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MTN pays N3.5tr in taxes, levies

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MTN pays N3.5tr in taxes, levies.

By Lucas Ajanaku and Samson Unamka

MTN Nigeria has paid N3.5 trillion as taxe and levies to the Federal Government in the course of its operation in Nigeria, the Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, has said.

Toriola, who stated this yesteday at the unveiling of the telecoms media partnership, tagged ‘Media Innovation Programme (MIP) with the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), said MTN has equally made capital investment of over N3.4 trillion, resulting in the establihment of about one million Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria.

He said MTN has over 68.8million subscribers and 34million data subscribers as well.

He said the MIP with PAU is intended to make available to media practitioners the tools required for them to perform their duties given the prevailing upsurge in the advancement of digital technology.

The Dean of the School of Media, Pan Atlantic University, Dr. Mike Okolo said the MTN sponsored programme would take six months, resulting in the award of certificates at the end of each phase.

Dr. Okoro called on interested participants in the fully MTB sponsored programme to apply, saying qualified media practitioners who successfully complete the programme, would be better for it in the discharge of their assignments, going forward.

Toriola also said MTN is ready to role out its 5G spectrum once the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), gives its nod.

“We are ready. We won the licence through a transparent auction process and we congratulate the NCC on this. We paid the full licence fee a month ahead of schedule. Within the information memorandum of the NCC issued, there was a timeline which indicated that we can launch in the second quarter of 2022.

We are prepared to launch on the day the IM allows us to do and we will explore with the NCC if they allow, so we are ready, even before that timeline,” he said.

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Recall that MTN and Mafab Communication Limited had won the two slots put on offer during the auction that had $197.4million as reserve price. As part of the auction put in place by the Commission in the IM, the two winners and Airtel Networks Limited had submitted bids with an initial bid deposit (IBD) of $19.74 million, representing 10 per cent of the Reserve Price of the 3.5GHz spectrum by the close of the bid submission date of November 29, last year. MTN and Mafab were required to pay the balance of the bid price of $253.86 million on or before February 24, 2022. While MTN beat the deadline, Mafab paid at the expiration of the deadline.

MTN said the NIP, a six-month, fully funded fellowship for reporters, is designed to support the sustainable development of the changing media scene, saying it’s open to media practitioners across the spectrum, including print, electronic, online platforms and social media content creators.

The course is designed to give participants a greater understanding of Nigeria’s technology sector and the nexus between media and technology; it will also leave participants better able to adapt to changing realities. Fellows will also have access to professional resources and mentorship from the SMC faculty.

Toriola said: “We are driven by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected world and are driving accelerated growth by leading digital solutions for Nigeria’s progress. Against this backdrop, the media landscape continues changing at remarkable speeds, boosted by new technologies. Thus, it is only fitting that we support developments in the media with our infrastructure and enable capacity building initiatives to enable innovation in media practice.

“It’s a delight to partner with Pan-Atlantic University, who, through their expertise, have contributed to the professional development of the media industry, not only in Nigeria but across Africa.”

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Also, Vice Chancellor, PAU, Prof. Enase Okonedo, said: “The School of Media and Communication was established to train professionals who will uphold the highest intellectual, ethical and professional values that promote creativity, critical knowledge, social responsibility and the spirit of enterprise. The MTN Media Innovation Programme could not have come at a better time for Nigerian media practitioners to imbibe these pertinent values.” The course, fully sponsored by MTN Nigeria, will be available to 20 applicants.

Toriola, in his address at the ‘Brunch with Karl’ at Lagos Business School, also said the organisation had committed over N3.4 trillion on capital investment.

Toriola said that MTN had enabled broad socio-economic development by creating values for shareholders, with over N2.5 trillion dividends paid since inception.

The CEO, who assured that shareholders would be smiling to the bank, said more than 30 million Nigerians had benefited from N28 billion investments through MTN Foundation.

According to him, MTN is a community that connects to the society and is truly committed to showcasing and developing the boundless talents of the people.

