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ECL Press Centre


Five states have applied for loan – Governor

Five states have so far completed the process of borrowing from the Federal Government’s facilitated N90bn budget support loan from the private sector.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, disclosed this on Thursday while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Emmanuel quoted the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, as briefing the council that one state declined to apply for the loan. He said the minister informed the council members that the first tranche of N50bn bond would soon be issued, while the balance of N40bn would be released later.

The governor neither disclosed the five states that had completed the process nor the one that declined, saying it was premature to do so.

He said, “The Minister of Finance also briefed the council on the Federal Government’s N90bn budget support loan facility for states at nine per cent interest rate.

“She said five states have completed the process for borrowing from the budget support loan.”

FG shuts NERFUND, sends workers on indefinite leave

The Federal Government on Thursday shut the operations of the National Economic Reconstruction Fund following the crisis that had crippled the agency in the last three weeks.

It also directed all the workers of the agency to proceed on an indefinite leave pending further action that would be taken on the crisis.

A notice on the shutdown of the agency was on Thursday issued by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Dutse, to members of staff of the organisation. The notice read in part, “Following recent developments in your organisation and failure to reconcile the differences between the executive management and the entire staff in spite of the ministry’s intervention on the matter, the Federal Ministry of Finance has decided to close down your agency with immediate effect to forestall a further breakdown of law and order.

“Consequently, all members of staff should proceed on an indefinite leave pending further instructions from the ministry.”

When contacted, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Festus Akanbi, confirmed the development.

BoI, Abia float N1bn lifeline for SMEs

The Bank of Industry and the Abia State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide N1bn to the Small and Medium Enterprise operators in the state.

A statement from BoI quoted the Acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, as explaining during the  MoU signing ceremony at the Government House, Umuahia, that the N1bn SME development fund would be equally contributed by the bank and the state government for onward lending to yearning entrepreneurs in the state, particularly those engaged in value addition and processing.

He said, “What we are trying to do now is to accentuate the industrialisation of Abia State, particularly in the SME sector vertically and horizontally, to increase the level of entrepreneurship in the state with its attendant multiplier effects.

We have approval to spend on roads – Fashola

The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday said his ministry had received the required authority to spend on road projects.

According to him, the government will pay more attention to roads with the highest traffic, citing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as an example.

The Federal Government had on Tuesday announced that so far it had released N280bn from the N350bn set aside for capital projects as contained in the 2016 budget. “We have sent about N280bn for projects that have been scrutinised and the release will be for special projects,” the Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said in Abuja.

Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at an event organised by the Kukah Centre, Fashola said, “There’s a saying that Fashola is not doing anything, but I’ve only been here for seven months. I just received the authority to expend money two days ago; so, without the budget, there is no magic that one can do.

“What we have started to do is to persuade contractors who believe that this administration has integrity as laid by the President and some of my colleagues, because they believe that if we commit to it, we will do it. So, some of them have gone back to start work.

Senate passes law on made-in-Nigeria products

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to re-enact the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

The law will, among other things, make it mandatory for government at all levels to give priority to locally-manufactured products in all their procurement.

The decision of the federal lawmakers followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Public Procurement led by Senator Joshua Dariye. The law was entitled, “A Bill for an Act to amend The Public Procurement Act to provide for and adopt a local content policy and timely completion of procurement processes and other related matters.”

Dariye said the bill, when assented to, would amend relevant sections of the 2007 Procurement Act to favour the patronage of local manufacturers and ensure speedy completion of projects.

According to him, the bill seeks to amend Section 15(1) of the Act by inserting additional clauses that will close the gap created by the Act, which is currently encouraging sharp practices in government’s procurement processes.

Dariye said, “Similarly, the issue of disposal, which is an integral aspect of procurement, has been aptly captured by the amendment in the new sub-clause 1(e). The committee has equally sustained the amendments of Section 34(1, 2) sought by the bill for the purpose of patronising made in Nigeria goods; this will go a long way to encourage our Nigerian manufacturers.

MDAs’ electricity debt’ll be cleared before December – FG

The Federal Government on Thursday announced that it would liquidate the historical electricity debts owed power distribution companies by its various Ministries, Departments and Agencies before the end of this year.

