Connect with us
nairametrics

Blurb

2020 revised budget, spending inefficiencies, and a looming debt hole  

For the revised budget, the oil benchmark was reduced from $57 per barrel to $28.

Published

on

2020 revised budget, spending inefficiencies, and a looming debt hole  , President Muhammadu Buhari, loans, Oil price, FG, Solar vehicles, P&ID firm, Nigeria's GDP, Debt Servicing: Nigeria pays $1.12 billion to World Bank, others in 10-month , How the latest Fitch report affects you in 2020 , Nigeria’s credit rating faces downgrade by Fitch, Nigeria’s fiscal crisis looms, oil hits $32, S&P downgrades Nigeria to junk rating, as India cuts interest rates

The COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of unfavourable to an already vulnerable Nigeria. The nation’s overdependence on oil, fragile infrastructure, low foreign and domestic investments, declining foreign reserves and debt crisis, has further tightened the expected economic consequence of the pandemic. It is also what is responsible for the recent revision of 2020’s budget. Last Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law a revised budget for the year 2020 of N10.8 trillion. Following the restrictions in international trade due to pandemic-induced lockdowns in many parts of the world, weakened global oil demand, as well as the pronounced decline in oil prices, the budget had to be revised to reflect current realities 

The GDP was projected to grow at 2.93% in 2020, but this has now been revised to -4.41%. For the revised budget, the oil benchmark was reduced from $57 per barrel to $28, and crude production was reduced from 2.18 million to 1.7 million barrels per dayNigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed revealed that the impact of these developments is c.65% decline in projected net 2020 government revenues from the oil and gas sector. So far, Nigeria has been only able to meet 56% of its target revenue from January to May as the global oil price crash affected government revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A budget deficit of N5.365 trillion is expected to be funded by domestic and foreign borrowing while direct revenue funding will cover N5.158 trillion.  

 READ MORE: G-20 central banks are considering ‘special’ debt swap deal for African countries

The debt situation 

Data from the Debt Management Office (DMO) reveals that Nigeria’s total debt currently stands at N28.62 trillionThis is following the move by Fitch, in Aprilto downgrade Nigeria’s Long Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘B’ from ‘B+’ with a negative outlook. Mahmoud Harb, a director at Fitch had explained that the debt to revenue ratio for Nigeria is set to deteriorate further to 538% by the end of 2020, from 348% that it was a year earlier before improving slightly next year. While the Joint World Bank-IMF Debt Sustainability Framework for Low-Income Countries released in 2020, noted that a country’s debt service to revenue threshold should not exceed 23%, Nigeria’s debt service to revenue ratio for the past five years hawitnessed a relatively steady increase. Analysis using data from CBN’s annual Statistical Bulletin reveals debt service-revenue ratio of 32.63% in 2015, 56.83% in 2017 and 43.62% in 2019. For the first quarter of 2020, we witnessed a 99% debt service to revenue ratio suggesting that almost all the revenue generated from both oil and non-oil sources was used to meet debt service obligations.  

While this is reflective of the decline in oil revenue for the period, it is also one sign of our looming debt crisis. According to information contained in the recently approved revised budget, Nigeria spent N943.12 billion in debt service in the first quarter of the year and N1.2 trillion between January and May 2020. It also plans to spend N2.9 trillion on debt service in 2020 against a revenue of N5.3 trillion. This represents a 55% debt service to revenue ratio. About N1 trillion was spent on debt service in the first 5 months of the year. 

GTBank 728 x 90

If we were to strive to attain a palatable benchmark debt service to revenue ratio of even 25%, based on the projected debt service for 2020, the government will have to generate at least 11.6 trillion annually. The highest FG revenue witnessed over the past five years since 2015 was 2019’s N4.8 trillion. Even though some of the debts come with very little interest rates like the $3.4 billion loan under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) ajust a 1% rate of interest, the overall debt servicing burden is one that Nigeria may not be able to get itself out of especially since it cannot completely stop borrowing.  

With oil projected to only increase marginally in the coming years from the $28 dip, the nation needs to look into harnessing non-oil revenues. However, because the non-oil sector requires that productivity is enhanced, it begs the question of whether the right infrastructures exist for us to make such demands of the sector. 

