Mr. Anthony Adejoh Okpanachi
FIRST IGALA DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR, ECOBANK PLC
FIRST IGALA MANAGING DIRECTOR, DEVELOPMENT BANK OF NIGERIA (DBN)
He is a seasoned banker with over 30 years’ experience. Before his appointment as Managing Director/CEO of DBN, he was the Deputy Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria Limited since April 2013. Prior to that, he was the Managing Director, Ecobank Kenya and Cluster Managing Director for East Africa (comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia). He was also at various times Managing Director of Ecobank Malawi and Regional Coordinator for Lagos and South West of Ecobank Nigeria.
Earlier in his professional career, he managed various portfolios including Treasury Management, Retail Business Development, Corporate Finance, Corporate Services, Branch Management and Relationship Management.
He holds a Master degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Manchester Business School UK, a Master of Science degree in Economics from University of Lagos and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He has attended several Executive Management Development Programmes on Leadership, Corporate Governance, Credit and Risk-Management in leading institutions.
Foreign investors pull out N1.64tr from Nigeria stock market over insecurity
Operators lament effect of social unrest on equities investment • Capital flights will persist unless FG prioritises security, job creation, economists warn
The prevailing insecurity in the country and other macroeconomic challenges have continued to hamper investment in the stock market, with foreign investors pulling out N1.
Latest data from the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) show that foreign investors withdrew N30.79 billion in January, N39.05 billion in February and N20.28 billion in March 2021, while domestic investors pulled out N86.
Foreign inflow within the same period in 2018, 2019 and 2020 stood at N576.45 billion, N419.13 billion and N247.27 billion, totalling N1.24 trillion.
This huge outflow of capital has led to concerns about impact on the economy, as operators predict the precarious state of the stock market could worsen if factors impeding the nation’s economic growth were not tackled soon. Operators said that given the increasing level of insecurity, kidnapping, recurrent farmers-herders clashes, unemployment, weak naira and GDP growth, rising inflation and dwindling revenue, government has to evolve new strategies to stop investment outflows.
The Guardian gathered that fund managers, Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and other investment companies were already pulling their funds from the stock market to fixed income market to ensure guaranteed investment return and avoid erosion of capital.
Nigeria is currently ranked 147th globally, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI) report released in November 2020, making it the third most terrorised country in the world for the second year running after Afghanistan and Iraq.
Head, FSL Securities, Victor Chiazor, noted that fears around investments had become visible in the equity space, going by the NGX foreign portfolio report, which shows the inflows and outflow of foreign investments as well as the percentage of both foreign investment and domestic investment for each month.
He said activities in January and February 2021 have shown significant increase in foreign investment outflows while domestic investments have dominated activities in the market. “Despite investment opportunities in the Nigerian equity market, given the relatively low prices of stocks, 2020 saw a total foreign outflow of N481.93 billion against an inflow of N247.27 billion while the month of February 2021 saw foreign outflow of N39 billion from the equities market compared to an inflow of N23 billion.”
He insisted that if the investment climate did not change in relation to the government’s monetary and fiscal policies as well as improvement in economic conditions, investments inflow into the country might eventually dry up.
Vice President of Highcap Securities Limited, David Adonri, said the primary market for equities, which is tied to the fundamentals of the economy, has been comatose since 2015, while capital formation is paltry, due to weak macroeconomic fundamentals of the economy.
The primary market is the essence of the capital market. It forms equity capital, which the Nigerian economy direly needs to create wealth and generate productive employment for youths.
He argued that for issuers to approach the market to raise capital, there must be some reasonable level of recovery in the economy to sustain the current bull-run.
Specifically, he charged the Federal Government to restrategise and address current macroeconomic concerns, promote issues of national development, tackle prevailing stock market volatility, restore the market to sustainable rebound, and attract new issues to the nation’s bourse.