This is coming as the Nigerian Energy Support Programme, an agency of the European Union, declared that the EU would support the country’s energy efficiency drive in buildings with €150m for a period of five years.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated that his ministry had met with the Ministry of Defence, the Debt Management Office and other key stakeholders on how to clear the huge electricity debts by the various MDAs. Last month, electricity distribution companies in the country commenced the mass disconnection of chronic debtors, who allegedly owed them N94bn, as they stressed that the debts were hampering their operations.

Responding to a question on the indebtedness of the MDAs during a programme organised by the Kukah Centre in Abuja, Fashola said, “We are in the process of winding down those debts; I’m speaking with the Debt Management Office, for we met just two days ago and we are proposing options for winding down those inherited debts.

BoI, Abia float N1bn lifeline for SMEs

The Bank of Industry and the Abia State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide N1bn to the Small and Medium Enterprise operators in the state.

A statement from BoI quoted the Acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, as explaining during the  MoU signing ceremony at the Government House, Umuahia, that the N1bn SME development fund would be equally contributed by the bank and the state government for onward lending to yearning entrepreneurs in the state, particularly those engaged in value addition and processing.

He said, “What we are trying to do now is to accentuate the industrialisation of Abia State, particularly in the SME sector vertically and horizontally, to increase the level of entrepreneurship in the state with its attendant multiplier effects. “We need to add value to our products rather than exporting them in their crude form to countries where they are processed and sent back to us with more value and we pay heavily for them. The per capita incomes of those countries get much higher than we have here, and the quality of life and living standards are also much higher than we have here.

“By our estimation in the BoI, through every N1bn we lend, we are able to generate close to 10,000 jobs. And as resources permit, we can also increase the pool of funds. This is just a framework that we intend to start with.”

He announced that the bank was aiming to open a branch in Umuahia to enable it to bring more of its products and services closer to entrepreneurs in Abia State.

CAP posts N2.57bn profit before tax

CAP Plc, a subsidiary of UAC of Nigeria Plc and manufacturer of Dulux, has delivered a N2.17bn profit before tax despite the challenging economic and business environment.

It recorded a turnover of N7.06bn, a growth of one per cent and profit before tax of N2.57bn, which represented an increase of five per cent compared to 2014.

The Chairman, CAP Plc, Mr. Larry Ettah, in his address at the firm’s Annual General Meeting in Lagos, said, “On the strength of this performance, the Board of Directors has recommended a final dividend of N840m representing 120 kobo for every 50 kobo ordinary share to shareholders on the Register of Members at the close of business on May 27, 2016 for consideration and approval.

“This is in addition to the interim dividend of 115 kobo per share paid on December 15, 2015. This brings the total dividend for 2015 financial year to N1.645bn, representing 235 kobo per share.”

Firm to lead N25bn NEGPRO project

A food production company, Tuns Farms Nigeria, specialising in the production of  broiler meat and other poultry derivatives, will lead the Federal Government’s  National Egg Production Project.

NEGPRO is a N25bn programme under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s anchor borrowers scheme through the Bank of Industry. It is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture aimed at increasing the output of egg production in the country to 50 million by 2018.

A statement from the organisers indicated that under the terms of the deal signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and the Chairman, Tuns Farm, Olatunde Badmus, Tuns Farm would recommend eligible entrepreneurs to access the N25bn facility as well as endorse their loan requirements and application and monitor their activities within the scheme.

Oyo rural farmers benefit from BATNF cassava initiative

Members of the Otu Community, in Itesiwaju Local Government Area of Oyo State, are the beneficiaries of the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation’s Cassava Enterprise Value-chain Development Projects.

A statement from the firm quoted the Field Supervisor, BATNF-International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Oke-Ogun, Olatunde Ogunsanya, as saying that BATNF’S agricultural interventions had had positive impact on the lives and businesses of the beneficiaries.

Ogunsanya stated that about 46 smallholder farmers, including women who originally operated at the subsistence level, now own hectares of farmland, including having access to inputs such as improved varieties of cassava stems, pesticides and herbicides to preserve their crops. He added that the interventions had enabled them to better contend with farming challenges such as lack of capital even while empowering them with technical know-how to the extent that some of them were now operating at commercial levels.

He said, “Due to support from BATNF, the farmers now work on a large scale, with established market links giving an average woman farmer the growth opportunity to net over N500,000 annually.”

