Tag Archives: business

Investors ‘not certain’ of Banks’ growth

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Reacting to the performance, the Chief Research Officer of Investdata Consulting Limited, Ambrose Omordion, said the banking sector’s Q3 numbers were mixed and flat.

With the current harsh operating environment, exacerbated by impact of COVID-19 on businesses, investors have expressed worry that the banking sector might record rise in Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) and erode profitability, if government failed to provide support to boost performance and sustain growth.

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This is because banks play critical role of mobilising savings from surplus economic units to deficit areas to stimulate investments.

Investors argue that banks’ shares are currently selling on discount in the stock market, considering their book value per share, following economic turmoil occasioned by COVID-19 shutdown and other socio-political crisis.

This means that market value of banks are below the book value per share. For instance, the book value of one of the leading banks is 32.94, while market value is N22.60 kobo as of December 14, 2020.

According to analysts, the banking sector, which has been the most liquid in the Nigerian equity market over the years, has come under significant headwind in recent months.

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From strict regulatory guidelines to the current systemic risk, COVID-19 and the drop in oil price have triggered a spate of sell-offs in the market, further affecting the banking sector. The pandemic has severely affected businesses; causing low patronage, dip in revenues, higher cost of operations, and crushing debts.

The situation has impacted negatively on the third quarter (Q3) result of some biggest banks, especially as several events in the country point to an uncertain 2021 for businesses.

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According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), total banking sector credit to the economy stood at about N18.8 trillion in the second quarter of 2020, up from N17.1 trillion at the end of 2019. However, NPLs at the end of the second quarter of 2020 rose by 2.27 per cent to N1.2 trillion.

Although a recent release by the NBS showed the total amount of NPLs in Nigerian banks fell from N1.21 trillion in second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020) to N1.17 trillion as of Q3 2020; the investors maintained that increase in banks’ Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) to 65 percent last year, was to improve lending to the real sector, but has pulled a large chunk of money from the banking system.

Although, they affirmed that the market has recorded unprecedented growth in the past few months, it is argued that government’s inability to provide an enabling environment that would boost operations of companies under the real sector and improve their profits would ultimately depress the market, shore up bank’s Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), and erode their profitability.

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Presently, the five big banks (FUGAZ) — FBN Holdings, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), Access Bank and Zenith Bank— are currently trading at values described by operators as very low, compared to their fundamentals.

A look at the third quarter (Q3), 2020 performance of the banks revealed that despite efforts to cope with the pandemic, profit of some Tier one banks, especially GTBank and UBA, dropped.

For the Q3 ended September 2020, United Bank for Africa’s (UBA) unaudited result showed 5.99 percent growth in gross earnings, from N428.7 billion in September 2019 to N454.4 billion in 2020.

However, its profit before tax fell from N98.2 billion to N90.4 billion, while Profit After Tax (PAT) stood at N77.1 billion; thus putting the annualised return on average equity at 16.4 percent.

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The bank’s total assets grew to N7.1 trillion, a 26 percent increase from the N5.6 trillion recorded at the end of December 2019.

UBA also said shareholders’ funds grew by 9.6 percent to N655.3 billion from N598 billion recorded in December 2019, thus reflecting strong capacity for internal capital generation and growth.

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Similarly, Guaranty Trust Bank Q3 result showed that the group reported a PAT of 167.4 billion, representing a decrease of 1.9 per cent over 170.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019 and an improvement on the 5.2 per cent dip posted in H1-2020, relative to H1-2019.

The bank’s loan and deposit book, however, grew by 4.5 per cent and 25.1 per cent from ₦1.502 trillion and 2.640 trillion recorded as of December 2019, to ₦1.569 trillion and ₦3.303 trillion in September 2020 respectively.

The bank’s balance sheet remained well- structured, diversified, and resilient with total assets and shareholders’ funds closing at ₦4.574 trillion and ₦755.5 billion respectively.

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Zenith Bank ‘s unaudited results for the third quarter ended 30 September 2020 showed four per cent rise in gross earnings to N509 billion, from N491 billion posted in the corresponding period in 2019.

According to the unaudited account, which was presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the growth was driven by non-interest income, which grew by 11 per cent to N173 billion from N157 billion recorded at the end of Q3 2019.

The Group’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) rose marginally to N177 billion at the end of Q3 2020, representing a growth of one per cent over theN176 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2019.

FBN Holdings gross earnings grew by 5.1 per cent to N439 billion from N418 billion in the previous quarter.

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The bank’s PBT grew by 16.1 per cent to N63.3 billion while PAT grew by 31.9 per cent to N68.2 billion. Access Bank Plc Q3 2020 Unaudited results showed 15.4 per cent increase in gross earnings to N593 billion from N514 billion achieved in 2019. PBT grew by 15.7 per cent to N117 billion, while PAT grew by 15.7 per cent to N102 billion.

He argued that, aside GTBank that seemed to be selling at premium price, the banks were underpriced and currently selling at a discount in the stock market.

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However, he pointed out that some scorecards were outstanding to give insight of dividend possibility.

“The tier one banks have the earnings capacity to pay investors dividend at the end of the current financial year-end. These banks are underpriced, except for GTBank that seems to be selling at a premium, while others are selling at a discount with high margin of safety, considering their book value.

