Summary of the top business, economic and political news in Nigeria today.
- The Federal Government is hiring the United States technology giants such as Oracle Corporation and Microsoft Corporation as it steps up efforts to save costs and fight corruption. Other companies interested in taking on more work in Nigeria include IBM Corporation and Sweden’s Ericsson AB, the Managing Director of government-owned Galaxy Backbone, which provides technology services to the government, Yusuf Kazaure, said. Link
- The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), according to its Director General, Alex Okoh, is working with core investors in some privatised enterprises sold by deferred public offering to ensure they sell at least 20 percent of such entities to the market through public listing. Okoh said that Public listings remain a strategic objective of the reform and privatisation programme of the Federal Government. Link
- The Federal Government said on Tuesday that it borrowed N3.57tn between June 2015 and March 2017 to finance budget deficits. Link
- Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) paid N4 billion to 12,464 disengaged workers in the third quarter of last year, a Quarterly Summary Report of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), has shown. The breakdown of the report showed that the private sector accounted for 95.43 per cent, which amounted to 173,578 of the disengaged workers while the public sector accounted for 4.57 per cent, which is 8,305 workers. Link
- Chief Financial Officers, Heads of Finance and Tax Managers in some of the leading organisations across major industry groups in Nigeria have described the style of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, in assessment of additional tax liabilities as aggressive. Link
- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the nation recorded a growth rate of 51.1 per cent in employment level last month (June). According to a newly released employment index report which covers the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sub-sectors, the index in June 2017 stood at 51.1 and 53.4 points respectively, indicating growth rate in employment level for the second consecutive month. Link
- The federal government has in response to what it views as unsatisfactory general performance of operators in the sugar production sector in recent times, introduced new guidelines as well as putting in place benchmarks for raw sugar allocation. Under the new guideline, the Executive Secretary of NSDC, Dr. Latif Busari said that, operators would be required to submit their requests for quota sugar allocation for the following year in December of the preceding year and that the year 2017 allocation shall be the last in which sugar allocation shall be based on the old criteria including market/share refinery capacity. Link
- Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, has said that the National Action Plan, NAP-60 Plan, which major objective is to promote the ease of doing business in the country would save Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, in the country about N2.6 billion in registration cost annually. Link
- International oil companies (IOCs) operating in the country will continue to hold back on the divestment of onshore assets until after the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that governs fiscal terms, and the expiration of some of the joint venture onshore assets in 2019. A former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia has also hinted that the asset disposals will continue in the foreseeable future, with up to $12 billion of the portfolio of oil multinationals potentially up for grabs. Link
- Investors have traded a total of N54.75 trillion in the fixed income and currency market between January and May 2017. Of the transactions, N9.49 trillion was exchanged in the month of May alone, which was 7.9 per cent higher than the N8.79trillion traded in April. According to the FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, the month-on-month growth was primarily driven by increased trading activities experienced in the FX (Spot) and Repurchase Agreements (Repos)/Buy-Backs product categories. Link
- The Amukpe Escravos Pipeline Project (AEPP) belonging to Pan Ocean Oil Corporation, an indigenous exploration and production company in Nigeria’s upstream oil sector, is expected to come on stream before the end of 2017. Link
- The Federal Government on Tuesday in Abuja said it has provided N40 billion to settle reconciled outstanding electricity bills of its ministries and agencies. Link
- The Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA), says Nigeria can save N2 trillion from the importation of wheat, if appropriate measures are put in place to boost cassava cultivation. Link
- A drug trafficking syndicate generate $320 billion, approximately N115.2trillion annually, the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said yesterday. This is just as the agency said it arrested a total of 77,558 persons for drug trafficking between 2015 and last year. Link
- Nigeria’s cabinet has approved a National Gas Policy that aims to reduce the country’s dependence on crude oil by increasing gas exploration and facilities, the oil ministry said in a statement. The 100-page National Gas Policy seeks to set up a single independent petroleum regulator. It also aims to separate upstream from midstream operations and to separate gas infrastructure ownership and operations from gas trading, the oil ministry said. Link
- Nigeria plans to raise between 360 billion naira and 450 billion naira ($1.18 bln-$1.48 bln) in sovereign bonds maturing between five and 20 years in the third quarter, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said on Wednesday. The debt office added it would auction 90-120 billion naira in the five-year note and 135-165 billion in the 10-year and 20-year debt between July and September. Link
- ARM Life Plc, a life insurance company quoted on the NASD Plc, has opened application list for its N1 billion rights issue. It urged shareholders to subscribe for their rights. The application list, which opened June 30 would close August 9. ARM Life is offering about 1.929 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to its shareholders at a price of 52 kobo per share. Link
- Following recurrent cases of accidents and deaths among members of all registered cooperative societies in the state, the Lagos State Government, has appointed a consortium of seven insurance companies to mitigate losses that they might incur. Special Adviser on Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Mr. Benjamin Olabinjo said the insurance companies include STACO Insurance Plc, Industrial and General Insurance Company Plc, UBA Metropolitan Life Insurance Ltd and Capital Express Assurance Limited, AIICO Insurance Company Plc, ARM Life Plc and Cornerstone Insurance Plc, with the STACO Insurance Plc as the lead underwriter. Link