According to him, BATNF kicked off its three-cycle cassava project in Otu community in Oyo State in 2014, starting with 30 smallholder farmers adding that the list has since grown to 46.

“Significantly, about 150 smallholders in Otu, Ogboro, Igboho, and Ago-Are communities of Oyo State are currently benefiting from the BATNF’s interventions through the technical partnership with the IITA.”


‘Benin Republic Agric Exports $200 Higher Than Nigeria’s’

Agricultural products exported from the Republic of Benin are bought at $200 more than the amount offered for agriculture exports from Nigeria, the chairman of the Commodity Exporters Association of Nigeria (CEAN), Mr Bunmi Olumekun, has said.

Olumekun while speaking with journalists on a new port cost regime for agriculture export cargoes, lamented that the importing countries offer $200 more for cashew exports from the Port of Cotonou.

He explained that the trend was encouraging smuggling of the cashew product from Nigeria through Ogbomosho to the Port of Cotonou, where the products are repackaged and exported for the exporters to earn more.

“Recently I was in Dubai with Segun Awolowo, who is the CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), where we found out that the value of Cotonou produce is $200 higher than Nigerian. For this reason, our cashew produce are being smuggled through Ogbomosho and smuggled to Cotonou where they are packed as products from there and are better paid for. It was very disheartening to discover this,” he said.

Olumekun called on the federal government to help improve the quality of commodities from Nigeria, as well as instill sanity in the port processes, noting that the agencies at the port were not following international guidelines on exportation.

“They (government agencies at the port)are not following international rules on export. We are harassed and unduly delayed by government agencies for reason of trying to ascertain content of a certain container

FG Saving N1.4trn Annually From Subsidy Removal – Kachikwu

The recent removal of subsidy from the pump price of premium motor spirit is saving the federal government over N1.4 trillion that would have been expended on subsidy claims per annum, the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said.

Speaking when he visited the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the minister explained that the deregulation policy has also re-awakened the downstream sector and would help the nation become a net exporter of petroleum products in a few years.

“We now have a lot of people who are interested in investing in our refineries and building more refineries and we will remain committed to the goal which is to reduce importation of petroleum products by 60 per cent by the end of 2018 and become a net exporter of petroleum products by 2019,”he said.

Kachikwu in a statement yesterday by the board noted that with the fall in crude oil prices and reduced investment in the sector; the NCDMB must re-strategise and transit from its role of just propagating local content and local participation to one of finding commonality with industry stakeholders to encourage investment.

Kachikwu also stated that the corporate restructuring initiated in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has reduced the average monthly loss recorded by the corporation from N40 billion in the recent past to N3 billion, while efforts remained on target to achieve profitability before the end of 2016, a feat that had not been recorded in 20years.

CBN Optimistic Naira Will Settle At 250 Per Dollar

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is reasonably optimistic the naira would settle at around N250 to the U.S. dollar after an initial period of weakness following a flotation on Monday, the bank’s governor has said in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, according to Reuters.

Nigeria’s central bank said on Wednesday it would begin market-driven foreign currency trading next week, abandoning the peg of N197 naira per dollar that it has supported for 16 months.

Foreign investors and economists have called for months for devaluation as chronic foreign currency shortages choked economic growth and deterred investment.

The naira is expected to fall sharply when interbank trading begins on Monday, but the central bank said it did not have a target for the currency and the price would be purely market-driven. The naira was trading on the black market at around N370 to the dollar on Thursday.

Giving the first indication of a target, Governor Godwin Emefiele said in a June 3 letter to Buhari — seen by Reuters — that the central bank hopes the naira will eventually trade at around N250 per dollar, a level the president has “approved”.

Stock Market Sustains Upbeat Following CBN’s Flexible FX Announcement

The Nigerian stock market sustained bullish trend on Thursday with a gain of 2.14 per cent, as investors’ appetite remained strong following the release of the full guideline and framework for the CBN’s flexible exchange rate policy.

The lead indicator, NSE-ASI gained 579.91 absolute points or 2.14 per cent to close at 28,489.97 points. Similarly, the market capitalisation gained N205.36 billion to close at N9.78 trillion.

Reviewing the sectoral indices showed that the Banking index gained by 3.10 per cent, followed by Insurance with a gain of 1.60 per cent, while Consumer Goods appreciated 2.81 per cent.

