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BusinessDay 11 Feb 2018

C002D5556 32 BD SUNDAY

C002D5556 32 BD SUNDAY Sunday 11 February 2018 Equity Market Profit taking depresses All Share Index to 10% returns year-to-date TELIAT SULE The All Share Index (ASI) of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) which posted stellar performance in January 2018 when it returned 16 percent closed lower on February 8, 2018 at 12.77 percent, a development that analysts attributed to profit taking. Apart from ASI, all other sub sectoral indexes closed lower when compared with their returns as at the end of January 2018. ASI closed last Friday at 43,127.92 points compared with 44,639.99 points on February 2, representing a week-on-week decrease of 3.39 percent. The market capitalisation of listed equities was 13.7 percent higher year to date as it rose from N13.61 trillion in December 29 2017 to close at N15.47 trillion by February 9, 2018. During the week that ended Friday, 4.426 billion shares worth N24.24 billion were traded in 29,573 deals as against 3.27 billion shares estimated at N28.12 billion exchanged among investors in 35,761 deals. Most of the equities traded were from the financial services sub sector that recorded 4 billion shares in trade worth N16.5 billion in 19,035 deals. The conglomerates industry recorded 167.72 million shares worth N464.66 million done in 1,568 deals. The consumer goods industry witnessed the exchange of 137.66 million shares worth N5.33 billion executed in 4,982 deals. “The market operates in cycles by going up and down. The present downward movement is just a way the stock market corrects itself, and it will still come up again”, Saheed Bashir, Senior Analyst at Meristem Securities, said. “The stellar performance attracted profit takers to the market”, a senior analyst in the industry who did not want his name in print said. The Exchange Traded products sub sector recorded 10 deals in which 1.2 million units were traded worth N6.95 billion last week compared with 32,189 units traded in the week before worth N1.29 million in 19 deals. The bonds sub sector was less active last week as 14,779 units of FG bonds valued at N14.05 million were ex- changed among traders in 18 deals as against 16,268 units that were traded in the week before valued at N17.05 million in 28 deals. Meanwhile, investors that bet on penny stocks at the beginning of the year have every reason to smile as most of them have outperformed the All Share Index (ASI). Unity Bank rose by 245 percent year to date; Wema Bank, 148 percent; Caverton, 133 percent; Sterling Bank, 118 percent; Skye Bank, 114 percent, to emerge as the top performing stocks years to date. Announcements and Appointments in February 1-9,2018 * African Registrars launches USSD Code*4018# for shareholders to check outstanding dividend, shareholder balance, confirm bank mandate, check postal address and e-mail address through mobile phones. * Seplat Petroleum allots 25, 000,000 ordinary shares to Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited. * UACN announces shareholders that own 5 percent and above: Stanbic IBTC Nominees, 8 percent; Blakeney GP 111 Ltd, 6 percent and Themis Capital Management, 8 percent. * Access Bank announces Stanbic IBTC Nominees a shareholder that owns 5,316,785,890 ordinary shares representing 18.39 percent of the company’s total ordinary shares. * Custodian and Allied Plc announces Gratitude Capital Limited as a shareholder controlling 12.17 percent of its ordinary shares. * Afromedia Plc announces the appointment of Olufemi Sunday Olaiya as the ED/ COO Media Business Unit following the resignation of S.O.S. Nwachukwu. * AIICO Insurance appoints Kadiri Adewale Abass as Executive Director(Technical) * Guinness Nigeria appoints Stanley Njoroge as Executive Director, Finance and Strategy, with effect from March 1st 2018. * Equity Assurance Plc changes corporate name to Sunu Assurance Plc

