Communique of the 1st Business Lunch Meeting of the AIHN Held at The Wheatbaker Hotel on Thursday, March 28, 2019
The Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria (AIHN) successfully held its 1st bi-annual business lunch interaction on Thursday, March 28, 2019. The meeting brought together key policymakers and market practitioners to dialog on relevant issues that impact on the workings of the capital markets and on the overall Nigerian economy.
To set the stage for deliberations, introductory remarks were presented by Mr Chuka Eseka, President, AIHN and CEO, Vetiva Capital Management; Mrs Mary Uduk, Acting DG, Securities and Exchange Commission; and the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed represented by the Deputy Director of Home Finance, Mr Ebade Atuola. Key considerations identified were:
- Nigeria is out of recession, but growth is anemic at approximately 2%. Inflation has moderated from 18% to 11% but remains sticky above the CBN’s target of 6-9%. The unemployment rate has reached new levels, increasing from 9.9% in Q3:2015 to 23.1% in Q3:2018, while underemployment has also jumped from 17.4% to 20.1% within the same period.
- Revenue improved by an estimated 41.2% but underperformed by an estimated 47.6% relative to budget in 2018, the fiscal deficit remains elevated but reduced to 2.6% of GDP in 2018 (2017: 3.4%). There is also a lack of fiscal buffers as the Excess Crude Account has reduced to US$249.0m as at February 2019 from US$2.3bn as at October 2018.
- The capital market is the barometer for measuring the health of the economy. Since the global financial crisis of 2008 – 2009, Nigeria’s capital market has been constrained in fulfilling its mandate to drive the growth and development of the biggest economy in Africa.
- The capital market provides a good platform for addressing many of Nigeria’s economic challenges. The AIHN must take the initiative to influence the new administration’s implementation strategy of its Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) by pointing out areas where funding can be more easily accessed from the capital markets if appropriate reforms are introduced.
- For the capital market to fulfill its 10-year masterplan, government policies and support are needed to drive activities that will encourage private sector participation to drive fundraising from the capital market. We believe this should be hinged on four key pillars:
- Policy Reforms that Promotes Market Economics;
- Liberalization of the Oil & Gas Sector;
- Power Sector Optimisation; and
- Private Sector-Led Infrastructure Development
RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
Ike Chioke, 1st Vice President, AIHN and GMD Afrinvest led the following panelists into deliberations: Ms Patience Oniha, DG, Debt Management Office; Mr Alex Okoh, DG Bureau of Public Enterprises; Mr Chuka Eseka, AIHN President and CEO, Vetiva Capital Mangement; Dr Andrew Nevin, Partner/Chief Economist, PwC Nigeria; and Mr Bola Onadele, CEO, FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange. Key outcomes were as follows:
- Nigeria is an N140trn economy. To reverse the negative trends in unemployment and poverty and see real growth, we shall need a capital investment of N35trn per annum consistently over the next 10 years and the capital market if properly incentivized can facilitate this.
- To deliver economic growth, revenue generation must be a priority for the government. We must stimulate productive activities within the economy that will generate revenue.
- Private sector efficiency is critical in harnessing the potential infrastructure development. Increased efforts must be made to galvanize Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as well as domestic investment.
- For the power sector to thrive, the government must create an enabling environment and address existing governance, legal, regulatory, funding and pricing issues.
- Now is the time for the capital market to invest intellectual capital and develop solutions for funding key national priority sectors such as power, transportation and telecommunications to achieve the transformational and catalytic economic benefits
- Whilst recognizing the desired supporting role of government, the private sector, and capital market need to put its self in the driving seat. The government must, however, be decisive and close out on key policy issues affecting the functioning of the economy to create the right framework for the market to thrive. The focus must be on
- a. Policy Reforms that Promotes Market Economics;
- b. Liberalization of the Oil & Gas Sector;
- c. Power Sector Optimization; and
- d. Private Sector-Led Infrastructure Development
- e. Decentralisation of decision-making for job creation; and
- f. Unlocking the debt markets for real estate; and
- For the capital market to deliver on its role as a catalyst of economic growth, market operators have to be put in the position to operate optimally. Pricing for our services has to be market driven and policies put in place that would allow operators intermediate properly in the financial markets and develop local capabilities so that Nigeria can develop its own global firms and rely less on foreign expertise to execute major projects.
- Looking ahead a recognition of a significant threat to Nigeria’s medium-term economic prosperity is our population growth warranting a need to declare a state of emergency on the population problem and urgently work on ways to control it.
Dated: March 28, 2019
Mr. Chuka Eseka
President, Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria
Watch the highlight of the event here;