Also, Industrial Goods was up by 2.17 per cent, while Oil & Gas index rose by 0.73 per cent.

Market breadth remained positive, with 32 gainers versus 17 losers. Champion Breweries led the gainers’ table with 9.87 per cent, to close at N3.34 per share. Unity Bank followed with a gain of 8.33 per cent to close at N1.17, while Wema Bank advanced by 6.33 per cent to close at 84 kobo per share.

Nigerian Breweries gained by 5.99 per cent to close at N141.76, while Oando appreciated by 5.63 per cent to close at N7.32 per share.

On the other hand, Glaxosmith led the laggards’ table by 9.65 per cent to close at N14.13 per share. Wapco trailed with a loss of 6.17 per cent to close at N74.01, while Learn Africa declined by 4.11 per cent to close at 70 kobo per share.

TUC Set To Inject N80Bn Into Unity Bank

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is set to acquire majority shares in Unity Bank subject to the approval of all the concerned authorities in the banking sector.

TUC president, Mr Bobboi Kaigama told newsmen in Lagos yesterday that the trade union body intend to inject N80 billion spread over several years to acquire 57 per cent stake in Unity Bank.

Kaigama, who spoke at the corporate head office of the bank in Lagos after a workshop between TUC officials and the management of Unity Bank said that the trade union body was set to significantly improve the lots of workers in the country.

“We intend to acquire 57 per cent shares of Unity Bank once the necessary due diligence are done. We are thinking of investing something in the region of N80 billion into the bank and ultimately turn it into workers bank,” he said.

On how the trade union body would raise the funds, Kaigama said an international organisation was planning to inject $1 billion into the country for workers’ welfare adding that public servants would also be encouraged to buy shares in the bank and own part of it.

“There is strength in numbers. I have done it in the past while in Taraba State when I set up a small contributory scheme for workers. What we did was for each civil servant to contribute N300 and we all agree not to touch the funds for six months. After that people can now apply for loan. If you apply for N100, 000 will give you N95, 000 and you pay the full amount within a specified period of time. That little scheme then is now worth over N250 million,” he said.

Petrol Import Eases With 339,320MT Billed For Lagos Ports

Importation of the premium motor spirit, popularly known as fuel appears to have improved drastically, with an unprecedented 339,320 metric tons (MT) in just two weeks since the federal government announced a liberalised policy for the product’s importers.

A document of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) showing details of ships expected at the seaports and jetties in Lagos showed that of a total of 27 ships expected between June 15 and 30, 2016, six are laden with fuel carrying 168,932MT of the product.

Meanwhile, the shipping position also indicated that another seven vessels have been awaiting berth at the various jetties in Lagos with a total of 170,388MT of fuel.

The ships are expected at the Single Buoy Mooring (SBM), Atlas Cove Jetty (ACJ), New Oil Jetty (NOJ), Bulk Oil Plant (BOP) and the Petroleum Wharf, Apapa (PWA).

Other vessels expected at the ports within the period are laden various cargoes. Ten of the vessels are loaded with containers and are expected to be received by the country’s largest container terminal, APM Terminals, Apapa.

ENL Terminal would receive two vessels carrying a total of 7,612MT of fish, a far cry from what the country used to import, possibly due to the fish quota policy to discourage massive importation of the product. However, smuggling of the product continues unabated at the land borders, as fish importers resort to using ports of neighboring countries.

FG Develops 3-Phased Road Map For Improved Power – Fashola

The Federal Government says it has developed a three-phased roadmap aimed at ensuring improved electricity generation, transmission, and distribution in the country.

The Minster of Power Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, stated this in Abuja on Thursday when he featured at the inaugural edition of the `Podium`, a forum with the theme: “Fixing Nigeria’’.

The forum was organised by the Kuka Centre, a Nigeria-based policy research institute with the objective of ensuring that political leadership is a collaborative exercise requiring multiple governance structures at various levels

“For power, the plan is a road map of three faces, the first phase is incremental power, the second phase is steady power and the third phase is uninterrupted power.“

He said the optimum capacity of power that Nigeria had produced in its 66 years of existence was 5,074 megawatts of power

He said it was that reason government decided to design a road map for improved power supply.