“But the sector looks good and attractive for income investors and traders. They should keep their gaze on banks with earnings capacity to pay dividend.

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The future of Nigerian banks are stable. The sector has shown resilience during the pandemic. The improving macro-economic indices indicate that business environment is becoming stable. This is expected to support the banks,” he said.

A stockbroker with APT Securities, Jamiu Kayode, said: “All the tier one banks have improved when you compare Q3 2020 to that of 2019, except GTBank and UBA whose profit dropped from N146 billion to N142 billion and N81 billion to N77 billion.”

Although he said the share prices had increased significantly, he, however, noted that the stocks were still undervalued.

An independent investor, Amaechi Egbo, said the 65 per cent LDR of banks and low interest rates had supported economic recovery, despite the economic recession.

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He stated that government must continue to create the enabling environment for companies to thrive so that loan facilities from banks would be properly utilised.

According to him, if government will remain focused, in addition to good regulations and improved business environment, the issue of rising NPLs would be checked in the banking sector, while banks would continue to expand operations and increase profitability.

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#Newsworthy

Economist debate price war against imported rice

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The economic expert said the high cost of rice in some parts of Nigeria was not caused by any government but as a result of lack of honesty, greed and inordinate ambition of some Nigerians.

An economist, Prof. AbdulGafar ljaya, has called for a price war against imported rice.

Ijaya, who teaches economics at the University of llorin, made the call on Monday in llorin in an interview with the Noble Reporters Media

He said the price war would crash the price at which smuggled rice is being sold in Nigeria,

The don, who was reacting to the more than N30,000 which a bag of rice is sold in llorin and some other parts of the country, noted that with a price war the price of the rice would drop and affordable.

“There must be a price war to crash the price of imported rice being smuggled into our country so that the downtrodden can afford it,” ljaya said.

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He noted that the Federal government had spent so much to improve the local production of rice which, he said, was being ridiculed by some unpatriotic Nigerians.

“Some traders will travel to the northern part of the country to buy rice at cheap price only to re-bag it in bags with foreign names and later sell them at triple the price,’’ he said.

Ijaya called for attitudinal change, discipline, patriotism, honesty to allow the price war against imported, smuggled rice to succeed.

He advised Nigerians to always patronise “Made-in-Nigeria’’ goods to enhance the nation’s economic growth and development.


#Newsworthy…

Market forces to now determine petrol price in Nigeria.

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The price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly referred to as petrol, will now be fully based on the forces of demand and supply, the Federal Government reiterated on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the General Manager (Admin and Human Resources) of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Victor Shidok, said the market is now open.

“It is based on bargain power,” he said. “It is based on where you source your products.”

However, he noted that the government will ensure customers are protected from price-gouging and other ills associated with free markets.

“You could have a regulator that always stand and remain a watchdog to see how these forces are being played out, how the interest if both operators and consumers are being taken care of,” he said.

PPPRA is a Federal Government agency established in 2003 to monitor and regulate the supply, distribution and prices of petroleum products in the country.

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Last Thursday, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva said the nation has gone into full deregulation and market forces now determine the price of the product.

The deregulation has been singled out as the reason behind the recent hike in the price of petrol.

According to Sylvia, deregulation will be difficult for Nigerians at the initial stage but will get better in the long run.

He added that since the announcement of full deregulation in March, the Federal Government has saved over N1 trillion.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Lufthansa records €1.5BN net loss in Q2

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German airline giant Lufthansa said Thursday it made a net loss reaching 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic slammed the brakes on travel.

The German flag carrier carried around 1.7 million travellers during the three months to the end of June — a 96 percent drop from the same period last year as lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus restricted air travel worldwide.

Profit in the same period of the previous year was 754 million euros.

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Lufthansa said demand for air travel would return to pre-crisis levels in 2024 at the earliest, as it predicted a “clearly negative” operating loss in the second half.

The group, which received a government bailout worth 9 billion euros, had announced in June that 22,000 jobs would have to go.

Although it had said then that it would use schemes for shorter work hours and other crisis arrangements to avoid outright redundancies, the company said Thursday that was now “no longer realistically within reach for Germany either”.

“We are experiencing a caesura in global air traffic,” Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said.

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The collapse in traffic led to an 80 percent drop in quarterly revenue to 1.9 billion euros for Lufthansa Group, which also includes Austrian Airlines and Swiss. In the second quarter of last year, Lufthansa reported revenue of more than 9.5 billion euros.

In this file photo taken on March 15, 2018 the name of German airline Lufthansa is pictured on a model airplane at the company’s headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, where the airline is presenting it’s annual report. Daniel ROLAND / AFP

The company said its fleet is to be permanently reduced by at least 100 aircraft, although its 2024 capacity will correspond to that of 2019.

Lufthansa previously said they would reduce its use of Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s.

In June, Lufthansa secured a 9 billion euro bailout from the German government, which now has a 20 percent stake in the group.

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The airline said it now has 11.8 billion euros in liquidity, including government funds.

The group said it has so far reimbursed around 2 billion euros to customers in 2020 due to cancelled flights.