- The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said that it is impossible for the corporation to bring down the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol due to the high demand of the product in the country. Link
- Addax Petroleum has agreed to pay 31 million Swiss francs ($32 million) to settle charges of suspected bribery of foreign officials, the Geneva prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday. Prosecutors for the Swiss canton of Geneva investigated the company, whose chief executive officer and legal director were also charged, over several tens of millions of dollars in payments to a company and several lawyers in Nigeria. A four-month investigation found the payments were not sufficiently documented and doubts remained on their legality, but no criminal intent was established, the Geneva prosecutor’s office said in a statement. Link
- The Transmission Company of Nigeria will complete over 200 projects to improve power supply to the distribution companies, Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, said on Wednesday. Link
- Following the strategic partnership earlier sealed between Interswitch, Africa’s leading integrated payments and transaction switching company and EVSL, developers of FuelVoucher in 2015, the distribution network of the electronic fuel purchasing solution has been further broadened considerably in further partnership with three of the leading downstream oil marketing firms, OVH Energy Marketing, Forte Oil & RainOil in Lagos. Link
- Ashaka Cement Plc has voluntarily delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for violation of the exchange free float deficiency provision of 20 per cent. Link
- The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Joseph Nnanna, has emerged as the new Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria, and will henceforth lead the company’s new Board of Directors. Also appointed to the board of Etisalat Nigeria are Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth, Mr. Ken Igbokwe, Mr. Boye Olusanya and Mrs. Funke Ighodaro. While Bickersteth and Igbokwe will act as non-executive directors, Olusanya assumes office as the Chief Executive Officer to replace Mr. Matthew Willsher; and Ighodaro takes over from Mr. Olawole Obasunloye as the Chief Finance Officer. Etisalat Nigeria said in statement that Willsher was retained as an adviser to the new CEO “till his contract with the company runs out in December 2017.” Link
- Etisalat, in partnership with Support Microfinance Bank has simplified access to loans through the launch of its new service, KwikCash. The service, which is currently available only on the Etisalat network, was developed for subscribers who have bank accounts and need to access cash loans to settle urgent financial needs. It enables customers to get instant loans with ease using their mobile phones. Link
- The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, says the cost of producing crude oil in Nigeria was reduced by $5 dollars within the last one year. The Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, said on Tuesday in a podcast to the corporation’s staff to mark his one year in office adding that the company was able to lower its production/operating costs from $27 per barrel to $22. Link
- A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered an interim forfeiture of the sums of N500m and $500,000 said to have been looted from the Paris Club refunds made by the Federal Government in favour of the 36 states of the federation. The sums of money, said to have been recovered from two firms, First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited, and Gosh Projects Limited, were allegedly linked to Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Abdulaziz Yari. Link
Ecobank Transnational to hold AGM by proxies on June 30th
Due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, ETI said the AGM will be held by proxies.
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has announced the date and venue of its 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM). According to a disclosure that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the company’s AGM and an Extraordinary Meeting are scheduled to hold on June 30th, 2020, at Eko Hotels and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, ETI said the AGM will be held by proxies. The proxy AGM is expected to enable the Pan-African financial institution to abide by the directives issued by governments and agencies regarding COVID-19 and how to contain its spread.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, ETI intends to strictly comply with this restriction in addition to other applicable health and safety measures. Accordingly, attendance at this year’s General Meetings shall be mainly by proxies in accordance with the Articles of Association of the Company and applicable law,” a statement by the company said.
To this end, shareholders have been advised to select any of the company’s top executives (including the Chairman, Emmanuel Ikazoboh, and the MD of Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan) to represent and vote on their behalf during the AGM. Proxy forms may be downloaded from the company’s website, filled, and submitted in advance.
Meanwhile, the issues that are up for discussion during the AGM and the Extra Ordinary meeting are enumerated below.
Annual General Meeting
1. Approval of the accounts
2. Appropriation of the Profits
3. Election of Directors
4. Ratification of the co-option of directors
5. Renewal of the appointment of the joint auditors
6. Approval of the Final Board Fees for Retiring Directors
Extraordinary General Meeting
1. Withdrawal of resolution on consolidation of shares
2. Amendment of the Articles
Note that in Q1 2020, ETI reported profited after-tax from continuing operation of N66.4 billion, marking a 19% decline when compared to N81.9 billion during the comparable period in 2019.
ETI’s share price on the Nigerian Stock Exchange closed Friday’s trading session at N5.55. The company has a market capitalisation of about N137.3 billion according to information obtained from Bloomberg.
NNPC raises alarm over low grade, contaminated diesel in the market
This warning was contained in a report by the Managing Director, NNPC Retail Limited Managing Director, Dr. Billy Okoye, who also admonished motorists to be careful of the off-spec products.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has raised alarm over the circulation of low grade and contaminated AGO, popularly known as diesel, which is offered at discounted prices in some parts of the country.
