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COVID-19: Hard times ahead for indigenous oil, gas coys –Report



images 29 3 COVID-19: Hard times ahead for indigenous oil, gas coys –Report

 crude oil consumption expected to decline by about 9 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 90.6 million barrels per day (mbpd) in 2020 due to the outbreak of coronavirus, operators in oil and gas industry, especially service firms may be in for tougher days ahead.

The gloomy picture is contained in the 2020 Oil and Gas Servicing Industry report recently released by Augusto&Co.

The report noted further that the contraction in oil consumption, will further suppress opportunities for a recovery of oil field activities in the near-term.

It maintained that it expects a huge number of job losses, while some oil field servicing companies may eventually go bankrupt.

The report believes that a strategic option for market recovery might be consolidation, given the lack of strong fundamentals for a stable oil market. In addition to bolstering performance, a consolidation may help regain some level of bargaining power from E&P operators.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak worsened conditions in the oil market. The pandemic led to the closure of air and land borders while a large number of economies also enforced a partial lockdown which affected demand for crude.’’

The report argued that despite the easing of some of these restrictions in the second half of 2020, economic activities have yet to fully recover because several key projects in Nigeria, including the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben pipeline project and Shell’s Bonga North field development, have been suspended due to lull in the crude oil market.

The Augusto& Co report added that delays in sanctioning of these projects will impact Nigeria’s oil and gas servicing industry’s near to medium-term performance considering the substantial contracting opportunities these projects provide.

The report noted that owing to prevailing difficulties in the operating terrain, a number of operators in Nigeria including international and indigenous companies have slashed contractor rates by up to 50 per cent while capital budgets have been reviewed downwards by an average of 20 per cent.

The report disclosed that barring any new opportunities for  improvement in a dire global economic situation, cash flows are expected to remain very weak while legacy debt obligations coupled with a likely spike in the impairment of newly acquired debt could lead to a massive deterioration in the financial condition of oil and gas servicing companies.

However, marginal, naira denominated debt obligations will expand owing to the devaluation, which creates a worse-off situation while potential for growth is also likely to remain muted, owing to unfavourable oil prices.

The report also pointed out that the regulatory and policy environment for the petroleum sector is not as supportive with several promising exploration and incremental projects been stalled partly due to the unfavourable regulatory stance.  This situation, according to the report is expected to be worse-off considering the adversities created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘‘Agusto & Co expects the crude oil market is likely to remain depressed for the rest of 2020 considering that with no antidote to the virus, the wheel of many economies is likely to remain slow and thus consumption of crude oil will also remain weak in the near term.’’

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Nigeria @ 60: Footprints of banking sector in national development



images 64 3 Nigeria @ 60: Footprints of banking sector in national development

Since the establishment of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1959, the events that shaped the development of the banking sector in the country have been pockmarked by the good, the bad and the ugly.

For instance, banking failure, which preceded the nation’s independence and trigerred various reforms post independenc, occurred in 1930. And between that year and 1959, 21 out of the 25 indigenous banks and nine foreign banks collapsed.

That incident cut down the number of banks in the country to 12 by 1960. And between 1960 and 1986, the number of commercial banks in the country mushroomed to 29, due to the deregulation of September 16, 1986, and peaked at 66 in 1992. However, owing to the liquidation of 15 banks over the years, the number declined to 51 at the end of 1998 and rose again to 89 by 2003.

In the year 2000, the universal banking system was introduced to bridge the gap between merchant and commercial banks, and proffer solutions to the problems of declining ethics, huge non-performing loans, low capital base, over-dependence on public sector funds and weak corporate governance.

During this period, the minimum capital base stipulated for banks was pegged at N2 billion, as against the initial N500 million capital base. It became operational in January 2001.

As at December 2006, owing to the consolidation of the banking system, the number went down to 25, later to 24 at the end of 2007 following the merger of Stanbic Bank and IBTC-Chartered Bank. It is pertinent to mention that the number of banks which closed shop stood at 48 between 1994 and 2006.

Banking consolidation

On July 6, 2004, the banking system witnessed what was called the ‘Soludo Solution’, when the then CBN Governor, Professor Charles Soludo, announced a comprehensive reform programme. The minimum capital base for universal banks rose to N25 billion. This was far above the initial capital base of N2billion, with full compliance by December 31, 2005. Many banks that could not meet the requirement were either acquired or merged with other banks.

The Mergers and Acquisitions involved 76 banks, out of the initial 89 banks. This brought down the number of banks to 25. Moreso, all the banks mobilised funds through Initial Public Offering (IPO) and 14 bank licences were revoked. The 76 banks “represents 93.5 per cent of the deposit share of the market, while the 13 banks that failed to meet the recapitalization requirement accounts for 6.5 per cent of the deposit share of the industry. At the end of the 18-month consolidation/recapitalization exercise, the capital market witnessed a boost of N406 billion in its market capitalization and N360 billion was accepted by the CBN in addition to foreign capital inflow of US$654 million and £161,993. Later, IBTC and Stanbic merged. This brought the total numbers of banks operating in the country to 24. Bankers and financial experts all over the world expressed satisfaction at the success of the policy which eliminated an old fashioned banking style for one that would move the economy forward.

In 2009, the apex bank announced that five Nigerian bank CEOs were dismissed and replaced with immediate effect. The affected banks were Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, Finbank, Spring Bank Union Bank and Afribank. In the same year, the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was established. To soak up the non-performing loans (NPLs) in the sector. The financing of AMCON is composed of a N50 billion CBN fund and 0.3 per cent of total assets of participating commercial banks. It also supports the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) of for global reporting compliance in terms of reporting. This reform reviewed the universal banking model by restricting commercial banks to banking activities only. The reform also addresses excessive banking interest by the creation of a non-interest bank.

