LAWYERS SAY LAGOS STATE’s JUSTICE DISPENSATION PROCESS FLIPS BACK TO OLD DAYS OF GO-SLOW

Some years ago when the Lagos State Government embarked on a reform process to transform the judicial processes in the State from slow pace of justice dispensation especially in civil and business matters by introducing the fast track route to the dispensation of justice, many across the nation applauded the initiative. The Lagos State new model of judicial process became the standard to be copied. And in truth, we got it on good source that the government of Osun State, indeed, copied the model to the last letters. However, a recent review of the judicial process in Lagos State by some legal experts indicated that there has been recidivism to the go-slow days when legal issues took years to be concluded by the State’s judiciary. This reversion to the tradition of the old days, according to stakeholders in the legal profession in Lagos State, is not unconnected to the large scale employment of judges in the State judiciary whose only claim to judicial excellence is their connection to influential politicians and office holders in the State.

A source confided in FORTUNE & CLASS Weekly that all manners of individuals with a claim to a degree in law are finding their ways on to the bench, yet these lacked the prerequisite of distinguished legal practice and commitment to the nuances of the bench. The story is said of the daughter of a political big wig in the State who was appointed a judge and assigned a court to administer but only ended up supervising the information technology department even though she is not a qualified ICT professional. It is also said of another that had long been engaged in business as cloth seller but was employed to the bench on account of her connection to another political big wig. These and many other misaligned employments to the bench had turned the State’s judiciary to a snarling, labourous justice dispensation platform. Even now, some lawyers are saying that Osun State government that borrowed the nimble fast track model from Lagos State has greatly enhanced its justice dispensation process compared to what obtains in Lagos State.

LET THE INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS PLAY THEIR GAME

The Nigerian stock market, last week, showed a robust sign of revving up for a rebound. Great! As I suggested last week, majority of stocks that showed promise of northward expression were in the banking and insurance sectors. On paper, there is so much money to be made with recently stricken otherwise blue chip stocks in the banking sector baring beggarly price tags with humbling price earning ratio after the onslaught of the bears.

However, I believe it is not yet time to run into the fray as the bulls take on the bears to change the character of the market. Whoever did not buy when the market was abysmally low should be patient enough to rest out the initial face of the upward swing, this is the way I see it and it’s going to be my position.

I have a hunch feeling the first set of price rising would benefit the skillful speculators that would be on the lookout to off load relative price increase on the easily excited peripheral market players that, expectedly would rush into the market, desperate to share in the lapping of the juice.

I’ll suggest you let the institutional players set the tone, they have bagful of funds, in another two weeks we should know where the market is truly headed for.

So, if you belong in my investment family, I counsel that you play the calm in the storm of the recent excitement.

LET THE INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS PLAY THEIR GAME

The Nigerian stock market, last week, showed a robust sign of revving up for a rebound. Great! As I suggested last week, majority of stocks that showed promise of northward expression were in the banking and insurance sectors. On paper, there is so much money to be made with recently stricken otherwise blue chip stocks in the banking sector baring beggarly price tags with humbling price earning ratio after the onslaught of the bears.

However, I believe it is not yet time to run into the fray as the bulls take on the bears to change the character of the market. Whoever did not buy when the market was abysmally low should be patient enough to rest out the initial face of the upward swing, this is the way I see it and it’s going to be my position.

I have a hunch feeling the first set of price rising would benefit the skillful speculators that would be on the lookout to off load relative price increase on the easily excited peripheral market players that, expectedly would rush into the market, desperate to share in the lapping of the juice.

I’ll suggest you let the institutional players set the tone, they have bagful of funds, in another two weeks we should know where the market is truly headed for.

So, if you belong in my investment family, I counsel that you play the calm in the storm of the recent excitement.

Promoting smoking habit?

What do we do with a drag of smoke? Perhaps, Nigeria’s President, Umar Musa Yar’Adua is convinced we need a smoke filled lung to clear our heads. I read in the papers the past week a new Nigerian Federal Government directive reducing duties payable on cigarettes imported into the country by 20 percent while retaining the 40 percent band on other imported goods the country frowns at.