This was disclosed in a press release by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr Kennie Obateru, on Friday June 5, 2020.
This warning was contained in a report by the Managing Director, NNPC Retail Limited Managing Director, Dr. Billy Okoye, who also admonished motorists to be careful of the off-spec products.
The state oil giant, in the press statement, said, “The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has raised an alarm over prevalent low grade and contaminated AGO, otherwise called diesel, offered at discounted prices in parts of the country.”
Dr. Okoye, stated that the warning became necessary because the low grade contaminated diesel is harmful to machines and the environment. He explained that NNPC Retail Ltd is a market leader and therefore considered it incumbent upon it to alert the general public on the circulation of these low grade products.
While urging consumers of the product to patronize the oil firm’s service stations where the quality of their products was assured, Dr. Okoye gave assurances that NNPC Retail Limited dealt only in premium high-quality products in the interest of Nigerian motorists and users.
Unlike the premium motor spirit otherwise known as petrol, which was operating a fixed price regime and had NNPC as the sole importer, the diesel products were deregulated and had other independent marketers apart from NNPC importing the products as well.
The intense competition and unhealthy drive for profit, in addition to poor regulation, could have given rise to this.
CBN debits banks another N459.7 billion for failure to meet CRR target
Sadly, this move, in addition to similar policies by the CBN, has left many banks cash-strapped and unable to pursue various profitable ventures.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debited twenty-six banks, including merchant banks, to the tune of N459.7 billion for failure to meet their CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) obligations. The fresh debit, which Nairametrics reliably gathered occurred yesterday, has left many stakeholders in the banking sector very upset.
The details: Among the banks that were most affected are United Bank for Africa Plc (N82.3 billion), First Bank of Nigeria Ltd (N59.3), Zenith Bank Plc (N50 billion), First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited (N45 billion), and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (N40 billion). The rest of the affected banks can be seen in the table below.
Note that the latest CRR debits are coming barely one month after a lot of banks were collectively debited to the tune of N1.4 trillion for the same reason in April. Between then and now, a lot of other minor CRR debits have occurred. Nairametrics understands that the apex bank now debits banks on a weekly basis.
Some backstory: During the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting that was held last month, committee members voted to retain CRR rate at 27.5%. The rate was increased in January this year from 5% to its current level after the apex bank cited inflationary pressure concerns. What this means, therefore, is that Nigerian banks are required to keep 27.5% of their deposits as CRR with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
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But banks are silently upset: Sadly, this move, in addition to similar policies by the CBN, has left many banks cash-strapped and unable to pursue various profitable ventures. While reacting to the latest development, a banker who refused to be identified, said:
“What we’ve seen in recent times is that the CBN just indiscriminately debits banks, usually towards the stale-end of every week. They will look at your bank account and if your liquidity is plenty, they will debit you.
“You know the central bank also does what we call retail FX intervention, that is when they sell FX to corporates. Now, because they don’t want banks coming with huge demands, what they do is that a day before the FX sales, they debit the banks so that the naira you have available is small and you cannot put them under pressure because of your FX demands. That has really been the driver.
“We understand that the central bank had set up a special CRR team that is supposed to monitor banks’ CRR once a month. But now, the team monitors banks’ CRR on a weekly basis. This is why the central bank is effectively debiting banks on a weekly basis. Some weeks ago, they debited some banks about N1.4 trillion. That was one of many. Between that time and now, there have been more debits that have happened. But the debits that are huge/significant are what is troubling the banks. There was a N300 billion that happened about two weeks ago. and then yesterday that was this N459.7 billion that was also debited.
“These are huge amounts that are leaving the banking sector. It’s a squeeze on the banks. A bank like First Bank, for instance, has about N1.4 trillion in CRR with the Central Bank. And there is Zenith Bank with equally as much as N1.5 trillion. These are monies that banks can potentially put in loans at 52% at 30%, or even put in money market instruments at maybe 10%. So, for a shareholder of these banks, this CRR debits are impairing the banks’ ability to increase their earnings because now are not able to use the funds that are legitimately theirs to create money for their shareholders. And the question is that under what framework is the Central Bank choosing to take people’s money?”
Heterodox Policies: The CBN has deployed several policies in the past two years that defy conventional solutions wisdom all in a bit to contain the devaluation of the naira and support fiscal measures that are yet to be complimentary.
This is why some analysts suggest this CRE policy is another one of those policies. An analyst with knowledge of this matter inform Nairametrics that it appears the CBN no longer relies on the 22.5% CRR charge but rather arbitrarily debit bank accounts.
Understanding CRR: The cash reserve requirement is the minimum amount banks are expected to retain with the Central Bank of Nigeria from customer deposits. In January, the CRR was increased from 5% to 27.5% by the CBN Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) who explained that the decision was intended to address monetary-induced inflation whilst retaining the benefits from the CBN’s LDR policy.