Fraport, which controls Frankfurt Airport, Lufthansa’s main hub, said this week it plans to cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs — as much as one-fifth of its workforce.

Passenger traffic at Frankfurt, Germany’s busiest airport, fell 94.4 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020 compared with last year.


#Newsworthy…

As Trump’s ban looms, Tik Tok sale uncertain – New Report

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Negotiations for Microsoft to buy the US operations of Chinese-owned TikTok are on hold after President Donald Trump threatened to bar the social media app and came out against the sale, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Trump has pledged to get tough on the massively popular video-sharing app, which US officials have said could be a tool for Chinese intelligence — a claim the firm, owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, has repeatedly denied.

While there has been no sign yet of the ban he threatened on Friday to impose, his words were reportedly already adding to uncertainties for TikTok.

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“Before Mr. Trump’s remarks, the two sides believed the broad strokes of a deal could be in place by Monday,” the paper reported on a possible TikTok-Microsoft sale, citing unnamed sources.

It also said Trump’s threats and opposition to the deal had prompted TikTok to make further concessions, including adding up to 10,000 jobs in the US over the next three years.

TikTok defended itself on Saturday, with its general manager for the US, Vanessa Pappas, telling users that the company was working to give them “the safest app,” amid US concerns over data security.

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“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” Pappas said in a message released on the app.

TikTok, especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos, has an estimated one billion users worldwide.

It has grown even faster as the coronavirus pandemic has pushed people physically away from each other, but into close contact online.

Earlier media reports had suggested Trump would require that the app’s US operations be divested from ByteDance, but he instead announced a ban.

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Trump’s announcement drew criticism from some in the tech sector, including former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos, who questioned whether the move was spurred by national security concerns.

“A 100 per cent sale to an American company would have been considered a radical solution two weeks ago and, eventually, mitigates any reasonable data protection concerns,” he wrote on Twitter.

TikTokers employed the apps’ signature short-form videos to poke fun at Trump.

One clip that was liked over 300,000 times shows a young woman stacking bricks and smearing orange paint on her face, apparent digs at the president’s skin tone and controversial pledge to build a wall between the US and Mexico.

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“Me trying to convince Trump to let us keep TikTok”, read the text on the post.

‘For the long run’
The American Civil Liberties Union cried foul over the possibility of a ban on the app.

“Banning an app that millions of Americans use to communicate with each other is a danger to free expression and is technologically impractical,” said the ACLU’s surveillance and cybersecurity counsel, Jennifer Granick.

“With any Internet platform, we should be concerned about the risk that sensitive private data will be funnelled to abusive governments, including our own,” Granick said in a statement.

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“But shutting one platform down, even if it were legally possible to do so, harms freedom of speech online and does nothing to resolve the broader problem of unjustified government surveillance.”

Pappas said she was “proud” of TikTok’s 1,500 US employees, and also noted the “additional 10,000 jobs” the company plans on creating in the US in the next three years.

“When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app because we know it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

“So we appreciate the support. We’re here for the long run, and continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok.”


#Newsworthy…

Nigerian pharma companies import all other, except water – NAFDAC

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The only ingredient Nigerian pharmaceutical companies do not import is water, according to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

However this is changing as the Muhammadu Buhari administration steps up investment in the sector, Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said on Saturday during her appearance on Sunrise Saturday.

“That is changing as we speak,” she said. “There are two or three companies now that are going to be making some active pharmaceutical ingredients.

“There is another talk about making lactose. Lactose is one of the nonactive ingredients – we cannot even make it because we think importation is the best thing, but it is the worst thing that could have happened to us.”

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COVID-19 Impact
Prof. Adeyeye said the coronavirus pandemic has transformed into a catalyst for investment into the nation’s health sector, after decades of neglect.

“I see a brighter future for Nigeria because COVID-19 woke up us from our comatose state as a country,” she said. “Before COVID-19, we had huge problems and COVID-19 kind of opened the Pandora box for us, because we were over-dependent.

NAFDAC Director-General, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye speaks on drug insecurity during an interview on Sunrise Daily on March 3, 2020.

“The health sector was neglected for decades. And what the Buhari administration is doing right now is phenomenal. Because it is something to know that neglect took place, it is another thing to start finding excuses.

“The current administration has now committed a lot of money to the health sector, from the primary health sector to the tertiary, to pharmaceutical companies, to researchers.”

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Improving NAFDAC
The NAFDAC DG said the country’s top regulatory agency for food and drugs is now being audited by the World Health Organisation as it moves to standardise its regulatory process.

“The regulatory system was weak. And I use ‘was’, because NAFDAC is no longer what NAFDAC was three years ago,” she said. “I knew a lot about regulatory science before I joined NAFDAC. And there were things that were done wrong, but we cannot live in the past.

“If a regulatory system is weak, the pharmaceutical industry will be weak. So what we are doing now is to build internal capacity. And that you cannot see on the air. We are making sure we use quality management systems, going through WHO audit, which is a very tasking and arduous process and the best thing that can happen to NAFDAC.

“We have about 200 pharma companies in the country. About 165 are active. We went there one by one to gauge their good manufacturing practice compliance.”


