26 Oct

Daily Watch – Niger Delta Avengers resume hostilities, Ethiopian Airlines is loving Nigeria

  • President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday proposed new adjustments to some line items in the 2016 budget to address financial urgencies. The president’s proposal was contained in a letter to the National Assembly in which he seeks a total of ₦180.8 billion in virement for line items for both capital and recurrent expenditure. Buhari said the need for government to augment funds in the federal coffers was caused by renewed militant activities in the Niger-Delta. He said the destruction of oil installations had left his administration unable to pay overhead costs as the nation has no viable alternative means of revenue. “The most viable option now is the virement of appropriated funds from heads or subheads …,” Buhari said in the letter addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara. Areas where the president said needed urgent injection of funds include security, intervention programs, education and services.
  • The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has said that government reforms targeted at cutting petroleum products’ importation will shrink imports by at least 60 percent by 2018 and thereafter position the country to be a net exporter in 2019. According to Kachikwu, a key priority area in the road map for the oil industry is an increase in local refining production capacity through the implementation of modular refineries and co-location. He stressed the need for a strong independent regulator to superintend activities in the sub-sector, “whose role is not price-setting but to develop and enforce open, fair and transparent rules in the downstream oil and gas sector.”
  • The Niger Delta Avengers on Tuesday morning attacked an export line operated by Chevron at Escravos in the Warri South West Council Area of Delta. The attack, which the militant group has claimed, occurred on Tuesday morning at about 3:45am, the Punch reports quoting a military source. It marks the first attack by the militant group on an oil facility since it announced a ceasefire and mandated the Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Group to hold talks with the Federal Government on its behalf. A statement by NDA spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo to the paper warned multinational oil companies to stop repairs on any facility which it has targeted “pending negotiation/dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta.”
  • Zenith Bank has posted a ₦100 billion profit after tax for the nine months ended September 30, 2016, a 20.4 percent growth on the ₦83 billion profit recorded for the same period in 2015. The bank ended the period with a profit before tax of ₦121.2 billion, an increase of 16.6 percent above the ₦104 billion posted in the corresponding period in 2015. The results showed improvements in other performance indicators, as gross earnings rose by 12.9 percent from ₦337.9 billion to ₦380.4 billion, while net interest income grew by 17.6 percent from ₦161.4 billion to ₦189.8 billion. Impairment charges rose by 124.8 percent to ₦9.7 billion to ₦21.9 billion, while other income soared from ₦9.7 billion in 2015 to ₦32 billion in 2016. The bank, in a statement on Monday, said despite the macroeconomic headwinds, it attracted more deposits and also gave out more loans and advances. Deposits rose from ₦2.557 trillion to ₦2.692 trillion, while loans and advances grew from ₦1.841 trillion to ₦2.425 trillion. Total assets hit ₦4.654 trillion, up by 16.2 percent from ₦4 trillion in 2015. The lender plans to pay a ‘bountiful’ dividend at the end of the year, it has already paid an interim dividend of 25 kobo to shareholders for the half year ended June 30.
  • Ethiopian Airlines says it will continue scheduled flights to Nigeria, bucking the trend by some airlines who have announced cancellations to Lagos and Abuja. The airline’s country manager, Solomon Begashaw, said in a release that: “the Management of Ethiopian Airlines wishes to clarify its stance of pursuing its operation to Nigeria and keep Nigerian travellers connected to five continents around the globe.” In his words, “Ethiopian has been in the highs and lows of Nigeria; all through the crisis periods of Nigeria and also during the last economic crisis, providing the link between Nigeria and the outside world, thereby showing its African solidarity. Hence, as an indigenous Pan-African Carrier, Ethiopian Airlines will remain with the Nigerian public in good and bad times like it has always done in the past 50 years.” Begashaw also said his airline is hiring Nigeria pilots to man its fleet of B777, B787, B737 and Dash 8 Q-400 aircraft, as well as training more Nigerians in its aviation academy.
  • The Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) recorded a significant increase in its profitability, up to ₦482 million in 2015 as against ₦160 million in 2014. The nation’s leading and foremost mortgage refinance company also recorded total assets of ₦39.01 billion in 2015 compared to ₦10.6 billion in 2014. This result was presented at NMRC’s 2nd Annual General Meeting in Lagos. The Company’s CEO, Charles Inyangete noted that as NMRC continued its journey towards greater financial strength, the main focus and long-term strategy of the company was on improving mortgage penetration by growing the supply and the demand side of the housing value-chain.
  • Fitch Ratings has assigned Access Bank’s issue of $300 million 10.5% senior unsecured notes due 2021 a ‘B’ rating. A statement from the global rating agency put the Recovery Rating of the foreign currency debt at ‘RR4’, which denotes average recovery prospects given default. The notes were issued under the bank’s $1 billion global medium-term note (GMTN) programme. Part of the new notes issued was pursuant to Access Bank’s exchange offer on its existing $350 million 7.25% of senior unsecured notes due 2017 issued by a special purpose vehicle, Access Finance BV. At the same time, Fitch has assigned final long and short-term ratings of ‘B’ to the bank’s $1billion GMTN programme following a review of the final documentation. The senior unsecured notes were rated in line with Access Bank’s Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of ‘B’.