24 Mar

Daily Watch – Zenith develops bond shivers, 48-hour visa service goes live

  • Nigeria’s debt office said on Thursday it raised ₦2.07 billion ($6.6 million) from a new two-year savings bond intended for retail investors. Nigeria forecasts a budget deficit of ₦2.36 trillion in 2017, half of which it aims to fund through domestic borrowing. The DMO has said it offered the bond to help broaden the country’s funding base. It will be available for purchase on a monthly basis and have a maximum subscription of ₦50 million. It carries a coupon of 13.01 percent. The March auction attracted subscription from over 2,500 applicants during the five-day sale period, the DMO said, adding that the next sale will be on April 3.
  • The CBN said on Thursday it sold one-year treasury notes at 18.69 percent, above the inflation rate for the second consecutive time in a bid to maintain positive yield and attract investors. The regulator said it raised ₦83.16 billion by issuing the one-year bill, which it had sold at a yield of 18.55 percent at its previous auction on March 15. Annual inflation fell for the first time in 15 months to 17.78 percent in February but remained outside the central bank single-digit target. It raised a total of ₦134.96 billion from a treasury bill auction on Wednesday.
  • Nigeria has launched an online system aimed at enabling business executives to apply for a visa online and collect it on arrival 48 hours later, the immigration service said on Thursday. The move to ease visa rules follows complaints from foreign executives that obstructive embassy officials made it difficult to enter the country. Under the new system, travellers must register with the Nigeria Immigration Service and provide details including travel document information, after which a letter of approval may be issued and the visa collected on arrival. Mohammed Babandede, the comptroller general of the NIS, said the facility was in line with the government’s “policy on creation of a conducive environment to attract foreign high net worth investors and professionals into the economy”.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of an interim managing director/chief executive officer, as well as executive directors for the Bank of Agriculture. The appointments were announced by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Thursday in a statement. The statement named the appointees as Kabiru Mohammed, interim MD/CEO; Prince Akenzua, South-South, Executive Director, Corporate Finance; Dr. Okenwa Gabriel, South-East, Executive Director, Partnerships and Strategy; Ameh Owoicho, North-Central, Executive Director, Credit and Empowerment; and Bode Abikoye, South-West, Executive Director, Credit and Empowerment.
  • Zenith Bank has shelved plans to raise ₦100 billion via a combination of bonds and share sales due to weak capital markets, it said on Thursday. The bank had expected market conditions to improve when it announced plans to seek approval for the funds last month, said Zenith’s head of investor relations Michael Anyimah, but the lender cancelled them due to the struggling economy. “The request for shareholders’ approval to raise fresh capital has been withdrawn,” Reuters quoted Anyimah to have said, adding that the bank had strong buffers to support its operations. Zenith Bank shares which had shed 6.4 percent this year on the NSE closed at ₦13.60 per share on Thursday. Nigerian regulators have been trying to revive their IPO market which dried up almost 10 years ago following a crisis in the West African country. The SEC has proposed to cut listing fees to attract issuers. Zenith posted a pre-tax profit of ₦156.75 billion for 2016, up from ₦125.62 billion a year earlier.
  • MTN is expected to pay ₦30 billion in the next eight days, as part of the ₦330 billion fine it is currently paying to the FG, according to a Guardian report. The government had confirmed an earlier payment of ₦80 billion to its coffers in December last year, as part of the fine, which has been staggered till 2019. MTN, Nigeria’s largest mobile operator, was initially fined $5.2 billion (₦1.04 trillion) in 2015, for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM cards, some of which were allegedly linked to the Boko Haram insurgents in the country’s restive North East. According to The Guardian checks, the ₦30 billion, which is due for payment by March 31st, will put the amount paid so far by the South African company to ₦110 billion. The amount paid so far included the “goodwill” payment of ₦50 billion in December 2015 and another ₦30 billion on June 10, 2016. In line with terms of the resolution, the balance of ₦280 billion would be paid by the company in six tranches between 2016 and May 31, 2019. Other tranches of the payment include that MTN will pay on March 31, 2017 (₦30 billion), March 31, 2018 (₦55 billion), December 31, 2018 (₦55 billion), March 31, 2019 (₦55 billion) and the balance of ₦55 billion on May 31, 2019. The payments are expected to go into NCC’s TSA with the CBN.