#Newsworthy…

Halftime: Hermes results hit by COVID-19 pandemic

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French luxury group Hermes said Thursday the coronavirus pandemic hit profits in the first half of the year but expressed confidence about the future as business began picking up in June.

Net profits plunged 55 percent to 335 million euros ($394 million) while its operational profitability fell to 21.5 percent of revenue against 34.8 percent a year earlier, a statement said.

Sales stood 2.48 billion euros, in line with the analyst consensus forecasts by compiled by Factset and Bloomberg .

“This unprecedented crisis, which began at the start of the year and is still ongoing, allows us to test our business model’s strength,” Hermes Executive Chairman Axel Dumas said.

“We have to weather the storm but we are well equipped,” he added.

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Dumas said Hermes had “preserved jobs and maintained the basic salaries of its employees worldwide without having recourse to the exceptional governmental subsidies provided in various countries.

“The loyal clients, desirable collections, agile omnichannel network and independence of the group are the pillars that give us confidence in the future and will support our recovery.”

French luxury group Hermes said Thursday the coronavirus pandemic hit profits in the first half of the year.

Hermes said sales had picked up from June and that it was able to reopen all its outlets in China — a major market where the COVID-19 pandemic began — in March, adding that there was “strong growth”.

The group said it was financially solid and had enough cash reserves, adding that the mid-term aim was to see turnover rise progressively at ambitious targets.


#Newsworthy…

Sumsung defies COVID-19 with rise in profit

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South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics defied the coronavirus to report higher net profits in the second quarter Thursday, with strong demand for memory chips overcoming the pandemic’s impact on smartphone sales.

Long known as the world’s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, it said net profits rose 7.3 percent to 5.56 trillion won ($4.66 billion) in the April-to-June period.

The firm is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung Group, by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate business in the world’s 12th largest economy, and it is crucial to the South’s economic health.

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The figures — which beat expectations according to Bloomberg News — come as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc across the world economy, and with the trade-dependent South having entered a recession for the first time in 17 years due to plunging exports.

But lockdowns imposed around the world — especially in Europe and the US — have boosted Samsung Electronics’ chip business with data centres moving to stockpile DRAM chips to meet surging demand for online activities.

“Even as the spread of COVID-19 caused closures and slowdowns at stores and production sites around the world, the company responded to challenges through its extensive global supply chain,” the firm said in a statement.

It also minimised the impact of the pandemic by “strengthening online sales channels and optimising costs,” it added.

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Operating profit rose 23.48 percent to 8.15 trillion won, it said, even as sales dropped 5.6 percent to 52.97 trillion won.

The overall turnover of the wider Samsung group is equivalent to a fifth of South Korea’s gross domestic product.

Analysts said they expect Samsung Electronics’ memory chips and television businesses to improve.

Diplomatic and military tensions between India and China could also play in Samsung’s favour, analysts said, if Indian consumers choose to shun Chinese brands and opt for Samsung devices instead.

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“The growth is likely to drive by memory chips and displays as both of these products are in high demand due to heavy content consumption during the lockdown,” Prachir Singh, a senior analyst at market observer Counterpoint, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

“India is showing a pent-up demand as the country recovers in the post-lockdown period.

“There is certainly an anti-China sentiment in the minds of Indian consumers. Samsung is surely benefiting from this.”

Huawei overtakes
Samsung has long been considered the world’s biggest smartphone maker, but industry tracker Canalys said Thursday it had been overtaken in the second quarter by Chinese rival Huawei, on the back of strong domestic demand in the world’s second-largest economy.

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But as the world economy recovers Huawei could struggle to retain top spot in the face of US sanctions and falling overseas sales, Canalys added.

Samsung Electronics declined to comment on the ranking to AFP.

Global smartphone sales slumped more than 20 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, their worst performance ever, according to market tracker Gartner, as the pandemic hit consumer spending.

And for the second half of the year, the outlook for Samsung’s mobiles is “still quite uncertain because while lockdowns in some countries are easing, there is a resurgence of cases in some places,” said Gloria Tsuen, a senior credit officer at Moody’s Investors Service.

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LG Electronics, South Korea’s second largest appliance firm after Samsung, posted a second-quarter net profit slump of 38.1 percent to 65.6 billion won Thursday, saying it had been “affected significantly” by the pandemic.

Adding to Samsung Electronics’ challenges, its vice chairman and de facto leader Lee Jae-yong is currently being retried over a sprawling corruption scandal that could see him return to prison.

He is not being held in custody during the proceedings but a guilty verdict could deprive the firm of its top decision-maker.

Samsung shares closed unchanged in Seoul on Thursday at 59,000 won.


#Newsworthy…

Shell dives to $18.1bn quarter 2 loss

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Anglo-Dutch energy major Royal Dutch Shell posted Thursday a colossal net loss of $18.1 billion (15.4 billion euros) for the second quarter, blaming massive asset writedowns on the coronavirus-hit oil market.

The performance, contrasting sharply with profit after tax of $3.0 billion a year earlier, was sparked by a huge $16.8-billion charge on chronic fallout both from COVID-19 and collapsing oil prices.

