NSE: Capitalisation gains N229 bn, fueled by 2018 earnings

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…As PenCom Boss says Pension fund assets hit N8.6trn in December***

 The indices of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) maintained a positive trend on Thursday with the market capitalisation gaining N229 billion in one day, ahead of 2018 earnings season.

Specifically, the market capitalisation, which opened at N11.493 trillion increased by N229 billion or 1.98 per cent to close at N11.722 trillion, amid gains by blue chips.

Also, the All-Share Index rose by 616.69 points or 1.98 per cent to close at 31,433.49 compared with 30,821.80 achieved on Wednesday.

Nestle led the gainers’ table for the second consecutive days, growing by N10 to close at N1,470 per share.

Guaranty Trust Bank followed with a gain of N3.30 to close N38, while Forte Oil gained N2.70 to close at N29.70 per share.

Dangote Cement appreciated by N2 to close at N190, while Zenith Bank added N1.65 to close at N24.45 per share.

Conversely, Conoil recorded the highest loss during the day, shedding 25k to close N23 per share.

NEM Insurance trailed with a loss of 15l to close N2.30, while Learn Africa lost by 10k to close at N1.40 per share.

Trans Express was down by 6k to close at 60k, while Cutix dropped by 5k to close at N1.90 per share.

An analysis of the activity chart shows that United Bank for Africa was investors’ delight exchanging 136.50 million shares worth N987.08 million.

Zenith Bank followed with an account of 63.43 million shares valued at N1.49 billion, while Access Bank traded 44.43 million shares worth N277.87 million.

FBN Holdings sold 31.49 million shares valued at N236.26 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank exchanged 31.45 million shares worth N1.15 billion.

In all , the volume of shares traded inched by 21.63 per cent with an exchange of 436.75 million shares valued at N5.88 billion in 4,047 deals.

This was in contrast with a total of 359.09 million shares worth N4.83 billion traded in 3,319 deals on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) says total pension fund assets have grown to N8.63 trillion as at December 2018.

Ms Aisha Dahir-Umar, its Acting Director-General, disclosed this at the public hearing of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee in Abuja on Thursday.

The committee is mandated to investigate activities of PenCom and alleged violation of Acts establishing it.

Dahir-Umar said the fund had an average monthly contribution of N29.15 billion, while the total pension assets were equivalent to 7.40 per cent of the Nigerian rebased GDP.

She said  that the pool of pension funds generated by the Contributory Pension Scheme had aided the deepening of Nigeria’s financial sector.

The PenCom boss said that the fund had also provided a platform for attaining strategic programmes of government in the areas of infrastructure, housing and the development of the real sector of the economy.

She said that the number of registered contributors grew to 8.41 million as at December 2018.

According to her, this figure represents about 12.09 per cent of Nigeria’s working population and 4.29 per cent of total Nigeria population.

She said that the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) had simplified the process of payment of retirement benefits through the issuance of effective regulations and guidelines for accessing such benefits.

Dahir-Umar also disclosed that 260,808 persons had retired under the Scheme as at December 2018 and were currently receiving pensions as and when due with an average monthly pension payment of N10.18 billion.

“The pension reform has gained public confidence and acceptability within the short period of its implementation.

“The private sector, which hitherto was apprehensive of the CPS as a ploy by the public sector to raise funds to address its huge pension liabilities, has come to accept and is religiously implementing the reform.

“To date, about 200,000 private sector employers of labour are implementing the CPS and have contributed about 60 per cent of the total pension fund assets.

“The Contributory Pension Scheme has also introduced transparency and integrity in the pension administration system in Nigeria and inception of the reform to date, there had not been a single incidence of fraud or mismanagement of the pension funds and assets under the Scheme.

“Attracted by the enormous benefits of the Scheme, 24 States of the Federation and the FCT had enacted the laws on the CPS and are at different stages of implementation, six States are at the Bill stage on the CPS, three states have adopted the Contributory Defined Benefit Scheme (CDBS).

“And two states are currently drafting Bills to introduce CDBS, while one state has continued with the Defined Scheme as at December, 2018,” she said.

The PenCom boss said that Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) was established to handle issues of Federal Government’s retirees exempted from the CPS subject to the regulation and supervision of PenCom.

“Indeed, payment of pensions to public sector retirees by PTAD has become more regular and efficient under the supervisory oversight of PenCom.

“The pension reform has also positively impacted on other sectors of the Nigerian economy. Notably, the reform facilitated the growth of Group Life Insurance and development of Life Annuity in the insurance industry.

“Indeed, monthly pension payment under the Life Annuity Scheme has average of N3.15 billion as at December 2018.

“It is also noteworthy that the total premium paid to insurance companies for the monthly Life Annuity was N304.09 billion as at December, 2018.

“This has significantly assisted the growth of the insurance industry in Nigeria which is a special focus area under the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP),” she said.