence. It will generate speculative pressures on the currency. It will result in the depreciation of the naira exchange rate. It will trigger inflationary pressures, increase production and operation costs for businesses and will weaken purchasing power and ultimately undermine the welfare of the citizens.

Tempitope Busari, CFA treasurer at a leading Lagos based consumer finance firm in an email sent to Nairametrics added that, “As far as a stronger dollar goes, my view is that the USD/NGN rate will continue the upward trend at least at the ‘freer’ unofficial window.

“Recall that this window caters to the noisier segment of the market and as such, sustained pressure is seemingly inevitable. I don’t see the rates receding anytime soon. For the first time ever.

Nigeria has about 50 cargoes of crude oil that have yet to find off-takers, coupled with the reality that oil price is very well below $30pb. The country’s FX earnings are being threatened, and this situation is not helped by the fact that our cost of crude oil production is still triple that of Saudi’s.

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“It is only a matter of time before the official market follows – our imports and crude oil revenues dependent economy will force their hand if things continue this way.”

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The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose by 1.77% to 99.88. as at 10.50 am Nigerian local time

Olumide Adesina is a France-born Nigerian. He is a Certified Investment Trader, with more than 15 years of working expertise in Investment Trading. Featured Financial Market Analysis for a Fortune Global 500 Company. Member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society. Follow Olumide on Twitter @tokunboadesina or email [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria edges closer to getting World Bank loan, in the final stages of talk

The Finance Minister has disclosed that Nigeria has fulfilled the conditions and is in the last stages of securing a World Bank loan.

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FG projects spending plan of N11.86 trillion and deficit of N5.16 trillion,IMF, International monetary fund, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

Nigeria is set to achieve its plans of getting the $1.5 billion World Bank loan package as it is in the closing stages of the deal following its fulfilment of the conditions set by the international multilateral organization.

This disclosure was made by the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during an interview on Friday, November 27, 2020, with Bloomberg Television.

While pointing out that Nigeria’s senate approved the borrowing plan from the World Bank in June, Ahmed said the board of the multilateral institution will discuss the loan package at their next meeting.

What you should know

It can be recalled that the World Bank loan which had been sought by Nigeria in the wake of the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was being delayed by the Brettonwood institution due to concerns over reforms as it feels that Nigeria has not shown enough commitment towards achieving them.

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Some of the reforms include the unification and flexibility of the exchange rate, removal of fuel subsidy, increase in electricity tariffs amongst others.

However, it seems that with the recent deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry with the attendant removal of fuel subsidy and increase in electricity tariff, some of those concerns of the World Bank are gradually being sorted out.

Ahmed also said that Nigeria is considering joining the G-20 debt-relief initiative and is talking to commercial lenders to secure their backing.

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She said, “We will consider joining as long as it is safe for us to do so. Nigeria couldn’t participate initially because some of the conditions were unfavourable for existing loan commitments with bilateral lenders and other international borrowings.”

On the increased gap between the official rate and parallel market rate, the minister said the government is concerned about the widening gap in the naira’s exchange rate on the official and parallel markets.

She said, “We have been taking measures to close the gap. We hope to get to an even level very soon so the impact of the exchange rate will become moderated.”

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria generates N416.01 billion from Company Income Tax in Q3 2020

Total company income tax generated increased by 3.48% in Q3 2020, compared to N402.03 billion recorded in Q2 2020.

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Avoid paying taxes, Nigeria generates N416.01 billion from Company Income Tax in Q3 2020

Nigeria generated the sum of N416.01 billion from Company Income Tax (CIT) in the third quarter of 2020. This was revealed in the Company Income Tax by Sectors report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to the report, the total CIT generated increased by 3.48% in Q3 2020, compared to N402.03 billion recorded in the previous quarter (Q2 2020). It reduced by 20.13% compared to N520.89 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter (Q3) of 2019.

READ: Nigeria’s Value Added Tax collection dips slightly in Q1 2019

READ: VAT revenue may have hit 4 year high in 2018

Highlights

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  • Company income tax generated year-to-date sums up to N1.11 trillion as against N1.26 trillion in the comparable period of 2019.
  • Professional Services including Telecoms generated the highest amount of CIT with N55.52 billion generated, closely followed by Other Manufacturing with N42.03 billion.
  • Banks & Financial Institutions generated a sum of N24.05 billion.
  • Mining generated the least, closely followed by Textile and Garment Industry and Local Government Councils with N120.93 million, N167.51 million, and N321.72 million generated respectively.

