06 Apr

Daily Watch – NNPC pours ice on PMS hike, DBN gets $1.3 billion

  • Former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, who held the post for five years between 2010-15, has been charged with money laundering. Three members of INEC “allegedly received bribes” fromAlison-Madueke ahead of the 2015 general election, the EFCC said in a statement. One charge read at the Federal High Court in Lagos stated that Alison-Madueke and the officials “conspired among yourselves to directly take possession of ₦264.9 million ($867,813)” on or about March 27, 2015, contrary to money laundering laws.Alison-Madueke, who served during the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, was not in court to enter a plea. She was briefly arrested in London in October 2015, although no charges were brought – and has previously denied any wrongdoing when questioned about missing public funds and corruption allegations. The EFCC has been investigating allegations of illegal transactions in the run-up to the 2015 election for more than a year.
  • The NNPC said on Wednesday that the recent increase in the petrol bridging allowance to transporters from ₦6.20 to ₦7.20 per litre will not lead to an increase in the pump price of petrol from the prevailing price of ₦145 per litre. Spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, quoted the COO in charge of the NNPC’s downstream operations, Henry Ikem-Obih, as saying that there was no plan by the government or any of its agencies to review the pump price of petrol above the current ₦145 per litre. He explained that the rise in the bridging cost was achieved after an adjustment was made in the “lightering expenses” from ₦4 to ₦3 per litre and the difference transferred to compensate for the cost of bridging within the same template.
  • Nigeria’s cabinet has approved $1.3 billion of loans from international lenders to fund the newly licensed Development Bank of Nigeria. The bank aims to support small businesses with loans of varying lengths at lower interest rates than are now available as the country contends with its first recession in 25 years. The finance ministry has previously said that 50 percent of Nigeria’s GDP is made up of small companies. The loan money is made up of $500 million from the World Bank, $450 million from the African Development Bank, $200 million from German state bank KfW and $130 million from France’s state development agency, said Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s finance minister. The loan facility is still subject to approval by the National Assembly, she said. Last week, the CBN approved the development bank’s licence.
  • The naira weakened against the dollar on the black market on Wednesday even as the central bank increased the supply of dollars to currency retail bureaux in an attempt to boost support for the local currency. The naira weakened to about ₦398 a dollar on the black market, against ₦390 per dollar on Friday, as speculators took advantage of increased demand to make quick gains, traders said. The president of the association of bureau de change operators, Aminu Gwadabe, said the central bank had offered to sell an additional $10,000 to its members on Thursday in a bid to provide support for the naira. “The central bank is selling additional $10,000 to bureau de change on Thursday beside the earlier one disbursed on Tuesday, making it a total of $20,000 per week to each member,” Gwadabe said. With the planned sales, retail currency bureaux will receive around $65 million per week from the central bank, he said. Last week, the central bank set a rate of ₦362 for exchange bureaux to sell the U.S. currency to consumers and also increased the amount of dollar sales to each currency seller to $10,000, up from $5,000, in its bid to improve dollar liquidity. The IMF said on Wednesday that the naira is over-valued by around 10 to 20 percent, and called for changes to exchange rate policy.
  • Wapic Insurance’s audited financial results for the period ended 31st December, 2016 show its PBT dropping by 28 percent to ₦1.193 billion, from the ₦1.668 billion recorded in 2015. Also, its underwriting profit reduced by 74 percent to ₦381 million. This was attributed to high claims payout during the period and a legacy claims cleanup in Ghana. A review of the company’s performance showed that it recorded a 13 percent growth in Growth Written Premium to ₦8 billion over the previous year’s figure of ₦7 billion. The decline in the Group’s profitability, according to a statement, was not unconnected with high claims payout in the year under review and its unflagging commitment to the on-going transformation initiative designed to reposition the institution for leading performance, the firm saying it paid out ₦3.8 billion claims in the year under review, a 76 percent improvement over the previous year.