“MTN has been enabling broad socio-economic development by supporting financial infrastructure through over 174,500 ATMs and POS for electronic payments, while it has also created alternative payment channels to 9.4 million active customers.

“It has equally provided high-capacity internet for over 160 public and private universities, polytechnics and colleges,” he said.

According to Toriola, MTN has committed N28billion, through Yello Jppe Initiative, to support a broad base of stakeholders.

He expressed the organisation’s commitment to carrying out its corporate social responsibility, stressing that it had provided jobs in every council across Lagos.

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Business & Finance

CBN may hike interest rates as inflation heads to seven-month high

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CBN may hike interest rates as inflation heads to seven-month high.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may raise the nation’s benchmark interest rate as inflation rate heads to a seven-month high.

The apex bank is projected to abandon its dovish stance and start a tightening cycle by raising the baseline interest rate in response to spiraling inflationary trend, which is expected to hit a seven-month high at the next announcement.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is scheduled to release the April 2022 inflation rate ahead of the meeting of the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on May 23 and 24, 2022.

Economic and finance experts at the weekend said the spiraling inflationary trend would continue, and the third consecutive increase expected for April would be a game-changer for the apex bank. They attributed recent dynamics in the nation’s financial markets as anticipatory moves against the headwinds.

CBN’s Monetary Policy Rate is currently at 11.50 per cent but experts have predicted at least 50 basis points increase to at least 12.0 per cent.

In a report at the weekend, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC)- a high-level think-tank led by Bismarck Rewane, a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Advisory Council, stated that its independent survey indicated that inflation rate may rise to 16.2 per cent for April 2022, 0.28 per cent ahead of 15.92 per cent announced for March 2022.

FDC’s projection was based on time series analysis and survey of major markets in the Lagos Metropolis, a method it had used earlier to correctly predict inflationary trend.

According to FDC, all inflation sub-indices except for month-on-month inflation are expected to increase with headline inflation.

“The MPC is widely expected to raise interest rates at its meetings on the 23rd and 24th of May. This is likely to be the commencement of a tightening cycle and could see the CBN use open market operations mainly for liquidity management purposes as against the unorthodox approach adopted in the last few years. The committee’s decision to tighten would also come after several nations both in advanced and emerging economies have accepted a much more aggressive tightening stance,” Rewane’s FDC stated.

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According to analysts, the implications of higher interest rates on cost of borrowing, return on savings and stock market valuations are already causing some jitters in money and capital markets.

Afrinvest, a major finance and investment group, also at the weekend said the proposed increase in tariffs by telecommunication operators would have a spiral inflationary effect on the general economy if implemented, given the strategic nature of telco services to business and households existence.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had last week announced a proposed 40 per cent increase in service tariffs, citing sustained increase in telecommunication companies’ operating expenses, especially energy costs. Based on the proposal, tariffs for calls and SMS are estimated to rise 39.8 per cent and 40.3 per cent to N8.95 and N5.61 respectively.

Afrinvest stated that while the underlying business rationale may be compelling enough given that the average retail price of Diesel had surged by more than 129 per cent, Nigerians should brace up for higher inflationary trend amid declining purchasing power.

Analysts at Cordros Group underlined that global monetary authorities are expected to further increase interest rates, which may have a colouration and softening effect on other economies.

The United States (US)’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) had increased the target range for federal funds rate by 50 basis points to between 0.75 per cent and one per cent as against previous range of 0.25 per cent and 0.50 per cent. Analysts noted that given the underlying tone and the Russia-Ukraine conflict’s near-term impact on inflation, FOMC may further increase its policy rate by 50 basis points at its next meeting in June 2022.

In United Kingdom, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England (BoE) had also increased its main policy rate by 25 basis points to 1.00 per cent, the fourth consecutive increase since BoE adopted a hawkish stance last December.

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FDC stated that Nigeria’s inflationary trend may be worse than estimated noting that whilst official headline inflation was reported at 15.92 per cent for March 2022, the actual reality of things painted a much higher number.