According to him, the 5,074 megawatts was not enough to service the energy needs of the growing population, hence the need to get more power through incremental process.

He said the incremental process would entail the deployment of rural electrification implementation plan, adding that strategies had been drawn to ensure full implementation of the plan.

FG Generates N34bn From Sale Of DSO Spectrum

The Federal Government says it has generated N34 billion from sale of one-third of the spectrum for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Mohammed Bawa, the Vice Chairman of Cable Channel Nig. Ltd (CCNL) disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a workshop organised for stakeholders on Digital Switch Over (DSO)
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture to educate stakeholders on the UK experience on DSO.

Bawa, who is also a DSO content aggregator and owner of Free TV, said the funds realised and that being expected would be ploughed back to finance the switch over project.

He said the situation was different from the UK experience where broadcasters financed their DSO.“In the UK, the broadcasters financed the project, but in Nigeria, we are trying to use the digital dividends to finance the project.
“At the moment, the one-third of the spectrum that had been sold, generated N34 billion and I believed that when the remaining two-third are sold, we will be able to generate more funds,’’ he said.

He commended the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for inviting the former Director of DSO in the UK, Alex Pumfrey to the workshop to share her experience with participants.

“The workshop enlightened stakeholders in the digital process in Nigeria and gave us the background on how the UK transformed from analogue to digital.
“We are using the workshop to take stock and see how we are doing at the moment.


Africa spends $35 billion on food importation

Africa needs to increase its investment in science and technology to become more efficient and competitive in agriculture and to diversify its economies; this is according to Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

“Africa spends $35 billion in importing food; it is projected that the number will grow to $110 billion by 2025. Africa is importing what it should be producing, creating poverty within Africa and exporting jobs to other continents,” he lamented.

“Africa’s potential that requires being unlocked is massive as it has 65 per cent of the world’s arable land,” he added. “But Africa cannot eat potential.”

According to the United Nations’ 2015 World Population Prospect Report, 2.4 billion people are projected to be added to the global population between 2015 and 2050, with 1.3 billion in Africa alone.

This means if Africa realises the potential, it will feed over nine billion by 2050.

“What Africa does with agriculture has far reaching impact beyond the region; it will shape the future of food in the world that’s why greater investment in the space is a pre-requisite,” added Adesina.

He also decried that Africa’s agriculture sector has been looked at, in the past, as developmental and part of the social sector.

“This approach has not been helpful, the focus has always been viewed in terms of managing rural poverty and not wealth creation,” he added.

“This sector accounts for about 60 per cent in the labour force in many African economies barely contribute much in terms of revenue for governments.”

He said the high level of poverty in many rural communities demonstrated that there was much lip service being paid

Naira in steady rally, gains 15k on new forex regime

Nigeria’s currency, the naira, yesterday continued to gain more value against foreign currencies a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released the details of the flexible policy for the management of the foreign exchange in the country.

Checks among Bureaux de Change ( BDCs) operators in Abuja indicated that the naira gained 15 kobo and 17 kobo respectively between Wednesday and yesterday following the apprehension and latter release of the details of the policy which restricted the market to a single window, thereby blocking opportunities for easy round- tripping and arbitrage by speculators .

Ahead of the takeoff of the interbank operations under the new regime of flexible exchange rate policy, there are indications that the naira float will terminate at N300 per dollar beginning from Monday. And barely 24 hours following the introduction of the new foreign exchange regime, the National Economic Council (NEC) rose from its 69th meeting yesterday endorsing the policy and describing it as a means of boosting the nation’s economy.

Capital market participants who spoke with The Guardian yesterday noted that expectations are high; that the new policy would enable the high currency volatility risk to subside, thereby encouraging foreign investors  to take advantage of the opportunities in naira-denominated instruments.

The exchange rate against the naira fell from the N370 / $ level it traded on Wednesday to N365/ $ yesterday morning and by evening settled at N355 / $, a development that excited some NDCs operators, who before now had resorted to the importation of hard currencies from Britain, Saudi Arabia and until recently, neighbouring Ghana.

Government to save N1.4tr from subsidy yearly, says Kachikwu

The Federal Government would be saving a huge N1.4trillion subsidy annually on the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil sector, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said.

A statement by the Head Public Affairs Officer of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Ejiro Dortie, quoted Kachikwu as saying this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State while on an official visit to the NCDMB.

