Items filtered by date: Thursday, 30 August 2018
Thursday, 30 August 2018 20:39

No plan to sell NLNG, says Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday said there were no plans by Federal Government to sell its stakes in the Nigerian Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited.
 
The Federal Government has 49 percent equity holding in the NLNG, Shell Gas B.V owns 25.6 percent, Total has 15 percent of the shares, while Eni international owns 10.4 percent share holding.
 
The minister made the disclosure while answering questions from the House of Representatives Committee on Gas Resources and Allied Matters in Abuja.
 
Kachikwu, who was represented by the Director of Gas Resources in the ministry, Esther Ifejika, noted that the ministry was not aware of any plan to sell the company.
 
According to the minister, “The ministry is not aware of any plan by the Federal Government to sell the NLNG.”
 
In May, the House had ordered an investigation into the allegation, the order followed a motion raised by Hon Randolph Oruene-Brown over plans by the Federal Government to generate money to inject into the nation’s economy.
 
“(The House is) aware that the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo-Udoma, stated that one of the ways to fund the plan would be through the sale of some national assets and the proceeds reinvested in the economy to raise the needed capital for infrastructural development.
 
“(The House is) also aware that the NLNG is one of the most successful ventures that Nigeria has embarked upon when it started from train one through to the sixth train and now the seventh train in the offing.
 
“The House is worried that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Nigeria Labour Congress, among other organisations, have seriously frowned on this move and warned the Federal Government against the proposed sale of national assets, especially the NLNG,” Oruene-Brown had said.
 
 
Source: Business Insider
Published in Business

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has imposed sanctions totalling N5.87 billion on four banks for wrongly assisting MTN Nigeria to repatriate funds.

The banks allegedly issued irregular certificates of capital importation (CCIs) on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

The affected banks are Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank, and Diamond Bank.

Announcing the decision of the bank in Abuja on Wednesday, Director, Corporate Communications of CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said the decision of the financial regulator became necessary following allegations of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular CCIs issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria and subsequent investigations carried out by the apex bank in March 2018.

According to him, the CBN has asked the managements of MTN Nigeria to immediately refund the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 illegally repatriated by the company to the coffers of the apex bank.

The CBN slammed Standard Chartered Bank the highest fine of N2.4 billion, while Stanbic IBTC Nigeria received a fine of N1.88 billion.

Citibank Nigeria was ordered to pay a sum of N1.2 billion and Diamond Bank was penalized in the sum of N250 million for violating extant rules.

The CBN spokesman said investigations revealed that the sum of $3,448,119,321.72 was repatriated by Standard Chartered Bank on the basis of the illegally issued CCIs.

similarly, he said the sums of $2,632,005,623.78, $1,766,263,212.75 and $348,914,501.30 were repatriated by Stanbic IBTC Nigeria, Citibank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Plc, respectively between 2007 and 2015.

He added that the CBN had directed the affected banks to immediately refund the respective sums to the CBN.

Okorafor, therefore, advised all banks and multinational companies in the country to adhere strictly to the provisions of all extant laws and regulations of Nigeria in their foreign exchange transactions.

This will be the second heavy sanction MTN would be facing from Nigerian regulators in three years after the $5.2 billion fine it received from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2015.

The telecommunications company, which only just finished paying the reduced fine of $3.2 billion, will see this as another huge challenge posing a serious threat to its corporate existence in Nigeria.

Published in Telecoms
The UK Government has announced a new £70-million programme to create 100,000 jobs in Nigeria says the Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin.
 
Baldwin said this during a business event as part of the activities for Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Nigeria on Wednesday.
 
Baldwin, who led a business delegation to the event, said that the programme would raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.
 
“We are here today to talk about technology links between the UK Fintech sector and the Nigerian Fintech sector and will bring inward investment in terms of this important sector of technology.
 
“Today, it is all about celebrating those links through technology and I am very excited that the Prime Minister is announcing today a new £70 million programme that will create some 100,000 jobs in Nigeria and will also raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.”
 
The minister said that the event was celebrating the role of growing businesses and entrepreneurs and also highlighted the partnerships of both countries in the area of technological development.
 
She added that the delegation consisted of various UK businesses were willing to invest “the kind of capital that creates jobs”.
 
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Ministers of Finance and Power, Works and Housing, Kemi Adeosun and Babatunde Fashola respectively, attended the event.
 
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was keen on driving technology development in the country in support of the government’s economic growth plan.
 
The vice president said there was the need to create the right environment for technology companies to thrive and further gave an assurance of the government’s commitment to support innovation in the country.
 
