Access Bank Plc. said on Monday that a five-year Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured N15 billion Green Bond, the first climate bond to be issued in Africa, had been fully subscribed.
 
The bank’s Group Managing Director, Mr Herbert Wigwe, stated this at the bond-signing ceremony in Lagos.
 
Green bond is a bond specifically earmarked to be used for climate and environmental projects. It is typically asset-linked and backed by the issuer’s balance sheet, and are also referred to as climate bonds
 
Wigwe said that the Green Bond offer was achieved by way of Book Building, a systematic process of generating, capturing, and recording investor demand for shares during an initial public offering (IPO), or other securities during their issuance process.
 
This is in order to support efficient price discovery.
 
He said that the bond, priced at a coupon of 15.5 per cent, had participation from a wide range of asset managers and pension fund administrators.
 
Wigwe said that the bank supported the global climate change mitigation and adaptation agenda and was seeking to promote responsible green lending globally.
 
According to him, the Green Bond issuance demonstrates the bank’s commitment to sustainable operational practices, being a pioneer operator both in domestic and international capital markets.
 
He added that the bank viewed the global drive for responsible and sustainable green financing as an opportunity to raise capital for the creation of assets through climate change financing.
 
Wigwe maintained that the bank had a strong track record of deploying environmental and social risk management tools as well as working closely with local and international agencies to deliver a greener outcome from investing activities.
 
“With our pace-setting experience in the mainstreaming of sustainability in our business operations.
 
“We are confident that this issue with further help in supporting environmentally friendly investors to meet their investment objectives whilst simultaneously supporting the bank’s customer towards realising growth opportunities in fast-developing low carbon economy,” Wigwe said.
 
He noted that the new funding would be directed toward financing new loans and refinancing existing loans in accordance with the bank’s Green Bond Framework, and support projects directed at flood defense, solar generation facilities, and agriculture.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday revealed plans to bar criminals from opening bank accounts in the country.
 
This was disclosed at the end of a meeting between the agencies held at the Head Office of the CBN in Abuja.
 
According to the the Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Isaac Okorafor, the strategy was adopted to curtail unwholesome activities of economic saboteurs including smuggling of commodities like rice, textile materials, fertiliser, wheat and other items on the prohibition list.
 
The two agencies also aim to monitor foreign exchange access through official window, as well as tracking illicit financial flows and improving on the level of information-sharing and surveillance of the financial sector.
 
The bodies also agreed to collaborate in tracking anti-money laundry and the monitoring of politically exposed persons in the country.
 
The inter-agency meeting was chaired by the Director, Governors’ Department of the CBN, Mr Jeremiah Abue.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says severe penalty awaits anyone who default in the procument process in project execution in the corporation.

NNPC Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, also warned management and staff of the corporation against any action that contravened the provisions of the Public Procurement Act in the award of contracts.

He gave the warning on Wednesdsy in Abuja at a Supply Chain Management workshop for NNPC Procurement Managers.

Baru cautioned staff against contract splitting and accumulation, which he described as a deliberate act by procurement managers to subvert due process in the procurement process.

He noted that the corporation was commited to transparency in every aspect of its operations, adding that all procurements and contract awards in the corporation under his watch so far had been carried out in conformity with the Public Procurement Act.

The NNPC boss directed the Supply Chain Management Division to step up its level of monitoring of the various tender boards within the corporation for full compliance.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the early approval of the NNPC budget, assuring that as the chief revenue earner for the nation, NNPC was committed to the economic policies of the Federal Government.

“The whole essence of the next level is to ensure that things are done correctly and speedily for the benefit of the people”, the NNPC boss said in a statement.

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc on Wednesday announced its audited results for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2018 on the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.
 
The company in the result released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) posted profit before tax of N215.6 billion against N197.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017, an increase of 9.1 per cent.
 
Gross earnings for the period under grew by 3.7 per cent to ₦434.7 billion from ₦419.2 billion reported increase 2017.
 
