02 Nov

Daily Watch – CBN knocks MMM et al, Erisco moves to China

  • Nigeria’s Senate on Tuesday rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to take on almost $30 billion in external borrowing to fund a record budget spending as the country battles to overcome a recession. The plan was turned down “due to lack of documents supporting the request”, said the Senate in a statement posted on Twitter. Buhari had last week sent a letter to parliament urging lawmakers to approve his plan to raise $29.6 billion to fund sorely needed infrastructure projects over the next three years. Financial analysts said the Senate’s decision could still be negotiated. “It’s not an outright rejection per se. It’s a process that has to continue”, Bismarck Rewane of the Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Company, told AFP. “The president has to go back, make some concessions to the lawmakers on the desirability of the loan,” Rewane said. In September, the African Development Bank publicly confirmed a planned loan of $4.1 billion over the next two years, Bloomberg News reported.
  • The CBN has warned Nigerians against patronising what it called ‘wonder banks’, stating that their activities were not regulated by it. And the so-called ‘wonder banks’, are not insured by the NDIC. Kadija Kassim, head of the CBN’s Consumer Protection Department stated this during a mentoring programme for students of the Government Secondary School, Suleja, Niger. The mentoring programme, which was held simultaneously in over 200 schools, was part of activities to mark the World Savings Day. The apex bank’s warning is coming at a time when the nation’s huge unemployment is making a lot of people take an interest in an online investment scheme tagged: ‘MMM Federal Republic of Nigeria (nigeria.mmm.net)’. The platform has embarked on an aggressive online media campaign to lure the investing public to participate in what it called a “mutual aid financial network,” with a monthly investment return of 30 percent. Kassim, while responding to a question asked by one of the students, described the scheme as fraudulent since it was not supported by any business model. In her words, “We have heard about the activities of MMM, but I want to warn you against it because they are wonder banks that are not regulated. Desist from their activities because they are fraudulent.”
  • Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil and gas firm, Oando, has said that pipeline attacks in the Niger Delta over the past year have led to a revenue shortfall of up to $750 million across its joint venture operations. Among others, Oando has a JV with Energia on the Ebendo field which feeds through to Forcados export terminal, with its largest JV the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) near the Brass terminal which has been affected all year with disruptions. “What we are dealing with are criminals hiding under the platform of social issues,” Pade Durotoye, chief executive of Oando Energy Resources, told Reuters on Tuesday on the sidelines of an African oil and gas conference in Cape Town. “So this equates to somewhere between 50,000 to 60,000 barrels per day (bpd of lost production), not just to us but all of the partners.” Nigeria’s oil output, typically close to 2.2 million bpd, fell to less than 1.3 million bpd this spring before recovering as militants, such as the Niger Delta Avengers, bombed energy facilities and warned international oil companies not to carry out repairs.
  • Gionee Communication Equipment Company says it has invested over $10 million in the Nigerian market, with $8 million of the sum invested this year. It also said that it planned to invest a total of $12 million in the nation’s telecommunication industry in 2017. The Group CEO, Chen Lei, disclosed these in Lagos, during the launch of Gionee S6s with Selfie flashlight, a 5.50-inch touchscreen display smartphone with a resolution of 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels at a PPI of 401 pixels per inch. He added that the company, which was launched in Nigeria in 2011, had grown its retail presence to 500 outlets across the country. “This year alone, we have invested $8 million. When we launched in the market in 2011, we took our time to study the business climate and started investing more in 2014. Till date, we have launched $10 million in Nigeria. For next year (2017), our budget for the market is $12 million,” Lei said. He did not rule out the possibility of setting up a manufacturing plant in Nigeria in the near future.
  • The 450,000 metric tonnes capacity Erisco Foods, Nigeria’s largest tomato processor with an investment of $150 million, has announced its planned exit from Nigeria owing to its inability to get foreign exchange with which to import tin plates and concentrates. The company said it is now moving to China from where it will produce and export back to Nigeria. The company added that it has so far been frustrated by the unbridled importation of cheap tomato paste into the country which competes favourably with locally produced ones. Announcing the exit on Tuesday, CEO Eric Umeofia said he will conclude the relocation of his plant to China in nine months, stressing that Erisco products will still remain in the market after the period as the company is gearing up to feature among biggest importers of tomato paste into Nigeria. Umeofia vowed not to return his plants and machinery to Nigeria again, regretting that he has so far lost ₦3.6 billion to dumping and has inventory worth over ₦6 billion in his warehouses.