 

GTBank 728 x 90

What we have been spending on 

Over the past 5 years spanning 2015 and 2019, the Nigerian government has spent about N34.8 trillion comprising of both recurrent and capital expenditures in the ratio of 73% in recurrent expenditure and only 19in capital expenditure; the difference is attributable to transfers. What this means is that only about 19% of the debt load is what has been invested in further developing the nation through the creation of relevant infrastructure. The rest were spent on recurring expenses like salaries – a testament of the profligacy that thrives. Consequently, the funds being spent on debt servicing can be seen as another way of wasting limited resources while funding very little capital expenditure that could be used to stimulate the productivity of Nigerians.  

While COVID-19 has revealed our overdependence on the oil sector as well as the inefficiencies that have left us in the quagmire of increasing debt and reducing revenue from known sources, the biggest slap comes from knowing that Nigeria as a nation has spent so much and achieved so little that it can bank on when the chips are down.  

 

Blurb articles are succinctly written opinions editorials from content contributors expressing their views on financial reports, macroeconomic data, and economic policies. Blurb is recommended for readers seeking 'straight to the point' information and viewpoints that can help shape better investment decisions.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blurb

#ENDSARS Protests: Why this is different

The #ENDSARS is not just a protest about rogue police officers, it is larger than that and this is why.

Published

on

In June 2019, the Hong Kong Government revealed plans to implement a controversial law that allows the extradition of Hong Kong citizens to mainland China.  

As the government dithered, pockets of protests broke out, which triggered clashes with Policemen that most protesters viewed as excessive. Within days, protesters went from a few thousands to over 2 million, the largest in the history of Hong Kong.  

By the time the government decided to pull back the bill; the protesters, many of them young, were already demanding for more than just a withdrawal of the bill. They wanted the police investigated and prosecuted for using excessive force, amnesty for protesters, and a right to vote for all.  

The protests lasted for about 6 months only to be dissipated by social distancing requirements, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before then, protesters had grounded the economy, which drove the Hong Kong economy into a recession and $3 billion in stimulus.  

Nigeria is experiencing its own version of protests similar to that of Hong Kong, except that it does not have any money to inject as stimulus. The latest protests were triggered by anger over the alleged violent killings and extortion by the controversial anti-robbery unit of the police, known as SARS or FSARS.  

GTBank 728 x 90

For years, young Nigerians, mostly via social media, have called for the unit to be disbanded and rogue elements in the force brought to justice. Despite repeated promises by the government, they have failed to heed to their demands, triggering a new wave of protests that has now spread across the country. 

From demanding an end to SARS, prosecution of rogue police officers, and reforms; Protesters are more emboldened, threatening to continue if all their demands are not met. The government is scrambling to contain a situation that is escalating and could dangerously metamorphose into violent clashes with authorities, leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties 

There is also fear that this week’s protest could be sustained for more days, if not weeksYou only need to look at the economy of the Nigerian Youth to understand why this is such a critical moment. 

GTBank 728 x 90

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Youth unemployment is at an all-time high of 34.9%, making up 64.3% of total unemployed Nigerians. University students have also been at home for months, due to the 7 months ASUU strike.  

Their parents are also facing tougher economic conditions with inflation rate galloping past 13%, after multiple devaluations and the removal of fuel subsidy. It was just a matter of time for them to find a rallying point to vent their frustration. 

There is still a window for the government to deescalate tensions, and it is not just by accepting the terms of protesters on paper and making bogus pronouncements. Nigerian youths want concrete actions and it starts by making immediate changes in the leadership of the Police – the rogue unit in particular. Officers suspected of murdering innocent Nigerians need to be made to face justice.  

The government also needs to urgently resolve its dispute with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). Students and young Nigerians also need to be offered grants and palliatives to help them cushion the effects of an economic crunch that is in no way their making.  

Proceeds from the Nigerian Youth Investment Funds should be disbursed immediately to those who have applied. The government also needs to introduce student loan schemes for millions of Nigerian youths, who can’t afford to pay for quality university education.  

Jaiz bank ads

The National Assembly also needs to introduce laws that protect young Nigerians from police brutality, status profiling and wrongful arrest. Investments in mega tech hubs across the country, establishment of recreation zones in major cities must be carried out by State Governments, to keep them engaged in activities that can better their lives.  

