…As LCCI highlights core democratic values and ideals need to be given more state attention
…Federal Government should sustain interventions in manufacturing, agric, and others – LCCI
Olushola Okunlade Writes
As the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) joins Nigeria to celebrate its 62nd anniversary, the chamber has advised that the Federal Government needs to sustain its targeted interventions in critical sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, export infrastructure, tackling insecurity, and free up more money from subsidy payments for a better economy.
Director General of the chamber, Dr. Chinyere Almona, FCA in a press statement noted that the quality of the business environment remains a concern to investors, especially in the real sector. “Weak infrastructure, uncertain policy environment, and institutions have continued to adversely affect the efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of many enterprises in the economy.
“In the last 62 years, the Nigerian economy has performed along the line of what policy mix used to drive the economy. “
LCCI said Nigeria’s economy has significantly transformed from a largely independent agrarian economy to a net importer of finished goods. The economy is now financed mainly by oil revenue, which has exposed the economy to the effects of external shocks.
LCCI joins all Nigerians to manifest the 1 October spirit as we celebrate the nation’s 62nd anniversary.
“After independence, Nigeria witnessed a rebirth in 1999, twenty-three years ago, with the return to democratic administration after a protracted military rule. The Nigerian nation has survived threats of a civil war recurrence and has remained a united nation with the hope of a return to greater glory. The 23 years of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria has earned the country enormous goodwill as one of the few stable democracies in Africa.”
However, LCCI highlights core democratic values and ideals that need to be given more state attention to have firmer roots, especially in the following respects:
- Transparency in the management of public finance
- The rule of law
- Separation of powers and the inherent checks and balances.
- Quality and independence of democratic institutions – Electoral bodies, Law Enforcement Agencies, Judiciary, etc
- Citizen engagement in the democratic process.
- The practice of true Federalism
The LCCI recognizes that Nigerian democracy is still a work in progress. However, as in many advanced democracies, it is crucial to recognize the importance of these democratic ideals to sustain our democracy and ensure the advancement of the common good for all citizens. And very recently, a mixed colouration of insecurity, border clashes, herdsmen/farmers clashes, banditry, kidnapping, and social unrest have all emerged as critical threats to our national life. And as we prepare for the general elections next year, we call on the Federal Government to ensure a free and fair exercise solely driven by sound electoral laws and governance.
ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE: The economic growth trend, measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) performance, has generally been positive over the last two decades, except for recent challenges posed by debt crises, inflation risks, insecurity, and FOREX illiquidity. There is an urgent need to address the weak government revenue base caused by oil theft and pipeline vandalism, rising and unsustainable debt profile, over-dependence on oil revenue, exposure to foreign shocks through inadequate forex supply, double-digit inflation, etc.
The growth of the telecommunications sector stands out as one of the most resilient sectors in the last year. Many sectors have leveraged telecom’s innovative possibilities to make significant progress through ICT, especially in the services sector. Today, we have tech-enabled platforms supporting healthcare delivery, agriculture, education, transport, etc. The Government should commit to supporting this sector’s growth and strive to create an enabling regulatory environment.
The financial services sector has been significantly transformed since independence through leveraging technology to enhance service delivery. The sophistication of the industry can compare with its counterparts even in advanced economies. However, the financial intermediation role of the banking system is still below expectation. It still has some weak linkages with many other sectors of the economy, which has constrained the sector’s impact on the economy from a systemic perspective.
The quality of the business environment remains a concern to investors, especially in the real sector. Weak infrastructure, uncertain policy environment, and institutions have continued to adversely affect the efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of many enterprises in the economy. These conditions pose a major risk to job creation and economic inclusion across sectors.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew in 2022Q2 by 3.54% year-on-year in real terms, making it the seventh quarter of positive growth. The oil sector has consistently recorded negative growth for the ninth consecutive quarter, contracting again by -11.8% y/y in Q2 2022 following a higher contraction of -26% y/y in Q1. If oil revenue makes up more than 80 percent of government revenue, we expect the Government to tackle the menace of oil theft and pipeline vandalism with sterner approach.
The non-oil sector grew by 4.8% y/y in Q2 ’22 against 6.1% y/y in Q1 ’22. Key drivers within the non-oil economy include transportation and storage (51.7% y/y), finance and insurance (18.5% y/y), telecommunications (7.7% y/y), trade (4.5% y/y), real estate (4.4% y/y), construction (4.0% y/y), manufacturing (3% y/y), and agriculture (1.2% y/y). Combined, these sectors accounted for 78.3% of total GDP in Q2. We urge the Government to continue with the non-oil campaigns and interventions to sustain the targeted financing towards boosting non-oil export for enhanced foreign exchange earnings.
The growth of 1.2% recorded for agriculture and the 3% for manufacturing are comparatively low when compared with other sectors that grew at above 5%. This is also indicative of the threats facing these sectors that power Nigeria’s real sector. The woes in these two sectors are responsible for the frightening rise in our inflation rate. And with the excruciating burden from debt service, subsidy payments, and worsening insecurity, many more production activities may be constrained in the coming months.
The Federal Government needs to sustain its targeted interventions in selected critical sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, export infrastructure, tackling insecurity, and free up more money from subsidy payments. We urge the Government to tackle oil theft to earn more foreign exchange, borrow from cheaper sources to reduce the burden of debt servicing, and take a decisive step toward removing fuel subsidies.
CHALLENGES IN THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT ARE
POWER SITUATION: Poor power supply remains a major burden on businesses. It is one area in which the trend since independence has been that of progressive decline. Power supply has consistently lagged behind the pace of economic activities and population growth. This development impacted negatively on investment over the past few years with increased expenditure on diesel and petrol by enterprises. This also comes with the consequences of declining productivity and competitiveness. With the frequent collapses recorded by the national grid, we can no longer rely on a centralized power source. The way to go is renewable energy and decentralizing the national grid.
INSECURITY: The security situation in the country deteriorated in the last year, assuming a very worrisome dimension. This has impacted investment inflow and worsened the country’s perception and image by the global investing community. Access to markets in the troubled parts of the country has been reduced for many enterprises, with negative consequences for investors’ confidence. Agricultural production bases have been negatively impacted, leading to food scarcity and rising food inflation.