Its customers’ deposits increased by 10.3 per cent to ₦2.27 trillion from ₦2.06 trillion in the comparative period of 2017.
 
Also, loan book dipped by 12.9 per cent from ₦1.45 trillion recorded as at December 2017 to ₦1.26 trillion in December 2018.
 
The result showed that the bank closed the 2018 financial year with total assets of ₦3.29 trillion and shareholders’ funds of ₦575.6 billion.
 
An analysis of the bank’s asset quality showed that non-performing loans and cost of risk improved to 7.3 per cent and 0.3 per cent during the review period from 7.7 per cent and 0.8 per cent in December 2017, respectively.
 
The bank is proposing final dividend of ₦2.45 per share in addition to interim dividend of 30k per share, bringing the total dividend for 2018 financial year to ₦2.75k per share.
 
Commenting on the result, Mr Segun Agbaje, the bank’s Managing Director, said that the result represented the fundamental strength of its brand.
 
“In 2018, our focus on staying nimble, strengthening customers’ relationships and driving our digital-first strategy paid off.
 
“We successfully navigated the pressures of our challenging and radically changing business environment, recorded growth across key financial indices and reaffirmed our position as one of the best performing and well managed financial institutions in Africa.
 
“This result reflects, not just the fundamental strength of our brand, but also commitment to our values of excellence, creating value for all stakeholders and putting our customers first in everything that we do.
 
“Driven by these values, we are building the bank of the future by pairing the best of our business with the massive potential of digital technologies to create Africa’s first integrated and trusted platform,” Agbaje said.
 

The nation’s bourse on Wednesday reversed the three consecutive days positive trend with the market capitalisation dropping by N20 billion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the market capitalisation shed N20 billion or 0.17 per cent to close at N11.978 trillion against N11.998 trillion posted on Tuesday.

The All-Share Index lost 51.92 points or 0. 16 per cent to close at 32,121.74 compared with 32,173.66 achieved on Tuesday.

Breakdown of the price movement table shows that Dangote Cement recorded the highest gain to lead the gainers’ table, appreciating by 50k to close at N196.50 per share.

Guaranty Trust Bank followed with a gain of 35k to close at N37.95, while Access Bank increased by 10k to close at N6.10 per share.

United Capital added 5k to close at N3.30, while FBNHoldings also gained 5k to close at N8.15 per share.

Conversely, Seplat topped the losers’ table with a loss N22.10 to close at N596.90 per share.

Cement Company of Northern Nigeria trailed with N1 to close at N19, while GlaxosmithKline dipped 40k to close at N11.50 per share.

Ecobank dropped 30k to close at N13.70, while Etranzact shed 29k to close at N2.64 per share.

Zenith Bank dominated trading activities, accounting for 45.37 million shares worth N1.11 billion.

Guaranty Trust Bank followed with an exchange of 23.08 million shares valued at N872.94 million, while Fidelity Bank Plc traded 20.17 million shares worth N46.46 million.

Access Bank sold 15.61 million shares valued at N94.18 million, while Transcorp traded 13.86 million shares worth N17.54 million.

In all, the volume of shares traded closed lower by 47.96 per cent as investors bought and sold 208.60 million shares valued at N2.78 billion in 3,246 deals.

This was in contrast with 400.87 million shares worth N3.46 billion exchanged in 3,885 deals.

A close race was predicted between Muhammadu Buhari and his main rival Atiku Abubakar. In the end the incumbent won the Nigerian presidential election with almost four million votes.

After the results were declared, Atiku cried foul, pointing out numerous flaws and manipulations of the electoral process. He also threatened legal action although it remains to be seen if the Peoples Democratic Party candidate will file suit within 21 days of the vote as required.

Meanwhile, international leaders have already congratulated Buhari and his All Progressives’ Congress. This is to be expected. External actors have often tended to prefer stability over denunciation when it comes to incredulous election results.