He said the late rally in equity market in last quarter of 2020, which took the secondary market to a high level, was not a yardstick to gauge investors’ confidence but a mere fallout from monetary policy adjustment.
“In May 28, 2015, a day before President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, the size of the Nigerian economy, measured by GDP was $594.76 billion. The foreign exchange rate per dollar was N197 and foreign debt was $15 billion. Inflation rate was 8.7 per cent. After five years, the economy as at December 2020 had shrunk to $487 billion, official foreign exchange rate per dollar is now N411, Inflation rate is 18.35 per cent and foreign debt has ballooned to almost $40 billion.”
Adonri noted that for the greater part of the past five years, no week passed without some horrifying insecurity experiences and calls by various stakeholders on the Federal Government to put a stop to the escalating crises. “When manufacturers will produce and find it difficult to market their goods, how would listed companies do well? Banks have closed most of their branches in some of these regions where these killing are persistent. Beverage and confectionery companies are the most affected by insecurity and killings.
Adonri said stock inventories of the firms were high because they could not deploy their staff to areas prone to attack. He argued that war, insecurity and social disorder are disincentive to investment, adding that no investor will stake his fund to a country where his investment cannot be protected.
According to analysts, the overall weak macroeconomic scenario sustained negative market sentiments in the past few years, coupled with the tensed socio-political space, has not encouraged successful primary market activities. It is also on record that some planned IPOs have remained on hold due to prevailing negative market sentiments, driven by growing uncertainties fuelled by unstable oil prices, and other macro-economic challenges
Since the global financial crisis of 2008 till date, no fewer than six companies have approached the market for IPO issuance. However, the listing of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc. and Transcorp Hotels Plc., in 2015, ended several years of IPO drought in the capital market. While Seplat, a global IPO, was 100 per cent successful, Transcorp Hotels recorded only 50 per cent subscription.
After four years of zero record from 2015, hope of a return of the era of IPOs was rekindled with the offer for sale of SAHCO Plc’s 406,074,000 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N4.65 per share in 2018. Since then, no company has approached the market for a new listing.
Sheriffdeen Tella, a professor of economics at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, said profit-taking and capital flights will persist in stock market unless government prioritises issues of insecurity and unemployment in Nigeria.
Tella pointed out that when an economy faces downturn, potential investors are scared to invest while existing ones develop apathy and engage in profit-taking. He argued that the level of security in a particular jurisdiction is a major factor that attracts or lures foreign investors to the market before the issue of return on investment is considered.
Director-General of Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, said investors’ confidence has been adversely affected by the worsening security situation, coupled with other macro-economic challenges bedeviling the country in the past few years. “The stock market has been facing multiple headwinds in recent times. The immediate causal factor is the rebound of money market yields and the positive trajectory of returns in the fixed income market. The economy is still struggling to recover from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reality is that the stock market typically reflects the health of the economy,” he said.
Aligning with other experts, Segun Ajibola, Professor of Economics, Babcock University, noted that one of the key considerations in taking investment decisions is the state of security and other macro-economic variables of the country under consideration. The don noted that if existing and prospective investors are not sure of the extent the negative impact of insecurity, hostile environment, uncertainties in government policies, banditry, economic lockdown, among others, could have on their returns on investment, they take the easy way of divesting existing investments.
“For the stock market, a key inducement to invest is the ability of the business operators raising funds through that market to conduct their businesses without restraints. Insecurity is a major clog on business operations, which may restrict companies’ performances and hence returns on investment and dividend payout. I believe this is part of what the country is going through.”
Airtel shuns Nigeria, takes fintech deals to Ghana, Zimbabwe
Despite the market size and growth of Nigeria’s financial technology services, Airtel Africa prefers Fintechs from Zimbabwe and Ghana to grow its mobile money business in Africa.
In a statement obtained by Ripples Nigeria on Wednesday, it was gathered that Airtel Africa is actively pushing its mobile money business through investment and partnership, as it plans to outdo its rivals in the telecoms market.