REAL SECTOR: Over the last few decades, the challenges of production in the economy have grown progressively largely because of the quality of infrastructure, which is why the risk of industrial investment is high and continues to increase. The various policy interventions have not had the desired impact on the sector. Unless there is effective and sustained protection and support for the sector, and a dramatic improvement in infrastructure, the outlook for the sector will remain gloomy, particularly for the small-scale industries. Most SMEs are constrained due to the rising cost of production.
It is impossible to have a vibrant manufacturing sector in the face of cheap imports into the country and high production and operating cost in the domestic economy. Some of these imports are landing at 50% of the cost of products produced locally. Besides, manufacturers have to worry about high energy costs; they have to worry about high-interest rates – 25% and above; they have to worry about a multitude of regulatory agencies making different demands on them; they have to worry about massive smuggling and under-invoicing of imports, they worry about trade facilitation issues at the seaports and many more. For most manufacturing SMEs, it is a nightmare. Yet production is critical to enduring economic and social stability.
The way forward is to address the fundamental constraints to manufacturing competitiveness in the Nigerian economy. In reality, job losses in the sector have increased over the decades as productivity declined on the back of the difficult operating environment.
“Our nation is at a cross-road and in dire need of big decisions to drive the drastic transformation the economy requires to return to economic prosperity. Our nation, Nigeria, has come a long way and is too big to fail”, she concluded.
“Inflation Is Also Driven By Local Factors” – Emefiele
…there is a purpose repainting the naira, Says CBN Governor
…Nigeria’s rising inflation consistent with the global trend – Emefiele
Olushola Okunlade Writes
The 57th Annual Bankers’ Dinner, organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) hosted many dignitaries from walks of life on Friday 25th November 2022 at Eko Hotel and Suite.
The 57th Bankers’ Dinner, which had the theme “Radical Responses to Abnormal Episodes: Time for Innovative Decision-making,” provided a great opportunity for Emefiele to analyze the economic outlook, successes achieved by the Central Bank of Nigeria in addressing some of the challenges facing the country.
Dr. Ken Opara, FCIB President/Chairman of Council CIBN gave an undiluted pleasant welcome address at the event.
The Chairman of the Organising Committee of the 57th Annual Bankers Dinner, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, FCIB, Managing Director/ Chief Executive, Zenith Bank Plc delighted stakeholders and guests with fun and jokes at the event.
Onyeagwu who also doubles as the Chairman Body of Bank CEOs oversees awards of honour and recognition presentations to outstanding bankers who have distinguished themselves in the banking industry.
Mr. Godwin I. Emefiele, CON, Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the gradual increase in inflation this year 2022 from 15.60 percent in January to 20.77 percent in September was consistent with global trends.
Emefiele laid emphasis on high inflation that rose to 20.77 percent in September, indicating an eight-month uptick, and that the upward momentum came after a period of decline in 2021 as a result of balanced monetary policy actions.
He added that pressure on consumer inflation re-emerged this year because of conditions on the global scene, which have complicated existing local imbalances and worsened price stability.
“Food remains the major component of the domestic consumer price basket. The annualized uptick in headline inflation mirrors the 6.21 percentage point surge in food inflation to 23.34 percent in September.
“During this period, core inflation also resumed an upward movement from 13.87 percent in January to 17.60 percent.
“In addition to harsh global spillovers, exchange rate adjustments, and imported inflation, inflation was also driven by local factors such as farmer-herder clashes in parts of the food belt region,” he said.
Read The Full Address of Gov. Godwin Emefiele, CON at the 2022 Bankers’ Dinner Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos on Friday 25 November 2022.
Opening Pleasantries— Good evening distinguished ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed a great pleasure to be with you this evening and to once again, savor the merry ambiance of another convivial dinner aimed at sharing with peers, colleagues, and stakeholders in the Nigerian Financial System. As I have always maintained, banquets like this are valuable occasions for us to momentarily recoil from the day-to-day concerns of inflation, recession, and Foreign exchange, and to ultimately rethink the long-term factors shaping the Nigerian Economy.
First, let me thank the leadership of the CIBN, led by Dr. Ken Opara, the President of the Institute, and Dr. Oluseye Awojobi, the Registrar/Chief Executive, along with their team, for their diligence in putting this event together. Also, I am immensely grateful to the Managing Directors of our banks and other financial institutions as well as my colleagues from the Central Bank of Nigeria, and these include the Deputy Governors and other senior management of the Bank who have all found time to be here today.
Preamble: Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we are all aware, the world is undergoing several Social and Macroeconomic challenges; as the last few years cannot, by any stretch of the imagination be described as normal following the series of headwinds that have resulted in a downward revision of the global growth outlook for 2022 and 2023 by the IMF. It is in light of these disruptions, that the theme for today’s event “Radical Responses to Abnormal Episodes: Time for Innovative Decision-making” is appropriate and well-timed.
Global Economy: During the early part of 2020, the world economy experienced the most significant downturn last witnessed since the Great Depression following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the effect of which contracted global GDP by about 3.1 percent in 2020. Commodity prices went into a state of turmoil as the price of crude oil plunged by over 70 percent. In addition, there was a significant outflow of funds from emerging markets and developing economies like Nigeria, as investors sought safe-haven assets like US treasury bills. This aggravated financial conditions in developing markets, leading to the depletion of external reserves and the weakening of the currencies of a significant number of emerging market countries including Nigeria.
In a bid to contain the effects of the pandemic, unprecedented measures were taken, which involved a significant amount of fiscal and monetary stimulus to contain the effects of the pandemic. These measures helped to support a swift rebound in global growth in 2021. However, the swift rebound is now being constrained by the significant supply disruptions in key producing nations like China, as factories now struggle to meet the upsurge in global demand, along with other bottlenecks such as inadequate ships and containers to convey goods. This has resulted in a hike in freight rates from key producing nations like China and ultimately an uptick in imported inflation.
