Guaranty Trust Bank Plc on Wednesday announced its audited results for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2018 on the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.
 
The company in the result released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) posted profit before tax of N215.6 billion against N197.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017, an increase of 9.1 per cent.
 
Gross earnings for the period under grew by 3.7 per cent to ₦434.7 billion from ₦419.2 billion reported increase 2017.
 
Its customers’ deposits increased by 10.3 per cent to ₦2.27 trillion from ₦2.06 trillion in the comparative period of 2017.
 
Also, loan book dipped by 12.9 per cent from ₦1.45 trillion recorded as at December 2017 to ₦1.26 trillion in December 2018.
 
The result showed that the bank closed the 2018 financial year with total assets of ₦3.29 trillion and shareholders’ funds of ₦575.6 billion.
 
An analysis of the bank’s asset quality showed that non-performing loans and cost of risk improved to 7.3 per cent and 0.3 per cent during the review period from 7.7 per cent and 0.8 per cent in December 2017, respectively.
 
The bank is proposing final dividend of ₦2.45 per share in addition to interim dividend of 30k per share, bringing the total dividend for 2018 financial year to ₦2.75k per share.
 
Commenting on the result, Mr Segun Agbaje, the bank’s Managing Director, said that the result represented the fundamental strength of its brand.
 
“In 2018, our focus on staying nimble, strengthening customers’ relationships and driving our digital-first strategy paid off.
 
“We successfully navigated the pressures of our challenging and radically changing business environment, recorded growth across key financial indices and reaffirmed our position as one of the best performing and well managed financial institutions in Africa.
 
“This result reflects, not just the fundamental strength of our brand, but also commitment to our values of excellence, creating value for all stakeholders and putting our customers first in everything that we do.
 
“Driven by these values, we are building the bank of the future by pairing the best of our business with the massive potential of digital technologies to create Africa’s first integrated and trusted platform,” Agbaje said.
 

The nation’s bourse on Wednesday reversed the three consecutive days positive trend with the market capitalisation dropping by N20 billion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the market capitalisation shed N20 billion or 0.17 per cent to close at N11.978 trillion against N11.998 trillion posted on Tuesday.

The All-Share Index lost 51.92 points or 0. 16 per cent to close at 32,121.74 compared with 32,173.66 achieved on Tuesday.

Breakdown of the price movement table shows that Dangote Cement recorded the highest gain to lead the gainers’ table, appreciating by 50k to close at N196.50 per share.

Guaranty Trust Bank followed with a gain of 35k to close at N37.95, while Access Bank increased by 10k to close at N6.10 per share.

United Capital added 5k to close at N3.30, while FBNHoldings also gained 5k to close at N8.15 per share.

Conversely, Seplat topped the losers’ table with a loss N22.10 to close at N596.90 per share.

Cement Company of Northern Nigeria trailed with N1 to close at N19, while GlaxosmithKline dipped 40k to close at N11.50 per share.

Ecobank dropped 30k to close at N13.70, while Etranzact shed 29k to close at N2.64 per share.

Zenith Bank dominated trading activities, accounting for 45.37 million shares worth N1.11 billion.

Guaranty Trust Bank followed with an exchange of 23.08 million shares valued at N872.94 million, while Fidelity Bank Plc traded 20.17 million shares worth N46.46 million.

Access Bank sold 15.61 million shares valued at N94.18 million, while Transcorp traded 13.86 million shares worth N17.54 million.

In all, the volume of shares traded closed lower by 47.96 per cent as investors bought and sold 208.60 million shares valued at N2.78 billion in 3,246 deals.

This was in contrast with 400.87 million shares worth N3.46 billion exchanged in 3,885 deals.

The Nigerias capital market on Monday closed in the positive as Bank stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, rallied to reverse some of the losses recorded in the last trading day in February.
 
Though it emerged the biggest loser on Thursday, after declining 4.56 percent, the banking sector came tops on Monday, rising by 2.66 percent.
 
This performance of the sector is attributable to the major gains recorded by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.
 
The All Share Index gained 0.95 per cent, increasing from 31,827.24 basis points on Friday to 32,129.94bps on Monday, while the year-to-date return improved to 2.2 per cent.
 
Market capitalization of stocks listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange increased from N11.869 trillion on Friday to N11.982 trillion on Monday, as investors gained N112.9 billion.
 
Activity level, however, weakened as 228.484 million shares valued at N2.615bn exchanged hands in 3,544 deals, compared to the 341.954 million shares valued at N3.752bn that exchanged hands in 4,513 deals on Friday.
 