Kachikwu explained that the deregulation policy had also re-awakened the downstream sector and would help the nation become a net exporter of petroleum products in a few years.

The minister said, “We now have a lot of people who are interested in investing in our refineries and building more refineries and we will remain committed to the goal which is to reduce importation of petroleum products by 60 per cent by the end of 2018 and become a net exporter of petroleum products by 2019.”

He described NCDMB as a critical agency in the petroleum industry and expressed delight that the Board had the right personnel to deliver on its mandate.

He recalled the Board’s lofty achievements in the last six years of existence, noting that every Nigerian appreciated the good work that it had achieved.

He further pledged to provide the right support and encouragement for the Board to deliver on its targets.


CAP reassures as shareholders approve N1.64b dividend

The board and management of CAP Plc have assured that the company would continue to explore opportunities to grow its business and deliver competitive returns to shareholders in spite of the macroeconomic challenges.

At the annual general meeting at Golden Tulip Festac, yesterday in Lagos, shareholders of the leading paint company approved a final dividend of N840 million, representing a dividend per share of N1.20. CAP had earlier paid an interim dividend per share of N1.15 on December 15, 2015, bringing total dividend for 2015 business year to N1.645 billion or N2.35 per share.

Notwithstanding the contraction in purchasing power and the constraints in the macro economy, CAP, a subsidiary of UAC of Nigeria Plc, showed steadied performance with turnover rising by one per cent to N7.06 billion while profit before tax inched up by five per cent to N2.57 billion.

Addressing the shareholders, chairman, CAP Plc, Mr Larry Ettah, said the board and management have worked out mitigating strategies to curtail the adverse impact of macroeconomic challenges on the performance of the company.

He noted that while the largely expansionary fiscal policy of the government will seek to stimulate economic activities and generate employment and thus impact on companies such as CAP, the acute shortage of foreign exchange that started this year could adversely affect corporate performance.

CBN sets aside N500b for loans to non-oil exporters

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is setting aside N500 billion (about $2.5 billion) for loans to non-oil exporters, after a slump in oil revenues led to the worst crisis in Africa’s biggest economy in decades.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member, whose economy shrank 0.4 per cent in the first quarter, has been  hard hit by a slump in global oil prices as it relies on sales of crude for around 70 per cent of national income and 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings.

The CBN said it “will invest in a N500 billion debenture to be issued by Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM)” as part of a bid to diversify the country’s revenues away from crude.

Nigeria was Africa’s top oil producer until a series of militant attacks on pipelines pushed crude production to a 30-year low. The value of its exports, mostly crude, plunged 52 per cent to N1.27 trillion in the three months to March from a year ago.

It expects to nearly double its non-oil revenues this year to counter the effects of lost crude income.


Lafarge Africa Raises N60 billion from Bond Issuance

Lafarge Africa Plc on Thursday announced the conclusion of its Series I and II N60 billion Bond Issuance. It three year 14.75 per cent Bond due 2019 ( Series 1 Bond) and N33.614 billion five year 14.75 per cent bond due 2021 (Series 11 Bond).

The proceeds of the bond issuance will be used to part-refinance the debt of its wholly-owned subsidiary, United Cement Company of Nigeria Limited.

The dual-series issuance, the first of its kind and largest ever bond issuance by a corporate in Nigeria’s debt capital markets, was concluded through book building with the order book oversubscribed. A signing ceremony in respect of the Series I and Series II Bonds was held on June 15, 2016, following the Securities & Exchange Commission’s approval. The bonds will be listed on FMDQ-OTC. Chapel Hill Denham acted as Lead Financial Adviser, Lead Issuing House and Lead Book Runner on the transaction. Citibank Nigeria acted as Joint Lead Financial Adviser and Book Runner with Standard Chartered and Stanbic IBTC as Joint Issuing Houses and Book Runners. Commenting at the signing ceremony, Chairman, Lafarge Africa, Chairman, Mr. Bolaji Balogun said: “This largest ever bond issuance by a corporate in Nigeria’s capital markets, affirms Lafarge Africa’s reputation as a prime issuer. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from domestic institutional investors, especially the Nigerian pension funds. We also wish to thank the SEC for its support on the completion of the transaction.”

