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NEWS UPDATE (Sun. 19.01.2020)

NIGERIA’S INFLATION RISES FURTHER TO 11.98 PERCENT

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has reported today that Nigeria’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 11.98 per cent year-on-year in December 2019. This represents a 0.13 percentage point increase compared to 11.85 per cent recorded in November.

According to CardinalStone Partners, an investment advisory firm, headline inflation advanced as the effects of the Nigerian border closures continue to weigh on food prices. The inflation rate had been on a steady decline for three consecutive months between June and August before the border closures took effect on 20 August, 2019.

The rise in the CPI, which measures inflation, in December was the fourth consecutive monthly increase. On month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 0.85 per cent in December or 0.17 percentage point lower than the rate recorded in November 2019 (1.02 per cent). The NBS said all major indices increased in December 2019.

Food inflation, according to the NBS, rose to 14.67 per cent last month, compared to 14.48 per cent reported in the previous month. This rise in the food inflation was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, meat, fish, oils and fats, potatoes, yam and other tubers.

In the review period, urban inflation stood at 12.62 per cent, rising from 12.47 per cent recorded in November, while the rural inflation rate rose from 11.30 per cent in November to 11.41 per cent last month.

Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, stood at 9.33 per cent in December, up by 0.34 percentage point when compared with 8.99 per cent recorded in November.

NIGERIAN ENTREPRENEURS KEY TO AFRICA’S PROSPERITY – U.S CONSUL GENERAL

United States Consul General in Lagos, Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, said on Tuesday that Nigeria’s entrepreneurs remain vital to the continued growth of West African economies and the prosperity of the continent. She stated this during a one-day capacity-building seminar for the first cohort of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) alumni sponsored by the U.S. government.

In October 2019, the U.S. government announced its partnership with TEF to promote entrepreneurship initiatives in Nigeria, through a public diplomacy grant of $105,000 (approximately N37.8 million). The seminar on Tuesday was organised for the first group of entrepreneurs under the partnership.

“If Nigeria is successful, it’s extremely young population will represent a tremendous source of productive labour and an extremely attractive market for a variety of products and services,” said Pierangelo. “Its success will be Africa’s success and the world will also benefit from the creativity and resourcefulness of its people.”

The Consul General observed that population trends show that Nigeria could become the world’s third most populous country by 2050. This means that events in the country could have wide-ranging global repercussions going forward. According to her, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) run by Nigerian entrepreneurs account for about 85 per cent of all jobs in the country.

“That is why the government of the United States cares so deeply about supporting entrepreneurship in Nigeria,” the Consul General told the entrepreneurs. “We are therefore committed to working with you and our local partners, including the Tony Elumelu Foundation, to help you maximize opportunities to use your drive and skills to create a better Nigeria for all of us.”

The seminar also featured a presentation on “Globalization and Nigeria” by John Doggett, Senior Lecturer at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin. There was also a panel discussion on the “Key to Success,” featuring Olori Anita Ololade Odozi, fashion entrepreneur; Adebola Williams, Co-Founder of Red Media Africa; AfricanFarmer Mogaji, CEO of FarmCredit; and Omowale Ogunrinde, CEO of Field of Skills and Dreams.

The Chief Executive Officer of TEF, Ifeanyinwa Ugochukwu, expressed the organization’s appreciation for the partnership with the U.S. Consulate General and highlighted the importance of strategic alliances for the country’s sustained economic development.

“It is clear that development aid does not solve economic problems, handouts never work in the long-term and in no developed country does government shoulder economic burdens alone. On the other hand, partnerships such as this support the job-creating, solution-driven mentality, which Nigeria needs to lift itself up.”

NIGERIA TO OVERTAKE SOUTH AFRICA IN PAY TV SUBSCRIPTION IN 2020

A new study by Research and Markets, an online market research platform, shows that Nigeria will contribute 10 million (21.2 per cent) pay television subscribers to Africa’s 47.26 million pay TV market by 2025. The “Africa Pay TV Forecasts” report provides analysis and forecasts of the market across 35 countries by household penetration, subscribers, revenues and major operators between 2010-2025.