The vast charge was taken “as a result of revised medium- and long-term price and refining margin outlook assumptions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and macroeconomic conditions as well as energy market demand and supply fundamentals,” Shell said in a results statement.

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The quarterly performance meanwhile reflected lower prices for oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas, while it was also adversely impacted by lower refining margins and oil products sales volumes.

Production dipped six percent to 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the reporting period — and is forecast to drop further in the third quarter.

“Shell has delivered resilient cash flow in a remarkably challenging environment,” said Chief Executive Ben van Beurden in Thursday’s statement.

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“We continue to focus on safe and reliable operations and our decisive cash preservation measures will underpin the strengthening of our balance sheet.”

The energy giant had already forecast in June that it would face a charge of between $15 billion and $22 billion in the second quarter, after crude futures had suffered a spectacular crash on COVID-19 fallout, the Saudi-Russia price war and oversupply.

Both Shell and British rival BP, which reports its earnings next week, have opted to book charges in the second quarter on sustained coronavirus fallout that ravaged the world’s appetite for crude oil.

Shell had already plunged into the red in the first quarter of this year on the back of the oil price crash, which prompted it to cut its shareholder dividend for the first time since the 1940s.

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The deadly COVID-19 outbreak slammed the brakes on the global economy and savaged oil-intensive industries.

The outbreak also sent oil prices off a cliff from March onwards — and even caused them briefly to turn negative in April.

Prices have since rebounded sharply on an easing global crude supply glut and as governments relax lockdowns and businesses slowly reopen.

Crude futures currently stand at about $40 per barrel, which is still well down on the same stage last year.


#Newsworthy…

Total oil suffers first quarterly loss since 2015

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Total suffered its first net loss in five years in the second quarter due to the plunge in crude prices triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the French oil company said Thursday.

The $8.4 billion loss included $8.1 in writedowns in asset values due to the drop in oil prices, in particular for its oil sands investments in Canada where production costs are high.

But its adjusted net income — a measure that excludes changes in the value of its stocks of oil and exceptional items — remained positive. At $130 million, it was down 96 percent from the same period last year, however.

“During the second quarter, the Group faced exceptional circumstances: the COVID-19 health crisis with its impact on the global economy and the oil market crisis,” said the company’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanne in a statement.

The lockdowns imposed in many countries to slow the spread of the coronavirus triggered a massive drop in demand for oil, causing prices to plunge.

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While crude prices have recovered somewhat as economic activity resumes, oil companies are reporting massive losses as lower prices make it difficult to operate profitably and accounting rules force them to take huge charges to the value of their assets.

Total’s output slid four percent to 2.85 million barrels per day of oil equivalent.

For 2020, it now forecasts an average daily output between 2.9 and 2.95 million barrels per day, a slight reduction from earlier guidance.

The company’s board of directors decided to maintain an interim quarterly dividend of $0.66 per share, reaffirmed its sustainability at $40 per barrel oil and said that the breakeven point on its energy assets is below $25 per barrel.

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The main international oil contract, Brent, was trading at $43.47 on Thursday.

Given the volatile situation Total said it aims to cut operating costs by $1 billion and keep investments below $14 billion this year.

However it reaffirmed ambitions to diversify, including by investing in a giant offshore wind project off Britain and acquiring more residential gas and electricity customers in Spain.

Total’s share price edged 0.2 percent higher in early trading in Paris, while the CAC 40 index shed 0.5 percent.


#Newsworthy…

News+: Fresh stock exchange index compilation to boost capital market

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The Shanghai Stock Exchange revised way of compilation of the Shanghai Composite Index, effective from Wednesday, a move market analysts say will make the benchmark better reflect listed companies’ business performance and help lay the foundation for a long-term bull run.

A statement from the Shanghai Stock Exchange Tuesday said that the new index will kick out companies that have been subject to risk warnings. The change also prolonged the time for new company inclusions to the index to one year.

Also, newly listed companies whose valuations climb to the top 10 will be included in the index within three months after they went public. In the past, new lists were included in the index just 11 trading days after they were listed.

Besides, stocks listed at the Science and Technology Board, or STAR, will be included in the sample space of the Shanghai Composite Index, the statement read.

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By the close Wednesday, the Shanghai Composite Index edged up by 0.37 percent to 3,333.16 points. The Shenzhen Component Index rose 0.89 percent.

Amending how the Shanghai Composite Index is compiled could make the index more reflective of China’s capital market by excluding stocks under risk alert and introducing more technology companies, market analysts and experts said.

Yu Wenbing, assistant general manager of biopharmaceutical company Junshi Biosciences, which is a listed company on STAR bourse, said that including tech companies into the Shanghai Composite Index, as well as other reforms, will help increase liquidity of the market.

The trading floor of the Shanghai Stock Exchange in Shanghai Photo: CFP

It will increase financial support to listed companies, whose business boom will help boost the capital market in a virtuous cycle. “Without direct funding support from the capital market, our company could not have pushed coronavirus-related research so quickly,” he said.

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According to him, the Shanghai Composite Index is often considered the barometer of China’s capital market, but the index is old-fashioned and cannot objectively represent the general situation of China’s massive economy.

