24 Feb

Daily Watch – SWF plans $760m Niger Bridge investment, Xenophobia bad for MTN Nigeria

  • The CBN has announced that charges on deposits will be re-introduced. In a circular released on its website, the apex bank said the decision was made at the 493rd Bankers Committee meeting that held on February 8. The regulator also announced an expansion of its cashless policy to the remaining 30 states. For individuals, deposits ranging from ₦500,000 to ₦1 million will attract a 1.5% charge, while withdrawals within the range would attract 2% charge. Deposits of amounts above ₦1 million to ₦5 million will attract 2% and withdrawals will attract 3% charge. Deposits and withdrawals above ₦5 million will attract 3% and 7.5% charge respectively. In the corporate category, deposits and withdrawals below ₦3 million will not attract charges. Deposits and withdrawals between ₦3 million and ₦10 million will attract 2% and 5% respectively, while deposits and withdrawals between ₦10 million and ₦40 million will attract 3% and 7.5% respectively. Deposits and withdrawals above ₦40 million will attract 5% and 10% respectively. “The new charges would take effect from April 1 in the existing cashless states (Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers and the FCT). It will be rolled out in the rest of the country starting from May 1.
  • The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Agency, operators of the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund, has said that it will invest $760 million in the 2nd Niger Bridge in continuation of Federal Government’s investment being undertaken under a Public Private Partnership this year. German construction giant, Julius Berger, is a major stakeholder of the consortium in the partnership deal in the bridge, which was initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. The second Niger Bridge has remained a key issue in the socio-economic life of the people of the South-East and even some South-South states, as the existing bridge has become inadequate to carry the traffic from these regions to other parts of the country. This has resulted in wastage in man hours spent in very long traffic jams as vehicles get stuck driving through the bridge due to its limited capacity. The Fund also said it will diversify its portfolio to include foreign investments as well as in social infrastructure.
  • The Nasarawa State House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the state’s 2017 appropriation bill of ₦69.9 billion into law. The Speaker of the House, Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi, announced the passage of the bill during the house proceeding in Lafia. Balarabe-Abdullahi commended his colleagues for passing the budget into law, urging them to closely monitor the implementation of the fiscal policy for an effective result so as to improve on the standard of living of the people of the state. “We hereby pass into law the 2017 bill to authorize the issue from the consolidated revenue funds of the state the total sum of ₦69,971,427,596 of which ₦31,347,679,220 is for capital expenditure while ₦38,623,748,376 is for recurrent expenditure.” The House of Assembly has raised the state 2017 appropriation bill by ₦2.9 billion from ₦67.1 billion presented to the house by Governor Tanko Al-Makura for consideration and approval to ₦69.9 billion.
  • Nigeria’s interbank overnight lending rates spiked to a record high of 200 percent on Thursday, as commercial lenders made dollar purchases during the central bank’s special foreign exchange intervention, traders said. Overnight placement traded at around 200 percent during early trade but dropped to about 133 percent at the market close, said the traders.
  • The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas said an explosion hit one of its gas transmission systems, which houses two gas pipelines. The explosion struck about 3 km from Rumuji in Rivers State, the company said late on February 22, adding that one of the gas pipelines belongs to NLNG. Emergency response procedures were immediately activated and the relevant authorities notified. It is investigating the cause of the explosion and also noted that there’s been no report of injuries and casualties thus far.
  • South African mobile operator MTN Group said on Thursday it was concerned over the violence against its property in Nigeria, where protesters attacked and vandalised its head office. “Reacting to recent events that appear to be directed against non-nationals both in South Africa and Nigeria, MTN Group expresses concern over the violence,” the group said in a statement. Nigerian protesters attacked and vandalised the head office of Africa’s biggest mobile firm in Abuja in apparent retaliation for anti-Nigerian violence in South Africa. Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market.
  • The directors of Transcorp Hilton have proposed the payment of 40 kobo per share as a dividend subject to shareholders consideration ahead of its AGM scheduled for March. Transcorp Hilton, which announced gross revenue of ₦14.6 billion for the 2016 financial year, said this was against a budget of ₦13.8 billion, (2015: ₦13.4 billion). It disclosed that the high revenue was driven by certain key events including visits by very high profile guests, many foreign heads of governments and representatives of various consulates. It said a number of AGMs were held by several blue-chip companies, and “we also recorded visits by the CEOs of world football governing body (FIFA) and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their equivalents. Revenue also improved due to aggressive business development through market segmentation and competitive rates for rooms, food and beverage and corporate events.” According to a statement, the hotel claimed that its Profit Before Tax (PBT) was ₦4.9 billion higher than an estimate of ₦3.7 billion (2015: ₦5.5 billion). Its Profit After Tax (PAT) for the year of ₦3.5 billion was also higher than estimates of ₦3.4 billion (2015: ₦3.6 billion). This was in spite of the reduction in the number of rooms and the escalating cost of operation. The hotel said it has maintained a stable Balance Sheet consistent with the prior year, with total assets of ₦88 billion (2015: ₦89 billion) while total liabilities fell by ₦1 billion to ₦35 billion in 2016.