Over N103bn withdrawn as investors scamper out of Nigeria


With all risk factors gaining prominence in Nigeria, investors have continued to withdraw the little investments left. Just in three months, they withdrew investments worth N103 billion from the economy.

Latest figures obtained by our correspondent have shown that there has been a chronologically downward investment trend since January 2016.

While there were high hopes of a flurry of investments as the year began, the missing, padded and unsigned 2016 budget touted to open up frozen potentials, has rather created anxiety.

Consequently, in the month of March 2016, investors withdrew N42.76 billion, unofficial figures monitored at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have shown.

This was an upward deficit as investors withdrew N31.84 billion in February and in January they withdrew about N29.75 billion.

So far, official figures collated from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and NSE have shown that the past three months accounted for over N100 billion, a situation financial analysts say would indeed hurt Nigeria’s economy for upwards of three years.

By March, signs of an economy in distress have exerted serious pressure on investment such that foreign investors on the floor of NSE transacted only 51.57 percent of total market activities in January 2016. This was a sharp fall to 36.48 percent at the end of February trading.

The deficit figure almost doubled in March with a fall of 47 percent.

“Spiking unemployment might lead to youth unrest”. Reports from the NBS show  that Nigeria unemployment is highest in history hitting double digit of 10.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

Analysis shows it increased 500 basis points over the 9.9 percent recorded in third quarter of 2015.

A cross section of civil society coalition told our correspondent the upward trajectory of unemployment could very soon lead to youth and civil unrest.

They voiced their concern on absolute lack of activities in government as each government official takes turn to blame the unsigned budget.

Recently, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said his ministry won’t be able to do anything until the budget is signed into law.

He said this during the public hearing on creating awareness on Federal Government policies in the last one year, in Lagos.

The supplementary Appropriation Act expired 26 days ago. The nation has been without budget, raising serious concern of the direction of government.

Especially, there has been a sharp increase in cases of youth crime. The desperation to land a job recently showed in the over ten thousand applicants who applied to join the Nigeria police within one week, causing a shutdown of the website.

Inflation has increased prices of commodities by 600%. Of a major concern is the geometric increase in prices of commodities. Statistics released by NBS showed that specifically, consumer prices in Nigeria increased 12.8 percent year-on-year in March of 2016, following an 11.4 percent jump in the previous month. This was the highest jump with no government policy to cushion the effect.

Year-on-year, food cost made the biggest upward contribution as prices increased to 12.7 percent.

Investigations show that additional upward pressure came from cost of housing, water, electricity and gas, which increased to 15.9 percent from 13.9 percent.

Checks conducted on clothing and footwear showed an increase to 12.0 percent from 10.6 percent while transport hit 13.2 percent from 11.5 percent.

In addition, furnishings and household equipment predominantly produced in the country reached 9.1 percent from 8 percent while education edged up slightly to 12.9 percent from 12.1 percent.

Generally, annual core inflation rate increased to 12.2 percent from 11 percent in March with expectations of worsening situation in April.

This increase would projectively see a monthly basis consumer prices (BCP) going up 3.7 percent dwarfing the 2.2 percent witnessed up to March.

The overall increase has been blamed on fuel scarcity which has hampered movement of goods and services as well as lack of foreign exchange.

Importers have relied heavily on the volatile parallel market to meet up their international financial obligations. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), buoyed by unflinching support from President Muhammadu Buhari has remained adamant to devalue the naira. The apex bank has pegged the naira at 197-99/$.

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