Hence this still begs the question: did Buhari actually win? Several problems marked the electoral process itself. But, in my view, while the election results were prone to manipulation, the result indicates that Buhari’s party did in fact win.

The question is: how did he do it given his poor track record in his first term? Several factors stand out from the election results: Buhari’s continued popularity in the north, combined with voter apathy in the south. And the fact that Atiku was an uninspiring contestant.

Buhari’s failures

Buhari came to power in 2015 after defeating incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan with around 2.5 million votes. His victory at the time can be attributed to his tough stance on corruption, his poverty alleviation promises, and the Jonathan administration’s failure to curb the Boko Haram crisis.

In addition, Jonathan’s decision to run again as a Southern candidate had caused rifts in the Peoples Democratic Party with many, especially northern, political stalwarts defecting to the All Progressives’ Congress during his presidency. Buhari’s candidacy had already been strengthened by his coalition with the south-western Action Congress of Nigeria.

Buhari’s first term in office can be rated rather poorly.

His administration was struck with the double whammy of a severe recession and a drop in revenues from oil due to falling oil prices. The government’s responses were slow and mostly inadequate. This was partly due to Buhari’s long absence from home undergoing treatment for an undisclosed illness.

The Buhari government also didn’t perform very well on the security. While the Boko Haram crisis was pushed back during his first year in office, it resurfaced as the group split into several deadly factions. Farmer-herder conflict in the Middle Belt has also spun out of control. And the roots of new violent crises may have been laid with the brutal repression of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra movement as well as the arrest of Muslim clerk El-Zakzaky and violence against his followers.

Finally, while Buhari has indeed taken actions against corruption, the battle against graft has often appeared to be a battle against political enemies. And little has been achieved at the policy level due to severe legislative-executive gridlock during his first term.

So why the win?

In the end the electoral map of 2019 closely resembles that of 2015 with most northern and south-western states going to the All Progressives’ Congress. In Lagos, the All Progressives’ Congress won a slight majority in the face of economic decline, but campaigned primarily to get voters to go to the polls. This only partly succeeded.

In the north, the All Progressives’ Congress’s vote share generally dropped on a state-by-state level, but turnout was high enough vis-à-vis the south to win the elections overall.

The Peoples Democratic Party did not substantially increase its leverage in the Middle Belt states, which are most affected by the herdsmen-farmer conflict. Particularly noteworthy is Atiku’s poor performance in the North in general. His home state of Adamawa was only won with a slim majority.

Buhari’s continued popularity in the North can partly be explained by the fact that the region is more insulated from international market dynamics. This means that the effects of the recession were less severe. While poverty remains more entrenched in the region, this was to some extent alleviated by the government’s subsidy programmes. These also extended patronage to localities which had before largely been excluded from such networks.

Besides this, and from a more emotional perspective, many of Buhari’s supporters still continue to view him as their political messiah.

Atiku had his weaknesses

After its loss to the All Progressives’ Congress in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party itself remained for a long time mired in internal conflict. In the middle of a leadership crisis, the party lost political elites and followers, also due to the sudden cut-off from patronage resources.

The party came together again near the end of 2017, but had to rebuild its grassroots structures in many areas. This could have led to the lack of mobilisation in the south. While the All Progressives’ Congress lost important political figures, the party also convinced some powerful Peoples Democratic Party politicians in the South to defect in the run-up to the elections.

Another factor was that, while rotational politics necessitated a northern candidate, Atiku’s candidacy may not have resonated particularly strongly in the south.

Besides his regional origin, Atiku as a candidate also had his weaknesses, including a credibility problem due to the riches he collected during his time in office as vice-president and his old age. For many voters in both the north and the south, Atiku represented a return to the past rather than a break from traditional Nigerian politics.

Buhari’s first term record has little to show for it, but it is in the end still possible that he did win the elections, simply because the Peoples Democratic Party could not provide any viable alternative.The Conversation

 

Leila Demarest, Assistant Professor of African Politics, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the smart card readers (SCRs) are mandatory in Saturday’s governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
 
Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee stated this on Tuesday in Abuja.
 
