FG Bows to Labour, Reduces Petrol Price by N5
The Federal government has caved in to the demand by the organized labour by slashing the pump price of petrol by N5. By this reduction, the new price of a liter of petrol will now be N162.44. The government said the new price template will come into effect as from Monday next week. Addressing journalists shortly after the meeting with labour leaders that lasted till midnight, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said that the meeting was fruitful. He said: “Our discussion was fruitful and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is the major importer and marketers of petroleum product, and customers have agreed that there will be a slide down of the pump price of PMS and that the price cut will get us about N5 per litre and that the price cut will take effect from next Monday, a week today,” Ngige however said that the price reduction was not meant to suspend deregulation because it did not affect the price of crude oil but on areas where the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC as the main importer has agreed that it cut cost like freight cost and demurrage.
Lower Oil Sector Taxes Guaranteed in New PIB, Sylva Assures Operators
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva has said that Nigeria’s long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will include low tax provisions to sustain stable investments in the country’s oil sector. Sylva equally noted that Nigeria’s plans to step up growth of its oil industry has not been impacted heavily by the coronavirus. He added that key priority projects the country planned to execute in 2020 have not been derailed. The minister stated this while delivering a remark at the seventh joint International Energy Forum and International Gas Union (IEF-IGU) ministerial gas forum which was held online. Nigeria has repeatedly failed to pass the PIB, a bill expected to help reform her oil sector when passed into law. The PIB is considered relevant to the country’s quest to make its oil industry regain its competitiveness, but it has been stalled by interests and politics. A new version has been submitted again to the National Assembly for legislative consideration. Sylva, in his remarks however said: “We are not unmindful that the industry players are of the view that the current level of taxation on onshore and shallow water operations is excessive and therefore the proposed PIB should include a significant lowering of these taxes for new investments and for existing operations.
Six Banks Boost Economy with N1.3tn Credits in 2020
Efforts to grow the nation’s economy has received a boost from the banking sector as six leading banks injected additional N1.337 trillion through loans and advances to their customers across all sectors of the economy between January and September 2020. The loans were disbursed by Access Bank Plc, FBN Holdings Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and Zenith Bank Plc for the nine months ended September 30, 2020. THISDAY checks showed that the six banks credits to customers as of September 2020 stood at N13.958 trillion, up by 10.59 per cent from December 2019, indicating that an additional N1.337 trillion was given out within the nine months period. A breakdown of the loans showed that Zenith Bank Plc recorded the highest of N405 billion, increasing its loans and advances from N2.306 trillion to N2.711 trillion. It was followed by UBA with N281 billion as the pan-African bank increased its loans from N2.169 trillion to N2.450 trillion while FBN Holdings Plc lent N262 billion to close the nine months with N2.869 trillion up from N2.607 trillion. Access Bank Plc advanced N175 billion to its customers to increase its loans to N3.087 trillion as at September 2020, compared with N2.912 trillion as at the end of 2019. Fidelity Bank Plc raised its loans by N146 billion to N1.272 trillion from N1.126 trillion, while GTBank Plc accounted for N68 billion, increasing its loans to N1.569 trillion, compared with N1.501 trillion.
Petrol price may hit N180 as oil nears $50
The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, may hit N180 per litre this month, according to marketers, as oil prices extended their rally on Monday, with Brent crude trading near $50 per barrel. Brent, the international oil benchmark, has risen by more than 15 per cent since November 13 when the pump price of petrol was adjusted in the country. It stood at $49.39 per barrel as of 7:29pm Nigerian time on Monday. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, had said in September that the Federal Government had stepped back in fixing the price of petrol, adding that market forces and crude oil price would determine the cost of the product. The National Operation Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Mike Osatuyi, said fuel prices might increase before the end of December, considering the current realities in the market. “Once we have deregulated, petrol price is a function of crude oil price. If in the past few months, oil price has hovered around $40 to $44 per barrel, when it moves to $49-$50, we have to be expecting nothing less than N180 per litre of petrol,” he said.
Nigeria’s Q3 trade deficit hits N2.38tn, highest since 2017 –NBS –
Nigeria’s trade deficit rose by 32.45 per cent from N1.8tn as of the end of second quarter to N2.38tn in the third quarter. The National Bureau of Statistics disclosed this in its Q3 Foreign Trade Statistics report, which was released on Monday. It also said the total trade in the period under review stood at N8.37tn. Part of the report read, “The value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade stood at N8.37tn in Q3 2020. “This represents an increase of 34.15 per cent in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 2020 but a decline of 8.85 per cent compared to Q3, 2019. Total trade year-to-date amounted to N23.2tn. “The import component was valued at N5.38tn, representing an increase of 33.77 per cent in Q3 2020 against the level recorded in Q2 2020 and 38.02 per cent compared to Q3 2019.” According to the report, the value of imports in Q3 represented the highest level for any quarter since 2017. It said, “The export component accounted for N2.99tn of the total trade in Q3 2020 indicating an increase of 34.85 per cent compared to the value recorded in Q2 2020 but a decrease of 43.41 per cent compared to Q3 2019.
