05 Aug

Daily Watch – Customs agents, airlines don’t like naira FX policy, Hotel chain to invest ₦6 billion in Aba

The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents has threatened to shut down Nigeria’s ports over a 43 percent hike in customs duty. Association president, Olayiwola Shittu, said the association condemned in totality the monetary policy that has led to the collapse of the maritime industry. “There should have been a deliberate effort to save Nigerian importers from the debilitating effect of fixing the foreign exchange in calculating the import duty,” he said.

FCMB has announced that earnings will come under pressure in the second half of the year as it sets aside more money for loan losses to cope with an economy in recession. Profit in the six months through December will probably be weaker than the first half “in view of operating environment challenges and our decision to step up impairment charges,” the lender said in a statement on its website. Issues that will affect operations include “a high inflation and interest-rate environment and further disruptions to crude oil production,” the company said. It plans to increase its capital adequacy ratio, which deteriorated to 15 percent in the first half from 18.6 percent previously, through the sale of bonds or by retaining earnings.

Global Steel Holdings may have abandoned the arbitration process it instituted at the Court of International Arbitration, London to reclaim the Ajaokuta Steel Complex from which it was sacked by the FG. DG BPE, Vincent Akpotaire, and a few directors were in London last week for the hearing of the case. Although the outcome of the hearing has not been made public, the case’s withdrawal made possible the out-of-court mediation that culminated in the signing of an agreement between GSHL and the FG on Monday. Under the agreement, Ajaokuta reverts to the FG without encumbrances, while GSHL regains access to manage and operate the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company at Itakpe. GSHL is required to submit its business plan for Itakpe for approval within the next 105 days.

The Country Manager of British Airways, Kola Olayinka says foreign airlines operating in Nigeria lost ₦6.4 billion out of ₦157.6 billion ($800 million) in revenue trapped in the country when the naira’s value plunged from ₦197 to ₦280 per dollar after the CBN removed it’s currency peg. According to Olayinka, for every million dollars the bank refused to repatriate, the airlines lost ₦80 million. The naira gained 1.29 percent against the American dollar on Thursday at the spot FX market as it closed at ₦315.06, according to information from the FMDQ. At the parallel market, the pound sterling sold at ₦510 compared with ₦495 from the previous day.

Africa Swiss International Hotels and Resorts has announced plans to inject ₦6 billion into the remodelling of Enyimba International Hotels, a proposed five-star hotel in Aba. Wasiu Babalola, MD of Africa Swiss, said the hotel’s name would change to Swiss International Enyimba, Aba and will have conference centre, a swimming pool, squash and lawn tennis courts, a football pitch, a green zone area and a village, to be known as Enyimba village. This will be the company’s sixth property in Nigeria.