Airlines to Save N30bn Annually from Local Refining of Jet-A1

With about 2million litres demand daily, Nigerian airlines may be saving over N30 billion annually if aviation fuel, known as Jet A1 is refined locally.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika told Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) recently that was in talks with his counterparts in the Ministry of Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu on how to dedicate one of the three refineries in the country to Jet A1 refining. Airlines said the product is sold at exorbitant rate to them because it is imported and there are too many costs that go with the importation, including demurrage, transportation and storage, which are added to every litre of fuel sold to the airline. Besides, the uncertainty created by the scarcity of the product keeps some passengers away.

Aside the high exchange rate also reflects in the final prices of the product, which explains why international airlines are buying fuel at cheaper rate because of the low price of crude, whereas Nigerians are still buying the product at outrageous prices. In addition, the scarcity of the product usually spreads panic among airlines and air travellers due to uncertainty, which in turn sends the prices higher and sustains the cartel, which allegedly fix the prices; as the airlines believe they would have been generating more money if tickets are cheaper because more passengers will be attracted to the airports.


Egypt raises key interest rates by 100 basis points

gypt's central bank raised its key interest rates by 100 basis points at its monetary policy meeting on Thursday, following a jump in inflation last month.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised the overnight deposit rate to 11.75 percent from 10.75 percent and the overnight lending rate was raised to 12.75 percent from 11.75 percent, according to a statement.

Urban consumer price inflation rose sharply to 12.3 percent in May. Core inflation, which excludes items with volatile prices, such as fruit and vegetables, rose to a yearly 12.23 percent last month, from 9.51 percent in April.

Egypt has struggled to revive growth and faced political and economic instability since a 2011 uprising ended the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.

The country has faced an acute foreign currency shortage after the uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors. It devalued the pound to 8.78 per dollar in March and hiked interest rates by 150 basis points days later to control inflation, but prices have continued to rise.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is under increasing pressure to revive the economy and keep prices under control.


Gold Slides From Near Two-Year High as Brexit Bets Retreat

Gold fell from the highest in almost two years as traders pared bets on the outcome of next week’s U.K. vote on membership in the European Union, reducing demand for the metal as a haven. The pound erased losses against the dollar after the killing of a U.K. lawmaker Thursday fueled speculation the nation’s voters will be more likely to favor remaining in the European Union in next week’s referendum. Gold has advanced this month as those pushing to leave the EU held a steady lead in opinion polls. “The takeaway is that if there’s no Brexit, then it would mean the need for haven buying of gold will lessen,” George Gero, a managing director at RBC Wealth Management in New York, said in telephone interview.

Gold for immediate delivery fell 0.4 percent to $1,286.20 an ounce at 2:42 p.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal rose as much as 1.9 percent earlier, touching the highest since August 2014.

The death of the U.K. Labor Party lawmaker led to a suspension of campaigning before the June 23 Brexit referendum.

Before the halt was announced, spot bullion was headed for a seventh straight increase. The Federal Reserve reined in its projection for rate increases over the next two years. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the U.K.’s June 23 referendum on whether to leave the EU was a factor in holding rates steady.


Uber's big Chinese rival raises more than $7 billion

Didi Chuxing, the dominant force in the Chinese market, said Thursday it has raised $7.3 billion in its latest financing round.

The startup pulled in money from new investors like Apple (AAPL, Tech30), as well as existing backers like Chinese tech giants Tencent (TCEHY) and Alibaba (BABA, Tech30).

Didi's announcement comes two weeks after Uber said it had banked $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia's investment fund.

The two ride-hailing companies are locked in a fierce battle for customers in China, the world's most populous country.

Didi claims around 300 million users and 14 million registered drivers across more than 400 cities. Uber is in around 50 Chinese cities but spending heavily to expand and try to increase its market share.

Didi said its latest funding round leaves it with an impressive arsenal of around $10.5 billion at its disposal. It plans to spend the new money on things like upgrading technology, delving into big data and exploring new business areas.

The Chinese company has already partnered with Uber's rivals in other major markets: the U.S., India and Southeast Asia.

Uber still remains the most valuable startup in the world, with a valuation of $62.5 billion.

A spokeswoman for Didi declined to comment on what the Chinese company's valuation is following its latest funding round. Bloomberg reported it was close to $28 billion, citing unidentified sources.