“I think just looking at some of the start-ups that we see today, many of them started while the recession was on and they proved, by just a number of jobs, value and wealth created, that this is the future starting today.
 
“This is why we have started up first with the creativity and technology advisory group; many of these start-ups are members of this group where they help to formulate policies with Federal Government policy makers especially in fintech, which are some of the new areas we need to formulate policies.
 
NAN also reports that the event, held at Ventures Park, an innovation hub and co-working space for entrepreneurs, showcased a number of products from start-up entrepreneurs.
 
The founder of Ventures Park, Mr. Kola Aina, said that the government’s `ease of doing business’ policy had been “relatively helpful” to the growth of small and medium-scale business in the country.
 
“There is also a lot of talk about incentives like the pioneer start-ups programmes that we are looking to see how start-ups can begin to benefit from.
 
“More than ever before, we are starting to see a lot of support from the government.”
 
The event simultaneously held a panel discussion highlighting opportunities for doing business among businessmen of both countries.
 
The panel included Fashola, Adeosun and other key government representatives.
 
The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Charles Bowman, was also part of the discussions alongside several other UK businessmen.
 
May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of some African countries.
 
The Prime Minister is expected in Nairobi on Thursday, where she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
 
The prime minister is on a trade mission in an attempt to bolster Britain’s post-Brexit fortunes. This is her first visit to Africa since she became prime minister in 2016.
 
She is accompanied by a 30-man business delegation as part of her efforts to “deepen and strengthen” partnerships around the world as the UK prepares to leave the European Union next year.
Published in World
NNPC, Nigeria’s cash cow refused to release oil money for sharing
 
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has unveiled plans to set up a subsidiary to provide refueling services to ships and other ocean-going vessels.
 
A statement by its spokesman, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja on Wednesday, said the move was to consolidate its foothold on the shipping business in Nigeria and boost profitability.
 
It said the Group General Manager, NNPC Shipping, Mrs. Aisha Katagum, disclosed this in the corporation’s in-house journal. She said: “Actually, the NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD) is also very keen on that.
 
“He has directed the Corporate Planning and Strategy (CP&S) Division to come up with a business model for us to see how it could operate.”
 
According to her, the bunkering subsidiary is most likely going to be an incorporated company like Nidas, a subsidiary under NNPC Shipping Division. She added that the proposed company would likely be domiciled in the NNPC Shipping Division too.
 
“I’m sure it’s going to be a big business because we have so many vessels that come into the West African Coast. This year alone, over 120 vessels have brought imports for us.” She said
 
Nikorma and Marine Logistics are two other downstream subsidiaries under the NNPC Shipping Division. While Nikorma engages in shipping and transportation of energy products, Marine Logistics on the other hand, provides logistics services to the crude and petroleum products and gas sub-sector.
 
The Marine Logistics have the mandate to effect demurrage reduction and ensure safe and efficient coastal distribution of petroleum products.
 
 
NAN..
Published in Business
The nation’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped below $46 billion, available data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed on Wednesday.
 
The reserves, which stood at $47.79 billion as of July 5, fell to $45.98 billion on August 27, the lowest level in five months.
 
According to the CBN data, the external reserves rose from $45.65 billion on March 23 to $46.04 billion on March 26. The increase was sustained as the reserves grew up till $46.79 on May 10 from $46.75 recorded on May 9.
 
Thereafter, the movement in the reserves became inconsistent but reached a high of $47.79 billion on July 5 and had been on steady decline, shedding $1.81 billion in less than two months.
 
Last week, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the capital importation data which saw the total value of capital imported into the country between April and June this year fell by $790 million to $5.51 billion.
 
An analysis of the data by our correspondent showed that the value dropped by 12.53 percent, making the $790 million depreciation the highest since the first quarter of 2016 when the nation’s economy was at the brink of recession.
 
Analysts at FSDH Research, in a Monthly Economic and Financial Markets Outlook, attributed the drop in the nation’s foreign reserves in July which extended to August to the exits of foreign investors from the Nigerian market and the increase in demand of foreign exchange.
 
“The external reserves recorded persistent drawdown in July 2018. This was due to the foreign investors’ pull-back from the Nigerian market and the increase in demand at the foreign exchange market,” the analysts said.
 
Two days ago, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in its monthly Domestic and Foreign Portfolio Participation in Equity Trading for July 2018, had said there was a decrease of 64.68 percent in total foreign transactions from N102.41 billion in June 2018 to N36.17 billion in July.
 
Meanwhile, the CBN, yesterday, injected $210 million into the inter-bank foreign exchange market to meet customers’ requests in various segments of the market.
 