Financial Inclusion

The apex bank adopted the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in 2012. The Strategy articulated the demand-side, supply-side and regulatory barriers to financial inclusion, identified areas of focus, set targets, determined key performance indicators (KPIs) and established the implementation structure. The NFIS was built on four strategic areas of agency banking, mobile banking/mobile payments, linkage models and client empowerment. Four priority areas were identified for guideline and framework development namely, Tiered Know-yourCustomer (T-KYC) regulations, Agent Banking regulations, National Financial Literacy Strategy and Consumer Protection. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders intend to implement a National Financial Inclusion Strategy that will reduce the percentage of adult Nigerians that are excluded from financial services from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent by 2020.

The number of Nigerians included in the formal sector will increase from 36.3 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent by 2020.

But Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) said the target by CBN to ensure 80 per cent of Nigerian adults have access to financial services by end of 2020 is unlikely to happen.

EFInA) is the organisation that conducts biennial report on Nigeria’s financial inclusion. The organisation explained that, having covered Nigeria’s financial inclusion space in the last 12 years, the 20 per cent exclusion target is unlikely to be achieved as its data show that Nigeria’s exclusion gap was widening.

It said even though its 20218 data showed that more people became financially included the financial inclusion pace was however not matching the country’s population growth rate.

“What we saw between the 2016 and 2018 data was that more people were becoming financially included but not at the same pace as the population growth rate which is why the 80 percent target of financial inclusion for this year or conversely the 20 percent exclusion target is unlikely to be met if we are all particularly realistic,” Dayo Odulate-Ademola, Head of innovation at EFInA said recently.

Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020

The CBN launched the FSS2020 in August 2006 to fast track the achievement of the country’s vision 2020. The FSS2020 is based on the recognition of the linkage between financial deepening/growth and economic developments.

The Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020 is a national reform program aimed at developing and transforming Nigeria’s financial sector into a growth catalyst to fast track the achievement of the Vision 20:2020 and engineer Nigeria’s evolution into an International Financial Centre. The strategic objectives of FSS2020 are to strengthen and deepen the domestic financial markets, enhance the integration of domestic financial markets with the external financial markets and supporting the real sector.

To attain these objectives, the key regulators of the Nigerian financial system came together under the leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria and crafted the vision to make Nigeria the safest and most diversified growing economy among emerging markets. The key institutions are: CBN, SEC, NAICOM, PENCOM, DMO, FMBN, SMEDAN, NSE, NDIC, FIRS and FRC.

FSS2020 aims to transform Nigeria’s financial system into a catalyst for growth, develop Nigeria into an international financial centre, and transform the economy into one of the twenty largest economies in the world by the year 2020.

The overall goals of FSS 2020 Financial Markets Sector are derived from the Money and Foreign exchange markets and the capital market. Money Market refers to the segment of the Nigerian financial system comprising both the money market and the foreign exchange markets activities. The Central Bank of Nigeria is the regulator of the money market. The capital market is the segment of the financial system where medium to long term funds are mobilised. The Securities and Exchange Commission is the apex regulatory authority of the Nigerian capital market charged with the dual responsibilities of regulating and developing the market.

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Naira steady amid #EndSARS mayhem



images 60 4 Naira steady amid #EndSARS mayhem

The naira last week traded at the parallel market for N463 against the dollar, a slightly weaker ratio from the N462 exchange rate the previous week. Naira’s exchange rate remains at N379 to the dollar at the official market.

The local currency, however, sustained its stability despite the impact of the #EndSARS protests across major cities in the country and reduced business activities triggered by the protests. The deadly clashes between protestors and security forces escalated and led to number of deaths. Analysts said that negative sentiment against the naira slowed as rioting, blazes and round-the-clock curfews slowed economic activity and shuttered many businesses.

Investors in the equities market also earned N19.7 billion profit as market capitalisation rose to N15 trillion, putting the year-to-date returns at 6.9 per cent.

Speaking on the development, Murega Mungai, Trading Desk Manager, AZA, global currency dealing leader, said the Naira remains in a risk-averse state, with Amnesty International (AI) saying at least 56 people have been killed since the #EndSARS protests began earlier this month.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) projected that lower oil export revenue and the economic impact from the pandemic would cause external reserves to sink to between $29.9 billion and $34.3 billion by year-end, with the development expected to further add to naira’s pressure.

Even though speculative buying has been lower than normal, anticipation of naira depreciation has driven hoarding of dollars, while demand for forex from manufacturers persists.

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CBN to promote zero balance account opening



images 59 4 CBN to promote zero balance account opening

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it will promote the opening of new accounts with zero balance.

This was contained in its report, Monetary, Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Policy Guidelines for Fiscal Years 2020/2021.

According to the report, the apex bank gave this directive to deposit money banks (DMBs) to ensure greater financial inclusion in the country.

The banks are expected to simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements.

CBN further urged the banks to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.

“As part of its effort towards promoting greater financial inclusion in the country, the bank shall continue to encourage banks to intensify deposit mobilisation during the 2020/2021 fiscal years,” the report read.

“Accordingly, banks shall allow zero balances for opening new bank accounts and simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer requirements.

“Banks are also encouraged to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.”

The report added that the shared agency network expansion facility (SANEF), established to enhance the provision of financial services access points in under-served and unserved locations will continue in the 2020/2021 fiscal years.

Banks, mobile money operators, and super-agents shall continue to render returns in the prescribed formats and frequency to the CBN.

The apex bank said the national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS) was devised to enable adults in Nigeria have access to a broad range of formal financial services that are affordable, meet their needs, and provided at an affordable cost.

The strategy was revised in 2018 with focus on five targets: females; youth within the age bracket of 18-25 years; rural dwellers; North-West and North-East regions; and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

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