“The revision will enhance the index’s reputation for trying more methods to truly reflect listed companies’ performance and avoid misleading market investors, individual investors in particular,” Yu told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media)

Some experts noted that the revised compilation method will help prop up the mainland stock markets.

Yang Delong, chief economist at the Shenzhen-based First Seafront Fund Management Corp, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that changes to the Shanghai Composite Index are not very radical, so the Shanghai market will be kept stable.

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But in the long run, more and more new economy companies, whether they are listed on the STAR market or those companies returning from New York to the A-share market, will be included in the weighing of Shanghai Composite Index and will push the index up, steadily.

“The next decade will be golden years for the A-share markets, and the Shanghai Composite Index will hopefully go up in a ‘slow bull’ trend,” Yang said.

A stock investor based in Beijing told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) Wednesday that the reform could shore up the confidence of mainland and overseas investors in China’s increasingly complicated financial markets.

“Although currently the Shanghai Composite Index isn’t totally consistent with the performance of individual stocks, I believe the reforms will help the index have a bull run,” she said.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: 42% lost their Jobs in Nigeria – World Bank

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The World Bank Thursday revealed that around 42% of the Nigeria’s workforce lost their jobs between March and June following the shutdown of the economy in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ahmed Rostom, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank, made the disclosure at the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) Webinar Series’ virtual knowledge sharing series titled ‘Risk Sharing: A Key Driver for Increased Financial Access and Economic Development for MSMEs.’

He presented data from surveys executed by the World Bank between April and June 2020 on the economic growth constraints and the impact of COVID-19 in the country.

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42 per cent of persons working before March 2020, particularly those in the hospitality and service industry, are out of job, Mr Rostom said.

Panellists also acknowledged that Credit Guarantees Schemes were notable policy documents, created to alleviate credit constraints confronting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).


Ayodele Olojede, Group Head Emerging Business at Access Bank said MSMEs did not have steady and sustained access to finance, adding that “risk sharing facilities will help increase access to finance which helps MSMEs grow, increases employment and output in the economy”.


#Newsworthy…

VP, Yemi Osinbajo list support schemes for MSMEs

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government, through the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), is set to implement a number of schemes to keep Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) afloat.

The vice president listed Survival Fund including payroll support for three months, guaranteed off-take scheme among others as part of efforts to support small businesses in Nigeria to survive the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the vice president spoke at the 2020 edition of the Micro MSMEs Awards which held via video conference.

He said that locally, businesses were facing their most challenging time and the impact was particularly severe on MSMEs

“The central plank of our response as a government to the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the Economic Sustainability Plan recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council.

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“In that plan which essentially envisages an overall N2.3 trillion stimulus package, we made extensive provision for financial support to MSMEs, ranging from a guaranteed off-take scheme to a survival fund that includes a payroll support programme for qualifying businesses.

“The guaranteed off-take scheme seeks to provide support for MSMEs, manufacturing local products by guaranteeing the purchase from them of qualifying products such as face masks, hand sanitizer, Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) for medical workers among others

“These products will be distributed to Nigerians, Nigerian institutions and entities that would require them.

“The survival fund will help provide payroll support to MSMEs with a minimum of 10 and maximum of 50 staff. The MSMEs that qualify for these will make available their payroll for verification by the government.

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“Companies that meet the requirements will then be eligible to have the salaries of their verified staff paid directly from the fund for a period of three months.”

According to the vice president, the target beneficiaries of this scheme will include private schools, hotels, road transport workers, creative industries and others.

He said that the verification process would be very rigorous and painstaking.

Osinbajo added that N200 billion would be made available to MSMEs in the priority sectors such as healthcare, agro-processing, creative industries, local oil and gas, aviation among others.

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“This will be granted through a scheme jointly run by the Bank of Industry and Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank, especially for export expansion.

“The CBN is also committed to creating a N100 billion target credit facility for MSMEs.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo PHOTO:Twitter

“Already the recently signed Finance Act already made provision for graduated company income tax rates with zero rates for small companies and a rate reduction for medium-sized companies.”

The vice president said that the Federal Government would continue to implement similar focused MSME interventions around the country.

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Osinbajo said that Kaduna state, for example, was working on a tomato paste production plant while Lagos was putting together a fashion hub.

He said that FCT was equally set to launch a carpentry cluster while Anambra state was almost ready to commission its leather works cluster.

All of these are scheduled for 2020.

“In 2021, Edo, Ekiti, Katsina, Ogun, Bauchi and Enugu States would commission shared facilities that will bring MSMEs together by cluster and provide shared equipment and resources and business support hub.’’

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He commended the participants at the awards for their ingenuity in starting up and sustaining their businesses, urging those who were not shortlisted not to relent in what they were doing.

Osinbajo also commended all those who had started businesses in Nigeria, no matter how small, describing them as champions.

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“Every person who has taken it upon themselves to start a business in Nigeria no matter how small is a champion and we as a government owe it to you to create an enabling environment for you to thrive.

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“This is President Buhari’s commitment to MSMEs in Nigeria, that we will continue to stand by you and to support you and to create opportunities for you to grow and prosper,” he said.

Adejoke Lasisi of Planet 3R Limited won the MSME of the Year Award while Kaduna State was awarded the Best MSME Clinic Support State.