Consequently, the naira maintained its stability, exchanging at an average of N361/$ in the Bureau De Change segment of the foreign exchange market.
 
The CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, said $100 million was offered to authorised dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises segment received the sum of $55 million.
 
He said the customers requiring foreign exchange for tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance among others, received $55 million.
 
Okoroafor stressed that the apex bank would continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market in line with its desire to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.
 
Recall that the CBN had last week injected a total sum of $543.22 million and 63.21 million Chinese Yuan into the inter-bank foreign exchange market.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
Published in Bank & Finance

Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s inauguration as Zimbabwe’s second president and commander-in-chief consummated power for the main beneficiary of the November 2017 coup that forced Robert Mugabe’s long delayed retirement.

Zimbabwean scholar and activist Brian Raftopoulos’ remarks during a public meeting at the University of Cape Town five years ago come to mind. As all were wondering what would happen in the weeks before the much-marred 2013 Zimbabwean election, Raftopoulos argued that

Zimbabwe’s military-economic élite – a new capitalist class at an early stage – will not be removed just with elections.

Mnangagwa’s next five years may see this prediction reach its endpoint. His billboards said he would deliver the new country Zimbabweans want: the promise remains poised on tenterhooks. The classic dynamic in politics everywhere – the interplay between militarisation and democratisation – looms large.

Raftopoulos’ proviso that a “partnership to prevent militaristic moves” was necessary in 2013 may be more apposite (and trickier) now than ever. The prospects for the next elections in 2023 (barring constitutional changes – possible because Zanu-PF MPs make up more than the two-thirds in Parliament needed to change that hard-won document) could take stark contours.

The contest is, and will be, far beyond a battle of two parties and their main protagonists. It will be between increasing democratic participation – starting with the classic precepts of free and fair elections – or a securitisation process much less stealthy than before.

This is the most important point to consider about Zimbabwe’s medium-term prospects. The others are moves within Zanu-PF itself, dynamics within the MDC-Alliance and what happens to the economy.

MDC-Alliance

After the Constitutional Court’s ruling confirming Mnangagwa as the “duly” elected president, MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa suggested that he and Mnangagwa needed a serious discussion that would lead to the breaking of Zimbabwe’s legacy of violent and jimmied elections.

It’s still an open question whether such a discussion would lead to a coalition government, or the space for the faction-ridden MDC-Alliance to flex the muscles of a loyal opposition and to rebuild. Its bad experience during the 2009-2013 “government of national unity” might militate against a repeat. But the wider need to cushion the new régime from militarisation is worth considering.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. EPA-EFE/Yeshiel Panchia

The cautionary note to the MDC-Alliance about any such new dispensation might be: don’t neglect your badly fractured party and its allies needing to be in the fold; and don’t sideline your enemies within precipitously.

Meanwhile, many among the MDC-Alliance and its supporters fear the Zanu-PF machine is poised to wipe them out permanently.

Zanu-PF

Much related to the above and perhaps the key, is Zanu-PF itself. The battle between Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga could be overdrawn, but the tragic killings of August 1 have thrown it into stark relief.

Can no one in power know who shot the demonstrators and innocent bystanders? Could Chiwenga really say that news of the shootings was “fake” and aver the MDC-Alliance deployed cadres to do the shooting to discredit Zanu-PF?

In any case, a military unit came in, because - so says “the state” - the police could not contain the violence. On site observers, however, attest that the police and the demonstrators were enjoying a friendly encounter, including selfies and dancing. Then the soldiers arrived.

The journalists who were there say the men with guns were the Presidential Guard, under Chiwenga’s control: after they arrived and started killing, the violence and car burning ensued.
One analysis says this tragedy has exposed Zimbabwe’s parallel states. Furthermore, the senior soldiers have just had their retirements deferred. Perhaps Mnangagwa’s inaugural Freudian slip – when he failed to acknowledge his vice- presidents – revealed his inner desire to be rid of Chiwenga.

One can only hope that the promised commission of inquiry will unearth what happened, and deal with it summarily.

The Patriot, one of the fractured ruling party’s media mouthpieces, reveals some party propagandists’ thinking about democracy and human rights. ‘Unmasking CSU’ (Counselling Services Unit, a long-serving source of succour for wounded democracy activists, as well as an advocacy NGO) paints the CSU and other human rights organisations writing “fake reports” to fan “tribalism and violence to achieve regime change”. Only words? If they turn into bullets Zimbabwe will have stepped down the ladder a long, long way.

