- The CBN has provided $367 million to the interbank foreign exchange market at forward rates. The CBN said it sold $144 million for 45-day forward contracts and $223 million for 60-day contracts – part of a pattern of such sales in recent weeks. The move “was in line with the bank’s determination to ease the foreign exchange pressure on various sectors through forward sales under the new flexible foreign exchange regime”. The interbank forex market traded $540,000 in early deals at ₦375 per dollar, near a record low exchange rate hit last November. In February the CBN effectively devalued the naira for private individuals, offering to sell them the currency at around half the premium charged at the black market, in a bid to narrow the spread on the unofficial market.
- Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company has shut down the Bonga deepwater oilfield and commenced turnaround maintenance, executing statutory activities that will ensure continuous optimum operations in the field. The turnaround maintenance involves inspections, re-certification, testing and repair of equipment as well as engineering upgrades with Nigerian companies and subsea professional playing key roles. The routine maintenance will take off a significant chunk from Nigeria’s crude oil exports, as SNEPCo produces close to 200,000 barrels per day in the 225,000 barrels per day capacity Bonga field, which it operates under a Production Sharing Contract with the NNPC. A major focus of the maintenance is the Bonga Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading vessel, which is at the heart of Bonga operations. Bonga FPSO has the capacity to produce 225,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. Bonga FPSO, which has a life-span of 20 years, was shut down for six weeks in February 2011 for maintenance.
- Nigeria will open up its government-owned airports to private investment, the minister of aviation said on Monday, as the capital’s airport prepares to close for repairs after years of neglect. All government-owned airports will be offered to investors who have “the wherewithal, the know-how, the technology, the capacity, the ability, the finance to put up huge fantastic edifices as airports with everything including hotels, just the way you see them abroad,” said Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s aviation minister, at a news conference. Sirika did not specify when the government airports would be opened to investment, or provide any other details. Abuja’s airport is set to close for six weeks for repairs on the runway after it had become so damaged that international carriers were pulling their services or warning they may soon have to. Two days before the repairs begin, workers were still needing to fit electrics, seating and toilets to a new terminal at Kaduna, which will handle the capital’s air traffic but lacks capacity.
- The military has destroyed 80 oil refineries in the restive Niger Delta region in the last 10 days, a spokesman said on Monday, weeks after the vice president said work needs to be offered to people who make a living from the practice. The government has been holding talks with militants to end attacks on oil production facilities which cut the OPEC member’s output by 700,000 barrels a day for several months last year. But a military crackdown on thousands of illegal refineries in the southern swamps, which process crude oil stolen from oil majors and state oil firm NNPC, has raised tensions in the last few months. Illicit refineries process stolen crude in makeshift pipes and metal tanks hidden in oil-soaked clearings deep in the southern swampland’s thick bushland.” Troops of joint operation Delta Safe have intensified raids operation against crude oil theft with the destruction of 80 illegal refineries across Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States,” said military spokesman Abubakar Abdullahi. “Our troops would not relent until our mandate is achieved.”
- The NPF Pensions Limited says it has transferred ₦36.55 billion to the Retirement Savings Accounts of 234,296 police beneficiaries. The money, according to the Managing Director of NPF Pensions Limited, Hamza Bokki, is from accrued profit for the RSA holders in 2016. Bokki stated this at the Senior Officers’ Mess of the Cross River State Police Command in Calabar at a sensitisation programme on pension scheme. He said 25 percent of policemen nationwide had yet to transfer their RSAs to the NPFPL pension scheme, adding that ₦11 billion was paid to the scheme in the last two years following the collection of over 170,000 nominal update forms. According to him, “We transferred as of December 31, 2016, the pension contributions of 234,296 police officers. We made a profit of ₦36.55 billion for transferred RSA holders and credited the entire amount to their respective accounts. The rate of return on funds in 2016 was 11.05 percent and this places the NPFPL above the industry average of 10.42 percent.”
- Universal Insurance has disclosed the growth of its shareholders’ funds up to ₦7 billion and the company’s solvency margin increasing to ₦5 billion. The Company’s Managing Director, Ben Ujoatuonu, who disclosed these, said that with financial standing, the company is poised to meet its obligations to the clients and the insurance sector apex regulatory body, the National Insurance Commission. Against the backdrop of reports suggesting financial difficulty by the company, Ujoatuonu said that NAICOM has overseen the company’s financial report like other operating firms without raising any issue. The company says it has, with NAICOM’S approval, concluded plans that before the end of first quarter of this year, to open four new branches in Aba, Umuahia, Warri and Kaduna.