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Excitement as Nigeria, China sign $2.5bn currency swap deal

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday announced the execution of a $2.5 billion bilateral currency swap agreement with the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC) to boost local currency liquidity in the economy.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, led the Nigerian delegation to sign the agreement on behalf of the federal government, while PBoC Governor, Yi Gang, led the Chinese team at a ceremony in Beijing, China, at the end of negotiations on Friday, April 27.

A statement by the CBN spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, said the transaction valued at Renminbi (RMB) 16 billion was to provide adequate local currency liquidity to Nigerian and Chinese industrialists.

The deal, which would also assist other local businesses by reducing the difficulties they encounter in the search for third currencies.

Mr Okoroafor said the agreement would provide Naira liquidity to Chinese businesses as well as provide RMB liquidity to their Nigerian counterparts in return, to improve the speed, convenience and volume of transactions between the two countries.

Bilateral trade volume between Nigeria and China grew by 30 per cent from 2016 to about $12.3 billion between January and November 2017, Deputy Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Lin Jing, said.

Describing Nigeria as the biggest Chinese investment destination in Africa, Mr Jing said the country was also the second largest export market and the third largest trading partner to China in Africa.

With the significant presence of Chinese firms in the Nigerian economy in recent times, most of the companies handing various infrastructural projects for the government have had to struggle with funding to complete them.

The currency in circulation as at March 31 according to CBN was N2.039 trillion.

The swap deal is expected to assist both countries in their foreign exchange reserves management, enhance financial stability and promote broader economic cooperation between the two countries, Mr Okoroafor said.

“With the operationalisation of this agreement, it will make it easier for most Nigerian manufacturers, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and cottage industries in manufacturing and export businesses to import raw materials, spare-parts and simple machinery to undertake their businesses.

“They will take advantage of available RMB liquidity from Nigerian banks without being exposed to the difficulties of seeking other scarce foreign currencies, which attract higher interest rate charges,” he said.

The CBN spokesperson said the deal, which is purely an exchange of currencies, would also make it easier for Chinese manufacturers seeking raw materials from Nigeria to obtain Naira from banks in China to pay for imports from Nigeria.

“Indeed, the deal will protect Nigerian business people from the harsh effects of third currency fluctuations. With this, Nigeria becomes the third African country to have such an agreement in place with the PBoC,” he said.

Mr Emefiele and his Chinese counterpart expressed delight at the conclusion of negotiations and signing of the agreement, saying it would boost mutually beneficial business transactions between Nigeria and China.

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BUSINESS

Access Bank grows Q3 earnings to N375bn

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Access Bank Plc has announced top line earnings of ₦375.2 billion for the nine months ended 30 September 2018, up 3% from N365.1 billion recorded during the corresponding period in 2017.

The Bank’s Profit after Tax (PAT) increased 12% to ₦62.9 billion from ₦56.4 billion of which subsidiary contribution increased to 32%, from 15% from the corresponding period.

The asset base of the Bank remained strong and robust with growth of 11% Year to Date (YTD) in total assets to ₦4.55 trillion in September 2018 from ₦4.10 trillion in December 2017. Loans and Advances totaled ₦2.08 trillion as at September 2018 (December 2017: ₦2.06 trillion). Customer deposits increased by 10% to ₦2.48 trillion in September 2018, from ₦2.25 trillion in December 2017. Capital Adequacy of 20.3% and liquidity ratios of 44.2%, remained consistently above the regulatory minimum requirement.

Commenting on the result, Group Managing Director/CEO, Herbert Wigwe said, “Our capital and liquidity position remained adequately above regulatory levels, as we continued to implement a disciplined capital plan, ensuring sufficient levels of profit retention to support our growth. We remain committed to our cost containment plan, as we strive to balance operational efficiency with earnings growth in a constrained environment.”

Further analysis of the results showed Non-performing loans stood at 4.7% as at September 2018 compared to 4.8% in December 2017. Cost of risk decreased to 0.5% in 9 months to September 2018 from 0.9% in 2017 on the back of prudent risk management practices during the period.