Fidelity ads

No investor, local or foreign will put money in any country where its youths are in long-drawn protest with the governmentAs the economic cost of the protests for the last few days continues to mountthe negative effects could be more dire than a deeper recession. 

#ENDSARS does not just represent a protest against rogue Police officers; it is a symptom of the poor state of the economy, which for months has only gotten worse. Fortunately, the agitation can still be managed but time is running out.  

Continue Reading

Blurb

Thrive Agric: “Where is my money?”

AgriTech firms make promises of mouth-watering returns, but what they do not reveal loud enough is just how risky the investment is.

Published

on

Fund a farmer, make a profit! Thus, says Thrive Agric, a popular AgriTech company that crowdsources funds from investors in exchange for a profit. The business model appears simple and easy for any basic investor to understand.

When you invest through them, they pool your funds along with other investors and then invest the collective sums in farms across the country. When the farmers harvest, they sell the farm produce at a profit, receive the cash, and split among investors who contributed to the pool. The company keeps a commission for itself. It all makes business sense, except for one thorny challenge – It is highly risky.

Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website

Last week, a Twitter user posted a tweet demanding a refund of his investment in Thrive Agric – almost a million naira. The company lamented that they could not pay him, because they had experienced losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The investor was taking none of the excuses, resulting in a name and shame on twitter that has since gone viral.

READ: Nigeria’s Broadband subscriptions peak at 82.7m – Prof. Danbatta

GTBank 728 x 90

AgriTech Investments as they have come to be known has gained popularity as a viable investment option for Nigerians, who are still afraid of investing in the stock market. The largely unregulated sector leverages technology, an easy and relatable business model, and the promise of a mouth-watering return to yield-hungry investors. What they however do not reveal loud enough is just how risky the investment is.

Farming in a country like Nigeria is a highly risky venture that relies on a value chain that is fragmented, full of middlemen, and largely inefficient. Nigeria’s average yield per hectare is one of the lowest in the world, largely due to lack of farming inputs such as fertilizer, irrigation, and insecurity.

READ: We wanted to help users pay themselves first – Piggyvest

GTBank 728 x 90

AgriTech firms like Thrive Agric face these risks when they pool money from investors and pass on to farmers. Though part of their role in the investment scheme includes monitoring how the funds are utilized by farmers, they have no control over several risk factors such as the impact of COVID-19, which they alluded to as the challenges for not being able to pay investors.

Perhaps, if they disclose the inherent risks in the business, investors will be better informed and size up their risk against the returns. A cursory look at the company’s website reveals there is nowhere that it is mentioned that there is a risk of not getting all or part of your money when you invest. It probably would ruin the pitch if they did.

READ: Livestock Feeds: How this company survived over half a century producing animal feed

This is why when you visit their website and that of their competitors like Farmcrowdy (who pioneered this business) what you see are testimonials of just how well the investments are doing. You could argue that they had not defaulted in any of their previous rounds, so there was no need to say otherwise.

However, alerting investors about the inherent risks in a crowdsource investment scheme is not only responsible but a matter of best practice and compliance. The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), noted this in its draft Exposure on Proposed News Rules guiding crowdfunding. Section 9a (iv) states that the crowdfunding company is expected to share a general risk warning on participating in funding through the company’s platform.

Jaiz bank ads

READ: Where to invest your N5m to N500m safely and securely

Fidelity ads

It also requires in Section 14 that they must publish on their website that “Investing through an online portal is risky and Issuers raising funds through the portal include new or rapidly growing ventures,” and that “Investment in the businesses hosted on the portal is very speculative and carries high risks; Investors may lose their entire investment and must be in a position to bear this risk without undue hardship.” This proposed compliance requirement is not been done by most AgriTech firms.

If this had been published on its website and duly communicated to its potential investors, we may have avoided the embarrassing and reputation damaging question that any fund manager wants to avoid – “Where is my money?”, especially if they don’t have it.

Continue Reading

Blurb

First Bank is cutting inefficiencies and focusing on its strengths

While the bank has everything to be thankful for, care should still be taken towards driving its growth objective.