Okoye said the clarification was important going by allegations since the conduct of the Feb. 23, Presidential and National Assembly elections that INEC was selective in its use of smart card readers in its conduct of the elections.
 
He said that those allegations had led to speculations that INEC may be forced to jettison the use of SCRs in the state and federal capital area council elections.
 
“INEC hereby states categorically that the allegations are absolutely false and the speculations are without any basis whatsoever.
 
“The use of the smart card readers is not only mandatory but its deliberate non use attracts the sanction of possible prosecution of erring officials in accordance with the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections.
 
“This is in addition to the voiding of any result emanating from such units or areas, as was done in the presidential and national assembly elections of February 23.
 
“The general public and all officials engaged for the elections are hereby informed that the commission is not reconsidering the use of these smart card readers which has greatly improved the credibility of our elections and instilled a high level of public trust in them.
 
“To clear any doubt or ambiguity, we wish to state that the deployment and mandatory use of SCRs in next Saturday’s elections will not only be uniformed but also universal, and the provisions of the regulations and guidelines will be strictly and vigorously enforced.
 
“All Stakeholders are to note and be guided accordingly please,” Okoye said.
 
At least $16 billion has been lost by Nigeria in the last ten years due to the non-review of the 1993 production sharing formula with oil companies.
 
This was disclosed by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, in its latest report released on Sunday and tagged “The Steep Cost of Inaction”, adding that the losses were recorded between 2008 and 2017.
 
The study done in conjunction with Open Oil, a Berlin-based extractive sector transparency group, found that the losses could be up to $28 billion if, after the review, the federation were allowed to share profit from two additional licenses.
 
To stem further huge revenue losses to the federation, NEITI called for an urgent review of the PSCs, adding that the review was particularly important for Nigeria because oil production from PSCs had surpassed production from Joint Ventures with PSCs now contributing the largest share to federation revenue.
 
“Between 1998 and 2005, total production by PSC companies was below 100 million barrels per year while JV companies produced over 650 million barrels per year.
 
“By 2017, total production by PSC companies was 305.800 million barrels, which was 44.32 per cent of total production.
 
“Total production by JV companies was 212.850 million barrels, representing 30.84 per cent of total production.” It said.
 
The Federal Government of Nigeria is again offering for subscription savings bonds with a tenor of two and three years, a circular on Monday from the Debt Management Office, DMO, has urevealed.
 
According to the DMO, it was authorised to receive applications for the savings bond on behalf of the Federal Government.
 
The statement also disclosed that the two-year savings bond will be due on March 13, 2021 and has an interest rate of 11.62 per cent per annum, while the three-year savings bond, which has an annual interest rate of 12.62 per cent, will be due on March 13, 2022.
 
The DMO statement also said the offer for subscription opened on Monday and will close on Friday, March 8, adding that the settlement date had been scheduled for March 13, while the coupon would be paid on June 13, September 13, December 13 and March 13, 2019.
 
The statement reads: “The bonds are offered at N1,000 per unit, subject to a minimum subscription of N5,000 and in multiples of N1,000 and a maximum subscription of N50m.
 
“The bonds, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government of Nigeria and charged upon the general assets of the country, qualify as securities in which trustees can invest under the Trustee Investment Act. Interest is payable quarterly and the bullet repayment is on the maturity date.”
 
According to the DMO, the bonds also qualify as government securities within the meaning of Company Income Tax Act and Personal Income Tax Act for tax exemption for pension funds, among other investors, adding that the bonds would also be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and would qualify as a liquid asset for liquidity ratio calculation for banks.
 
“Interested investors should contact the stockbroking firms appointed as distribution agents by the Debt Management Office,” the statement added.
 
