The Week Ahead
A Nigerian Secondary School to start accepting cryptocurrency
New Oxford Science Academy, a private secondary school in Kano State, Nigeria, has announced it will be accepting cryptocurrency as a means of payments for school fees despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) banning financial institutions from providing cryptocurrency-related services.
According to a report from Kano Focus, a news outlet in the state, the proprietor of the school, Sabi’u Musa Haruna, will allow students to pay their tuition fees in cryptocurrency. The Proprietor said this while addressing journalists in Kano, stating that the school management took the decision after consulting parents and guardians. He urged the Nigerian government to embrace and regulate cryptocurrency in the interview.
Sabi’u Musa Haruna stated, “We have decided to accept cryptocurrency as school fees because the world today is tilting towards the system. We believe one day; digital money will gain more acceptance than paper money.”
He further explained that the decision was aimed at easing the strain of payment of school fees for parents, citing that countries like El Salvador and Tanzania had expanded payment options for cryptocurrency users. He did not give specifics as to which tokens the school will accept for payment, however.
NDDC Forensic Audit Report ready by July
The NDDC has been plagued by a series of scandals which has seen the removal of the acting managing director, Daniel Pondei and approval of an interim administrator for the commission, Effiong Okon Akwa.
At the House of Reps investigative panel set up to probe the corruption allegations against Akpabio and members of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC last year, Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, accused members of the National Assembly of being the beneficiaries of most of the contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Godswill Akpabio has therefore stated that the final forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be ready by July. The Minister disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents on Tuesday, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, according to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria.
The forensic audit of NDDC is on course and it is progressing very well and I am happy with the progress made so far. And I am very certain that by the end of July, which is just a month and a few weeks away, the final result will be given to the president for implementation.
And in terms of the composition of the board of the NDDC, of course, we have fast-tracked the process and the National Assembly will soon get the list.
JAMB suspends the use of USSD code to check UTME results and gives new instructions
In the coming week, ‘JAMBITES’ would be expected to visit JAMB’s website to access their results. The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) announced the suspension of the use of the USSD code to check the just-released results of the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
This is as a result of the current challenges being experienced with the use of the USSD code by the candidates.
This was made known by JAMB in a statement issued by the Spokesman of the Board, Dr Fabian Benjamin, on Saturday, June 26, 2021.
The statement from Benjamin reads, “It has come to the attention of the Board that the result checking on USSD code 55019 is saddled with some challenges. Consequently, the Board hereby directs all candidates to visit JAMB portal to check for their 2021 UTME result.
“Candidates can check their results from anywhere there is internet access, checking by USSD code 55019 is suspended.”
Dangote Fertilizer to begin export to US and Brazil in the coming week
Dangote Group has concluded plans to begin the export of its first shipment of fertilizer from its new fertilizer plant at the Lekki Free Zone in Lagos, to the US and Brazil. Initial shipment from one of the world’s biggest fertilizer plant, which has the capacity to produce 3 million tonnes of urea and ammonia per year, is expected to start in late June or early July.
The billionaire chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said this while speaking at a virtual economic forum hosted in Qatar on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, according to Reuters.
Aliko Dangote said that the new fertilizer plant will export its first shipment in late June or early July, to Louisiana, while the majority of exports from the plant are expected to go to Brazil, adding that it will also be able to supply all the major markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
He said, “Apart from meeting the domestic demand, we are going to be able to earn quite a lot of money exporting the goods to the South American countries.”
A lot of Nigerians believe that the fertilizer plant will help solve the problem of low crop yield in the country, which is partly due to insufficient access to fertilizer.
Can anything halt this oil price Rally?
Oil prices were up on Monday, driven by the prospect of strong demand during the summer driving season and a pause in talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal that could indicate a delay in the supply of Iranian oil to the market.
According to two OPEC+ sources on Tuesday, the organization is considering a gradual increase in supply from August, but no decision has been made yet on the actual volumes.
Oil prices gained for the third consecutive session on Friday, as demand growth is expected to outstrip supply on the prospect that OPEC+ producers will be cautious in returning more output to the market from August. Brent had a weekly growth of 3.91%.
In the coming week, oil prices are expected to be bullish on signs of demand growth.