Sunday 11 February 2018 C002D5556 BD SUNDAY 33 Consumer Watch Nigerians bemoan FG’s poor enforcement of consumer rights NGOZI OKPALAKUNNE Co nsumer Protection C o u n c i l (CPC) was established in 1992 to provide speedy redress to consumers’ complaints through negotiation and conciliation. The council was also set up to seek ways of eliminating from the market hazardous products and causing offenders to replace with safer and more appropriate alternatives. Despite the mission of the agency, reports show that Nigerian consumers over the years have been subjected to severe exploitation. They have been continuously served with substandard, fake and at times, expired products. Producers and dealers even create artificial scarcity of products just to make excess profits. While consumers on their part accept and pay for goods without adequate assurance of quality or quantity. However, investigation showed challenges faced by consumers in enforcing their rights, which include; low level of literacy, absence of customer education about market trends and high poverty rate. Some customers are not aware of the role of CPC not to talk of taking their complaints to the agency. Against this background, our correspondent spoke to some consumers to ascertain if they were aware of their rights and how often they enforced it. Chukwudinma Simeon, an educationist, told BDSUNDAY that even if he was aware of his rights as a consumer that he was not interested in it. “An average Consumer Protection Right agent is not likely to provide you any service, unless he is sure of deriving benefit from it. So, the agent can only protect you if he stands to gain something from you,” Simeon said. According to him, “Assuming l have the resources to obtain justice, l might seek for their services. Look at this example, the governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode Babatunde Irukera, director-general, Consumer Protection Council banned hawking in the state and made it a punishable offence. “However, this has not deterred hawkers from constituting a nuisance ranging from sale of fake products to causing gridlock on the road.” He further observed that the law against hawkers was not being enforced because of the unwillingness of the agency to do so, alleging that the agency is rather, more interested in collecting gratification from offenders. “Such issues make existing laws of consumer protection unenforceable, with justice going to the highest bidder. It is not possible for a poor man who is also a poor consumer to get justice in Nigeria over a well to do manufacturer or merchant because he does not have the resources to pursue the case,” he said. Simeon therefore, stressed the need for the management of the agency to improve the psyche of its workers. “They should be trained to do their job better without fear or favour. If they do their jobs without compromise, consumers will have confidence in them and be willing to report any matter because they are sure to obtain justice,” he added. Okechukwu Eze, a subscriber to one of the biggest telecom service providers in the country said he did not know about CPC, while responding to questions about alleged spurious charges of one of the providers and their poor services. Eze said he was not aware of the existence of such body, adding that it would be a waste of his time and resources going to CPC or any other body saddled with the duties of consumer protection to register any complaint. According to him, the telecommunications service providers do not have regard for their customers, adding, “The service subscribers have systematically received from one of the providers in Nigeria with a major share of the market, a mix of rudeness, lies, disrespectful treatment and frustration. “They are aware that their Nigerian consumers do not have the financial backing to challenge them,” Eze said. Justina Okoro, a soft drink brand retailer at Okota, Isolo Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State, said she was aware of her rights and had on some occasioned used such rights. The middle-aged woman said she had last year gone to the soft drink manufacturer’s office in Ikeja with his lawyer to complain about adulterated drink containing cockroach. “After my lawyer wrote to the firm, they responded positively and rewarded me with branded cooler of the firm and some cre- ates of minerals; l was glad because l was compensated,” Okoro said. Consumers like Chidi Madu, Fumi Alawade, Olutayo Jackson, Tony Goodluck and Mohammed Oluwatayo said they would not like to make it an issue, because they did not have money to go to court. The existence of the imbalance of knowledge and power relationship between the producers of goods and services and customers, they said had resulted in the repulsive marketing environment and situations that consumers are being exposed to. “Another example is the ugly activities of the electricity distribution companies (Discos), where these companies keep their customers in perpetual darkness even after paying the cut-throat bills they charge in the name of estimated billing. These days, it is provoking for a consumer living in a 2- room apartment in say within Surulere, to be charged the sum of N20,000 (Twenty-thousand) for a month,” a retired female teacher, who They should be trained to do their job better without fear or favour. If they do their jobs without compromise, consumers will have confidence in them and be willing to report any matter because they are sure to obtain justice spoke on condition of anonymity, said Kenneth Aburo, an electricity consumer, also deplored the activities of PHCN, saying that it has reached the level where people should be prepared to raise alarm to the appropriate quarters. “I doubt if government agencies which have the duty of protecting consumers can confidently caution PHCN, not to talk of individuals. Consumers are deliberately deceived by some desperate producers and dealers; this is a common thing in the service industry. For instance, consumers of electricity are made to pay exorbitant estimated bills without commensurate services being rendered,” Aburo said. According to him, “In transportation, consumers are made to pay high transportation fares only to board rickety vehicles that break down on the road leaving them stranded with no refund of fare paid. “In all of these, Nigerian consumers’ apathy, ignorance, low level of education and poverty deny them the power to assert their rights,” he noted. Consumer rights activists are of the view that government has not lived up to its promises in protecting its consumers from the claws of manufacturers, businessmen and service providers whose main aim is to make profit at the expense of the populace. According to them, it will be wrong to suggest that there are no adequate laws that govern consumer protection in Nigeria. “The problem is not the non-availability of laws, but ignorance of the laws by consumers and the unwillingness of those in authority to implement them,” they said. In all, the activists stressed the need for CPC and other agencies saddled with the duties of protecting consumers’ rights in Nigeria to intensify their efforts in educating consumers on their rights. Such attempt they say will go a long way in enlightening Nigerians on steps to take when their rights as consumers are violated.

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