Electricity generating companies in Nigeria, GenCos, has identified inaccurate date, government interference and inefficiency as a he major factors responsible for the sorry state of power supply in the country.
 
The power generating companies stated this in a report by them on the power sector, explaining that there is an urgent for the total overhauling of the sector.
It stated: “From research, developed nations differ from underdeveloped (third world) countries of the world majorly on data.
“Investments for the growth of the generation sub-sector did not depend on the returns from the distribution sub-sector. Investments to improve data quality and adequacy in all sub-sectors of the industry, with the priority being the distribution sub-sector for obvious reasons will solve a number of issues inhibiting the growth of the sector, especially the inability of the DISCOs to make capital investments.
“Government’s intervention through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to continue market interventions without seeking first a better understanding of the market through bankable data will be an effort in futility.”
The report also insisted that the sectors’ development was tied to the demand chain.
 
“The determinant of whether power generation should increase or not, is the demand side of it. Electricity supply is closely tied to demand and facilitated through a pool where the output from all generators are aggregated and scheduled to meet demand.
“This is because the storage mechanism for electricity generated is in view. Hence supply must vary dynamically with changing demand. Statistics from the Nigerian system operator on load demand over the last three months average over 22,000MW. 
 
This means that there is a suppressed demand of over 17,000MW compared to what is being generated today. This could potentially escalate when there is stability of supply and high ticket consumers who are self-generating decide to join up. 
 
How do we plug this gap?”
 
Revealing what seems to be an unfortunate power situation in the country, the report stated: “Currently Nigeria has installed capacity that is over 13,000MW, available generation that is over 7,500MW and average generation that is about 4,000MW.    On October 22nd 2018, average energy sent out was 3,854MWh/hour peak Generation attained on October 22nd, 2018 – 4,729MW.
 
“This shows low/minimal optimization of generation capacity due to constraints on the transmission and distribution networks. Without these constraints, additional 3,000MW could be made available to customers, and also serve as an incentive for GENCOs to recover the unavailable capacity of over 5,000MW.”
 
The report however stated that the electricity market has the potential to absorb significant investments and provide rewarding returns on those investments provided government interference is stopped and the market is allowed to run competitively.
 
“The lack of sanctity of contracts has resulted in huge debt burden on the GENCOs who are never fully paid for power generated and supplied to the market. In addition to the points above, it is imperative to note, that: “Successor/Legacy GENCOs, signed a performance agreement with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) with performance targets in recovering capacity.
 
“All Generation companies signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc or Bulk Traders (NBET) with associated obligations on contracted quantities. Hence, the market should be very much aware of these obligations so as to enable performance of all parties.”
 
On the transmission aspect of the power situation, the report stated: “To optimize the current generation capacity, planning becomes pivotal, taking into cognizance the gestation period for power development.
“There is a need for massive investment in transmission and distribution networks in the country. Power GENCOs have the capacity to increase their output in the near term.
 
“However, an increase in power generation without a resultant increase in TCN’s wheeling capacity and improved distribution infrastructures will continue to lead to stranded power generation. Nigeria has about 13,000, MW, of installed capacity, a transmission capacity of about 5,000MW and distribution that hovers between 3,500 and 4,200MW.
 
“A further challenge is the constant request from the System Operator to make the GENCO power plants operate at base load contrary to their design to operate optimally and efficiently at base load. Operations of these turbines far away from their base loads imply a reduction in efficiency or in other words an increase in consumption of gas (for the thermal) by as much as 15-20percent!, a cost not captured or contemplated by MYTO.
“Electricity generating companies are faced with: financial, operational, construction, market, macroeconomic, contract and regulatory risks in the NESI today.
 
“GENCOs are caught in the middle of a weak transmission network and a poor commercial market structure. If answers can be given to GENCOs most pressing/pertinent questions such as; can we be fully dispatched? Can we get gas? Who is paying for the power?  What is the clear line of sight for collection and remittance? Then, power supply issues of the nation will be a thing of the past.”
 
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