29 Mar

Daily Watch – States pile on the debt, PIB split in four

  • The NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, has said the corporation has split the Petroleum Industry Bill into four for easy passage into law. Baru said this on Tuesday while speaking at the Department of State Services’ Executive Intelligence Management Course in Abuja. He said the split was done on the direction of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu and President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the action was taken to allow the National Assembly deliver on the promise of “speedy passage”.
  • The value of trading on the NSE dropped by 22.3 percent to ₦74.1 billion ($236 million) in February from a month before, the exchange said on Tuesday, as foreign investors kept to the sidelines. The stock market was one of the world’s best performing frontier markets until 2013 but low liquidity levels and currency restrictions have deterred foreign investors. Foreign transactions on the stock exchange hit ₦1.54 trillion ($4.9 billion) in 2014, when oil prices were at a peak, but declined to ₦518 billion last year as crude prices plunged, the NSE said. If index provider MSCI fulfils a threat to drop Nigeria from its frontier equity benchmark when it reviews its indices in May, foreign trades could fall further. Nigerian shares have lost 5.2 percent so far this year after a 6.2 percent fall last year. In dollar terms, they shed 40 percent in 2016 as the naira fell by a third on the official market due to central bank reforms. The NSE said foreign investors traded shares valued at ₦74.1 billion last month, down from ₦95.3 billion in January, with sales accounting for more than half those transactions. Domestic trading accounted for 53.4 percent of total share dealing in February.
  • The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative on Tuesday said the debt burden of the 36 states of the federation rose to over ₦3.342 trillion at the end of 2016. According to NEITI, Lagos, Delta, Osun and Akwa Ibom topped the chart of highly indebted states with ₦1.262 trillion, representing about 38 percent of the entire sum owed by the 36 states of the federation. The breakdown shows that Lagos was indebted to the tune of ₦603.25 billion; Delta, ₦331.95 billion; Osun, ₦165.91 billion; and Akwa Ibom, ₦161.23 billion. This information was contained in the third edition of the NEITI Quarterly Review, a publication of the agency, which focused on Federal Accounts Allocation Committee disbursements in 2016.
  • UBA released its audited 2016 full year results, showing a significant growth in gross earnings and profits. A statement from the bank attributed the improved earnings and profits to its resilience, enhanced productivity and geographic diversification, evident in the impressive contribution from its African subsidiaries. The banking group reported a 22 percent growth in gross earnings to ₦384 billion for the year ending December 2016, from ₦315 billion at the end of the 2015 financial year, illustrating the bank’s ability to grow profitability despite the difficult macroeconomic environment. As reflected in the results, UBA saw a 32 percent growth in profit before tax to ₦91 billion, compared to ₦68 billion profit recorded over the same period of 2015, while the bank’s profit after tax grew by 22 percent to ₦72 billion, from ₦60 billion recorded in the previous year. UBA’s subsidiaries outside Nigeria are increasingly gaining market share, accounting for an estimated one-third of profit in 2016, from a quarter in 2015 financial year. The Board of Directors has proposed a final dividend of 55 kobo per share.
  • Oranto, a closely held company part-owned by the Eze family that also has assets in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria, plans to invest $500 million in developing the oil block awarded by South Sudan earlier this month. “We have faith that the differences in South Sudan will be brought to an end and that our exploration campaign will move smoothly,” said Oranto Chairman, Arthur Eze. “Over the medium to long term, as South Sudan develops, security becomes stronger and export options increase, we expect the price of producing and operating in South Sudan to go down.” South Sudan is bidding to double crude production that plunged by at least a third to about 130,000 barrels a day since conflict erupted in December 2013. Oranto, along with sister company Atlas Petroleum International, holds licenses in 10 African countries. The company would consider partnerships with other operators to share infrastructure in South Sudan and is open to working with the government on a pipeline, said Eze.