Nigeria: RMB Expands to India

22 March 2019

As part of efforts to continue to support its clients globally, Rand Merchant Bank has expanded its operations to India.

The move is to enable the bank diversify into different markets and tap the opportunities in the Indian economy.

The Head of Investment Banking, Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria (RMBN), Dalu Ajene, disclosed this at the Indian professional forum dinner held in Lagos, recently.

According to him, the decision to expand to India was an important and valued proposition for both countries considering the recently signed bilateral trade agreement.

He said the RMB would leverage on the opportunity by engaging significant businesses that have operations in Nigeria and also interact with India either through trade, capital flows or partnership, to foster the success of the trade.

"Capital formation and business success is very key to grow value proposition for a bank like RMB," Ajene explained.

Speaking on government policy that mandates financial institutions to contribute 10 percent of its profit before tax to the national housing fund he said: "It is a very interesting way by the government to address the housing shortfall that exist in Nigeria, as long as it bridges the funding gap in terms of people being able to afford houses and also being able to get effective cost financing to acquire those houses."

He added that RMB as a bank remains committed to partnering with and is looking forward to working with the government on bridging the housing gap in Nigeria

The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri Abhay Thakur, who was at the dinner, stated that India has remained Nigeria's largest trading partner and would continue to strengthen the bilateral trade agreement with Nigeria.

Also speaking at the forum, a Senior Lecturer at the Lagos Business School and the Chief Executive Officer of Kainos Edge Consulting, Dr. Doyin Salami, in a presentation, said 2019 has better prospects for businesses than the previous year because the uncertainties surrounding the elections have been resolved.

Salami, who was the keynote speaker explained: "Investments were not encouraging in 2018 due to the uncertainties surrounding the elections, but the successful conduct of the recent election has laid to rest investor's fear of a change in government and change in policies".

Speaking on the Nigerian economy, he stated that the economy was going through its recovery mode from recession, although at a snail pace.

"Nigeria is an oil-dependent country unlike Saudi Arabia which is an oil-rich country, Nigeria does two million barrels of crude oil per day, then at least 365 days roughly 800 million barrels of crude oil annually. "If there are 200 million Nigerians, that means each person is entitled to four barrels of crude oil every year"

"Saudi does 10 million barrels of crude oil daily which means four billion barrels annually, Saudi has 30 million citizens which means each citizen is entitled to six thousand US dollars which is a large difference to Nigeria," Salami said.

He stressed that the government needs to aggressively drive its revenue base, saying what happens to crude oil prices shapes the direction of the domestic Nigerian economy, a commodity which the country is not in a position to determine.

He predicted that oil price for 2019 would probably be around 61 $ per barrel, saying that considering the occurrences around geopolitics and the slow growth of the economy it may fall below 60 per barrel.

Salami said there was need to pay attention to the manufacturing sector, oil and gas, telecommunications, real estate and agriculture as well as infrastructure because Nigeria needs international capital.

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