According to analysts, global inflation is at record levels with a four-decade level in U.S. and three-decade high in United Kingdom and European Union (EU), and the spiraling upward trend may continue in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries.

FDC indicated that its projection on increase in Nigeria’s benchmark interest rate was a consensus estimate of most analysts.

“Our time series model points to a possible decline in month-on-month inflation to 1.22 per cent, 15.67 per cent annualised, in April from 1.74 per cent, 23.15 per cent annualised, in March. This largely reflects weak aggregate demand as consumer disposable income remained squeezed.

“Four of the country’s land borders have been reopened. While this move has been misconstrued by some as a political agenda, analysts are more focused on the expected economic impact particularly on food inflation. Based on our analysis, the annual composite food index is projected to increase again to 17.35 per cent in April from 17.2 per cent in March. In subsequent months, we expect the reopening of the land borders to boost food supply and taper commodity prices. The unintended consequences would be a possible rise in smuggling activities,” FDC stated.

FDC noted that most African countries are grappling with the twin shock of rising inflation and high debt levels and according to the Standard Bank Group, five of Africa’s heavily-indebted countries-Ghana, Kenya, Angola, Ethiopia and Zambia, are at the verge of a debt distress.

FDC pointed out that SSA countries’ debt crisis could become worse as most advanced economies adopt a tighter monetary policy stance, pushing up debt service costs.

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Nigerian Stock Exhange

Stockbrokers elect Adeosun president

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Stockbrokers elect Adeosun president.

Managing Director, Chartwell Securities Limited, Mr Oluwole Adeosun has been elected as the new president and chairman of the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS).

The CIS is the self-regulatory organisation that regulates the practice of stockbroking and it is the largest professional body in the capital market.

Adeosun, a former 1st Vice President, succeeded the erstwhile President, Mr Olatunde Amolegbe whose tenure has been roundly commended for several achievements. The institute’s 2nd Vice President, Mr Oluropo Dada also emerged the 1st Vice President .

A product of the prestigious Loyola College, Ibadan, he holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Business Administration from the University of Ilorin in 1986 and capped it with Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) and specialises in Finance and Banking from University of Lagos in 1993. Adeosun trained at Coopers and Lybrand (Chartered Accountants) now PricewaterhouseCoopers and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in May 1991. He later qualified as a Chartered Stockbroker and Banker.

He has been a long-standing member of the Governing Council of the CIS since April 2013 and has served as the institute’s First Vice President in 2020-2022 and Second Vice President from 2018 to 2020. He also served as a member of the finance and general-purpose committee of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria aandts investment subcommittee.

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The change in leadership was at the institute’s hybrid annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos. Adeosun shall be formally inaugurated at the institute’s investiture programme later this year.

Adeosun, a Fellow of the institute and multidimensional professional, brings on board more than two decades of experience in the financial market.

A product of the prestigious Loyola College, Ibadan, he holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Business Administration from the University of Ilorin in 1986 and capped it with Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) and specialises in Finance and Banking from University of Lagos in 1993. Adeosun trained at Coopers and Lybrand (Chartered Accountants) now PricewaterhouseCoopers and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in May 1991. He later qualified as a Chartered Stockbroker and Banker.

He has been a long-standing member of the Governing Council of the CIS since April 2013 and has served as the institute’s First Vice President in 2020-2022 and Second Vice President from 2018 to 2020. He also served as a member of the finance and general-purpose committee of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and its investment subcommittee.

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Among the highlights of the meeting was the re-election of Mrs Fiona Ahimie and Mr Adeyemi Aina to the institute’s Governing Council and election of Mr Ayodeji Ebo and Mrs Elile Olutimayin to the board.

Adeosun is a fellow of many professional bodies including Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) , among others.

