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SEC Lauds Master Plan’s Contribution to Economy

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) has said the implementation of its 10-year capital market Master plan was already contributing to the growth and development of the Nigerian capital market, and by extension, the economy.

The Acting Director General of the SEC, Ms.

Mary Uduk disclosed this during the opening of a 2-day International Capital Market Conference held in Lagos, Wednesday, in collaboration with the University of Lagos.

Uduk described the theme of the Conference, “Leveraging the Capital Market for Economic Growth and Development” as apt and timely, given the pressing needs to grow the nation’s economy and achieve sustainable development.

 

According to her, “There is no doubt that the capital market can serve as a key catalyst for Nigeria’s economic growth and development, as it offers a credible platform for obtaining long- term financing. As we all know, long-term and affordable funds are required for businesses to thrive and in turn contribute to employment, growth and development.

“Beyond capital market’s contribution to economic growth, we aim at the larger goal of economic development. Added to increased production, the latter entails advancement in the quality of life and living standards of citizens in areas such as improvements in literacy, health and life expectancy, better savings and investment culture, financial inclusion, as well as improved wealth distribution, housing and environment”.

In a statement by SEC Head of Corporate Communication, Efe Ebelo, in Abuja on Wednesday, the acting DG stated further that Capital markets across the world have products and mechanisms to stimulate economic growth and development. 

She said although many of such products were available in Nigeria, there were aspects that were still untapped, thereby limiting the realization of the nation’s potentials.

“One major initiative to tap this potential was the development of a ten-year Capital Market Master Plan (CMMP), launched by the Commission in 2014. The Plan has over 100 initiatives to spring–board the Nigerian capital market as one of the world’s deepest and most liquid, as well as the largest in Africa by 2025. 

“It is also aimed at ensuring that the market contributes much more to the socio-economic development of the nation, particularly in facilitating capital-raising for sustainable development and transformation of key sectors” she said.

She said the successes recorded from these initiatives notwithstanding, the SEC recognised that much more still needed to be done for the Nigerian capital market to contribute its desired quota and take its rightful place in issues and discussions of Nigeria’s economic growth and development.

 “As we move into the future, we need to continuously embrace innovation in the way we carry out our market operations and regulation. Financial innovation is germane for the conception and delivery of a dynamic industrial society. Market participants and regulators have to continually familiarize themselves with the rapid ever-changing economic, regulatory and business environment.

“Beyond the conventional capital market products of equities and bonds as well as manual regulatory processes, the players and regulators in the Nigerian capital market are introducing new and innovative processes and products”.

Uduk disclosed that some of the SEC’s processes that were previously manual and inefficient were being automated. For instance, with the dematerialization process completed, investors no longer needed to worry about the loss or damage to their physical share certificates as they were now electronically stored.

She said the current e-Dividend system enables shareholders’ dividend to be paid directly into their bank accounts without the stress of dealing with physical dividend warrants. Also, the Direct Cash Settlement protects investors from funds mismanagement by ensuring that the proceeds of their shares sales were credited directly into their own account.

Uduk stated that while the current initiatives and efforts were to improve the past towards a better future, there was need to be more innovative to face the dynamic future, both as regulator and operators adding, “future belongs to those that are currently adopting relevant technologies and other improvements for efficiency.

In his remarks, Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the state government was interested in the growth and development of the capital market. 

The Governor who was represented by Dr. Shamsudeen Allison, Director, Special Duties Office, Sanwo-Olu said the event was strategic in promoting business and development in Lagos state. 

Also speaking, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Unilag, Prof Oluwole Familoni said the conference was a good fora to discuss and proffer solutions to some of the problems being faced by the investing public and also an avenue for Nigerians to learn more about the Capital Market. 

Familoni expressed the hope that at the end of the conference, the Capital Market will be bette positioned for the development of the economy. 


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CBN Shakes Up Banking Sector: A Paradigm Shift Unveiled

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By Ademola Oyetunji 

In a surprising turn of events on Wednesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) dissolved the boards of three prominent commercial banks – Keystone, Polaris, and Union Bank. This move, although unanticipated, transpired despite the Central Bank’s recent endorsement of these banks’ financial soundness.

Governor Olayemi Cardoso, at his inaugural address during the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) annual dinner last year, had lauded Nigeria’s financial sector’s resilience in 2023.

Stress tests conducted on the banking industry indicated its strength under various economic scenarios.
However, Cardoso highlighted the need for banks to reassess their responsible banking framework, a sentiment echoed by President Tinubu.

President Tinubu’s evident discontent with the Godwin Emefiele-led CBN triggered a comprehensive review of the financial system. A special investigator, Jim Obazee, was appointed to conduct a forensic investigation into Emefiele’s tenure, with damning revelations emerging. Recent developments suggest the initiation of a full-blown financial system reform.

The CBN’s dissolution announcement and the subsequent appointment of new executives for the affected banks, including Yetunde Oni, Mannir U. Ringim, Hassan Imam, Chioma A. Mang, Lawal M. Omokayode, and Chris Onyeka Ofikulu, might mark the beginning of implementing the investigation’s recommendations – a significant cleanup of the financial sector.

Allegations surfaced during the investigation, suggesting non-cooperation from some bank executives and Emefiele’s questionable acquisitions through proxies and cronies. Cardoso may have secured presidential approval for the CBN’s decisive action.

The CBN cited various infractions by the banks, including regulatory non-compliance, corporate governance failures, and activities threatening financial stability. Despite the challenges, the CBN assured the public of depositors’ fund safety and its commitment to upholding a safe, sound, and robust financial system.