As the world struggled to recover to pre-pandemic conditions, the global economy was yet again hit by another adverse occurrence with the eruption of the Russian-Ukraine war. The war along with the sanctions placed on Russia by the US and its allies led to a spike in crude oil prices. Given the dominant role Russia plays as a key energy producer, energy prices spiked to over $120/barrel in March 2022 from a low of $14/barrel in April 2020. In addition, Russia, and Ukraine’s control of a significant share of wheat and fertilizer in the global market aggravated food prices.
Global Response: In their attempt to contain the rising inflation, Advanced markets such as the US, began to increase their policy rates, which led to a tightening of global financial market conditions along with a significant outflow of funds from emerging markets countries. The subsequent strengthening of the US dollar further aggravated inflationary pressures, along with a weakening of currencies, and depletion of external reserves in many emerging market countries. Today close to 80 percent of countries have reported heightened inflationary pressures due to a confluence of some of the factors mentioned above.
Central Banks in emerging markets and developing economies in a bid to contain rising inflation were also compelled to raise rates, which is expected to lead to a tapering of global growth over the next year. In fact, the short-term global growth projections by the IMF have been downgraded three times in 2022 and are likely to be below the 3.2 percent and 2.7 percent estimates for 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Average growth among advanced economies is projected to plunge from 5.2 percent in 2021 to 2.4 percent in 2022 and 1.1 percent in 2023. Estimated output growth in emerging markets, is expected to slow from 6.6 percent in 2021 to 3.7 percent apiece in 2022 and 2023.
Today, in view of the food, energy, and cost-of-living crises in many countries, we are witnessing growing restrictions on food exports from many countries. As of the last count, about 23 countries, mainly in advanced economies, according to the World Bank have banned the export of 33 food items. Seven other countries have additionally implemented various measures to limit food exports. To combat the debilitating energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine, the European Union has developed plans to impose energy price caps, which has sparked Russia’s threat to cut off gas supplies. Germany is resorting to coal, in an excruciating U-turn to its planned swift transition to green energy.
Situating the Dilemma: A contextual anecdote: Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, these tumultuous external conditions, reinforced by the anomalous, sometimes Chaotic responses by many countries, forebodes spillover shocks for Nigeria. Again, this underscores my chosen theme and the need to ingeniously think outside the box for solutions and countervailing measures. At this juncture, let me put the situation into perspective, as I recall the story of a young lady, her poor father, and a despicable Money lender.
A long time ago, a poor farmer named Feng, lived in a small Chinese neighborhood and owed money, that he could not repay to a local moneylender. Unfortunately, the loan shark, who was old and ugly fancied the farmer’s gorgeous daughter called Mei. As such, he crafted a devious scheme to bring his despicable purpose to fruition. The hideous moneylender proposed to forgo Feng’s debt in return for marrying Mei, the farmer’s beautiful daughter. Neither the farmer nor his daughter could conceal their disgust at this repulsive proposition. Sensing his victims’ reluctance and his scheming cruelty, the crafty moneylender demanded that they allow fate to determine the matter. He proposed to put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty opaque leather sack, one of which pebble, Mei must then randomly pick from the bag.
By his evil plot, if Mei picked the black pebble, she would become his wife, and her father’s debt would be instantly and entirely cancelled. However, if she happened to select the white pebble, she will be free not to marry him, and her father’s debt will still be forgiven. But if she failed to pick any of the two pebbles, her father’s debt will be upheld, and her defaulting father will be thrown into jail. Wow!!! What an agonisingly grim moment for Mei and her poor father, who at this point, had realised how precarious their options were and how appalling the money lender is. They had no choice but to accept the devious man’s plan and leave their fate to Providence.
As they stood, discussing the pebble-strewn path along the farmer’s field, the money-lender bent down to pick up two pebbles. The smart and eagle-eyed girl noticed that the wicked loan shack had deceitfully placed two black pebbles in the bag ( rather than one white and one black as agreed). Not realising that his malicious act was spotted, the dubious old man then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.
What a truly precarious situation the girl found herself in. She was confronted with a gravely anomalous predicament, whilst her father remained innocently oblivious of the real extent of the impending malevolence. Now, imagine that you were the one standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you were to advise her, what would you have told her? How should she deal with this abnormal, tricky, and potentially doomed option?
A quick reflection indicates three possible responses by Mei. First, in remonstration of the man’s dishonesty, she could refuse to pick a pebble. Secondly, she could show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender as a cheat. Finally, she could. out of fear, naively pick the black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from imprisonment. But any of these three actions will have untold repercussions; after all, her father is a defaulting borrower. Mei needed to find a nonconfrontational, non-abrasive, and smooth solution to her dilemma. I will pause the story here for us to contemplate a resolution of the puzzle. The foregoing story aims to highlight the difference between lateral thinking (that is, imaginative) and Logical (that is, common sense). The girl’s predicament cannot be solved with traditional actions, especially in view of the steep consequences of the three logical possibilities above.
Domestic Developments: Ladies and gentlemen, the predicaments confronting Mei in the story parallel those beleaguering our domestic economy today. Given Nigeria’s fundamental vulnerabilities, it is imperative to find sustainable ways of insulating the economy from continued exogenous challenges. In addition to the relentless waves of abnormal shocks that is battering the global economy, domestic conditions are exposed to spillovers from the impulsive reactions in some key economies. It, therefore, behooves us to adequately identify and understand the likely implications of these undercurrents on the Nigerian economy. Unfortunately, the Nigerian economy was not insulated from the spillover effects of these shocks, even though some of the actions taken by the monetary and fiscal authorities helped to cushion its effects on our economy. Based on this, the economy has remained resilient in the face of enormous vulnerability. Following the brief recession in Q2 of 2020, the Nigerian economy has recorded eight consecutive quarters of positive output with domestic growth rates improving from negative 1.92 percent in 2020 to 3.40 percent in 2021 and further to 3.54 percent in 2022q2.
Figure 1: GDP Growth Rate (%): This performance reflected the sustained buoyancy of the domestic non-oil sector, which continued to record growth since 2020q4, recovering from negative 1.25 percent in 2020 to 4.77 percent in 2022q2. The performance of the non-oil sector reflects the impact of policy supports on households, MSMEs, and other high-impact economic sectors through various CBN interventions. Specifically, we have seen a strengthening of the agriculture and services sectors which have continued to propel the domestic growth rate throughout this period while the oil sector has continued to flounder with a growth rate plunging to negative 11.77 percent in 2022q2.
