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Why lottery brands, other portfolio investors are invading Nigerian —LCCI

Fresh facts have emerged on why more portfolio rather than institutional investors are having field day in the Nigerian economy.

Explaining issues around the recent retention of Monetary Policy Rate at 14 per cent by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in an interview, the Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Muda Yusuf, he said “The retention of the rates is only good for portfolio investors and this economy is tired of such investors because they are not coming to stay but to reap and run away while real sector investors continue to suffer”.

In an interview shortly after the announcement by the CBN, Yusuf decried the rates retention, stressing that “High interest rate on treasury bills, federal government bonds are frustrating debt serving profile”.

“The debt profile is so high now and has reached an unsustainable level because we are now spending over 60 per cent of revenue to service debts. To us at LCCI, we believe that bringing down interest rate will impact positively in managing our debt servicing.

According to him, “CBN told us that in the first half of the year, it had a deficit of over N2tn and you cannot distance the problem from the challenges of high interest rate which translates to high cost of borrowing as can be seen in high treasury bills and federal government bonds”.

“To me, it is not in the interest of this economy for us to continue in this trajectory. We will continue to make our position known that this economy deserves much lower interest rate.

More important is to improve access to credit.

Yusuf said “For many of the SMEs, even getting credit at the high 25 or 30 per cent is not the problem, but access to the credit. When you have economy where SMEs account for over 50 per cent of GDP and they account for less than one per cent of the credit, it means that something is fundamentally wrong with that economy”.

In his further submission, the DG of LCCI averred that “Not reducing the interest rate is not the best way to stimulate the economy or grow an economy that is inclusive because inclusive economy will depend more on small businesses”.

“Here in Nigeria, there is no connection between the banking system and the MSMEs and that is why the sector cannot grow to drive the economy as supposed,” Yusuf said.

Business Hilights investigations showed that in less than two months two foreign portfolio investors majoring on lottery have berthed in Nigeria promising Nigerians daily winnings without telling them how to make the money to play.

The latest entrant, Western Lotto, claimed it is offering well-known European and American gaming brands on its platform. During the launch punctuated by hired Nollywood actors, the group said it came with five international lottery games and pledged to change the landscape of gaming in the country.

According to the lead marketer, Elvis Krivokuca the company said games on offer at Western Lotto include Powerball, Euro Millions, Euro Jackpot, UK Lotto and Mega Millions. Powerball is an American lottery game played every Wednesday and Saturday.

He argued that Euro Millions is a transnational lottery played across Europe. The Euro Jackpot similarly plays across Europe. UK Lotto is also known as the National Lottery. It has served good causes in the UK.  Draws for Mega Millions hold on Tuesdays and Fridays.