13 Feb

Daily Watch – Gas production gets post-vandalism boost, Jaiz Bank dreams big

  • Nigeria’s external reserves have risen by $4.7 billion or 20 percent in the past three months, according to the latest data from the CBN. Statistics on the regulator’s website on Sunday revealed that the foreign exchange reserves increased from $24.0 billion on November 9, 2016, to $28.7 billion on February 9, 2017. The data also showed that within two months, the reserves increased by $3.8 billion or 15.3 percent from $24.9 billion recorded on December 9, 2016, to $28.7 billion on February 9, 2017. In the same vein, the reserves have increased by $2.9 billion or 11.2 percent since the beginning of this year till date. Specifically, the external reserves rose from $25.8 billion on December 30, 2016, to $8.7 billion recorded on February 9, 2017. The nation’s external reserves had risen by 15 percent in three months, the CBN data showed in late January. The country’s reserves had recorded $23.89 billion low on October 19. The reserves dropped by 15.9 percent between 2015 and 2016. Following the gradual increase in crude oil price and production output, the foreign exchange reserves have been rising steadily since November 2016. Experts say the slowdown in foreign exchange allocation to forex markets by the CBN might have contributed to the reserves accretion. The CBN had spent $4 billion from the nation’s external reserves to defend the local currency in 2016, despite the staggering fall in the value of the naira against the United States dollar and other major foreign currencies during the period.
  • The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on Sunday said it had discovered deep rot at embattled Nigerian airline, Arik Air. AMCON said it would require at least ₦10 billion to fix the company’s issues before the largest local carrier could resume full and uninterrupted operations to its regular routes locally and internationally. The asset company made the disclosure in a statement. The airline was taken over on Feb. 9 by the federal government under the auspices of AMCON as a result of a ballooning debt profile of over ₦300 billion. AMCON had directed that the airline would now be managed by Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert, under the receivership of Mr Oluseye Opasanya (SAN). The statement noted that the situation was so bad that only nine aircraft out of the 30 in the fleet of the airlines were operational. According to the statement, 21 of them have either been grounded, gone for C-check in Europe, amid other challenges.
  • Gas production in Nigeria witnessed a consistent monthly rise following the gradual decline in the spate of vandalism of oil and gas facilities in the country. The latest NNPC numbers show that gas production rose by 55.1 billion standard cubic feet (BCF) between September and November last year, a 31.68 percent increase. An analysis of the figures from the national oil firm shows that during the peak period of pipeline vandalism between April and early August 2016, Nigeria’s gas production fell by 54.5BCF. This started picking up in August when the country posted a total gas production of 173.9BCF. In September, October and November of last year, the production figures appreciated to 204.9BCF, 219.6BCF and 229BCF, respectively. Similarly, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, confirmed recently that the decline in vandalism had prompted a rise in national electricity generation.
  • Jaiz Bank, a non-interest financial institution is targeting a Profit After Tax of ₦5.56 billion by the end of the 2021 financial year from its current ₦1.34 billion. The bank disclosed this while addressing stockbrokers at the company’s Facts Behind the Figures, shortly after it listed by the introduction 29.46 billion shares of 50 kobo each at ₦1.25 per share worth ₦6.83 billion on the floor of the NSE, the first non-interest financial institution to list on the local bourse. A total of 356,000 ordinary shares valued at ₦445,000 were traded in six deals immediately after listing. The listing, which added about ₦37 billion to the market capitalisation of the Exchange, according to the bank, would promote liquidity for the bank’s shares, enhance company value and increased transparency. The Managing Director of the bank, Hassan Usman, explained that it is also projected to grow its total income from ₦6.63 billion in 2017 to ₦16.19 billion in 2021. Usman said the bank has a dividend policy that strikes a balance between retaining sufficient cash in the business to finance its organic growth strategy and rewarding its shareholders, who have come a long way in supporting the bank’s vision since its 2003 IPO. Jaiz Bank was created out of the former Jaiz International which was set up in 2003 as an SPV to establish Nigeria’s first full-fledged non-interest bank. The bank is owned by some 27,000 shareholders including the Islamic Development Bank. It recently obtained a national banking license from the CBN.
  • The Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency says Nigeria suffered about 2,175 cyber-attacks in 2015. The company’s DG Isa Patanmi, who disclosed this at the inauguration of a committee to implement the national cyber security strategy in Abuja, said a total of 585 government-owned websites were among the 2,175 Nigeria websites hacked in 2015. According to him, about 14 percent of Nigeria’s 97 million internet users suffered cyber-attacks, which he said had necessitated the setting up of Cyber Security Committee. “A total of 585 government-owned websites were among the 2,175 Nigerian websites hacked in 2015, the Office of the National Security Adviser said recently. Of about 97 million internet users in Nigeria, about 14 percent suffered cyber-attacks,” the statement said. A threat intelligence assessment by Check Point Software Technologies for global payment giant, Paypal showed that Nigeria ranked as the 17th most attacked nation in the world in 2015.