The share price of MTN on Nigeria’s bourse soared by 21 per cent in two days, closing at N108.90 on Friday.
The telecommunications giant, which is the only one listed in the sector by the Nigerian Stock Exchange gained the maximum 10 per cent each on the two days of trading. It was initially listed at N90 on Thursday.
Traders said the stock was in hot demand, with 48,358, 699 units, valued at N5,528,049,931 exchanging hands on Friday. On Thursday 5.5million shares of the company were sold for N545.6 million.
The listing of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc 20.35 billion shares lifted the market capitalisation by N1.83 trillion on Thursday.
The stocks have now passed the N2 trillion mark. The interest in the stock was not dampened, even with the news that the company had signed a N200 billion loan agreement with a consortium of banks, for a seven year tenor.
Citibank will act as coordinator of the loan and Quantum Zenith will act as Facility Agent in the loan provided by seven Nigerian banks.
Ferdi Moolman, MTN CEO in Nigeria said the Medium Term Facility would enable MTN to fund its evolving business opportunities while assisting with capital expenditure and working capital to deliver enhanced customer service.
It followed the successful establishment of a similar 7-year N200 billion facility by MTN in 2018 and formed part of the company’s wider programme to raise domestic debt, he said.
Other stocks that gained on Friday were Cutix, Oando, Transcorp and Access Bank. None had the leap of MTN.
A German museum said Friday it would return to Namibia a 15th-century navigation landmark erected by Portuguese explorers, as part of Berlin’s efforts to face up to its colonial past.
“The restitution of the Stone Cross of Cape Cross is a clear signal that we are committed to coming to terms with our colonial past,” said Culture Minister Monika Gruetters.
“For too many decades, the colonial time has been a blind spot in our remembrance culture.”
Placed in 1486 on the western coast of what is today Namibia, the Stone Cross was once considered to be such an important navigation marker that it featured on old world maps.
In the 1890s, it was removed from its spot on Cape Cross and brought to Europe by the region’s then German colonial masters.
Since 2006, it has been part of a permanent exhibition of the German Historical Museum in Berlin.
But in June 2017, Namibia demanded the restitution of the cross, which stands 3.5 metres (11 feet) high and weighs 1.1 tonnes.
The return of the cross marks a concrete step to make good on Germany’s pledge to accelerate the return of artefacts and human remains from former African colonies.
For Andreas Guibeb, Namibia‘s ambassador to Germany, the restitution is “important as a step for us to reconcile with our colonial past and the trail of humiliation and systematic injustice that it left behind.”
“Only the confrontation and acceptance of that painful past will liberate us to consciously and confidently confront the future.”
‘Historical injustice’ –
In a column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the president of the museum’s foundation, Raphael Gross, noted that the Cross “is one of the very few objects that documents the occupation of the country by the Portuguese”.
Berlin ruled what was then called South West Africa as a colony from 1884 to 1915.
Germany has on several occasions repatriated human remains to Namibia, where it slaughtered tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908.
The German government announced in 2016 that it planned to issue an official apology for the atrocities committed by German imperial troops.
But it has repeatedly refused to pay direct reparations, citing millions of euros in development aid given to the Namibian government.
Guibeb said “huge progress” had been made in recent years on finding a common language to describe the mass killings, even if he acknowledged that it would take more time than the public would wish.
Meanwhile, other African countries were also watching the latest restitution carefully.
For Cameroon’s Prince Kum’a Ndumbe III, who had travelled to Berlin especially to witness Friday’s announcement, “what has happened here is fundamental.”
“This is the direction we have been seeking for the last 30 years, now we have to see how far we will go,” he said, adding that he has been pressing a German museum for the return of a family object for years.
Beyond what is now modern-day Namibia, the German empire also held the colonies of Togoland, now Togo, Kamerun (Cameroon) and Tanganyika (Tanzania), as well as some Pacific islands, until World War I.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service ((FIRS) generated N1.5 trillion revenue in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, according to its Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler.
Fowler disclosed this in New York at the weekend.
He said the amount included revenue from non-oil taxes that were 11 per cent higher than what the agency realised from that sector in Q1 of 2018.
“In the first quarter (of 2019), what I will say is that in the non-oil sector, we generated 11 per cent higher than what we generated in 2018.
“Basically, we have generated about N1.5 trillion,” Fowler said this on the sidelines of a high-level meeting on illicit financial flows hosted by the United Nations General Assembly.
The 2019 amount is N330 billion or 28 per cent higher than the N1.17 trillion reported by FIRS in the same period of 2018.
The Q1 figure also represents 18.7 per cent of the agency’s total revenue target of N8 trillion for 2019.
Fowler said the target, described by economy watchers as quite ambitious, was realistic with the cooperation of tax payers, among other factors.
He said, “It is quite realistic as long as we have the cooperation of tax payers in addition to deployment of technology.
“We have already started the enforcement of over 50,000 accounts that have banking turnover of 100 billion and above that have not filed their returns.”
The FIRS boss also spoke of plans by the agency to surpass the over N1 trillion it realised from Valued Added Tax (VAT) in 2018.
“We will get more people into the tax net and deploy more technology.
“We have what we call Auto VAT Collect, and that basically assists tax payers at the point of transaction, and the VAT portion is sent straight into the federation account.
“So, we know that there is more room for growth in the VAT sector,” he explained.
The N8.83 trillion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari for spending by the Federal Government in 2019 was based on a revenue target of N6.97 trillion.
The expected income consisted of oil revenue estimated at N3.73 trillion and non-oil oil projected at N1.39 trillion.
To actualise this, the Federal Government in a January launched a “Strategic Revenue Growth Plan” to be implemented by FIRS and other revenue generating agencies.
Fowler said all hands were on deck to actualise the plan, adding that that everything “seems to be on course”.