20 Feb

Daily Watch – Nigeria as old news for China, PenCom needs ₦10bn 

  • Nigeria has dropped to the fourth position as China’s trade partner in Africa from second, according to the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian. Zhou noted that the relationship between both countries had a lot of potential, which could be leveraged to the advantage of the two countries. Speaking during the visit of the House of Representatives Committee on Nigeria-China Relations to the CGCOC headquarters on Friday in Abuja, the envoy stated that his country’s desire was for Nigeria to attract Foreign Direct Investment, which he said was needed for the country’s development. He disclosed that China had so far attracted over $139 trillion in FDI, noting that in 2016 alone, his country attracted about $139 trillion. “As Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, I wish a small part of the $139 billion could come to Nigeria,” he said, stating that China’s policy was focused on the economic development of Africa.
  • Telecoms companies in Nigeria hope to address concerns over revenue losses from international calls and hit a revenue target of ₦20 trillion by blocking subscribers from accessing Skype and other Over-the-Top services, according to a report in The Punch. Subscribers might also be prevented from performing certain functions like voice and video calls on WhatsApp and Facebook, among other OTT services. “It is an aggressive approach to stopping further revenue loss to OTT players on international calls, having already lost about ₦100 trillion between 2012 and 2017,” a manager at one of the major telcos in the country said. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the manager said, “If we fail to be proactive by taking cogent steps now, then there are indications that we may lose between ₦20 trillion and ₦30 trillion, or so, by the end of 2018.” The source added that the increasing rise of the OTT players, who provide voice and Short Message Services, or apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, BlackBerry Messenger and Viber, was eating deep into the voice revenue of telecommunications companies in the country by more than 50 percent. A UK-based research and analytics company, Ovum, stated in a report recently that a $386 billion loss would accrue over a period of six years – between 2012 and 2018 – from Nigerian customers using the OTT voice applications.
  • PenCom says it needs ₦10.03 billion to commence the funding of the minimum pensions for retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme. It stated that the funding of the Pension Protection Fund would include an annual subvention of one percent of the total monthly wage bill payable to employees in the public service. “The one percent of the total monthly wage bill payable to employees in the public service of the federation has been determined as ₦10.03 billion,” it stated. According to the commission, Section 82(1) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 provides for the establishment of the PPF, which is to be utilised for the funding of the minimum pension guarantee to be paid to all Retirement Savings Account holders who have contributed for a number of years to licensed Pension Fund Administrators. Part of the funds would be used for the payment of compensation to eligible pensioners due to shortfall or financial losses arising from investment activities.
  • An indigenous oil firm, Brittania-U, has established a crude oil export terminal in the Niger Delta. Brittania-U is a major player in the upstream and downstream sectors and joins other multinational oil companies in the troubled region, especially at a time multinationals are exiting the region due to militancy. The company lifted its first cargo of 129, 000 barrels between December 21 and 26 last year at its newly established Ajapa Terminal. Its CEO, Uju Ifejika, said the firm, which began operation in 2008, had been able to drill three developmental wells and one appraisal well, two of which were successful, notwithstanding a $23 million loss resulting from drilling a dry hole during the early phase of exploration activities. In June last year, it commenced its process to secure DPR, NPA and NIMASA approvals, which it successfully obtained, before securing the ministerial approval on September 16. The marginal field license was granted to Brittania-U via farm-out from the NNPC and Chevron Nigeria in 2004.
  • The SEC has reversed the suspension of Heritage Capital Markets. In a release signed by SEC’s management, the capital market regulator revealed that it lifted the suspension on the company on February 1, 2017. It may be recalled that SEC had suspended the company on December 21, 2016 over alleged share fraud. At the time, Heritage Bank, one of Nigeria’s 25 DMBs, said it has no business relationship with Heritage Capital Market.
  • GTBank, the only remaining Nigerian bank whose customers could use their naira debit MasterCard for online payments has joined other Nigerian Deposit Money Banks in announcing the suspension of overseas Automated Teller Machine card services and online transactions denominated in foreign currencies. In October 2016, DMBs began suspending their ATM cards (debit and credit) from working overseas as a dollar scarcity continues to hit the Nigerian economy. Also suspended by the bank are online transactions priced in foreign currencies. This means that customers of GTBank will no longer be able to use their debit or credit cards to make online transactions that are denominated in dollars, euros, pounds sterling and other foreign currencies.