Top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank Plc (33 million units), United Bank for Africa Plc (31.1 million units) and Zenith Bank Plc (28.9 million units) while the top traded stocks by value were Zenith Bank (N703.1m), Dangote Cement Plc (N510.8m) and GTB (N391.0m).
 
Performance across sectors was majorly positive as three sectors closed on a positive note.
The banking sector saw buying interest in GTB and Zenith Bank stocks, while consumer goods sector was the second highest gainer, up by 0.43 per cent on the back of major gains recorded in International Breweries Plc.
 
Also, the industrial goods sector increased by 0.31 per cent, prodded by gains in Dangote Flour Mills Plc, Dangote Cement, Lafarge Africa Plc and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc.
However, the insurance sector emerged the biggest loser for the day as a result of losses recorded in NEM Insurance Plc and Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc, while the oil and gas sector remain unchanged.
 
Investor sentiment, as measured by the market breadth (advance/decline ratio), stood at 0.3x as 25 firms gained against the 10 losers that emerged.
 
Mcnichols Plc, Cutix Plc, NPF Microfinance Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc and Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, were the top five gainers as their respective share prices gained 9.80 per cent, 9.76 per cent, 9.72 per cent, 9.09 per cent and 8.70 per cent.
 
The losers were led by PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, Livestock Feeds Plc, Chi Plc, Law Union and Rock and United Capital Plc, with their share prices declining by 9.67 per cent, 8.96 per cent, 7.14 per cent, 5.45 per cent and 2.99 per cent, respectively.
 
The Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria (FIRS) has disclosed that a total of N12.62 trillion was generated as revenue from  2016 to 2018.
 
This was revealed in a document made available to newsmen by the Head of Communications and Servicom Department of the agency, Wahab Gbadamosi.
 
N3.3 trillion was generated in 2016, N4.02 trillion in 2017 and N5.32 trillion was realised in 2018, making it the highest revenue generated in the last three years.
 
The document stated that this was made possible as a result of several initiatives designed by the agency to ensure a robust tax administration that is beneficial to all stakeholders.
 
It explained that non-oil tax revenue increased to N2.149 trillion in 2016, N2.5 trillion in 2017 and N2.852 trillion in 2018.
 
The document quoted the Executive Chairman of the agency, Babatunde Fowler saying the achievement was a reflection of the diversification of the Nigerian economy by the Federal Government.
 
“This does not mean that we have left behind the oil tax revenues. It grew from N1.15 trillion in 2016 to N1.52 trillion in 2017 and N2.52trillion in 2018. Non-oil tax revenue is still over in excess of the oil tax revenue.
 
“We also do collect four per cent in terms of cost of collection but only for non-oil revenue collected. On oil revenue collection, we do not get any commission and we have been able to make sure that our services are more efficient and convenient to taxpayers.
 
“This has brought about a considerable reduction in the cost of collection of actual taxes.
 
“In 2016, it was 2.6 per cent, 2017, 2.49 per cent and 2018, 2.14 per cent, meaning that our actual cost of collection is heading downwards based on the efficiency and technology that we are deploying to tax collection.
 
“Some of the ICT initiatives that we have continued to build on are the e-payment channels which make it convenient and easy to pay taxes anywhere in the world and to also download receipts of payment from any point one so desires,” he said.
 
The Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIAN) has said that the volume of fraud in Nigerian banks increased to N25 billion in the last five years.
 
This was disclosed by the Protem President of the institute, Dr. Victoria Enape in Abuja on Friday at the opening of intensive training for forensic and investigative auditors.
 
She noted that the training had become necessary going by the global acknowledgment of corruption in most government and financial institution and its (corruption) rejection by the United Nation, World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
 
“Government at all levels are losing billions of Naira every day and most of these criminal cases bordering on fraud, corruption and cyber-crimes are partly because there are no forensic and investigative auditors in Nigeria to prevent fraud from taking place.
 
“The place of training of forensic and investigative auditors cannot be overemphasised because the whole world has embraced this current trend years ago which has assisted them in the fight against fraud.
 
“Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors is an anti-fraud organisation, saddled with the responsibility of providing skills to relevant professionals on the use of science and technology to prevent, detect and investigate fraud of all kinds.
 
“The Institute also has mechanism to block illicit financial flows in the country; it therefore becomes indispensable in Nigeria if Nigerians and the future generation must experience peace and economic development,” Enape said.
 