With the universal outcry against smoking and processed tobacco, one would expect a retraction of the story hours after it was made public but till now, I am yet to get a retracted update. While I am not a dye-in-the wool anti tobacco crusader, I still strongly holds that the persuasive arguments of the unhealthy consequences of cigarette smoking should be enough to make any government castigate any effort that could tempt the use of cigarette by any member of the Nigerian populace. Certainly, a reduced price for a unit of cigarette is a tempting option.

Perhaps, the Nigerian government is calibrating a new path to ascendancy of the powerful and wealthy British American Tobacco Company that had established a strong outpost in the country, no one near government that I discussed with would affirm that. Or perhaps still, it is an imposition of the President habit on the nation. As improbable as this may sound, my private crosschecks seem to confirm that this may be the case. I understand from reliable sources that the President used to delight in cigarette smoking, nobody would dare confirm that he still does, of course for fears of federal reprimand. But there seem to be a connect, an ex (?) smoking president and a 50 per cent reduction in duties charged on cigarettes. Is somebody tallying the connect out there?  

I do not think it is appropriate to officially emblemize Nigeria as a nation of nicotine addict. The cost to us in the near future would be unbearable; we have enough of troubles than to contend with hefty health consequences of a habit that is dying out around the world, even as smokers in Nigeria are fervently in discourse with their makers to save them from the addiction.

STOCK MARKET REBOUND…WACTH OUT BEFORE YOU INVEST

The excitement returned to the Nigerian stock market last week when in two days in a roll the market recorded gains that had become foreign to a market that seems to be determined for a southern movement since March this year. For the first time in several weeks, the protracted decline in the measurement of performances of the market moved northward to the delight of investors and all of a sudden the scenario changed from a market saturated with stocks to one characterised by scarcity of stocks as investors desperate bids to buy certain shares were rebuffed by unavailability. Market analysts observed that volume of shares on offer dropped significantly, suggesting a possible retraction from selling, as investors hope for further price appreciation and the bid to purchase shares took an upturn indicating a possible restoration of investors’ confidence.

 

Some more perspective market watchers argued that the market is not yet an all comer affair. Those that offered to speak with FORTUNE & CLASS Weekly said they strongly believe that the market can for now be described as the players market…a market dominated by institutional investors and stock brokers. Private investigations conducted indicated that most small to medium investors wishing to join in the share buying fray so as to profit from the rock bottom prices of many of the now highly undervalued stocks were left in the lurch with bids unfulfilled.

 

Latest news in the market informed that the new momentum driving the market may not be unconnected with the early bird initiative of some commercial banks that have quickly exploited the opportunities offered about the extension of tenor for credit facilities for margin trading and the 360 days elongation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s expanded discount window.

 

The CBN’s new policy on discount window liberalises access to funds by commercial banks and also extends the repayment tenor of funds borrowed from the CBN through the discount window.

 

A market source confided that some of these early starter banks had provided funds for the purpose of shares purchase to stockbrokers, of course with a proviso for the preferences of shares to be purchased.

This, according to FORTUNE & CLASS source influenced the sudden liquidity position of the market. In light of this, another market player has suggested that small to medium size investors should be very careful not to get their fingers burnt in the supposed reawakening of the market.

 

I can tell you that great opportunities are on offer in the market right now with otherwise fundamentally strong stocks been priced at low price. But as the market seemingly embarked on a rebound, small to medium size investors should be wary of falling into a regretful pit. I want to suggest that investors take note of the following: Nobody is sure at the moment if the market has completely bottomed out. As things stand, institutional investors are engaged in what is called fishing the bottom market and i can tell you that this is an herculean task, because the upturn following a decline is often short lived and results in a continued price decline and hence a loss of capital for investors that purchased stocks during a misperceived or fake market bottom.

 

“Besides, nobody can tell for certain that the market will not revert to the bearish swing again as a result of speculators taking profit from the marginal capital appreciation enjoyed by some of the stocks that gained last week. And no one is sure that a small time investor will get his order for shares purchase effected by his or her stockbroker.”