The winners got cash and car prizes.

The event was attended by several state governors and their representatives, the FCT Minister Malam Muhammed Bello, the Minister of State, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum, various heads of MDAS and captains of industry.


#Newsworthy…

Glo reveal plan to give customers 6 months free data | 3 Stories

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In its bid to offer more value to customers and consolidate its leadership in Nigeria’s telecommunications market, digital transformation leader, Globacom, has announced a phone festival for the benefit of its teeming subscribers.

Called the Glo Smartphone Festival, it is designed to offer subscribers who purchase mobile phones from any Gloworld outlet up to six months’ bundled data along with their preferred devices.

Globacom said in a statement released in Lagos over the weekend that customers who purchase devices under the programme will have access to bundled data from 500 MB per month to 2GB per month for six months. This will, however, depend on which model they choose from a wide range of phones from popular brands available for the offer, including iPhone, Samsung, Infinix, Itel, Tecno and Imose.

The company explained that the Glo Smartphone Festival was designed to make the Gloworld outlets nationwide a “one-stop shop for everything devices” and the best place to get the best price deals, accessories, bundle data ranging from 500MB to 2GB monthly for 6 months and free accessories on their choice devices.

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The company further said that all prepaid and post-paid customers who visit any of the over 90 Gloworld outlets across the country during the festival period can buy any device of their choice from a range of latest devices and enjoy the bundled benefits. “Glo remains committed to creating more value for its customers,” the network added.

Globacom disclosed that data received from the smartphone festival is automatically credited to a customer’s line and added to his or her existing data plans which can be checked by dialling 1270#, or by sending SMS ‘info’ to 127.

Glo Smartphone festival will run until July 31, 2020.


• Globacom slashes rate of international calls •


In a move to help its subscribers stay in touch with their loved ones abroad at a much more affordable cost, national telecommunications operator, Globacom, has slashed international call tariffs by as much as 55%.

According to a press statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday, Globacom said the reduced tariffs, which come without any subscription fee, cover calls made to major destinations such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Ireland, South Africa, Spain and Saudi Arabia. Other countries affected by the reduction are Cameroon, Niger, Benin Republic, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire. The specific tariffs for each country vary, but are the most competitive in the market, the company stated.

For instance, calls to the United Kingdom which used to cost between N30 and N130 per minute now cost between N24 and N100 per minute depending on the network the call is being terminated on. Similarly, calls to Spain and Italy have been reduced to N75 and N60 per minute from N90 and N130 respectively.

Also, calls to South Africa will now attractive N85 per minute instead of N150, while calls to Saudi Arabia will now be charged at N55 per minute, down from the former N60 per minute. For France and Ireland, the tariff has been slashed to N50 and N40 respectively from N65 and N60, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Togo and Niger N150 instead of the old N200 per minute rate.

Globacom urged subscribers to take advantage of the tariff slash to connect and talk at a cost-effective rate with their friends and relations in the countries covered by the offer especially in view of the prevailing international lockdown caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

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“We understand the need for our subscribers to stay in touch with their friends and family overseas now more than ever before. With the ban on international travels imposed by most countries because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are unable to travel to reunite with loved ones. They now rely heavily on efficient and affordable telecom services to communicate with them. We have, therefore, reduced tariffs to these major destinations to make our subscribers still feel at home even when they are thousands of miles apart from their loved ones,”Globacom noted.

“With these reductions, calling your loved ones abroad has never been more affordable,” the company stated.

It added that its rates to other major destinations such as the United States, India and China are still the most competitive in the market. “Subscribers can enjoy premium quality calls to these countries for just 50 kobo per second,” the company concluded.


• Glo floors other Network subscribers •


A recent report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has shown that Globacom is now far above all the other mobile telecommunication companies in terms of subscribers’ patronage.

The report released by the end of May 2020 showed that Glo dwarfed other competitors, as it gained 8.302 million data subscribers.

Glo grew from 28.934 million in December 2019 to 37.236 million by the end of May 2020, while MTN gained 4.75 million data subscribers.

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Airtel, which used to be the second-highest in subscribers growth after MTN, recorded 2.795 million, while 9mobile lost 812,827 subscribers within the same period.

There have been a new twist from January to May 2020 as Glo overtakes MTN and Airtel, who used to be the two Nigeria’s largest data sellers.

Glo, which is the third-largest came from behind to outrun the ‘big players’, as more subscribers ‘migrated’.

It means that while MTN attracted only 689,593 and 41,791 subscribers in March and April (Peak of the Coronavirus lockdown) respectively, Glo attracted new 2.072 million data subscribers within the same period.


#Newsworthy…

New York Times to move part of office to Seoul

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The Times cites uncertainty about Hong Kong security law as well as difficulties in securing visas for its journalists.


The New York Times has announced it will move part of its Hong Kong office to the South Korean capital, Seoul, amid worries a new national security law China imposed on the financial hub would curb media and other freedoms in the city.

“China’s sweeping new national security law in Hong Kong has created a lot of uncertainty about what the new rules will mean to our operation and our journalism,” the paper’s management wrote in a memo to staff on Tuesday.

“We feel it is prudent to make contingency plans and begin to diversify our editing staff around the region.”