READ: FBN Holdings Plc posts Profit of N21.9 billion in Q3 2020

Out of the total amount generated in Q3 2020, N244.70 billion was generated as CIT locally, while N70.34 billion was generated as foreign CIT payment. The balance of N100.97 billion was generated as income taxes from other payments.

Automobiles and Assemblies grows CIT by 994%

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In terms of sectors with the highest increase in company income tax remittances, the Automobiles and Assemblies sector grew its CIT by 994%, from N81.6 million in Q2 2020 to N892.7 million. It was closely followed by the Gas sector, which grew its CIT by 626% to stand at N4.76 billion from N655.5 million.

READ: FG rejects calls for tax reduction, offers tax relief for donors to intervention funds

On the flip side, transport and haulage services recorded the highest decline in company income tax, as it reduced by 76% to stand at N7.35 billion from N31.1 billion. This is closely followed by Banks and financial institutions, which declined by 51% to stand at N24.1 billion.

READ: Unity Bank Plc posts gross earnings of N11.04 billion in Q3 2020

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Bottom line

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The rise in company income tax is an indication of the Nigerian government’s move to improve the generation of revenue from the fiscal side as against oil exportation. However, the halt in economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the year-on-year decline in company income tax.

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Economy & Politics

Bus fare paid by Nigerian commuters increased by 68.8% in October 2020

The average fare paid by Nigerian commuters for a bus journey intra-city spiked by 68.82% from N190.86 recorded in October 2019 to N322.22 in October 2020

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Mile 2 Road, Bus fare paid by Nigerian commuters increased by 68.8% in October 2020

The average fare paid by Nigerian commuters for bus journey within the city spiked by 68.82% year-on-year from N190.86 recorded in October 2019 to N322.22 in October 2020. This was contained in the transport fare watch report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The Transport fare watch report for the month of October 2020 covered the following categories namely: bus journey within the city per drop constant route; bus journey intercity, state route, charge per person; air fare charge for specified routes single journey; journey by motorcycle (Okada) per drop; and waterway passenger transport.

READ: Nigeria’s inflation rate jumps to 14.23% in October 2020

According to the report, the average fare paid by Nigerians for a bus journey within a city also increased by 4.03% when compared to N309.73 recorded in September 2020. Meanwhile, States with the highest bus journey fare within the city were Zamfara (N585.34), Bauchi (N504.78), and Cross River (N431.04); while States with the lowest bus journey fare within the city were Abia (N192.11), Kebbi (N205.47), and Borno (N208.15).

READ: These 3 states are the most expensive to travel from in Nigeria

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Highlights

  • Average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity increased by 9.25% to N2,209.84 as against N2,022.7 recorded in September 2020, while it increased by 35% compared to N1,636.86 recorded in the corresponding month of 2019.
  • States with the highest bus journey fare intercity were Abuja FCT (N4,376.09), Lagos (N3,073.41), and Sokoto (N3,055.12); while States with the lowest bus journey fare intercity were Bayelsa (N1,473.67), Enugu (N1,560.00), and Bauchi (N1,560.49).
  • Average fare paid by commuters for journey by motorcycle per drop increased by 3.88% month-on-month and by 115.50% year-on-year to stand at N265.41 in October 2020 from N255.51 and N123.16 respectively.
  • States with the highest journey fare for motorcycle per drop were Niger (N1,476.40), Kogi (N372.45), and Rivers (N352.47); while states with the lowest journey fare for motorcycle per drop were Adamawa (N78.49), Katsina (N106.20), and Kebbi (N135.75).
  • In terms of air travel, the average fare paid by passengers for specified routes single journey decreased by -1.70% when compared to N36,884.59 recorded in September 2020. It however increased by 18.42% (year-on-year) to stand at N36,256.08 as against N30,615.43 recorded in October 2019.
  • States with the highest air fare were Anambra (N38,500.00), Cross River (N38,460.00), Jigawa (N38,250.00); while States with the lowest air fare were Akwa Ibom (N32,750.00), Sokoto (N33,250.00), and Gombe (N34,800.00).

What you should know

Nairametrics reported in October that the average fare paid by commuters for a journey by motorcycle per drop, more than doubled in September 2020 when compared to the corresponding month in 2019, increasing by 111.11% to stand at N255.51 in the month.

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READ: NBS discloses States with highest bus fares in Nigeria (Full List)

Bottom line

The persistent increase in the prices of transport fares across the country is a resultant effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, which necessitated drivers and transporters to reduce the number of commuters they carry at a time.

This is in line with the health measures implemented by the Federal government to help curb the spread of the corona virus in the country.

Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website

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