Figure 2: Key Sectoral GDP Growth Rates (%): The agriculture sector remained the critical factor behind the continuing resilience of the domestic economy. This is an affirmation of the success of the CBN’s development finance initiatives in the nonoil sector, particularly in the agriculture sector, which has helped to boost domestic output and create jobs locally.
Crude Oil Price and Production: While global developments steadily drove crude oil prices upwards in 2022, Nigeria’s oil sector performance has been abysmal. This reflected the country’s inability to meet its meager production quota as recorded domestic crude oil production plunged from over 1.9 million barrels per day as of April 2020 to 1.1 million barrels per day by September 2022. Given our dependence on crude oil for close to 80 percent of our foreign exchange earnings, the drop in production has resulted in a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings as well as government revenue. It is imperative that we diversify away from the oil sector, to reduce our exposures to the volatilities associated with dependence on revenues from the sale of crude oil.
Inflation: Upside pressure on consumer inflation re-emerged during the year, as global conditions complicated existing local imbalances to undermine price stability. After a successive period of decline in 2021, due to balanced monetary policy actions, the domestic inflation rate commenced an upward momentum in 2022, consistent with global trends. From 15.60 percent in January 2022, headline inflation soared to 20.77 percent in September 2022, indicating eight consecutive months of an uptick.
Figure 4: Domestic Inflation Pattern (%): Food remains the major component of the domestic consumer price basket. The annualised uptick in headline inflation mirrors the 6.21 percentage points upsurge in food inflation to 23.34 percent in September. During this period, core inflation also resumed an upward movement from 13.87 percent in January 2022 to 17.60 percent. In addition to harsh global spillovers, exchange rate adjustments, and imported inflation; inflation was also driven by local factors such as farmer-herder clashes in parts of the food belt region. Noting the adverse effect of spiraling inflation on inertia and expectations, the CBN understands the need for supply-side interventions in critical sectors to minimise excess demand gaps.
Real Sector Indicators: Key indices presented mixed outcomes in the real sector activities regarding industries, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and electricity production. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) suggests the fragile resilience of the domestic economy as tight global conditions and rising inflationary pressures weighed down domestic economic activities. Composite PMI contracted from 50.0 points in June 2022 to 49.5 points in September 2022 dragged by the weaknesses in both the PMIs for industry and services which declined to 46.5 and 47.7 points, respectively.
Our manufacturing sector, MSMEs, and the services sector need to be reinforced to, not only support domestic needs but to also become internationally competitive. This is in view of the massive supply chain disruptions that exposed the dependence and vulnerability of many EMDEs to overseas economies.
Private Sector Credit: The recent drive of the CBN to channel more cheap lending to the real sector has led to the marked growth of banking system credits to the private sector. In support of domestic productivity, credit to the core private sector of the economy has more than doubled, in the last five years, expanding from N13.2 trillion in end-2018, to N16.2 trillion in end-2019, before surging to N27.7 trillion as of September 2022.
Figure 6: Credit to the Core Private Sector: As illustrated by the credit-to-GDP ratio, this phenomenal growth is not nominal but rather deep-rooted support of the real economy. As a ratio of GDP, credit to core real sector grew from 9.4 percent in end-2018, to almost 15 percent as of September 2022. It is our objective to gradually drive this ratio above 50 percent to ensure adequate support of real economic activities in Nigeria and concurrently deepen the financial sector contributions to the development of our country.
Banking Sector: Notwithstanding the global headwinds, our banking sector continues to remain sound and accommodating of growth. NPL ratios are currently under 5 percent and the Capital Adequacy and liquidity ratios are above the prudential requirements at 13 and 40 percent, respectively. We intend to continue to maintain strong oversight of our banking institutions to quickly identify any vulnerabilities and ensure that banks take suitable measures to mitigate any potential risks.
Foreign Exchange: The Drop in oil receipts along with the tightening of global financial market conditions have weighed heavily on our foreign exchange market. The downward short-run trend of the external reserves reappeared at the beginning of 2022. Accordingly, after recovery from US$33.7 billion in March 2020 to US$41.6 billion in September 2021, official reserves fell to about US$37 billion as of October 2022. At approximately 6.4 months, import cover in October remained above the traditional 3-months threshold. This reflected the massive demand pressure mounted on the foreign exchange market, as import appetite remained high vis-à-vis available foreign reserves.
Figure 7: Exchange Market Development: During this period, the foreign exchange market development exerted considerable pressure on the naira-dollar exchange rate, notwithstanding the enormous effort of the CBN to stabilise the exchange rate. Over the medium term, the incessant demand pressures at the foreign exchange market moved the exchange rate from about N381/US$ in end-2020 to N416/US$ in January 2022 and further to N440.9/US$ today, a cumulative 5.6 percent depreciation year-to-date.
Capital Flows: With the upsurge in global inflation, which has reached record heights in advanced countries, the ensuing global monetary tightening is threatening global macroeconomic conditions. In Nigeria, this threat is considerably muted due to a low amplitude of capital flows since 2020. Monthly average capital outflows from Nigeria year-to-date is less than one-third of its value in 2019 had declined from US$1.37 billion monthly to US$0.58 billion monthly in 2022. It is thus imperative for us to ensure, through innovative inward-looking structural policies, that we find sustainable ways of adequately insulating the economy from the volatility associated with foreign portfolio flows.
Figure 8: Capital Flows (US$ Billion)
CBN Countervailing Policy Measures: Distinguished guests, the prevailing circumstances present a dilemma for policymakers. Higher inflation needs to be tackled with tools that can potentially constrain our fragile output growth and cause stagflation. At the CBN, this pursuit of a balanced mix of established and unconventional policy measures remains the crux of our macroeconomic management strategy, and to forestall any harmful future impact, the CBN took and will continue to take proactive measures for the good of the economy. Some of the countervailing measures we took over the past few months, to chart a path for sustainable advancement are listed below.