We’ll resuscitate Ajaokuta steel, ore mining firm – FG –
The Federal Government is working to resuscitate the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and National Iron Ore Mining Company Limited at the same time, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Oluwatoyin Akinlade, has said. Akinlade disclosed this when she paid a working visit to the two companies to ascertain their levels of preparedness ahead of the arrival of a team from Russia scheduled to technically audit the firms. She said in a statement issued in Abuja by the Assistant Director, Press, Timothy Akpoili, that the Federal Government was committed to resuscitating both companies. The permanent secretary said the ministry wants the two companies to begin full operations soon. She was quoted as saying, “Ajaokuta is the future, the bedrock of Nigeria’s development. The resuscitation must be done, and can be done.” Akinlade noted that Ajaokuta without NIOMCO was like a car without tyres, hence efforts were being made to resuscitate both companies at the same time to achieve the desired result. In October 2019 in Sochi, Russia, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to resuscitate and complete Ajaokuta Steel Company.
Airports concession, others will go ahead despite opposition –FG –
Moves to concession Nigeria’s four major airports and the establishment of a national carrier are still on course and the results will materialise soon, the Federal Government said on Monday. The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, stated this in his message on the commemoration of the 2020 International Civil Aviation Day, despite oppositions by lawmakers on plans by the government to concession airports. In November, the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to suspend the plan to concession airports until all issues had been addressed. Four international airports were billed for concession to private operators and they included the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports. The Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, had argued that there were concerns by operators in the aviation sector against moves by government to concession airports. “Among the concerns were the lack of transparency in the exercise, labour issues, the Chinese loans, the legal issues that may arise from the existing concessions and the lack of proper valuation of the present status of the affected airports, among others,” the lawmaker had explained. But in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by the spokesperson, Federal Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, the aviation minister stated that the concession of airports was part of the aviation roadmap currently on course.
State govs’ quest to borrow N17tr from pension fund may hit brickwall
Plan by state governors in the country to borrow N17 trillion from pension fund to develop infrastructure in their respective states is dead on arrival. The reported proposal by the governors to borrow about N17 trillion from the pension funds is an indication that most of those in authority are not conversant with the workings of the pension industry, specifically the Contributory Pension scheme (CPS). Besides, it would interest you to know that the total value of the pension funds under management as at September 2020 stood at N11.56 trillion. So, from where do the governors intend to borrow the short fall? Interestingly, pension funds are not borrowed but rather invested in line with the investment regulations issued by the National Pension Commission (PenCom). The investment regulations allow pension funds to be invested in asset classes such as Bonds, Sukuk, Treasury Bills, Global Depository Notes and other securities issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria, provided that the securities are guaranteed by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The investable assets also include Bonds and Sukuk issued by eligible State and Local Governments provided that such securities are fully guaranteed by Irrevocable Standing Payment Orders (ISPOs) and subject to the fulfilment of the conditions set out in the Commission’s Circular on “Minimum Requirements for the inclusion of State Bonds as Investible Instruments in the Pension Industry’’.
We’re not bothered by border reopening –Farmers –
Farmers under the aegis of Food Growers Association of Nigeria (FOGAN), have said there would not be perturbed by the Federal Government’s decision to reopening the land borders. National President of FOGAN, Joseph Owolabi, who addressed newsmen yesterday in Abuja, said the reopening would crash the high cost of foodstuffs, as many farmers would be engaged in food production to meet the demands of consumers. “We are trying our best to make sure that the prices of food comes down. Nigeria population is too high. Even what our farmers produce is not enough especially our rural farmers. “Most of them are using cutlass, hoes and other tools which we are trying to eradicate by bringing tractors and other modern equipment. “So, what we are producing at present may not be able to feed the country. So if the Federal Government decides to open the borders it does not affect us. “It will still not affect our members. In fact, it will boost the economy and the high cost of foodstuff will come down,” he said.
Lagos Trade Fair: Border closure hampers neighbouring countries’ participation
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has disclosed that the closure of our borders has stopped neighbouring countries from participating in this year’s trade fair. Chairman, Trade Promotion Board of the LCCI, Gabriel Idahosa who made the remark noted that the countries’ representatives were physically present at the fair but their goods cannot come in due to the border closure. He said the chamber has made efforts to permit these countries for the purpose of the fair by applying to the office of the President for permission, but no reply or permission has been granted. “For countries like Ghana, Cameroun, Bene republican, Cote de’ Ivoire, and others, they are in town but their goods cannot come in because of the closure of our borders. We have applied to the office of the President but till now no permission or response. Idahosa also disclosed that due to the pandemic and short notice to foreign exhibitors like China, Japan they could not make it to the fair. He said the short notice did not give them enough time to prepare. “It takes three months on the average to import into Nigeria and clear their goods at the ports and then send them to the TBS ground for the fair.”
