24 Oct

Daily Watch – FG appeals to AfDB to fast-track loan, Dangote downsizes

  • The NDIC says more than ₦2.54 billion belonging to some local governments as well as federal and state MDAs remain trapped in 47 banks in liquidation, without the affected parties filing proof of claims for insured deposits and liquidation dividends. The agency lists federal government agencies as accounting for ₦1,533,948,597.90; state governments agencies ₦949,197,189.54; and local governments’ money stock stood at ₦57,448,833.44. The NDIC has called for affected parties to file their claims with the corporation within 60 days to enable it to carry out verification and payment.
  • The FG has appealed to the African Development Bank to fast-track the $1bn loan facility it promised as support for the implementation of Nigeria’s 2016 budget. According to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, made the appeal in Abuja during a meeting with the AfDB team, the loan is expected to cover the 35 per cent shortfall in the budget. Udoma said, “I want to thank you for the support. We value the relationship with the AfDB and we appreciate the budget support. We want the AfDB also to fast-track the loan facility. It is important to note that the AfDB is standing with us.” Udoma, while giving an overview of the government’s plan to boost the economy and spend out of the current recession, said that the Federal Government was trying to contain the militancy in the Niger Delta as the development had negatively affected oil production. He said the government was hoping to restore production to 2.2 million barrels per day at the end of the year.
  • The CBN has unveiled the list of banks with the lowest and the highest lending rates and called for transparency in the bank rates. The MPC had called on the banks to publish their lending rates once a week to drive transparency and competition between the lenders. In the release, the regulator said the applicable rates for each of DMBs as at 30th August showed that Skye, Keystone, Unity and Wema banks had the highest lending rates, around 30 to 31 percent of the maximum. Citi, Coronation Merchant, GTBank, and Rand Merchant banks paraded the lowest interest rates, between 20 and 22 percent of the maximum. UBA, Skye, Access, FCMB, Fidelity, First Bank, Sterling and Wema were all cited as having loan facilities with a single interest rate for agriculture. The rates are subject to change, especially with any movement in the benchmark CBN interest rate.
  • 36 expatriate and 12 Nigerian workers have been terminated from the Dangote Group’s headquarters and one of its subsidiaries, Dangote Cement. The Punch reports that the decision to sack the workers is not unconnected with the current high cost of running business in the country occasioned by the unavailability of foreign exchange and the unprecedented hike in the naira to dollar exchange rate. The huge amounts in foreign currency being paid to the expatriate workers had become a burden on Dangote due to the steady depreciation in the value of the naira and the difficulties of raising enough dollars. Consequently, the organisation has decided to replace the expatriates with Nigerians, who have acquired the requisite experience on the job, as paying them in naira will be less problematic. For the affected Nigerians, it was gathered that most of them had disciplinary issues, which made it easy for the group to do away with their services. In a letter signed by the President/Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, dated Thursday, October 20, 2016,the firm stated that it was constrained to take the “tough” decision as economic factors had affected the cost of production. The letter, which was titled: ‘Recent Retirement Exercise’, however, appreciated those affected for their contributions to the growth of the group.