Monetary Policy: After a prolonged period of monetary accommodation, aimed at supporting the productive sector of the Nigerian economy, the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN reconsidered its stance as inflation pressures resurfaced. Consequently, with the resumed uptick of the inflation rate in February 2022, the MPC has raised its policy rate four times from 11.5 percent to 16.5 percent in November 2022. With the cumulative hike of 500 basis points, so far in 2022, we are confident of an ensuing period of sustained disinflation. The cycle of monetary tightening could, however, impinge on growth momentum if adequate supportive and structural measures are not quickly implemented.
Foreign Exchange Management – RT200: The Nigerian foreign exchange market is in the middle of a serious crunch which is straining our reserves and stifling the value of the naira. Market demand for both goods and invisible transactions has continued to increase under various uses in the face of dwindling supply of foreign exchange. As we all know, for example, the official foreign exchange receipt from crude oil sales into our official reserves has dried up steadily from above US$3.0 billion monthly in 2014 to absolute zero dollars today.
To put this drawback into perspective, it is equally no news that the number of student visas issued to Nigerians by the UK alone has increased from an annual average of about 8,000 visas as of 2020 to nearly 66,000 in 2022, which implies an eight-fold surge to about US$2.5 billion annually in study-related foreign exchange outflow to the UK alone. It is against the backdrop of the worsening mismatch between foreign exchange market demand and supply, and the need to boost foreign exchange earnings that the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee initiated the RT200 program in February 2022.
The program was fundamentally devised to innovatively tackle the fundamental problem associated with the repatriation of non-oil export proceeds. So far, we have recorded and continue to record resounding success with the RT200 Programme. Inflows through this program in 2022 rose to about US$1.6 billion and could surpass US$2.5 billion by year-end. Under the rebate scheme of the program, the Bank has reimbursed a total of N78.4 billion naira, which I consider a fair price to incur to stabilise our foreign exchange market.
Prior to the RT200 program, the CBN had also rolled out several initiatives to bolster the inflow of foreign exchange into Nigeria in a stable and sustainable manner. One of these, as you may recollect, is the Naira-4-Dollar scheme. This initiative reflects our efforts to boost migrant remittances into the Nigerian economy. I am happy to note that, so far, the Naira-for-Dollar scheme has been successful in increasing remittance inflows through our registered International Money Transfer Organization (IMTOs).
Currency Redesign: Based on the ever-escalating challenges that are inundating currency management in Nigeria, with grim consequences for our sovereign integrity, the CBN recently announced its policy to issue newly redesigned Nigerian banknotes. Analysis of the key challenges primarily indicated a significant hoarding of banknotes, as over 85 percent of the currency in circulation was held outside the banking system. This is even as currency in circulation more than doubled from N1.46 trillion in December 2015 to N3.23 trillion in September 2022; a worrisome trend that must be curbed. Whilst the global best practice is to undertake currency redesign every 5–8 years, our existing banknotes have remained unchanged for almost two decades and 20 years. It is therefore no longer tenable to continue with business as usual; especially given the continually evolving circumstances that could impinge the optimal performance of the Naira.
It is against this backdrop and congruent with relevant sections of the CBN Act 2007, that the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes. This policy will quicken the attainment of a cashless economy as it is complemented by increased minting of our eNaira. It will curtail currency outside the banking system and, as monetary policy becomes more efficacious, help to rein in inflation.
Digital Money and Payments: Given the rapid advancements in financial technology leading to the rapid digitisation of money and finance, the CBN will continue to seek creative ways to ensure that Nigeria takes full advantage of its opportunities and benefits, leading to the recent launch of the eNaira.
The eNaira was developed to broaden the payment possibilities of Nigerians, and foster digital financial inclusion, with the potential for fast-tracking intergovernmental and social transfers.
. Since its launch a year ago we have continually modified its features and have made it more accessible to wide range of users. Today, you do not need a smartphone to use eNaira as it has become compatible with all generations of mobile devices (old and new). So far, a total of N8 billion, consisting over 700,000 transactions, has passed through the eNaira platform.
To further strengthen the payments system while conserving foreign exchange, the CBN is collaborating with the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to launch The National Domestic Card Scheme. This is expected to lower operating costs for banks incurring huge charges for foreign card schemes. It will also reduce the huge foreign exchange commitments associated with operating foreign card schemes. The scheme is expected to commence on 16 January 2023. With this, Nigeria will join a growing list of EMDEs (including India, Turkey, China, and Brazil) that have launched domestic card schemes. This landmark initiative shall position Nigeria as the first African country to introduce a domestic card scheme, that combines a fully domestic infrastructure with international interoperability.
Development Finance: To support productivity in view of the ongoing external threats and, especially, to correct some of the existing structural failures of the Nigerian economy, the CBN sustained its various interventions. Essentially, these focused on stimulating productivity in the manufacturing sector, bolstering domestic industries, revolutionising agricultural output to ensure self-sufficiency, and shielding the local economy from harmful external shocks.
A breakdown of some of the activities in the agriculture sector indicated that between July and August 2022, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the Bank disbursed N54.82 billion to several agricultural projects, bringing the cumulative disbursements under the Programme to ₦1,026.27 trillion to over 4.6 million smallholder farmers cultivating 21 different commodities across the country. The Bank also released N0.70 billion to finance large-scale agricultural projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), bringing the total disbursements under the Scheme to ₦745.02 billion for 679 projects in agro-production and agro-processing.
In addition, the Bank released the sum of ₦66.99 billion under the ₦1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility to 12 additional projects in manufacturing and agriculture. Furthermore, under the 100 for 100 Policy on Production and Productivity (PPP), the Bank has disbursed the sum of ₦20.17 billion to 14 projects in healthcare, manufacturing, and services. This brings the cumulative disbursements under the facility to ₦93.39 billion to 62 projects across manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and services.
As part of efforts to help resuscitate Nigeria’s textile industry and promote economic development in the textile and garment sector, the Bank released the sum of ₦1.50 billion under the textile sector intervention facility (TSIF), bringing the total disbursements under the scheme to ₦97.80 billion.
In support of the resilience of the healthcare sector, the Bank also disbursed ₦4.00 billion to two (2) healthcare projects under the Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility (HSIF), bringing the cumulative disbursements to ₦130.54 billion for 131 projects, comprising 32 pharmaceuticals, 60 hospital, and 39 other services.