Senior stockbrokers commended the principal officers and management of the institute for its visibility and returning to profitability despite the inclement operating environment. Among them were Mrs Elizabeth Ebi, Group Managing Director of Futureview Group, Mr Oladipo Aina and Mr Oluwaseyi Abe, both past presidents.

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Nigerian equities hit 14-year high amid bargain-hunting

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Nigerian equities hit 14-year high amid bargain-hunting.

Investors in Nigerian equities closed weekend with net capital gains of N699 billion as share prices of several quoted companies rallied to their highest points in recent period.

In three successive bullish days, aggregate market value of all quoted equities at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) rose from its week’s opening value of N26.761 trillion to close weekend at N27.460 trillion, indicating net capital gains of N699 billion.

The benchmark index for Nigerian equities, the All Share Index (ASI), indicated average gain of 2.61 per cent. This nudged the average year-to-date return to 19.24 per cent. The ASI, which had opened the week at 49,638.94 points, crossed another threshold to a new high at 50,935.03 points, its highest point since March 2008.

Market pundits traditionally regard the 50,000 mark as a psychological threshold, a milestone for a bullish market.

The sustained three-day rally came on the back of first quarter corporate earnings showing stable improvement in performance of several companies.

Analysts agreed that the sustained rally was due to positive corporate earnings outlook as quoted companies defied macroeconomic constraints to post considerable first quarter results.

Most quoted companies at the NGX were mandatorily required to submit their interim reports and accounts for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022 by April 30, 2022. Extant rules at the stock market require quote companies to submit their interim results not later than 30 days after the end of the quarter.

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Analysts at Afrinvest Securities said the extended bullish rally was “driven by investors’ positive reaction to the impressive first quarter2022 earnings”.

Cordros Securities noted that the bullish momentum gained steam due to bargain hunting for blue-chip stocks, most of which delivered impressive growths.

Analysts, however, said investors might begin to take profit by selling down on their portfolios, thus moderating the bullish momentum.

“In the coming week, we expect gains to taper on the back of mild profit-taking,” Afrinvest Securities stated.

Analysts at Cordros Securities noted that given that the first quarter 2022 earnings season has run its course with the upward repricing of cyclical stocks that ensued, the market may witness subdued performance in the days ahead.

“The bears will likely dominate market performance, as investors cash out on the gains across bellwether stocks over the past two weeks. Notwithstanding, we advise investors to take positions in only fundamentally justified stocks as the weak macro story remains a significant headwind for corporate earnings,” Cordros Securities stated.

Pricing trend analysis showed that there were 49 gainers and 32 losers during the week compared with 56 gainers and 26 losers recorded during the previous week. Champion Breweries led the gainers, in percentage terms, with a gain of 32.54 per cent to close at N3.34 per share. International Breweries trailed with a gain of 32.35 per cent to close at N6.75. Cadbury Nigeria placed third with a gain of 32.2 per cent to close at N13.55 per share.

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On the negative side, Oando led the losers with a drop of 11.75 per cent to close at N5.56 per share. Trans-Nationwide Express followed with a loss of 9.88 per cent to close at 73 kobo. AXA Mansard Insurance ranked third with a drop of 9.84 per cent to close at N2.20 per share.

Total turnover during the week stood at 1.598 billion shares worth N19.60 billion in 21,494 deals in contrast to a total of 8.21 billion shares valued at N49.15 billion traded in 28,622 deals two weeks ago.

The financial services sector remained atop the activity chart with a turnover of 1.057 billion shares valued at N7.727 billion in 8,670 deals, representing 66.15 per cent and 39.42 per cent of the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. The conglomerates sector occupied a distant second with a turnover of 148.174 million shares worth N250.567 million in 852 deals. The consumer goods sector placed third with a turnover of 145.471 million shares worth N5.226 billion in 4,557 deals.

The trio of Union Bank Of Nigeria, FCMB Group and Transnational Corporation were the most active stocks. They accounted for 547.576 million shares worth N2.330 billion in 957 deals, representing 34.26 per cent and 11.89 per cent of the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.

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