29 Nov

Daily Watch – Data prices go up, Passports will now depend on tax

  • Travelex has cut the amount of dollars sold to Bureau De Change operators in the country from US$15,000 to US$8,000 per week. The move is to enable more BDC operators have access to dollars. Despite the cut in sales, the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar remained largely unchanged for the second consecutive week, at ₦399 to the US$ throughout the week ending November 25. On the inter-bank market, the dollar opened trading on November 11 at ₦305 to the US$ and closed at ₦305.25 to the US$ against the close of ₦305.50/$ recorded the previous week. This ensured that the spread between the BDC and inter-bank markets’ rates was maintained though dollars remain largely scarce. But trading activity in the Spot foreign exchange market between the banks and their clients for the week ending Nov. 18, 2016 stood at $600.29 million, representing an average daily turnover of $120.86 million, a 22.68% increase from the $489.32 million (average daily turnover of $97.86 million) recorded in the previous week. In the parallel market, the dollar came under pressure, dropping to ₦473 to the US$ as at Friday November 25 as scarcity of the currency hit the back where most informal traders source for their dollars.
  • The NCC has ordered mobile operators to initiate a new data tariff regime from December 1, 2016. In a letter to mobile operators dated November 1, the regulator stated that the interim floor price for data services was 0.90k/MB for big operators, and that “this rate will subsist pending the finalisation of the study on the determination of cost based pricing for retail broadband and data services in Nigeria”. As a result, MTN sent messages to its customers stating that there would an increase in its data tariffs on December 1.
  • Nigeria’s biggest pipe factory owned and operated by SCC Nigeria may be shut as it grapples with a lack of patronage caused by the current recessionary trends in the country. The company had in October 2015 inaugurated the 280,000-tonne ultra-modern steel pipe manufacturing mill in Ushafa, Abuja. According to SCC Nigeria Project Co-ordinator, Festus Onyenenue, the factory’s last output was for the NNPC with the project delivery completed in September. He blamed the prevailing economic climate for the dearth of contracts, adding that the company has been forced to lay off more than two-thirds of its staff and is still bleeding cash.
  • FIRS boss, Babatunde Fowler, on Monday said soon Nigerians might begin to show evidence of tax payment before obtaining their passports. Fowler, who made the declaration at the 136th meeting of the Joint Tax Board, said, “We did take a position and I believe it would be implemented in the very near future that before you get any services from the immigration department: renewal of passports etc, you’d have to show that you are a tax payer. These things are normal all over the world, In an effort to serve Nigerians and Nigeria better.” Fowler said the FIRS set a target to increase the individual taxpayer data base by 10 million by December 31.
  • FCMB plans to raise ₦7.5 billion ($25 million) in Tier-II supplementary debt by year-end to strengthen its capital base. The bank had said in August it will raise between ₦10 billion to ₦15 billion naira of Tier II capital, targeting retail investors for the offering. On Friday, the FCMB Group reported a profit before tax of ₦14.2 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2016, representing an increase of 453% from ₦2.563 billion recorded in the same period of 2015, a situation its Managing Director, Peter Obaseki attributed partially to its soundness of ratios and steady buffers against the subsisting adverse operating environment.
  • Fitch Ratings has assigned Kaduna State Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of ‘B’ and a National Long-Term Rating of ‘A+(nga)’. The Outlooks are Stable. The ‘B’ ratings reflect Kaduna’s dwindling revenue prospects in line with declining statutory allocations from the central government as a result of weak oil prices. The ratings also reflect the region’s fast growing debt, although the ratings agency said servicing requirements will be moderated by government subsidies, concessionary terms and a long grace period. Fitch also took into account the state’s developing economy focused on agricultural activities and low per capita revenue by international standards.Oil related revenues account for 70% of Nigeria’s current external receipts and Kaduna’s current revenue.