Under the export development fund (EDF) and export facilitation initiative (EFI), the Bank funded several projects for non-oil export commodity value-addition and production with sums of N11.89 billion and N3.24 billion, respectively.
In the MSME sector, the bank supported entrepreneurship development with the disbursement of the sum of N39.26 million to youth under the tertiary institution’s entrepreneurship scheme (TIES), bringing the total disbursement under this intervention to N332.43 million.
Comparative Emerging Markets Assessment: Ladies and gentlemen, an analysis of our recovery efforts and current outcomes suggest that the Nigerian economy and its banking system have faired comparably well when juxtaposed with peers. Like many EMDEs, Nigeria’s GDP growth rate has so far remained positive even as global conditions plunge deeper into stormy waters. Inflation rates among comparator economies have however soared in consonance with global trends. A quick comparison of the rates for September 2022 indicates that Nigeria’s inflation, at 20.77 percent, is high but not among the worst. We have seen hyperinflations, above 80 percent, in Turkey and Argentina. Ghana and Ethiopia also had rates above 30 percent.
Figure 9: Inflation Rates in Selected EMDEs
Source: www.tradingeconomics.com as of 04 November 2022
- Interestingly, in terms of the pace of inflation acceleration, Nigeria rate is among the slowest, as inflation grew from about 16 percent in October 2021 to 21.09 percent. Over the same interval, Morocco’s inflation rate rose five folds from 1.7 percent to 8.3 percent. The rate in Ghana rose more than three folds from 11 percent to 37.2 percent.
Outlook and Policy Thrust for 2023
- Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen. The short-term outlook of the global economy is increasingly bleak as the lingering effects of the pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions and economic fragmentation is worsened by the uncertainties triggered by the eruption of the Russian-Ukraine war.
- Accordingly, the IMF projects that more than a third of the global economies will suffer a recession within the next two years, especially as the US, EU and Chinese economies stagnate. In emerging markets, growth forecasts have been revised downward for China, India, Mexico, Turkey, and South Africa reflecting country-specific factors, uncertainties in the financial conditions, and rising spillover effects of global geopolitical tensions.
- As external conditions flounder, inflationary pressure is expected to worsen and become more persistent in many economies. The rate in key advanced economies is projected to remain historically elevated at double-digit levels up to the 2023 q3 at the earliest. As such, tight monetary conditions will remain prevalent over the short term, straining financial markets in many EMDEs and exacerbating the underlying vulnerabilities.
- Considering the current developments in both the global and domestic economies, and based on extensive simulations, the CBN is of the view that the short-term outlook of the Nigerian economy remains good. We expect that:
- Monetary policy: Over the coming years, monetary policy will remain focused on the objectives of price, monetary, and exchange rate stability. Our policy stance will, accordingly, remain tight to curtail inflation pressure, regulate capital flows, and buoy the naira-dollar exchange rate. Monetary policy decisions will remain balanced, judicious, research-driven, adequate, and supportive of the real economy subject to underlying fundamentals. We will maintain the current tight Monetary Policy stance in the near term, especially in view of rising inflation expectations and exchange market pressures. Though we will act to appropriately adjust the policy rate in line with unfolding conditions and outlooks.
- GDP: Based on the expectation of a robust non-oil performance, and barring any unforeseen shocks, GDP growth rate is projected to remain positive in the remaining quarter of 2022 and during 2023. The performance of the non-oil sector will be buoyed by the continued efforts at entrenching indigenous productivity in high-impact real-sector activities, especially agriculture, MSMEs, and manufacturing. Domestic aggregate demand is further expected to be bolstered by the anticipated budgetary outlay and the surge of electioneering spending in the next few months. From 3.54 percent in quarter two of 2022, growth is projected to reach 3.7 percent in quarter three and 3.47 by the fourth quarter.
- Inflation: Inflation expectations are rising as existing structural rigidities are compounded by global factors and anticipated elections-related liquidity upsurge. For the rest of 2022 and towards mid-2023 Nigeria’s rate of inflation is projected to remain elevated and above the 12.5 percent growth-aiding threshold. However, on the backdrop of our previous policy measures, and as the effect continues to permeate the system, our in-house model-based simulations indicate that the inflation rate could fall steadily to less than 15 percent by end-2023.
- Exchange Rate: Though the CBN has so far managed to maintain exchange rate stability, the current capital flow reversals from emerging markets are expected to continue to exert considerable pressure on market rates. This pressure could be amplified by the forthcoming elections, especially as the political marketplace heats up. Notwithstanding these pressures, the CBN is determined to maintain its stable exchange policy stance over the next few months through innovative policy measures to manage the demand and supply of foreign exchange. If the current problem of oil theft is promptly corrected, we could expect a resumed inflow of crude oil receipts into the official reserves. This could foster gross stability in the foreign exchange market and enhance exchange rate stability.
- BOP: Overall our balance of payments is expected to remain positive in the short term. We have seen a recent boost in non-oil export receipts to about US$2.5 billion. Hoping that the poor performance of the oil sector reverses, especially as high crude prices are sustained by a potential elongation of the Russian-Ukraine war, we expect the Current Account Balance to strengthen even further. This will be backed by our resolute effort to strengthen and improve real non-oil sector productivity through apt diversification to reduce undue imports.
- Given the global and domestic headwinds we face as a nation, and the volatility in the global environment, we have no other option, as leaders interested in the progress of our nation, but to work very hard to spur job creation by reviving agricultural and industrial activities in the country. Like I have said many times before, if we continue to support the growth of smallholder farmers, you can only imagine the amount of wealth and jobs that will be created in the country. If we turn a blind eye to the opportunities provided by our enormous human and material resources, this could spell doom for our nation.
- Distinguished ladies and gentlemen. In concluding my remarks, please permit me to say that over the last two years, the global order and macroeconomic conditions have become increasingly challenging and distressfully tumultuous. These portend a huge downside risk for the prospect of the Nigerian economy. We are thus reminded of the need to look inward in developing policies that will correct the fundamental failures that have undermined our economy. Accordingly, the CBN, guided by best judgment and data will continue to act in good faith to ensure the increased prosperity of the Nigerian economy. As I wind down my address this evening, I call on all of us, to put on our thinking caps, and find imaginative solutions that will ensure the Nigeria of our dream, where balanced growth and shared prosperity are guaranteed for all.
