13 Jul

Daily Watch – FG releases Q1 capital budget, UBA, First Bank suffer ratings downgrade

  • Finance minister Kemi Adeosun says the under-performance of the insurance sector costs the country a 0.5 percent increase in GDP annually. The minister who made the announcement at the National Insurance Conference said the issues responsible for the under-performance need to be addressed, “because a 0.33 percent increase in insurance penetration can result in a growth of 0.5 percent in GDP.” This increment could lead to the creation of at least 70,000 jobs annually, a situation the minister says could help the sector catch up with its pension and banking counterparts. One big drag on the insurance industry – awareness. Adeosun says of the 57 insurance companies in the country, less than 23 advertised their products.
  • NERC has denied reports that it plans to increase power tariffs across the country six months ago after it hiked electricity tariffs for different categories of consumers by over 45 per cent, citing prevailing economic conditions. Reacting to media reports that the power firms had made a request for 100 per cent increase in tariffs, it said that no industry operators had pressed for a tariff increase, adding that it had not received any application to that effect. The latest accusations come amid statements by the NNPC assuring operators in the power sector it would have completed the repair of vandalised pipelines supplying gas to the power plants by September.
  • Fitch has downgraded First Bank and UBA to ‘B’ from ‘B+’ with a stable outlook. The agency also downgraded the long-term rating of First Bank’s parent holding company to ‘BBB+’ from ‘A’. The agency affirmed its IDRs for eight other Nigerian commercial banks and affirmed the Viability Ratings of all the banks. The outlook on the Long-Term Foreign Currency IDR of GTB has been revised to stable from negative due to continuing strong earnings and stronger-than-expected liquidity. Fitch’s actions on Nigerian banks follows its downgrade of the BOI whose Long-Term IDR fell to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-‘ and Support Rating to ‘4’ from ‘3’ following the downgrade of the Nigerian sovereign ratings at the end of June.
  • The FG has released ₦253 billion out of the ₦350 billion set aside for capital projects in the first and second quarters of 2016. A top official in the Ministry of Finance says the amount was disbursed in three tranches of ₦107 billion, ₦20 billion and ₦126 billion to the various MDAs for the execution of the priority projects contained in this year’s budget. Although a detailed breakdown of the disbursement to each MDAs was not made available, it is understood that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing received a huge chunk of the disbursement with the ministries receiving funds said to include Aviation, Agriculture, Interior, Defence and Education. Finance minister Kemi Adeosun had in June, blamed the delay in releasing the funds on bottlenecks in the public procurement process.