21 Mar

Daily Watch – Keystone gets new owners, Dangote feels growing pains in Ethiopia

  • The FG, the 36 state governments, and the FCTA currently owe foreign creditors a total of $11.41 billion, the DMO has said. Statistics obtained from the DMO on Monday showed that while the FG’s foreign debt stood at $7.84 billion as of December 31, 2016, the 36 states of the federation and the FCTA owed $3.57 billion. Of the country’s foreign debt, $7,988,221,870 came from multilateral agencies, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Another $198,245,989 came from France’s Agence Francaise De Development, while $3,219,808,738 came from bilateral agencies such as the China EXIM Bank and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency. As of December 31, 2015, the foreign debt portfolio of the nation stood at $10.72 billion. This shows that the foreign debt of the nation rose by 6.42 percent in the one-year period. Among the sub-national governments, Lagos, Kaduna, Edo, Cross River and Ogun states retained the top spots on the list of foreign debtors. Out of the sub-national debt of $3.57 billion, Lagos had a share of $1.38 billion, meaning that Lagos owed 38.7 percent of the country’s sub-national foreign debt. Kaduna State came second with a foreign debt of $222.88 million; Edo, $183.64 million; and Cross River, $114.99 million.
  • AMCON has sold the nationalised Keystone Bank to a consortium of local investors called Sigma Golf Nigeria and Riverbank Investment Resources. Keystone Bank was the last of the lenders nationalised in Nigeria, which AMCON was seeking to sell. It was one of three banks nationalised following a $4 billion central bank bailout that saved several lenders from near bankruptcy in 2009. AMCON said the consortium had been picked out of 18 local and international bidders in a sale coordinated by Citibank and FBN Capital. It had sought bidders for the sale of its 100 percent stake in Keystones. The brief AMCON statement did not disclose the sales price or any financial details. It also didn’t say who owns the investment firms buying the bank. Nigeria nationalised three lenders, Afribank, Spring Bank and Bank PHB in 2011. AMCON then recapitalised them and changed their names to Mainstreet Bank, Enterprise Bank and Keystone Bank. Two of the banks have since been sold. AMCON was set up in 2010 to absorb non-performing loans in exchange for government bonds after the CBN injected $4 billion to rescue nine lenders from collapse seven years ago.
  • Regional officials in Ethiopia are demanding that foreign cement producers in the east African country, including Dangote Cement, surrender control of some parts of their businesses to unemployed youth. According to Bloomberg, Dangote Cement’s 2.5 million metric tons per annum plant in Ethiopia is facing protests by youth groups demanding control of a section of the plant. The protest by youth from communities adjoining the company’s plant located in Mugher, about 90 km north of Addis Ababa, is coming months after a similar protest by Oromo communities forced the company to halt production. An agreement drafted by Oromia state’s East Shewa Zone administration this month, proposed the cement companies allow the youth to run their Pumice mines. Pumice is an additive used in cement manufacturing and its extraction was overseen by local bureaucrats, rather than Ethiopia’s central government. Oromia has 1.2 million unemployed youth, according to the Addis Ababa-based Walta Information Center news service, which cited a local youth affairs office. The state is targeting the creation of 950,000 new jobs for young people, it said. The Oromia administration shut down Dangote and Derba’s operations amid discussions about the proposals, the Addis Ababa-based newspaper, The Reporter, said on March 11.
  • The World Bank Group has announced the approval of $57 billion for Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries for the next three years. A statement issued by the bank in Abuja on Monday said the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, made the announcement before leaving for a trip to Rwanda and Tanzania to emphasise its support for the entire region. The announcement, which followed a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, said the fund would be used to scale up investments and de-risk private sector participation for accelerated growth and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It was not clear as of press time how much Nigeria would benefit from the loan but the Punch quoted the Senior Communications Officer for the World Bank in Nigeria, Olufunke Olufon as saying that the finance ministry will disclose details. The bulk of the financing, $45 billion, will come from the International Development Association, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.
  • The NNPC and its incorporated joint venture companies have set between three and 10 years to generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity to boost power supply in the country. The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Ndu Nghamadu, who quoted the corporation’s Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, Saidu Mohammed, at the 2017 retreat of his Autonomous Business Unit (Gas and Power), as saying this in Kaduna, added that the feat would be achieved through building of independent power plants. Mohammed said the power plants would be built by a joint venture that will include NNPC, international power companies and other Nigerian investors to be structured after the NLNG business model.