- Thank you very much for your attention. And thank you once again, for being here today.
Godwin I. Emefiele, Con
Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria
25 November 2022
Dangote Launches A Circular Economy Programme, Trains Traders On Financial Literacy
Olushola Okunlade Writes
Dangote Cement has launched a circular economy program, called “DangCircular”.
The new initiative aims to promote recycling and reuse of scarce resources in society to reduce landfilling and create wealth as a contribution to environmental sustainability.
DangCircular was rolled out during this year’s Dangote Sustainability Week, targeting students of Nigerian higher institutions. The company partnered with the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, and UNESCO-UNEVOC (UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training) in a competition tagged ‘Yaba Green Challenge’.
Dangote employee Volunteers and Executives graced the finale of the competition to witness the presentation of 10 sustainability innovations the students created from waste after a screening of over 30 entries.
Among the panel of judges were the academic staff of Yabatech, officials, and UNESCO UNEVOC, as well Dangote Cement Technical Director Mr. Duraisamy Anandam and General Manager Regional Sales, Mr. Johnson Olaniyi. The judges engaged finalists on their projects which include: 1) Mixed media painting from sawdust 2) Fungal growth medium from industrial wheat waste 3) Medicinal mushrooms from sawdust and water hyacinth. Others were mycelia blocks from the spent mushroom substrate,
Wearable art from the aluminum beverage can pull tab wastes, and sculpture from metal scraps. The students also made a paving interlocking block project with plastics, Hollow sandcrete blocks from plastics, and a mixed media painting made with waste plastics and paper, as well as animal feed produced from water hyacinth.
The event began with a tour of the Yabatech art museum, a courtesy visit to the College Rector, and a donation of waste segregation bins made to the management of the school. At the finale of the Yaba Green Challenge competition which had over 300 staff and students, the Rector of the College Engr Obafemi Omokungbe endorsed the initiative, describing the partnership between Yabatech and Dangote as a very strategic and exciting one. He stated that “talks are ongoing to obtain patent rights for the innovations showcased at the event to share with the private sector for adoption”.
Leading the Dangote delegation was General Manager Sustainability, Dr. Igazeuma Okoroba expressed satisfaction at the exhibition. In her remarks, she stated that “the goal of DangCircular was to spur Nigeria’s transition to a circular economy and support wealth creation through waste.” She also encouraged the institution to carry out cutting-edge research for the economic growth of society.
The winner of the grand prize of the competition was Ms. Ajide Comfort of the Fashion Design Department. In a very emotional reaction, Ms. Comfort whose project was Wearable art from an aluminum beverage can pull-tab waste, expressed her gratitude to Dangote Cement and pledged to continue finding ways to integrate waste recycling in her designs.
In the same vein, the company implemented “The Obalende Smart Money Campaign”, a financial literacy awareness campaign, to help over 300 traders of the Obada Obalende market to gain insight into managing money and limited resources sustainably. The initiative was part of activities to mark Sustainability Week in Nigeria and Pan Africa.
Speaking on the financial literacy campaign, the Lead, Health, and Safety Mr. James Adenuga said the theme of the yearly program: ‘People, Planet and Profit – The Dangote Way’ is driven by employee volunteers. In his remarks, he explained to the traders the meaning of sustainable development and why it was a topic of concern for traders. Sighting examples with relatable stories, the Head of Sustainability, Dr. Okoroba explained that “While seeking for their daily bread, it was important that the traders ensure that the needs of the present and future generations are not threatened by poor treatment of land, water, and natural resources available to us”.
Diversity and inclusion were other aspects Dangote Cement sought to make an impact on society during Sustainability Week as the Dangote volunteers engaged in a charity outreach targeting the Down syndrome community and the visually impaired. The campaign for the visually impaired was to commemorate White Cane Safety day, an annual event celebrated worldwide every 15th of October.
The Dangote volunteers visited the Women and Children with Disability Initiative (WCWDI) home for visually impaired children, interacting with the children. The company made donations of food items, beverages, and specialized educational materials for the blind including white canes, slates, and marbouqs. Following this, the team of volunteers conducted a sensitization walk of the neighbouring community to enlighten residents on the white cane as a right of passage for the visually impaired which should be respected.
In another outreach to the Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria (DSFN) located at Iju Fagba, Lagos, the Volunteers toured the vocational centres where persons with Down syndrome were trained in life skills. The National President of the Downs syndrome Association, Mrs. Rose Mordi, noted that ‘Down syndrome is not a disease but a condition which can happen to anyone”. She also gave insight on the theme of Down Syndrome Awareness Month – “Nothing About Us Without Us”, acknowledging Dangote’s support and calling for other private sectors to follow in the same vein.
Dangote: Priority Investments In Infrastructure, Core Industries Will Boost Nigeria’s Economy
…Says a ‘newly industrialized Nigeria within 10 years is possible
Olushola Okunlade Writes
Business magnate and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has identified priority investments in infrastructure and core industries among other recommendations, as vital panaceas to boost Nigeria’s economy to its desired level among contemporary nations and in the world overall.
Against the background of the declining fortune of the manufacturing sector, the Africa’s wealthiest man urged the Federal Government to employ strategically
prioritize investments in infrastructure to reverse the trend and boost Nigeria’s economy to its desired level among contemporary nations and in the world over.
In his address as Guest Speaker at the landmark 50th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the 2nd Adeola Odutola Lecture held yesterday in Lagos, Dangote expressed optimism also noted that with the collective effort of all stakeholders, it is feasible to move Nigeria from “developing nation” to “newly industrialized nation”.
Dangote said it is imperative that the familiar challenges limiting the pace of industrialisation are frontally addressed while setting a clear-cut agenda for the next 10 years. He identified priority investments in infrastructure and core industries among other recommendations, as vital panaceas to boost Nigeria’s economy to its desired level among contemporary nations and in the world overall.
