COVID-19: Fixed income market will record increased activity ― Onyema

Mr Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has expressed optimism that the fixed income market would experience increased activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Onyema said this on Monday at a virtual event to mark the 10th anniversary of Brand Africa 100.

He said that the Nigerian government would embark on a lot of borrowings to finance the budget due to the impact of COVID-19.

According to him, the government will shift away from Eurobonds to domestic borrowings with significant emphasis on a fixed income.

“We expect government and corporate companies to raise capital using different platforms, and capital market are one of it,” Onyema said.

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He said the market would not witness any Initial Public Offering in the near-time due to narrative around COVID-19.

Speaking on the topic: “Impact of COVID on African financial markets”, Onyema said coronavirus had affected government, businesses and individuals in so many ways.

Onyema noted that the Exchange witnessed a lot of volatility with the largest single-day loss of five per cent at the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that a lot of foreign investors exited the market in February when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Nigeria.

Onyema said the Exchange, which emerged as the highest stock market in terms of return having finished with 7.5 per growth in January, slid into negative territory due to COVID-19.

He said the market had shown some tremendous recovering across all the asset classes.

The NSE boss said investors were redirecting their investment into the capital market that offers higher returns due to foreign exchange challenges and fall in crude oil price.

Mr Geoffrey Odundo, Chief Executive Officer, Nairobi Securities Exchange, said the country experienced heavy down selling in March due to the pandemic.

Odundo said the Exchange transmitted to the full remote trading environment to ensure access to the market from anywhere.

“We gave quoted companies more time to file their results and as well allowed companies to do their Annual General Meetings electronically,” he stated.

He noted that the international investors were still active in the market but at a lower level.

Odundo said Kenyan government, just like others, announced various incentives and stimulus to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Dr Leila Fourie, the Chief Executive Officer, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, on his part, said COVID-19 caused a lot of outflow from the market.

Fourie said that whenever there was a crisis, investors would take a flight to safety.

“It will take a long time for companies to raise capital from the market due to the pandemic.

“We are still in lockdown in South Africa,” she stated.

Mr Anthony Chiejina, Group Chief Brand & Corporate Communications Officer, Dangote Group, described the pandemic as a passing phase.

Speaking on ‘Building brands in Africa post COVID’, Chiejina said Africans should reinforce their brands by telling their own stories.

He said such stories should lift hope rather than scare the populace.

Mr Mzamo Masito, Chief Marketing Officer, Google Africa, said the company would be helpful to SMEs and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Masito said brands that help people and businesses to restart and recover would remain important in their lives.

He noted that Google would continue to provide relevant and accurate information to what people need.

To Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom, brands must chase customers because they choose the brands of their choice.

“Every brand needs to know the critical thing required by the consumers to make themselves relevant in their life,” Mulinge stated.

She noted that brands must know what to do to stand out for their consumers in terms of products and messages.

NAN reports that Dangote Group emerged as the most admired Africa brand, trailed by MTN and DSTV, among others.

Brand Africa is an independent non-profit organisation registered in South Africa and a signatory to the Independent Code of Governance for non-profit organisations in Africa.

It was conceived to provide an objective metric for brands that Africans admire and drive the continent’s image and reputation.

The global results and rankings report was launched in September 2011 at a Brand Africa Forum hosted by Brand South Africa in Johannesburg.



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