Published

on

First bank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank

Being the first entrant to any industry, no matter how lucrative, is only an advantage when there is zero competition. In the real world, for any business to stay in the game, it must constantly innovate, expand its market share, and carry out the necessary moves to survive the equally changing business and economic landscape. First Bank being the premier bank in West Africa has undoubtedly witnessed this change over time. If there is one thing the bank has done, it has stayed relevant through decades, even after many that came after it have fallen by the wayside.

READ: CAC to register companies within 48 hours, approve business name same day

The year 2020 had forced many businesses across the world to reassess their positions, and a strategy many have adopted is cost cutting – for good reasons. Given the economic and financial constraints with limited resources, cutting operational inefficiencies and focusing on areas that offer the best value has proven to be worth the effort for many. While the COVID-19 pandemic might not have had anything to do with FBN Holdings cutting off its risk underwriting business, FBN Insurance ltd, the company made the decision within the year and it couldn’t have come at a better time than when it did.

READ: FIDELITY BANK PLC: Frail earnings outlook but valuations still attractive

First Bank’s performance in Q2 2020

Like most companies, First Bank’s revenue (Net interest income) took a hit as stated in its Q2 2020 Y-O-Y results. Net interest income dropped by 7.34%, from N141.7 billion in Q2 2019 to N131.3 billion in Q2 2020, following significant reduction in investment securities over the quarter. Profit before tax grew by 14.3%, from N36.2 billion to N41.4 billion for the period under review. Profit after tax grew by 56.3%, from N31.6 billion to N49.5 billion year on year.

GTBank 728 x 90

READ: Nigerian Breweries’ Q1 earnings report shows profit decreased by 31.4% to N5.5 billion

Operating expenses also increased by 0.9% y-o-y from N137.9 billion to N139.2 billion; while it suffered impairment charge for credit losses of N30.7 billion from N22.1 billion in Q2 2019. Its Gross earnings increased by 5.8% to N296.4 billion, from N280.3 billion in the period under review.

Divesting from its risk underwriting arm and its capital injection

FBN Holdings completely divested from its risk underwriting arm, completely selling off its 65% stake in FBN Insurance Ltd to Sanlam Emerging Markets (Proprietary) Ltd. effective from June 1st, 2020.

GTBank 728 x 90

According to the group, “we successfully divested from the underwriting (insurance) businesses, to focus on our banking operations. We are confident this will enhance greater value to our stakeholders and strengthen the Group’s resolve to consolidate its leadership of the banking sector.”

READ: STANBIC IBTC posts Profit After Tax of N45.2 billion in H1 2020

This single action did many things for the bank. Following the divestment, the holding capital, FBN Holdings, had injected equity capital of N25 billion into the bank, thereby boosting its overall Capital Adequacy Ratio to 16.5% (excluding profit for H1 2020). In a similar vein, the bank’s total assets was boosted by 14.9% year-to-date from ₦6.2 trillion as at Dec 2019 to ₦7.1 trillion in June, 2020. By pumping the required capital into the bank, it was able to effectively mitigate the regulatory requirements that many banks have struggled with over the past few months. Not only does it have a comfortable buffer against regulatory requirements; it has the available financial resources to look out for emerging business opportunities, and fully deepen its strengths in its core business areas.

READ; Nike stocks post gains, women’s apparel division grow by 200%

While the bank has everything to be thankful for, with the play of events; care should still be taken towards driving its growth objective. In truth, its financial position excluding the capital injection does not particularly reveal new strengths. Hence, a false sense of security, given the current economic challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and all the challenges it births, like possible increase in impairment provisions, ailing investments, and so on, could have the company dissipating its newly injected capital.

Jaiz bank ads

READ: UBA Plc H1’2020 results, a true reflection of its rightsizing decision? 

Fidelity ads

For investors, while an amazing growth opportunity does exist especially given its new resources, the best bet is to hold as a dividend stock, patiently waiting for its long-term growth strategies to play out in the years to come.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
ikeja electric
Advertisement
Advertisement
Patricia
Advertisement
FCMB ads
Advertisement
IZIKJON
Advertisement
Fidelity ads
Advertisement
first bank
Advertisement
bitad
Advertisement
Stallion ads
Advertisement
financial calculator
Advertisement
deals book
Advertisement
app
Advertisement