Enape noted that scandalous collapses, financial loses, loss of employment, investment and investors, loss of earnings and means of livelihood are some of the consequential social dislocations and risks of corruption and fraud.
 
According to her, fraud and corruption weakened the institutional capacity of governments and organisations as well as impedes trade and investment.
 
Pension fund administrators in the country have invested a total of N636.99bn out of the total pension funds in their custody in banks as of the end of November 2018.
 
This figure represents 7.49 per cent of the funds managed by the pension operators.
 
According to figures from the National Pension Commission (PenCom) total pension funds under the review period stand at N8.49 trillion.
 
N15.7bn or 0.19 per cent of the pension assets was invested in mutual funds, while N17.51bn or 0.21 per cent of the funds was invested in cash and other assets.
 
Speaking on the development, the President, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Mrs Aderonke Adedeji, explained that the issue of the role of pension funds in economic development had moved into the focus of public attention, particularly with regard to Nigeria’s growing need for long term capital.
 
According to her, the successful mobilisation of pension fund assets and its contributions to the economic growth of any nation were essential policy objectives.
 
“For the first time, our country can now boast of a long term funding base and the impact to date has included the funding of the government and government projects, development of the capital market as well as increased foreign development inflows,” she said.
 
She however said there was need for caution in view of the recent agitations to access the funds for infrastructure.
 
Nigeria’s benchmark stock index dropped 0.7 percent Tuesday, the most in a week, as election results showed President Muhammadu Buhari building a lead over his main opponent and investor favorite Atiku Abubakar.
 
“People are just reacting to Buhari leading the results,” said Olabisi Ayodeji, an analyst at Exotix Capital. “Investors’ preference would have been for an Atiku win, considering that he is perceived to be more market friendly, and also seen as having the potential to deliver a stronger economy.”
 
Money managers and banks including AllianceBernstein LP and Citigroup Inc. have said Nigeria’s stock market may rally if Buhari loses. The incumbent is leading by a margin of 53 percent to Atiku’s 43 percent of the votes collated by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja. The country’s main stock index has dropped almost 49 percent in dollar terms since May 2015, when Buhari was elected president.
 
The main opposition’s complaints that the election results are being manipulated creates uncertainty, which is damping market sentiment, said Paul Clark, a money manager at Rand Merchant Bank’s Ashburton Investments in Johannesburg.
 
“There is no reason for the market to rally at all; it does certainly look like Buhari would win -- at this stage,” Clark said. “The one benefit of a Buhari win is business as usual and everything goes on as it was.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) fourth quarter economic report has revealed that about $39.9 billion was injected into the foreign exchange market to defend the Naira between January and December 2018.
 
The CBN makes regular dollar injections into the foreign exchange market which helps the apex bank achieve long-term naira stability and curb volatility in the forex market. The CBN usually injects liquidity about three times a week.
 
The intervention is provided to authorise dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, as well as other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and Small and Medium Enterprises segment.
 
Customers that required foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance, among others, are also allocated funds from the intervention.
 
The report read in part, “A total of $9.18bn was sold by the CBN to authorised dealers in the fourth quarter of 2018.
 
“This represents 16.1 per cent decline below the level in the third quarter of 2018, but was 80.6 per cent above the level in the corresponding period of 2017.
 
“The development, relative to the preceding quarter, reflected the decline in interbank sales and swaps transactions in the review quarter.
 
“Of the total, foreign exchange forwards disbursed at maturity was $3.15bn (34.3 per cent); sales to BDCs, $2.98bn (32.5 per cent); investors’ and exporters’ window, $2.09bn (22.8 per cent); interbank sales, $820m (8.7 per cent); and swaps transactions, $0.13bn (1.5 per cent).
 
“However, the average exchange rate of the naira vis-à-vis the United States dollar at the interbank segment depreciated by 0.2 per cent to N306.70/US$, relative to the level at end-September 2018.
 
“Similarly, at the BDC segment, the average exchange rate, depreciated by 0.9 per cent and 0.01 per cent below the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2017 to N362.42/$.
 
“At the investors’ and exporters’ window segment, the average exchange rate stood at N364.27/$, representing 0.5 per cent and one per cent depreciation relative to the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2017, respectively.
 
“Consequently, the premium between the average interbank and BDC rates widened by 0.8 percentage points in the review quarter, from 18.2 percentage points at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, but the spread between the average exchange rates at the investors’ and exporters’ window and the BDC segment narrowed further to 0.5 per cent from 0.9 per cent at the end of the preceding quarter.”
 