With over $300 million already raised through the shares for capital initiative, Airtel has been signing deals to put the funds in good use. Part of the capital is expected to go into leveraging the expertise of FINTECH GROUP.
The deals already sealed, according to the company’s recently released financials, is with Mukuru, a Zimbabwe firm that helps facilitate payment transfer and Ghana’s Asante.
Although the worth of the deals were not disclosed, it was gathered that Airtel has been actively working with the startups since 2020 alongside international payment firms like MoneyGram and WorldRemit.
Also involved in the growth partnership is Samsung, Standard Chartered and Mastercard.
Commenting on some of the deals, Airtel said, “Through these partnerships, more than 21 million Airtel Money customers in 12 countries can transfer and receive funds across the globe directly from and into their mobile money wallets on their phone.
“Mobile money service alliances with these leading international money transfer or remittance service providers will extensively enhance customer access to the digital world.” the statement reads.
One of the countries Airtel mobile money conducts its business is Nigeria, but Nigerian Fintech startups are missing despite holding a sway over the African Fintech market.
READ ALSO: Airtel Nigeria pays NCC N72bn for operational license renewal
Since the boom in digital payment and transfer, network providers have been making a play for the nascent market, with MTN Nigeria also establishing MoMo, its own mobile money service.
MTN has been on the mobile money journey on it’s own without known collaboration or strategic deals with existing players in the market, while Airtel has signed partnership agreement to deepen its reach in the budding mobile money market.
The partnership seems to be working for Airtel Africa, which stated that, “Mobile money continues to be one of our fastest growing service segments, delivering revenue growth of 35.5% for the year.
“It is an increasingly important part of our business, delivering $51bn of annualised (Q4’21) transaction value and accounting for 10.6% of total revenue in Q4’21.”
MTN didn’t make its own mobile money revenue available, but it stated that, “The volume of transactions processed was over 24 million in the quarter (Q1), up more than four times YoY, from an active base of 4.6 million subscribers.”
Note that Airtel Africa’s revenue is total of its earnings across the company’s markets, while MTN’s processed figure is limited to Nigeria.
MTN loses over 2.41m subscribers in three months, 9mobile shocks Glo, Airtel
The data war among network providers in Nigeria continues to cost MTN Nigeria its market share, as millions of subscribers dumped the y’ello network all through the three months of first quarter.
According to Ripples Nigeria analysis of the telecommunications industry in Q1 2021, MTN was the biggest loser despite rating its network to be every where subscribers go.
Analysis of data subscribers obtained from Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed MTN Nigeria ‘s grip on the telecoms data market is loosening, and its only being saved by losses recorded by rivals as well.
In the first quarter of this year, 2.41 million subscribers dumped MTN, as its data users dropped from 63.98 million subscribers in January to 61.57 million at the end of March – in February, it recorded 62.
Airtel wasn’t far behind as it lost 2.25 million subscribers in Q1 2021. This pushed its subscriber base down to 37.77 million in March, against the 38.95 million it reported in February, and 40.03 million subscribers of January.
Despite losing 1.18 million subscribers within the first three months of this year, Globacom remains ahead of Airtel, which it surpassed last year. Glo’s subscribers declined to 38.80 million in March.
This is below the 39.70 million subscribers that were using its data service in February, and the 39.99 million subscribers it ended January with.
9mobile shocked the telecoms industry as only 461,175 subscribers stopped using the company’s data service. This caused 9mobile’s subscriber base to decline to 6.41 million at the end of March.
During the previous months, the company had also recorded decline throughout the first quarter of this year, as Ripples Nigeria noted that subscribers dwindled from 6.88 million in January, to 6.63 million February.
Further analysis showed that total data subscribers of the telecoms industry dropped by 6.03 percent within the first quarter of 2021, as industry subscriber base dropped from 153.87 million it started January with, to 144.58 million total subscribers by March ending.
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