“The Bank will remain resilient in the achievement of its strategic imperatives; maximizing our strong market position and solid capital base, while leveraging digital innovation to improve service touch points as we sharpen our retail play with emphasis on cheaper funding sources,” Wigwe said.

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First Bank reiterates commitment to leverage Fintech

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Nigeria’s leading Tier 1 lender, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has reiterated its commitment to leveraging Financial Technology (Fintech) to deliver innovative services.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, stated this in his address to the Fintech summit hosted by the lender in Lagos yesterday.

The event tagged, “FirstBank Fintech Summit 2.0,” was the second edition of the summit which the bank commenced two years ago.

Dr Adeduntan, who was represented at the event by the Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, stated that the summit was conceived to enable financial sector players provide financial products and services with greater speed, accountability and efficiency.

He stated that the event commenced last week with a two-day hackathon on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big data at the FirstBank Digital Lab with the aim of finding new ways to apply artificial intelligence to banking operations and practices.

According to him, “to remain competitive, banks must make the most of this disruptive change. At the moment, some actors are using this new technology so enthusiastically that it’s hard to keep up whilst others are still channeling too much investment in old systems.

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Lagos set to host second Nigeria Beer Festival

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From Left to Right: Mr. Dele Balogun, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board ;Mr. FolaAdeyemi, Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Mr. Akinola Oluwaleimu, Chief Co-ordinator, Nigeria Beer Festival Group at the media interactive session on the festival in Lagos on Wednesday

After a successful and large participation of people at the first edition of the Nigeria Beer Festival which debuted last year in Lagos, the organiser the event has announced that Lagos will be hosting the second edition again.

The week-long event will hold on Thursday October 25th to Wednesday October 31st at the Eko Atlantic City, Bar Beach Water front Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos to give it a carnival-like atmosphere .

Speaking at a press conference to announce the event in Lagos on Wednesday, Mr. Fola Adeyemi, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture explained that the festival is in line with government’s agenda to grow the tourism and economy of the state.

He stated that Lagos state is collaborating with beer brewers in the country and their counterparts across the globe to stimulate the economic and tourism potentials in the State.

He enjoined Lagosians to come out in their large numbers to enjoy the ambience of the festival, assuring that the city is safe for fun lovers because of the various infrastructure development by the state such as Light-up Lagos among others.

“Lagos is a city state and in league with great cities all over the world. We are actually moving the state to a 24 hour economy and this festival will be part of the beneficiaries. Lagos is safe for fun and business. We are joining the global tourism world to create impact on the economy of Lagos and Nigeria.” he said.

Also speaking at the event, Akinola Oluwaleimu, General Manager of On and One Events Limited, the organisers of the festival informed that the festival is to promote culture, tourism, friendship and for beer brands to connect with their consumers.

He added that the festival, will promote responsible drinking among drinking-age (18 +) consumers at all its touch points.

According to him, the event, since it debuted last year, has seen Nigeria enrolled into the league of Beer Festivals around the world, and boost the country’s tourism opportunities.

“It will be a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country and beyond.This year’s edition will be bigger, better and “beertiful”, he said.

He revealed that the 2017 edition attracted over ten thousand beer enthusiasts and consequently the Festival has proven to become a major international tourist event in Nigeria with a potential to compete with other international beer festivals around the world.

“Nigeria Beer Festival will be a carnival week of entertainment, sales and marketing and a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country to bond and ‘beer’,” Oluwaleimu assured.

He added that the Nigeria Beer Festival will provide a fitting ambience to showcase culture and lifestyle in a carnival atmosphere with various beer brands and other alcoholic drinks in Nigeria connecting with their existing and potential consumers.

Oluwaleimu maintained that the festival, which will commence 4 p.m daily is a big opportunity for major breweries to exhibit and deliver various offerings of beer brands to the teeming consumers to strengthen brand relationship with them. “The timing promises an after work relaxation environment to bond with friends and associates, he said”

He also acknowledged the support of the Lagos State government through His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who found the private driven initiative worthy enough of its endorsement and providing necessary logistics support in security, health, safety and publicity to ensure a hitch free event.

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