08 Nov

Daily Watch – UACN reports profit despite complaints, Commuters protest Lagos BRT ban

  • The CBN has given manufacturing companies forex worth over $660 million in the inter-bank market to source raw materials and spare parts, according to acting spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, the CBN measure is in line with its promise to ease foreign exchange pressure on manufacturing and agricultural businesses through forward sales under the new flexible forex regime. He said that the sum sourced by the manufacturers was to facilitate the procurement of raw materials for agricultural, pharmaceutical, automobile, aviation, plant and machinery, power, telecommunications, and printing, among others. “The CBN is committed to ensuring that manufacturers of goods for which Nigeria does not enjoy comparative advantage are able to get letters of credit to import the required materials for their businesses,” he said. The measure is coming after Erisco Foods Limited announced the closing down of its ₦4 billion tomato paste processing plant in Oregun, Lagos, a 450,000-tonne tomato processing facility, sacking 1,500 workers and moving its operations to China due in large part to forex challenges.
  • The Naira on Monday fell freely at the official interbank market, exchanging for ₦350 to the US dollar from ₦328 it traded last Friday. At the BDC segment, the naira closed at ₦385 against the dollar while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at ₦564 and ₦510 respectively. Trading at the parallel market saw the naira exchanged at ₦470 to the dollar, while the Pound and Euro traded at ₦560 and ₦510 respectively. Traders at the market expressed hope that the naira would strengthen further as diaspora remittances are expected to boost liquidity during the holiday season.
  • Shell says the source of an oil leak that polluted Otuokpoti in Bayelsa is being investigated. According to a media spokesman, Precious Okolobo, there was no oil leakage from its operations in the area. In his words, “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd is investigating reports of a leak around Otuokpiti community waterfront situated downstream the Ekoli River, where a section of SPDC’s Nun River – Kolo Creek Pipeline is buried. Preliminary site visits did not indicate any spill. SPDC has, however, shut the pipeline as a precautionary measure pending further investigation.” Officials of SPDC and Nigeria Agip Oil Company, at the weekend, visited Ekole Creek near Otuokpoti in Bayelsa in search of the oil leak source. Ekole Creek is around Agbura and Otuokpoti communities in Ogbia and Yenagoa local government areas of Bayelsa.
  • The NSE on Monday said the Assets Under Management of its eight listed Exchange Traded Fund stood at ₦4.24 billion as at September 2016. CEO Oscar Onyema told the ETF 2016 workshop organised by the bourse in partnership with Stanbic IBTC Asset Management, Lotus Capital and Vetiva Fund Managers that the figure from the eight ETFs listed on the exchange represented a 1,900 percent growth compared with AUM of ₦287.5 million in 2011 when the ETF was introduced on the Exchange. ETFs were introduced on the NSE in December 2011 with the cross-listing of Newgold ETF with AUM of ₦287.5 million to provide investors with new opportunities to diversify their portfolios and access the market.
  • At least 20 BRT buses were vandalisedon Monday when some workers of LAGBUS (red buses) protested the ban by the Lagos State Government stopping the buses from plying the Ikorodu Road BRT corridor. Thousands of commuters were stranded as the protesters blocked the road to prevent the blue buses, operated by Primero Bus Services from working. The Lagos State Government had on Friday banned LAGBUS from plying the corridor with effect from Monday. Speaking on the ban, the acting transport commissioner, Anofiu Elegushi, said that from Monday, November 7, all LAGBUS buses would no longer be allowed to utilise the BRT corridor. “All routes from Ikorodu hinterland will now terminate at TOS Benson bus stop after which there will be no loading of passengers,” he said. But it was a nightmare for Ikorodu residents on Monday morning when the LAGBUS drivers and suspected hoodlums shut down the BRT Lanes, hindering blue buses from operating. The ban left people on Ikorodu-Mile 12-Ketu-Ojota-Maryland-Oshodi route, stranded. LAGBUS Drivers and ticket officers took to protesting the ban at the State depot for LAMATA Blue BRT buses Terminal at Majidun in Ikorodu which caused traffic gridlock.
  • UAC of Nigeria has recorded a profit after tax of ₦4.3 billion for the third quarter of 2016, up 42 percent over the ₦3.1 billion recorded in the same period of last year. Though its core areas of operation – construction, food/beverages and real estate activities – are slowing down, the firm, in its unaudited result, said it posted five percent year-on-year top-line growth for the nine-month period. The conglomerate’s CEO, Larry Ettah, was quoted in a statement by the firm to have said, “Our performance in the nine months to September 2016 demonstrates the resilience of our business and the effectiveness of our strategy in a rather difficult operating environment. Markets remained soft with declining purchasing power, especially in our real estate and paint categories. Forex scarcity/rate volatility and input material shortages are leading to frequent and significant cost increases and production disruptions,” he added. The group reported turnover of ₦57.7 billion, up five percent from the ₦55 billion recorded in September 2015; while gross profit was ₦12.5 billion, up two percent from last year’s ₦12.2 billion.