During the AGM, themed: “An Agenda for Nigeria’s Industrialization for the Next Decade”, where a Blueprint for the Accelerated Development of Manufacturing in Nigeria 2.0 was unveiled, the foremost entrepreneur advocated jail terms for dealers in foreign textile materials in order to discourage imports and boost local production in the textile industry. For legislative backup, he also sought the enactment of a law prohibiting the sale of imported fabrics in the country.
Dangote identified various measures which needed to be put in place to allow Nigeria to speed up its industrialization process and development growth. These measures included investment in infrastructure; creation of a business-enabling Policy Framework; development of core industries; macroeconomic stability; facilitation of sectoral linkages and sustaining of the federal government’s recent efforts at ensuring the security of lives, properties, and investments across the nation.
The business titan examined the performance of the industrial sector in Nigeria; identified the nexus between industrialization and economic development with Nigeria and China as a case study; analyzed the manufacturing sector in the country with a focus on its growth trajectory, current status, and challenges, and set an agenda for the next ten years with an implementation roadmap.
According to him, “the experience in various parts of the world has shown that industrialization drives economic growth & development, which improves living standards as evidenced by the high output and per capita income in industrialized countries.
“The rate of industrialization in Nigeria has been slow as evidenced by the low contribution of manufacturing to GDP, poor capacity utilization, and constrained export of manufactured products within and outside the continent. For instance, Nigeria’s share of world output of 0.41%, ranked 29th in the world which is unimpressive, considering its size and resource endowments. It ranks poorly when compared with India at (3.1%), South Korea (3.0%), and China (28.7%).
“Nigeria’s industrialization process has been greatly challenged by structural and institutional constraints, particularly funding. These factors have over the years cumulatively contributed to its disappointing performance. For instance, in the last decade, the average share of manufacturing value added to GDP in countries like China and Malaysia stood at 41% and 38% respectively; compared to 25% in Nigeria.
“In terms of capacity utilization, a major performance indicator which reflects the ability to manufacture companies to meet rising demand without increasing cost, Nigeria achieved a rate of 55% compared to 76% and 78% in China and South Africa respectively. The country’s dwindling industrial performance has significant socio-economic implications, as poverty and unemployment continue to rise.
“From 1960 to 2003, the development trajectory of China by far outpaced that of Nigeria within the same period even though Nigeria began on a seemingly better footing. It is therefore important to track back to where Nigeria “dropped the ball” with a view to repositioning the country to the path of growth, development, and social upliftment.
“Based on the comparative analysis of Nigeria and China, one can safely make the following deductions (i) the numerical strength of a nation (population) can indeed be translated into economic wealth (ii) steady growth in manufacturing output is possible when the operating environment is conducive; (iii) no nation can easily transit from “developing” to “newly industrialized” without a vibrant manufacturing sector; (iv) effective implementation of long term plans backed with policy consistency will promote enduring economic growth and development”, the industrialist added.
According to Dangote, “Nigeria’s manufacturing sector is dominated by light manufacturing with only a few firms operating in the heavy segment of the sector. There are several factors that need to be in place to accelerate the growth of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria. These include security and rule of law, industry-oriented government policy; adequate infrastructure; industry-oriented Research & Development (R&D); a well-developed SME sector; building of human capacity, and embrace of technology to improve efficiency through automation of manufacturing processes.
On the current status of the manufacturing sector, Dangote noted that manufacturing was singled out in the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) as the driver of industrialisation and economic growth.
“The contribution of manufacturing to Real GDP in Nigeria contrasts with what was obtained in countries like China (27.16% in 2019); Germany (19.11%); Japan (20.74%) and South Africa (13.53%). To drive industrialization and sustained economic growth in Nigeria, it is important that deliberate policies that are manufacturing-specific should be designed to support manufacturing activities and address the perennial challenges of the sector. It is important to note that the current government policies, if fully implemented, are good enough to address most of the challenges we are now facing,” he said.
Among manufacturing challenges, he identified an acute shortage of forex; the dearth of long-term funds; limited infrastructure; policy inconsistency/implementation/ enforcement; over-regulation; multiple and high taxes for the industries (the manufacturing sector is beset with over thirty statutory taxes, levies, fees, etc. charged at multiple tiers of government), and insecurity.
According to Dangote, “In consideration of the afore-mentioned challenges, there is an urgent need for a shift in policy approach and strategy to reposition the manufacturing sector for growth over the next ten years. It is imperative that the familiar challenges limiting the pace of industrialization are frontally addressed while setting a clear-cut agenda for the next 10 years.”
While setting an agenda for the next 10 years, Dangote said, “To achieve industrialization goals, it is necessary for a nation to formulate plans and policies that will enhance and sustain industrial development. Sustainable industrial development involves the establishment of a conducive environment to encourage investment and ensure efficient usage of resources to increase productivity and growth of the nation.
“Nigeria needs to henceforth intensify efforts at promoting industrialization with a specific focus on the attainment of the following targets in the next 10 years: 15% manufacturing sector growth, 20% manufacturing contribution to GDP, 15% growth in export of manufactured products, 10% increase in the share of manufacturing to total export merchandise, the stronger inter-industry linkage between SMEs and large corporations, improved manufacturing contribution to Government tax revenue and 20% increase in manufacturing employment”, he added.
In his conclusion, Dangote noted that “The drive to transform Nigerian into an industrialized nation has been a consistent goal of successive governments since independence. It is, therefore, imperative that we focus on sectors with great potential for inclusive growth. Sustainability must be central to our industrial development agenda.
“There is also the need for government (at all tiers) to ensure that they consult widely with relevant stakeholders when taking far-reaching decisions on key sectors of the economy. This will make it much easier for manufacturers to make long-term business plans. In addition, policies that have been “tried- and- tested” should be backed with an Act of parliament to give them legal backing and make them less susceptible to arbitrary changes by successive governments.
“Industrialization, driven by manufacturing, has the capacity to facilitate enduring economic growth. The transition mechanism entails the availability of required resources, adoption of appropriate technology, provision of favourable operating environment, human capital development, stable macroeconomic environment, and adequate infrastructure. With the collective effort of all stakeholders, it is feasible to move Nigeria from “developing nation” to “newly industrialized nation” status within the next 10 years”, he added.
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