Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) is still pushing for the establishment of a stabilization fund for the nation capital market as a way out of the downturn that has lasted over four years.  A senior council member of the CIS disclosed this in an interview with THISDAY last Monday, saying the forbearance being planned by the Federal Government would not solve the liquidity problem in the market.
The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had last week reiterated the Federal Government plan to work out a forbearance package for stockbrokers as part of measures to stimulate confidence in the Nigerian stock market and increase liquidity. Okonjo-Iweala gave the assurance at the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AFDB) in Arusha, Tanzania.
But the leading stockbroker explained that while the move by the government was a good development, he said it did not mean debt forgiveness. Debt forbearance does not mean debt forgiveness. It only allows the debtor to negotiate with the creditor so that they could agree on the repayment terms. I believe some brokers are already enjoying forbearance despite the fact the government has not formally unveiled its package. What the market really needs is a Stabilization Fund that would ensure direct injection of funds into the market, the broker said.
The outgoing President of  CIS,  Mr. Mike Itegboje, had last March  restated the need for a stabilization fund, saying that would  bring back the much needed investor confidence into the market. According to him, the fund would go a long in addressing the margin loans overhang, which had been posing  a huge challenge to brokers. He had noted that since the global meltdown, some countries had made use of such funds to cushion the effect of the meltdown on the market.
We as stockbrokers are again renewing our call for a stabilization fund for our market. This fund is very necessary as it would help to mitigate the losses incurred by investors and stockbrokers in the capital market in the last few years. And so, we want the federal government to look into this issue as many countries have taken the route of this fund for their market and Nigerian should not be an exception. Itegboje suggested that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) could take up the challenge of ensuring that such funds were properly used in the market.

SEC Restates Commitment to Investor Protection

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has restated its commitment to the protection of investors in the Nigerian capital market, saying its current efforts are geared towards the building of a market that is transparent and efficient. The Executive Commissioner, Operations, SEC, Ms. Daisy Ekineh, stated this at an investor conference  organised by the Association of Assets Custodians of Nigeria in London last month.
In a paper delivered on her behalf by Director, Research and Planning, SEC, Mrs. Bibiana Okoroafor, Ekineh said the commission was also collaborating and engaging with fellow regulators and supervisors to build a stable financial system through information sharing and capacity building. According to her, the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market has embarked on several reforms that would transform the market.
The continuous and faithful implementation of the forgoing   will lead us to building a world class market, a market that is transparent, efficient, dynamic, technology driven where investors are protected, and commands trust and confidence of investors, she said. Speaking on some of the specific efforts being made to deepen the market and improve its liquidity, Ekineh said SEC had cleared 10 market makers appointed by the Nigerian Stock Exchange, approved rules for securities lending, and approval of new products.
Apart from encouraging investors to patronize the Collective Investment Schemes (CIS), the first   Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) had been registered and listed on the NSE. The Commission has ensured the introduction of Custodian Services for CIS. We have also commenced listing discussions with oil and gas companies and telecommunications firms. SEC will also continue to collaborate with Bureau of Public Enterprise on the listing of privatized and other prospective ones, she said.
The commissioner added SEC was promoting the take-off of Over-the-Counter (OTC) market and designing a framework for the introduction of sukuk (Islamic Bond). She told the foreign investors that the Commission would continue to support NSE’ initiatives towards strengthening the market, adding that efforts were being made to restructure and strengthen the Abuja Securities and Commodity Exchange (ASCE) to deliver on its mandate. According to her, the reconstitution of Capital Market Committee (CMC) Sub-committees was also meant to strengthen the effectiveness of the capital market.
These committees are: Investor Confidence; Fixed Income; Rules; Fund Management; Technology and infrastructure; Commodities exchanges; Product development and Advocacy group to interface with relevant institutions and authorities in Nigeria with a view to addressing current challenges in the market.

WDAS: Dollar Supply Increases by 27% in May

The amount of the United States dollar offered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at its regulated bi-weekly forex market increased by 27 per cent to $1.370 billion in May, THISDAY findings have shown. Data compiled by THISDAY, showed that the amount reflected an increase by $290 million, as against a total of $1.080 billion offered by the apex bank at the official market in April.
Just like the previous months, the CBN did not publish the amount of dollar demanded by dealers throughout the eight auctions held in May. In the month under review, THISDAY checks also revealed that out of the eight auctions observed at the Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS), while the apex bank offered $150 million to dealers at four separate auctions, $200 million to market participants twice, it offered $250 million once. It also offered $120 to the auction held on May 7.
The naira oscillated around the N155 to a dollar bank in May. The highest value it attained in the month under review was the N155.69 to a dollar it closed at five separate auctions in the month under review, while its lowest value in the month was N155.75 to a dollar.
The relative stability observed at the forex market was attributed to the gradual build-up of Nigerias external reserves. The forex reserves maintained an upward trend throughout last month as it gained a total of $961million to $37.668 billion as at May 31, as against the $36.707 billion it was on May 2, THISDAY findings also showed. FSDH Securities Limited had attributed the performance of the local currency to the increase in the forex earnings as a result of rise in oil price and oil output and reduced dollar demand from oil marketers.

Diamond Bank wants firm to wind up over N4.2b debt

The Diamond Bank of Nigeria Plc has instituted a winding up petition against an Italian construction giant, Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited at the Federal High Court, Lagos over N4.2 billion unpaid debt. The matter brought under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2004 and in the application for winding up pursuant to sections 408, 409 and 410 of the CAMA Cap C. 20, laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is praying the court to wound up the company because its unable to pay the bank the sum of N4, 226, 970.246.58 being a cumulative debt owed to them.
According to a 26 paragraph application brought by the counsel to the petitioner, the bank said it first granted the firm an overdraft facility and an invoice discounting facility totaling N650 million on October 25, 2004 in addition to a N1.0 billion revolving bonds/guarantee facility.
About eight months later, the bank claimed that it gave another round of facilities to the company through an offer later dated June 24, 2005. The offers include N48, 879,120.00 bank guarantee facility, and N39, 103,296.00 vehicle lease facility increasing the bonds/guarantee facilities to N4 billion.
The petitioner said, the purpose for the above facilities were amongst others to enable the respondent take immediate delivery of 13 units of Toyota vehicles from Elizade Nigeria Limited pending payment and to accommodate the respondents new request for bonds and guarantees for contracts awarded or being pursued by the respondent.
The banks disclosed that the tenure of the facilities were 90 days for bank guarantees, 18 months for vehicle leasehold while the bonds were to mature along with the respondents existing N2.2 billion bonds and guarantee facility.
Diamond Bank insisted that in January 9, 2006, it offered another round of facilities to the firm. They are a N255, 249,000.00 lease-in-processes and a N255, 249, 00.00 lease finance facility. The facilities were tenured for 90 days for the lease-in-process facility and 12 months for the lease finance facility and were granted to enable the petitioner re-finance the 80 percent exposure under the crystallized lease-in-process facility and also to establish a confirmed letter of credit on behalf of the respondent for the importation of one unit of dredging equipment worth 2 million Euros, it stated.
The petitioner also alleged that it granted additional facilities in different sums of money to the respondent for different purposes on April 11, 2006, February 1, 2007, July 26, 2007 and March 25, 2010. According to the bank, at the expiration of the facilities, the respondent failed to meet up to its obligations as contained in the offer letters, prompting the bank to forward several demand letters requesting the firm to pay up the debt to which they have refused to comply with.
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