The economy

Ticking like a time bomb is the ruined economy. No real money and a gargantuan number of unemployed embedded in the precarious “informal sector”, if they’re not eking out a penurious peasant’s existence. Their situation is so miserable that they are easily bribed – with flour and subsidised prices for their maize backed by intimidation from the chiefs – to vote.

Help from elsewhere might not be forthcoming either, or not helpful if it is. The rulers’ faux pas against the demonstrators has worried even its dedicated supporters in the wider world, imperilling even the demanding strictures of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank re-engagement. The “West” dangled the slightly less rigorous chalice of Heavily Indebted Poor Country status in front of Mnangagwa’s finance bureaucrats before the elections. Even though Zimbabwe is considered “too rich” for the easier debt-relief packages that comes with the status, broad hints were made. It’s doubtful if those whispers will get louder now.

In any case, as civil society activist Takura Zhangazha has written, IMF and World Bank policies are woefully inadequate for Zimbabwe’s problems: it is highly unlikely that its poor majority will be lifted to a decent life under their aegis.

As for private investment: Zimbabwe will again be fair game for the cowboys - from the east as well as the west these days.

Zimbabwe is in a precarious position. Its immediate future rests under the sword of Damocles. The threads of democracy have to be thickened. One hopes the chronicle of its demise cannot be foretold.The Conversation

 

David B. Moore, Professor of Development Studies and Visiting Researcher, Institute of Pan-African Thought and Conversation, University of Johannesburg

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in Economy
The Naira on Wednesday gained 30 kobo to exchange at N359 to the dollar at the parallel market in Lagos, against N359.30 on Tuesday.
 
The Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N464 and N414, respectively. At the Bureau De Change (BDC) window, the naira traded at N360 to the dollar, while the Pound sterling and the Euro closed at N464 and N414, respectively.
 
Trading at the investors’ window saw the naira close at N363.06, while it exchanged at N361.10 at the official CBN window.
 
Meanwhile, the CBN had continued to boost liquidity at the forex market with the injection of 210 million dollars on Tuesday.
 
 
 
The Guardian...
Published in Bank & Finance
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (left), with British Prime Minister, Theresa May (right); British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright (left behind) during the arrival of the British Prime Minister at the Presidential Wing of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday.
 
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
 
British Prime Minister, Theresa May on Wednesday said Lagos State can access the availability of £750 million (N353,467,010,250) export credit finance to propel more development for the state.
 
May, who spoke when Governor Akinwumi Ambode received her in Lagos sad she was happy to be in Lagos and underscored the commercial importance of Lagos in Nigeria.
 
 
 
She pointed out the important role that a stable government in Lagos plays in giving extra confidence to investors in the State.
 
May disclosed the availability of export credit finance to the tune of £750 million as well as a considerable development finance, which Lagos State could look towards.
 
She spoke about the role that British could play in the development of the technology industry in Lagos given the particular capability of the UK in that area.
 
In that regard, the May disclosed that she brought as part of her delegation, an expert in Fintech to explore the opportunity in this area that Lagos could benefit from.
 
The British Prime Minister also noted the special strength of the London City as a financial hub that could be of considerable importance for Lagos State, just as she emphasized sustainability and growth in Britain/Lagos relationship.
 
She expressed the desire of the British government to assist Lagos in the development of her creative industry and alluded to the fact that the jacket she was wearing when she met with the Governor was actually made in Nigeria.
 
Speaking, Ambode affirmed that the State remained a choice destination for investors from the United Kingdom.
 
The Governor said he was delighted to welcome the British Prime Minister to Lagos, noting that the relationship between Britain and Nigeria dated back to the nineteenth century.
 
 
 
He said that much of Nigerian education, cultural and political systems was influenced by Britain and that there are more Nigerians living in the UK than elsewhere in the world outside Nigeria.
 
 
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (left), with British Prime Minister, Theresa May during the arrival of the British Prime Minister at the Presidential Wing of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday.
 
Ambode emphasised that Lagos remained a place of choice for British investors especially given that stability in the government, the site of Lagos economy and population, the particular focus of his administration on the rule of law and justice sector reform.
 
All of these, the Governor said, have not only enhanced the ease of doing business in Lagos but also ensured a greater protection of people and investment in the State.
 
He also said that it would be of particular importance to Lagos State if British investors could explore the various opportunities that exist in the State in the areas of energy, technology, export finance, infrastructure and the creative industry.
 
The Governor expressed optimism in the strengthening of the relationship between Britain and Lagos and avowed that his administration would do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.
 
 
 
   PMNEWSNIGERIA
Published in Bank & Finance
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