A recent study by John Hopkins University reveals it may be easier for African Nations to raise debt and also get debt relief from China than private creditors.
The report of the study comes a day after China promised to cancel interests from loans to African nations and restructure debt to Africa. The study also revealed that China has restructured $15 billion of African debt and written off $3.4 billion in the past ten years.
After 1,000 Chinese loans, including restructured Mozambican and Republic of Congo debt, were analysed, the researchers concluded that “the agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors”.
The Paris Club recently agreed to pause debt payment valued at $11 billion for the poorest 73 nations freeing up capital to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, not all eligible nations signed up citing fears of default ratings if debt obligations are not met.
The study discovers difficulties in renegotiating terms on International Bonds for African countries due to the disparate ownership structure making private creditors unwilling to grant complete debt relief, citing warnings on rating downgrades.
China accounts for about 20% of Africa’s external debt and lent over $150 billion to the continent between 2000-2018 the study reveals. Chinese President, Xi Jinping has urged global leaders to be more pragmatic with debt suspension for Africa.
The study says much of the terms of Chinese debt to Africa has not been transparent and the relief negotiations may follow the same path.
Orange, France’s largest telco operator, may come to Nigeria in months
Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions.
France’s largest telecom operator, Orange, is set to extend its tentacles to Nigeria and South Africa.
Chief Executive Officer, Orange, Stephane Richard, who disclosed the news, said that the firm would make the move in a few months.
He said, “It could make sense to be in economies such as Nigeria and South Africa. If one considers there are things to do, the time frame I am considering is rather a few months than a few years.”
The Middle East and Africa, where Orange has a presence in 18 countries, is the company’s fastest-growing market.
What you need to know: There are chances that the company may eye payment transfers (mobile) in Nigeria.
That is because it makes the largest chunk of its revenue from payment transfers (Middle East), a key part of the group’s diversification into financial services, and Nigeria, which is the most populous black nation, is always an attraction.
Meanwhile, earlier in 2020, Orange had stated that it was bringing its operations in the Middle East and Africa into a single entity, paving the way for a potential listing of the operations that could raise cash to invest in overseas expansion.
“Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions,” he added.
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LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual tax returns by one month
“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.” – Ayodele Subair
The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has again extended the deadline for filing of Annual Tax Returns from May 31 2020 to June 30, 2020.
This is part of the state government’s effort to provide relief to taxpayers in light of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. With this development, annual returns for individuals, both employees and self-employed persons, can be filed anytime before June 30, 2020.
In a press release signed by Monsurat Amasa, the head of LIRS’ Corporate Communications Department, the agency urged taxpayers to take advantage of the magnanimity of the government and file their returns. The LIRS’ Executive Chairman, Mr. Ayodele Subair, explained the extension thus:
“As the Lagos State Government keeps abreast of global best practices in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and eases the effects of an economic downturn on taxpayers and residents of the State, LIRS had initially extended the deadline for filing annual tax returns for two months, from the statutory March 31st of every fiscal year to May 31, 2020.
“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.”
He further explained that taxpayers can file the annual returns from the comfort of their homes and offices using the LIRS eTax platforms. They can also generate assessment and payment schedule, and other tax administration matters on the same platform. Updates on business operations and alternative payment platforms are to be found on the verified handles, and the LIRS website.
Where to invest in May
Post-COVID-19 lockdown, Nigerians need to send their money on the right errands in May 2019, if they will not be caught napping the expected recession.
This May, post-COVID-19 lockdown, Nigerians need to send their money on the right errands, if they don’t want to be caught napping during the anticipated recession.
When listing out assets that should make up the ideal portfolio in May 2020, founder of Nairametrics, Ugochukwu “Ugodre” Obi-Chukwu, explained that investors should consider choice stocks in the Nigerian and foreign stock exchanges, as well as investments in money market instruments where some decent profits can be made.
Ugodre said this during the maiden edition of the Nairametrics Monthly Investment Guide Webinar.
According to him, this will also be the time to look into Agri-Tech investments, using crowdsourcing platforms, after which you can sit back and watch your funds grow over a time span of 5 months to a year.
According to him, it is also important to invest in foreign currencies and crypto-currencies to balance one’s portfolios.
He noted that foreign direct investments have reduced over the last couple of years due to reduced trust in Nigeria’s economic policies, and the desire of foreign investors to cash out their funds with ease. This also explains why portfolio investments grew by 38% in 2019.
He said, “Foreign investors love portfolio investments because when they put their money in, they can easily take it out as well.”
Finding the right stocks
On the stock market, he noted that quite some stocks improved in the month of April and could improve in the coming months. He listed 20 suggested shares, including six stocks which he described as COVID-19 proof.
Dangote Sugar Refinery, May & Baker Nigeria Plc, GSK, Neimeth International Pharm, Nestle Nigeria, and Cadbury Nigeria Plc are fast-moving consumer goods companies that are expected to be resistant to pressure from the pandemic.
He advised investors to track stocks that are liquid, have good financials and good corporate governance, in order to limit risks borne by investors. Valuation of the shares, he said, could be done by comparing stock value and earnings per share.
Working around cryptocurrency volatility
While making a presentation on “Why Bitcoin should be in your portfolio,” Yele Badamosi, CEO of Bundle stated that foremost cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, had maintained a steady appreciation over the last decade giving investors high yields.
Although the market is highly speculative and unregulated, its high returns and high risk indicate that investors with high-risk appetites could find the market more attractive.
To avoid being on the wrong side, he advised users to consider time-based rebalancing, or tolerance rebalancing to reduce risks and rebalance one’s portfolio.
“There are reputable people in the space, but it is important to do your research, start small, and buy regularly. Be wary of get-rich-schemes and unrealistic guaranteed returns,” he advised.
With applications like Bundle Africa on Google Play Store, buying cryptocurrencies is as easy as selecting the buy button and having it saved in your bundle wallet.
What to expect in Q2 2020
According to Wale, an economist, who also spoke at the webinar, the demand for crude oil will remain low as several countries and businesses are still in lockdown, even though OPEC has cut down production.
Interest rates may remain low, though, despite this, Nigerian business entrepreneurs cannot expect single-digit interest rates.
“Foreign reserve and government reserves will remain under pressure in the coming months. The World Bank says that this is the worst year so far, going back to the great depression and this is what I think as well. This is probably going to be the worst economic crisis we have seen,” Wale said.
He added that with the exception of industries in the Healthcare sector, telco companies, digital technology companies, and food producers, other sectors could very well expect a big hit.