12 Oct

Daily Watch – CBN and MoF sing kumbaya, UBA inks €60 million EU lending deal

  • The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele says there is no disharmony between the bank and the finance ministry. Speaking at a press briefing in Washington DC, Emefiele said both monetary and fiscal authorities were working hand-in-hand to get the much desired growth needed to get Nigeria out of its first recession in two decades. In September, finance minister, Kemi Adeosun had said the fiscal authorities were in need of low interest rates, to reduce the cost of borrowing. However, the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee, against Adeosun’s suggestion, held interest rates at 14 percent, signalling some disunity between fiscal and monetary authorities. Adeosun and Edenfield were at pains to explain that no such disharmony existed, as both authorities were working to achieve the same goal of driving growth.“I don’t see a disharmony but blown out of proportion. I am not a member of the committee and I don’t see what they do. We are all working together with one objective, which is to get the economy growing,” Adeosun said.
  • The European Investment Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA) have agreed to a new €60 million lending programme to support private sector-driven growth across Nigeria. The deal is said to represent the EIB’s largest loan to UBA, and will allow UBA provide longer-term loans than currently available, to private companies in the country. The new private sector lending programme was formally agreed on the sidelines of the World Bank Annual/IMF meetings in Washington DC. Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of the European Investment Bank; Kennedy Uzoka, UBA group managing director; and Sola Yomi-Ajayi, head of global financial institutions at UBA, sealed the deal. This represents the first Nigerian operation under the European Investment Bank’s new dedicated Nigeria Private Enterprise Investment Facility, a wider million lending scheme intended to support private sector investment in the country. Under the new initiative, private sector entrepreneurs and companies will be able to use loans with a longer tenor than traditionally available, to invest and expand activities across a range of sectors.
  • The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says MTN has not yet acquired Visafone’s licence — despite media reports to the contrary. Tony Ojobo, NCC’s director of public affairs, made this known in a statement on Tuesday. It was reported in January that the MTN group had concluded the acquisition of Visafone after “receiving” the final approval of the federal government. It was thought that NCC approved the deal in the last quarter of 2015. However, Ojobo clarified on Tuesday what had been approved was only the transfer of the shareholding structure — not transfer of licence. “A decision to transfer Visafone licence to MTN has not yet been taken. What has been approved in the transaction is 100% shareholding not licence,” he said.
  • The National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has completed the N664.12 million ($2.11 million) West Africa sugarcane development project started in 2010. The project, funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and supervised by the International Sugar Organisation (ISO) was aimed at acquiring, evaluating and selecting high yielding and disease resistant cane varieties for wide adoption by smallholder sugarcane farmers in the region. At the project completion dissemination workshop, the Project Coordinator, Latif Busari said the CFC contributed $1.01 million while participating agencies contributed $447,697 to the project. The Project Coordinator said 40 varieties of sugarcane were imported from Brazil, Mauritius, India, Sudan and Barbados for the project out of which the best varieties were identified for the region. “All the 40 test varieties have helped to enlarge the genetic pool and breeding germplasm available in participating countries,” he said.
  • Coca-Cola intends to buy the stake global beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev holds in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, the two companies announced Tuesday. The proposed deal follows ABI’s mega-takeover of SABMiller to create the world’s biggest beer company. That buyout allowed the the Belgian-Brazilian maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois to recover the stake its British-South African rival held in Coca-Cola’s African subsidiary. SAB Miller, which did much of the US beverage giant’s bottling worldwide, held a majority share in it. “The company has chosen to exercise its right to acquire ABI’s stake in CCBA because it intends to implement its long-term strategic plan in these markets with other partners,” Coca-Cola said in a statement. It added that, “It has a number of existing partners who are highly qualified and interested in these bottling territories.” ABInBev, in a statement, said it did not expect the deal to have a financial impact.