13 Apr

Daily Watch – Budget 2017 to delay green bond issuance, Pipeline vandalism spikes 223%

  • Nigeria will delay the issuance of a green bond until the 2017 budget has been passed. The government had planned to launch the ₦20 billion ($65.55 million) bond in April to fund projects to reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable energy. Announcing the plans in February, the environment ministry said the programme was aimed at widening Nigeria’s funding options and diversify the oil-dependent economy, which is the largest in Africa.” All is set for its formal launch but the budget has to be passed first before the issuance,” Ibrahim Usman Jibril, the minister of state for environment said following yesterday’s cabinet meeting. The budget — which was first presented to lawmakers by President Muhammadu Buhari in December — must be agreed by parliament before it can be signed into law by the president.
  • The CBN will soon resume selling large volumes of dollars on the spot market and make the U.S. currency available to foreign investors at an undisclosed rate so that they can repatriate dividends. Nigeria has been gripped by a shortage of dollars since crude prices plunged, triggering a currency crisis that left foreign companies struggling to purchase hard currency and battered investor confidence. It lifted a temporary currency peg last year, but in order to protect its precariously low foreign reserves, it has introduced a convoluted exchange rate system that sees different buyers paying various rates for dollars. “The (CBN) will soon … begin spot forex auction (and) open a special window for investors to trade freely … dividends and investment remittances,” the regulator said. The naira closed trading on Wednesday at ₦306.10 on the spot market, supported by central bank dollar sales, and ₦410 on the black market.
  • The NNPC has reduced its trading deficit to ₦14.26 billion by January end, down from ₦17.01 billion recorded in December 2016, a 16 percent improvement. The NNPC attributed the appreciable decrease in its deficit to improved Nigerian Petroleum Development Company revenue, coupled with refining efficiency as well as a reduction in upstream costs by over 32 percent relative to the previous month. Its latest financial report put the group’s operating revenues for the months of December 2016 and January 2017 at ₦461.83 billion and expenditure at ₦493.08 billion. The rate of pipeline vandalism in the country increased by 233 percent in January compared with December 2016. “Pipeline sabotage in the country increased from 18 downstream pipeline vandalised points in December 2016 to 60 in January 2017. This represents a 233 percent increase relative to the previous month despite the FG and NNPC’s continuous engagements with the stakeholders.”
  • The Association of Indigenous Sea Food Stakeholders says the country loses ₦9 billion in revenue annually to illegal fish importation and smuggling. The association’s national chairman, Lamina Rasheed, said that the members of the association paid an import duty of 14 percent, which amounted to millions of naira to the FG while the illegal importers paid next to nothing through the land borders. According to him, it is difficult to compete with them in the market because these illegal importers slash their prices to the detriment and loss by the genuine fish dealers. Rasheed appealed to the FG to expedite action toward setting up a task force that would stop the illegal importation of fish and other seafood into the country.
  • Unilever Nigeria says it will seek shareholder approval next month to raise ₦63 billion ($200 million) through a rights issue. The household products maker also says it will seek approval to increase its authorised share capital to ₦5 billion by creating an additional ₦3.95 billion new ordinary shares of ₦0.50 each. The local unit of Unilever plans to seek a vote at a shareholder meeting on May 11, it said in a notice, adding that it would also ask for approval to convert shareholder loans to stock as part of the share sale.