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Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, part of the Standard Bank Group, recently hosted a webinar titled “2022 ‘Virtual Economic Outlook – Investing and Planning in an Election Cycle’. The event which aimed to reflect on the economic trends that shaped 2021 and project into 2022, was held on Monday, February 14, 2022.

According to the financial services provider, the webinar offers attendees the opportunity to learn directly from economic experts about the importance of planning and investing.

Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, and Muyiwa Oni, Head of Equity Research, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, led the deliberations at the virtual event.

Other webinar speakers were Eric Fajemisin, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking; Remy Osuagwu, Executive Director, Enterprise and Commercial Clients; Executive Director Client Solutions – Bunmi Dayo-Olagunju and Olumide Oyetan, Managing Director, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers.

Dr. Demola Sogunle, Managing Director of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, set the tone for the event by appreciating the clients for the trust and confidence placed in the organization through their sponsorship. He has assured Nigerians of valuable and exciting opportunities despite the likely headwinds as the country gears up for its general elections.

Bismarck, who listed the current state of the Nigerian economy, noted that Nigeria’s expenditure currently stands at N19.63 trillion while its income stands at N10.71 trillion. This, he said, represents a budget shortfall of 8.92 trillion naira, which translates into an increase in the level of poverty, inflation, unemployment and the number of out-of-school children. He noted that the number of fully employed Nigerians had dropped by 54.41% over the past five years and the labor force had increased by 18.45%, while 50% of Nigerians remained inactive.

Highlighting Nigeria’s fiscal situation in five years, he noted that while oil prices had risen by 62.36%; the currency and trade balance weakened by 239.76% and 35.95% respectively, with gross external reserves gaining 39.29%.

Sustained supply issues have helped keep global oil prices above $80 a barrel, he said, while the Central Bank of Nigeria continued to step up its foreign exchange intervention program as that the country’s gross external reserves continue to decline. Furthermore, he said, the naira continued to come under increased pressure due to excess liquidity.

“The country’s economy is expected to continue its rebound, as evidenced by the last quarter of 2021, while oil prices are expected to remain elevated as major economies fully reopen and demand for oil increases. Additionally, the advent of COVID-19 vaccines continued to mitigate Omicron’s impact on oil demand, while the effect of Iran’s nuclear deal is expected to boost the country’s oil supply to the market This should provide more income support for Nigeria,” Bismarck said.

“To stimulate the manufacturing sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should step up its intervention in the foreign exchange market as it seeks to increase supply to manufacturers. exchange rate convergence, increase its intervention in the foreign exchange market, while the postponement of the removal of fuel subsidies will mitigate the expected rise in inflation for the year, as trade policies are expected to become less protectionist.

Eric Fajemisin, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, noted that Stanbic IBTC, through its business advisory services, continued to help its clients make sound investment decisions and provide commercial financing. Remy Osuagwu, Executive Director, Business and Commercial Clients also of Stanbic IBTC Bank, said the organization has continued to partner with CBN in its various intervention programs such as the Real Sector Fund, Anchor Borrowers Fund and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System. for agricultural loans (NIRSAL), among others.

Olumide Oyetan, Managing Director of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, said that Stanbic IBTC, through its investment management vehicle, continued to provide investors with ways to invest their funds profitably over the short and long term. while guaranteeing the security of the invested funds.

Bunmi Dayo Olagunju, Executive Director of Client Solutions, Stanbic IBTC, in her closing remarks said that the economic ecosystem can improve during the election cycle if digital technologies can be harnessed effectively.