Gold rises amidst personal consumption expenditure data
Gold was bullish on Saturday as investors digested mixed signals from U.S. Federal Reserve officials on interest rate hikes earlier last week and the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) data released on Saturday.
A key measure of U.S. inflation rose sharply again in May and showed prices rising at the fastest annual pace since 2008, which means that consumers will pay more for goods and services over the summer as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
The PCE prices index climbed 0.4% in May to mark a third straight big increase. Economists polled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had a forecast of +0.5%. Over the past year, consumer prices have shot up 3.9%, reflecting the biggest gain since 2008 when oil prices hit a record high of $150 a barrel.
With the increase in the PCE index, senior officials of the Federal Reserve (FED) have downplayed the increase. Fed leaders insist prices will ease next year as the economy returns to normal, most people go back to work and widespread shortages of labour and supplies fade away.
The core PCE price index moved up 0.5% in May. That nudged the increase over the past 12 months to 3.4% from 3.1%. Although, the PCE is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation.
Meanwhile, U.S. President, Joe Biden reached a deal with a bipartisan group of senators to provide $579 billion in infrastructure investments, which also boosted investor sentiment on the yellow metal.
On the data front, 411,000 filed for initial jobless claims in the U.S. during the previous week as the labour market is steadily rebounding from COVID-19, thanks to a reopening economy. Forecasts prepared by Investing.com predicted 380,000 claims but the actual was greater than the forecast by 31,000.
On Friday, the Bank of England handed down its policy decision. The central bank said inflation would exceed 3% in the coming months, but expected that the surge would be transitory and would not impact the current stimulus policy. Gold appreciated by 0.37% while Silver also inched up by 0.23% W-o-W
Gold prices are expected to be mixed in the coming week, as the dollar continues to pressure the bullion.
NBS economic data release calendar for the week
The Week Ahead
The NBS release calendar for the coming week indicates the following:
- Monday 28th June 2021: Internally Generated Revenue at State Level (2020)
- Wednesday 30th June 2021: Prison Statistics (2020)
Currency market outlook
The currency market returned to its bearish trend this week both at the official window and unofficial market.
It depreciated against the US dollar, British Pound and Euro by -2.06%, -0.42%, -0.33%respectively closing at $1/N495, £1/N718 and €1/N605 at the BDC window.
At the I & E FX window, the Naira depreciated week-on-week by +0.16% and +0.19% at the NAFEX window. The Naira closed the week at $/N411.67 at the I&E FX window, at the NAFEX (spot market) it closed at $/N411.
More of the same is expected in the week ahead as the Naira is anticipated to continue to hover around N406/$1-N412/$1 threshold in the NAFEX window.
Financial system liquidity opened the previous week at N75.53bn which pushed funding rates lower at the start of the week.
At the close of the trading session this week, funding rates rose. Open Buyback (OBB) closed at 22.00% while Overnight (O/N) rates closed at 23.00% indicating a Week-on-Week (W-o-W) rise of +17.33% for OBB and +19.48% for O/N rates.
Funding rates are expected to trend in double digits in the coming week.
Treasury bills market
The Treasury Bills Market started last week on a quiet note and a similar sentiment was sustained till the close of the week. However, the market was bearish at the close of the market on Friday, average benchmark yields for T.bills rose significantly by +8.59% to 6.90% while OMO bills rose by +0.81% W-o-W to close at 9.74%, CBN’s Special Bill rose significantly by +6.12%.
We expect activity next week to be dictated by the market liquidity situation.
FGN bond and Eurobond markets
The Bond market started the previous week on a relatively quiet note as market participants traded on a cautious basis ahead of the Bond auction mid-week.
At the close of the week, the overall market was bullish with buying interest seen across the board. The overall average benchmark yields closed at 9.83% for the week which fell W-o-W by -0.41%.
Successful bids for the 16.2884% FGN MAR 2027, 12.5000% FGN MAR 2035 & 12.98% FGN MAR 2050 were allotted at the Marginal Rates of 12.7400%, 13.5000%, and 13.7000%, respectively.
However, the original coupon rates of 16.2884% for the 16.2884% FGN MAR 2027, 12.5000% for the 12.5000% FGN MAR 2035, and 12.9800% for the 12.9800% FGN MAR 2050 was maintained.