The report said Nigeria will overtake South Africa in pay TV subscription in 2020. The 76-page PowerPoint report also shows that African subscriber numbers will increase by 54 per cent from 30.7 million at the end of 2019 to 47.26 million in 2025. Meanwhile, pay TV revenues are expected to rise by 31 per cent ($1.72 billion) to $7.20 billion in 2025. The implication of these forecasts is that subscriber growth will outstrip revenue increase in Africa.

Research and Markets said major operators on the continent, namely South Africa’s Multichoice, France’s Vivendi and China’s StarTimes, accounted for 93 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s pay TV subscribers in 2019. However, this proportion will drop to 88 per cent by 2025. Each of the three companies provides a satellite TV platform and a pay digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform.

Multichoice had 14.56 million subscribers across its satellite TV (DStv) and pay DTT (GOtv) platforms by end of 2019. Its subscribers are projected to grow to 18.05 million by 2025, with a marked slowdown in the growth of DStv subscribers.

“France’s Vivendi had 4.73 million subs to its Canal Plus satellite TV platform and Easy TV DTT platforms by end-2019,” according to a statement by Research and Markets on Wednesday. “Its total will climb to 7.35 million by 2025.”

StarTimes’ StarSat is expected to enjoy the most impressive growth, rising from 9.1 million subscribers in 2019 to 16.39 million by 2025

BUHARI APPOINTS KINGSLEY OBIORA TO REPLACE NNANNA AS CBN DEPUTY GOVERNOR

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, announced the nomination of Kingsley Isitua Obiora as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said in a statement that Obiora will replace Joseph Nnanna, CBN’s Deputy Governor, Economic Policy Directorate, who will retire on February 2, 2020.

The president’s spokesman said Buhari has sent a letter to Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, for the confirmation of Obiora. Buhari said the nomination was in accordance with the provision of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007.

According to Adesina, the nominee is currently an Alternate Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, United States of America. Obiora holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin, a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Ibadan, and a doctorate in Monetary and International Economics, also from the University of Ibadan.

If confirmed by the Senate, Obiora will replace Nnanna who has served a single term as Deputy Governor of the apex bank, following his appointed as Deputy Governor (Financial System Stability) on February 3, 2015.

KENYA GIVES ACCESS BANK NOD TO BUY TRANSNATIONAL BANK

Nigerian lender, Access Bank Plc, has announced receiving approvals from regulatory authorities in Kenya for the acquisition of Transnational Bank (TNB) Plc.
TNB is a medium-sized commercial bank based in Kenya with great focus on the agricultural sector and significant retail footprints.
In October 2019, the board of Access Bank, via a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), had said it has obtained a ‘no objection’ of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to majority equity stake in TNB.
On Friday, January 17, 2020, the tier-one financial institution, in a disclosure, said it has “now secured the final approvals of all relevant regulatory authorities in Kenya in respect of the acquisition.”
According to the lender, the deal will help in providing cutting edge financial solutions to its clients by leveraging its presence in key payment corridors, strong partnerships in non-presence countries, robust technology platform as well as world-class risk management.
Access Bank said the acquisition of TNB was in line with its strategic objective of becoming Africa’s gateway to the world and ties into its strategy to establish footprints in key African markets, noting that the new development will further complement the bank’s franchise in Rwanda, Congo DRC and Zambia.
“This acquisition aligns with our strategy to become Africa’s gateway to the world and we are excited about the potentials that reside in the East African market,” Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, commented.
“We will leverage our presence in key payment corridors, strong partnerships in non-presence countries, robust technology platform as well as world-class risk management to provide cutting edge financial solutions to our clients,” he said further.
He also said, “We will build on TNB’s existing expertise in agricultural financing and deploy our resources to optimise other business segments. We are committed to supporting the growth and development of our host community in line with our sustainability ethos and are certain that this acquisition will deliver great value to our shareholders.”
Concluding, he expressed optimism that, “Following the receipt of regulatory approvals, we are very confident that the transaction will be completed shortly.”

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