The Times said its employees have faced challenges securing work permits and it would move its digital team of journalists, roughly a third of its Hong Kong staff, to Seoul over the next year.

Correspondents will remain based in Hong Kong to cover the city and region, it said.

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“We have every intention of maintaining and even increasing our coverage of the city’s transformation, as well as using it as a window on China,” the memo said.

The move delivers a blow to the city’s status as a hub for journalism in Asia, and comes as China and the United States have clashed over journalists working in each other’s countries. Earlier this year, Beijing said journalists no longer allowed to work in mainland China could not work in Hong Kong either.

The new national security law, which was imposed two weeks ago and punishes what China broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, has stoked worries about freedom of speech and that of the media.

Social media firms worried about China’s Hong Kong security law (4:33)

One of the law’s provision calls upon authorities to “strengthen the management” of foreign news organisations and, earlier this month, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong wrote a letter to city leader Carrie Lam seeking urgent clarification of how Beijing’s security law will impact journalists in the city.

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At a press conference last week, Beijing-backed Lam was asked by a reporter whether she could “100 percent guarantee” media freedoms.

Lam replied: “If the Foreign Correspondents’ Club or reporters in Hong Kong can give me a 100-percent guarantee that they will not commit any offences under this piece of national legislation, then I can do this.”

The newspaper’s building in New York City [Johannes Eisele/AFP]

Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of a high degree of autonomy, which preserved the city’s tradition of a free press and allowed international media to use it as their Asia hub.

In addition to the Times, media organisations that have major regional offices in Hong Kong include AFP, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

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Earlier this year, Washington began treating five major Chinese state-run media entities the same as foreign embassies. It also slashed the number of journalists allowed to work for Chinese state media from 160 to 100.

In retaliation, China said it was revoking the accreditations of correspondents with the Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post whose credentials expire by the end of 2020.

Unexpectedly high voter turnout at Hong Kong primary elections (2:36)

Beijing has also expelled three Wall Street Journal correspondents – two Americans and an Australian – following an opinion column by the newspaper that called China the “real sick man of Asia”.

Some of the expelled Times journalists have already relocated to Seoul.


#Newsworthy…

CBN halt importation of maize

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A day after a report showed that Nigeria’s maize importation failed to decline in two years despite farmers saying they can meet local demand, the Central Bank of Nigeria has stopped the issuance of forex for the importation of the cereal.

The CBN made this known on Monday in a circular signed by O.S. Nnaji, its director, Trade and Exchange Department.

The decision, according to CBN, is to boost local production of maize.

“As part of effort by the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods and increase job, which were lost as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, Authorized dealers are hereby directed to discontinue the processing of Form M for the importation of maize/corn with immediate effect,” CBN said in the memo.

Form M is a mandatory document used by the Ministry of Finance and the CBN to monitor goods that are imported into the country as well as enable collection of import duties where applicable.

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The bank, however, asked the dealers to still submit the already registered forms.

“Accordingly, all authorized dealers are hereby requested to submit the list of Form M already registered for the importation of maize/corn using the attached format on or before the close of business on Wednesday 15, 2020,” CBN said.

Data obtained from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that Nigeria imported 400,000 tons of maize in 2019 as it did in 2018.

That figure, recorded separately in both years, is the second-highest maize import volume for the country since 2009.

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The highest was recorded in 2016 when 650,000 tons of maize was imported by the country.

Since its introduction to Africa in the 1500s, maize has become one of Africa’s dominant food crops.

Nigeria is Africa’s top producer of maize, followed by Tanzania, according to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. But the country is also a leading importer as demand for animal feed grows in the country.

Nigeria’s annual need for maize is estimated at 15 million metric tons while the country’s local production is 10.5million tons.

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According to Edwin Uche, the national chairman of Maize Growers and Processors Association of Nigeria (MAGPAN), he told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that maize farmers in Nigeria can produce enough maize needed in the country if the government supports them with more incentives.

“We are capable of producing the needed quantity of maize in the country if the government can place a ban on maize importation and provide us with the necessary incentives such as financial aids, loans, fertilizer among others,” Mr Uche said.

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Also, according to Abraham Godson, a former research supervisor at IITA, Ibadan, continuous importation of agricultural commodities like maize can weaken the country’s economy.

“It is sad that we still import many of the agricultural produce that we produce locally. This leads to the continued depreciation of the naira and in turn weakening of the economy and our international purchasing power. More efforts should be made at changing our economy and especially the agricultural sector from a consumption-oriented to export-oriented,” Mr Godson said.

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“A new strategic policy is urgently needed to reverse this trend. It should be geared towards modernizing agriculture through supply of agricultural machinery to farmers, improved seeds, agrochemicals to farmers, and a nationwide capacity building and training for those involved in agriculture,” he added.

The CBN on June 23 during the flag-off of 2020 wet season maize farming in Delta State expressed its readiness to support about 200,000 maize farmers across the country to boost maize production.

The plan, according to CBN, is to support maize farmers with 166,000 farming inputs that will lead to the production of a minimum of 4 tons of maize in a hectare of land.

The bank said it would do more next season if farmers deliver.


#Newsworthy…