The Eurobond market started the previous week on a relatively weak note as sentiment remains soft given the change in policy stance by the US FED. Selling was seen across the board particularly on the mid to long end of the curve.
Market sentiment is expected to remain soft as inflation concerns continue to linger.
Nigerian capital market
The Nigerian bourse closed the previous week on a negative note with a decline of -2.56%. The Nigerian Stock Exchange lost N516.32bn thus, year-to-date return moderated to -6.49%, while the market capitalization settled at N19.6 trillion.
Sectoral performance across sectors tracked was mixed this week as the NSEAFRHDYI was the highest gainer for the week with +1.71% while NSE-IND recorded the highest decline with -3.33%. NSE Consumer Goods, NSE Banking, and NSE-Oil and Gas closed the week positive with +0.57%, +0.92%, and +0.12% respectively.
In the coming week, we expect the possibility of sustained bargain hunting as investors look to take advantage of good bargains, however, press releases from listed companies and other macroeconomic developments are likely to impact investors’ decisions.
The movement of yields in the fixed income market could also influence the movement in the market.
The Nigerian economy in retrospect
The Federal Government on Thursday said it was investing $1bn on the construction of three flagship projects namely: the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, and Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway.
The minister of state for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu who disclosed this at an event earlier in the week, added that over N15tn would be required to bridge the country’s infrastructure deficit.
Minister of state for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo announced on Thursday that the Federal Government has paid the sum of N24.8 billion as stipends to 413,630 beneficiaries under the Special Public Works Programme. According to the minister, the scheme which enlisted a total of 774000 beneficiaries each of whom would get N60,000 each, is meant to reflate the economy especially as all Local Government Areas will benefit.
According to data from NBS, domestic debt accounted for 62.33% of Nigeria’s public debt portfolio as of Q1 2021. The domestic debt portfolio accounted for N20.64trn out of the total public debt stock of N33trn, while external debt was N12.47trn. Meanwhile, further disaggregation of Nigeria’s domestic public debt showed that the Federal Government’s domestic debt stock was put at N16.51trn while the domestic debt of States and FCT domestic debt stock was given as N4.12trn.
The World Bank has said Nigeria can mobilize revenue of up to N600bn annually by increasing ‘sin taxes’ especially the excise duties on tobacco and alcohol just as recommended in the Multilateral Organisation’s ‘Resilience through Reform’ report. According to a senior official of the bank, Nigeria’s excise duty rates on tobacco and alcohol are one of the lowest in Africa and a rise in the excise duty on such items would not impact most of the population.
The minister of finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed declared on Wednesday that Nigeria planned to take more loans to fund infrastructure. Ahmed mentioned that the country was grappling with constrained revenue and as such needed to borrow more.
The minister argued that the debt-to-GDP ratio at 29 % allowed for more debt. Meanwhile, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, differed on the nation’s debt-to-gross Domestic Product ratio saying that the debt to GDP ratio had risen to 35 percent.
Oil dealers in Nigeria under the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Suleja/Abuja Unit started a strike on Monday following disagreements between it and the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR). The IPMAN said it was against the DPR’s request for daily stock of products supplied by the dealers patronizing the Suleja depot in Niger State, describing it as unethical. The Head, Public Affairs, DPR, Paul Osu, argued that the request was a statutory regulatory requirement for a licensed retail outlet, which enables DPR to provide accurate petroleum products consumption data for the country.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day National LPG sensitization and awareness campaign in Abuja on Tuesday, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo said effective implementation of the National LPG Expansion Plan (NLEIP) would move Nigerians away from using cooking fuel that is harmful to health and the environment to cleaner and more efficient energy. The FG noted its plan to upscale the 5 percent LPG domestic usage to 90 percent in 10 years.
The minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, during the shareholder’s agreement on the construction of Brass Petroleum Products Terminal Limited (BPPT) on Tuesday, noted that residents of riverine areas had perpetually bought refined petroleum products at exorbitant prices because of the huge cost of transporting products to those locations. He believed BPPT limited located at Okpoama, Brass Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, will resolve these problems for the region.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Wednesday said it was collaborating with law enforcement agencies and other relevant downstream and upstream stakeholders to curb the menace of petroleum products smuggling and crude oil theft