Buhari re-nominates AMCON MD, EDs
President Muhammadu Buhari has renewed the appointment of Mr Ahmed Kuru as the Managing Director of the Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) of Nigeria for another term of five years. The President also re-nominated Mr Eberechukwu Uneze and Mr Aminu Ismail as Executive Directors of the corporation. A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said Buhari had already conveyed the decision to the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan. According to the President’s letter to the National Assembly, he was seeking Senate’s confirmation of the nominees by the Upper Chamber in accordance with Section 10(1) of the AMCON Act, 2010. Similarly, in another letter to the President of the Senate in compliance with Sections 5(4) and 8(3) of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Act, 2010, President Buhari has asked the Senate to confirm the nominations of Mr Bello Hassan as the Managing Director, and Mr Mustapha Muhammad Ibrahim as Executive Director of the corporation. The two nominees are to succeed Mr Umaru Ibrahim and Prince Aghatise Erediuwa whose second terms end on December 8, 2020 as Managing Director and Executive Director (Operations) respectively. Meanwhile, Hon. Omolola Abiola Edewor, is to continue as Executive Director (Corporate Services) in the NDIC until her second and final term ends on January 24, 2022.
SEC seeks more listings, products in capital market – Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is exploring various avenues to bring more companies to list on the capital market and to increase the number of products in the market. The commission said the initiative would raise the market capitalisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and contribute to the development of the national economy. SEC’s Director-General, Lamido Yuguda, made this known at a workshop of the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) in Lagos. Yuguda, who was represented by the Director, Lagos Zonal Office, SEC, Mr Stephen Falomo, said the commission took some strategic initiatives to boost market activities and crystallise the growth of the capital market. He noted that this was done to cushion the negative impact of the global pandemic (COVID-19) on the capital market while adding that its committee on COVID-19 has continued to provide support and equipment towards combating the pandemic and its effect. According to him, the SEC has continued to leverage its business continuity plan and those of its operators to ensure that capital market activities are carried out during this period with little or no disruption. Yuguda assured stakeholders that the commission will be making more deliberate efforts towards attracting retail investors back into the market.
United Capital raises N15b short-term capital
United Capital Plc has raised N15 billion under the second tranche of its N20 billion commercial paper (CP) issuance programme. It had in April 2020 raised N5.3 billion under the debut Series 1 and 2. The latest Series 3, a 270-day issuance, was issued at a yield of 1.26 per cent and had a subscription of some 112 per cent with firm commitments from a pool of institutional investors, particularly asset managers. The debut Series 1 and 2 issuances, with tenors of 182 days and 270 days respectively, were also subscribed to by individual and institutional investors, with interest significantly tilted towards the 270-day offering. Group Chief Executive Officer, United Capital Plc, Mr. Peter Ashade said the commercial paper issuance was in line with the company’s bid to diversify its funding sources, strengthen its capital base and intensify its strategic initiatives aimed at providing innovative financing solutions to its clients. He noted that the latest issuance set another ground-breaking record in the Nigerian capital markets, being the lowest yield on record for a 270-day CP issuance by a non-bank issuer.
Oil slips as gloom grows over soaring COVID-19 cases, lockdowns
Oil prices fell on Tuesday, adding to losses from the previous session that came as California tightened its pandemic lockdown through Christmas and coronavirus cases continued to surge in the United States and Europe. Brent crude futures fell 40 cents, or 0.8%, to $48.39 a barrel at 0455 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 35 cents or 0.8%, to $45.41 a barrel. Both benchmark contracts lost around 1% on Monday. Globally, a sharp rise in coronavirus cases has led to a string of renewed lockdowns, including strict measures in the U.S. state of California as well as Germany and South Korea. “The pandemic situation is continuing to be very disruptive in quite a few places in the U.S. and parts of Europe. That’s impacting sentiment on demand near term,” said Lachlan Shaw, National Australia Bank’s head of commodity research. California on Monday required most of the state to close shop and stay at home under a new order which will last at least three weeks. “California, one of the U.S. largest road fuel demand states, will be in lockdown lite through what is bound to be a Christmas lite for the oil markets,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axi.
Asia Stocks Drift After U.S. Retreat; Bonds Steady: Markets Wrap
Asian stocks drifted Tuesday as swelling coronavirus infections across the U.S. weighed on risk assets overnight. Treasuries held on to Monday’s gains. Equities fell in South Korea and Hong Kong, and were little changed elsewhere. Japanese shares pared losses as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga unveiled around $380 billion in fiscal measures to help the economy recover from the pandemic. S&P 500 futures dipped after the benchmark dropped from an all-time high amid fears of restrictions as infections climb. Earlier, the Nasdaq 100 closed higher for a ninth straight day, its longest winning streak in almost a year. Elsewhere, the pound pared overnight losses as the U.K. backed down from a threat to break the Brexit agreement. The dollar held gains against its major peers. Oil slipped and gold was steady after jumping more than 1% Monday. As coronavirus cases surge, markets are increasingly looking for a U.S. stimulus deal to be done, especially after last week’s disappointing jobless data. With Republican and Democratic negotiators struggling to reach an agreement on both a mammoth government spending bill and Covid-19 relief, lawmakers are set to postpone what had been a Friday night deadline for passing a bill.