The Special Investigator’s report revealed documents pointing to Emefiele’s involvement in Titan Trust Bank and Union Banks’ acquisitions with ill-gotten wealth. The CBN’s swift replacement of the ousted chief executives received widespread commendation, especially from high-net-worth stakeholders aiming to avert a crisis of confidence within the affected banks.

Adewale Aderounmu, an industrialist, applauded the CBN for implementing effective policies under Olayemi Cardoso’s leadership, despite detractors’ actions against the Naira. Ayomide Deepak, an Abuja-based stockbroker, welcomed the action but emphasized the need for caution in handling revelations from the investigation to prevent further economic challenges.

As the CBN wields its regulatory hammer on these banks, the hope is that other bank executives and investors will learn valuable lessons for the sake of the economy. The CBN’s action is perceived as a strategic move aimed at revitalizing the economy and financial system, not a mere vendetta.

*Ademola Oyetunji writes from Ibadan.

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Firm Blazes The Trail To Revolutionise  Nigeria’s Transport Sector

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Independent Capital, a visionary project finance firm has blazed the  trail in the country by championing green innovation and facilitating as well as  supporting green innovative projects in Nigeria.

This is coming on the heels of the plan by the Nigerian government to introduce gas-powered vehicles in the country as a fallout of the removal of fuel subsidies.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the firm, Dr.

George Nwangwu who announced this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said it was aimed at  a transformative leap towards sustainable transportation in the country.

He said with the company’s fusion of financial expertise, a profound understanding of environmental and social impact, a commitment to reducing carbon emissions and  improving transportation quality, “the company aims to reshape the nation’s mobility landscape for a cleaner and more prosperous future”,adding that “it is charting new territories in the realm of sustainable finance by announcing ambitious plans that signify a paradigm shift in Nigeria’s approach to eco-friendly initiatives”.

Similarly, Nwangwu said, its strategic approach combines financial expertise with a profound understanding of environmental and social impact, positioning the firm as a catalyst for positive change in the country’s transportation sector.

He added that the  cornerstone of Independent Capital’s visionary plans involves the unbundling of its three-wheeler Electric Vehicle (e-trike) which signals a significant move towards eco-conscious mobility.

 The CEO further said that the company is committed  to establishing a robust network of solar-powered charging infrastructure to support the operations of its e-trike fleet as the  innovative strategy not only tackles the obstacles associated with adopting electric vehicles but  would also actively contribute to the establishment of a sustainable energy ecosystem.

“We are dedicated to reducing carbon emissions, alleviating congestion and improving the overall quality of transportation for the Nigerian population. Independent Capital aims to create a greener and more efficient transportation ecosystem that enhances the lives of individuals and contributes to a cleaner environment, “he noted.

According to the firm’s CEO, in response to the recent removal of fuel subsidies, the Nigerian market is experiencing a fundamental shift, creating an opportune moment for innovative solutions in the e-mobility sector which “Independent Capital is well-positioned to capitalize on this shift by introducing sustainable transportation alternatives that cater to the evolving needs of the market”.

Also, speaking, the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of the company, Mr.Moses Saromi said “with the e-mobility sector undergoing significant developments, driven by environmental concerns, technological advancements and shifting government policies our firm is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of transportation in Nigeria,”

He revealed that  the demand for e-mobility solutions in Nigeria is projected to grow exponentially by 15% CAGR and thus, Independent Capital stands at the forefront of providing sustainable alternatives to traditional vehicles and that with  a focus on e-trikes, the company strategically positions itself to capture a significant share of the expanding market to  meet the diverse needs of individual consumers and delivery services to the Nigerian society.

He added that in  the pursuit of a cleaner and more efficient transportation ecosystem, Independent Capital remains a driving force in the nation’s journey towards a greener future.

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Dangote Refinery Port Facility Receives Maiden Crude Cargo

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Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals plant has purchased 1 million barrels of Agbami crude grade from Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited (STASCO), one of the largest trading companies in Nigeria as well as globally, trading over 8 million barrels of crude oil per day.

The STASCO cargo contained 1 million barrels from Agbami and sailed to Dangote Refinery’s Single Point Mooring (SPM) where it was discharged into the refinery’s crude oil tanks.

The maiden 1 million barrels, which represent the first phase of the 6 million barrels of crude oil to be supplied to Dangote Petroleum Refinery by a range of suppliers, should sustain the initial 350,000 barrels per day to be processed by the facility.

The next four cargoes will be supplied by the NNPC in two to three weeks and the final of the six cargoes will be supplied by ExxonMobil.

This supply will facilitate the initial run of the refinery as well as kick-start the production of diesel, aviation fuel, and LPG before subsequently progressing to the production of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

This latest development will play a pivotal role in alleviating the fuel supply challenges faced by Nigeria as well as the West African countries.

Designed for 100% Nigerian crude with the flexibility to process other crudes, the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Petroleum Refinery can process most African crude grades as well as Middle Eastern Arab Light and even US Light tight oil as well as crude from other countries.

Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100% of the Nigeria’s requirement of all refined products, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and aviation jet, and also have surplus of each of these products for export.

The refinery was built to take crude through its two SPMs located 25 kilometres from the shore and to discharge petroleum products through three separate SPMs. In addition, the refinery has the capacity to load 2,900 trucks a day at its truck loading gantries.

Dangote Refinery has a self-sufficient marine facility with the ability to handle the largest vessel globally available. In addition, all products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications.

The refinery is designed to comply with US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms as well as African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) standards.

President of Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote stated: “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone. This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects. Our focus over the coming months is to ramp up the refinery to its full capacity. I look forward to the next significant milestone when we deliver the first batch of products to the Nigerian market.”

Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor stated: “We welcome the startup of a refinery that is designed to produce gasoline, diesel, and low-sulphur fuels for Nigeria and across West Africa and are happy to be enabling it.”

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