An analysis of the report showed that foreign exchange inflow into the economy increased by 2.8 per cent to $27.64bn as of the end of December last year.
 
The increase in foreign exchange inflow was as a result of the 12.3 per cent increase in inflow through the CBN.
 
Oil sector receipts, which accounted for $3.02bn, showed a decrease of 14.5 per cent below the level at the end of the preceding quarter.
 
The report stated that with $11.49bn as of December 31 last year, non-public sector inflow rose by 22.5 per cent above the third quarter levels.
 
A further analysis of the report showed that autonomous inflow of foreign exchange was put at $13.13bn, which fell 6.1 per cent below the levels at the end of the preceding quarter.
 
The Advisory Power Team (APT) at the office of the Vice President of Nigeria has said the nation’s power sector lost N69.1bn between January 1 and February 19 this year due to the persistent challenges in the industry.
 
According to data from the APT released on Wednesday, the loss in the sector was due to insufficient gas supply to power generation plants as well as inadequate distribution and transmission infrastructure.
 
The data showed that a total of 2,332.95 megawatts of electricity was not generated due to the unavailability of gas on February 19, 2019.
 
The data further showed that 32.5MW of power was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure, while 543MW was not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure.
 
On the same day, 150MW of power was recorded as losses due to water management constraint.
 
The APT said: “The power sector lost an estimated N1.468bn on February 19, 2019 due to insufficient gas supply, distribution infrastructure and transmission infrastructure.
 
“The estimated amount lost to insufficient gas supply, distribution, transmission and water reserves to date in 2019 is N69,064,000,000.”
 
Also on February 19, 2019, the average energy sent out in the sector was 4,408MW-hour/hour, up by 3.28MWh/h from the previous day’s figure.
 
The APT further noted that the dominant constraint on February 19, 2019 was unavailability of gas, preventing a total of 2,332.95MW from being available on the grid, adding that peak generation attained on the same day was 5,017MW, while peak average energy ever sent out was 4,557MWH/H on February 2, 2016.
 
The peak generation ever attained was put at 5,375MW, which was recorded on February 7, 2019.
 
A research report by the FSDH Merchant Bank has said the disparity between the growth rates of the Nigerian economy and its population shows that poverty is on the increase in the country.
 
According to the report titled ‘Final Judgment on Performance of the Nigerian Economy: Implications’, The Nigerian economy is growing slower than the growth rate in its population.
 
“This means that the economy is not expanding in such a way that can create enough job opportunities for the unemployed population, which the National Bureau of Statistics put at 21million as at Q3 2018,” the report stated.
 
The FSDH research also noted that ahead of the presidential election, the NBS released its final judgment on the performance of the Nigerian economy in 2018, adding that the report containing the judgment showed that the Nigerian economy had continued to recover. The economy expanded by 1.93 per cent in full year 2018, higher than 0.82 per cent recorded in 2017.
 
“The Nigerian economy is growing slower than the growth rate in its population, an indication of growing poverty! This means that the economy is not expanding in such a way that can create enough job opportunities for the unemployed population, which the NBS put at 21million as at Q3 2018.”
 
The report that said this is the sad reality, however added that there was a way out.
 
Nigeria could grow at above six per cent if appropriate policies and the will power to implement the policies were in place, it said.
 
“If you are searching sectors of the economy to start a business or to lend money to, you should be looking at the fastest growing or largest sectors of the economy,” the FSDH stated.
 
According to the report, these sectorsare where policymakers could easily achieve tangible results to show the impacts of their policies on the economy.
 
It said: “The most influential sectors that drove performance in FY 2018 are: Information and communication; agriculture; manufacturing, transportation and storage, and mining and quarrying sectors.
 
“The five fastest growing sectors on average between Q1 2017 – Q4 2018 are electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply; transportation and storage; water supply, sewage, waste management and remediation; information and communication and mining and quarrying.”
 
The report further noted that the fragile recovery in the economy meant that additional policies which would fast-track economic activities in the country were urgently required.
 
“This meant it would be a hard sell for the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase key interest rates in the country, it stated.
 
“Increase in the key interest rates like Monetary Policy Rate, Cash Reserve Requirement and Liquidity Rate may not be in view in the short-term.
 
“Usually, an increase in the MPR, CRR and LR may help to reduce a high inflation rate and keep the foreign exchange rate stable.
 
“However, such actions have the tendency to reduce economic growth, effectively it added.
 
“The growing recovery in the economy, if sustained, would reduce the business risks inherent in the country, which usually scared away investors”, the report said.
 
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