04 May

Daily Watch – Nigeria seeks OPEC deal extension, MTN gets a much needed breather

  • Ibe Kachikwu says Nigeria will seek for a further six-month extension of its exemption from reducing oil production granted by OPEC. Thirteen OPEC members and 11 non-OPEC countries, led by Russia, had agreed on November 30, 2016 to reduce their production by about 1.8 million barrels per day for six months beginning from January in an effort to drain a glut of crude that held down prices for over two years. Member countries at the meeting agreed to exempt Iran, Libya and Nigeria from the deal while Nigeria got the exemption because of the production challenges caused by militant attacks on the country’s oil facilities. As the expiration of the production cut deal draws near, OPEC is due to meet on May 24 in Vienna where a decision on an extension of the pact would be discussed, though there have been recommendations from different quarters for OPEC to extend the deal for another six months from June. Kachikwu also said the government will revoke licenses given to individuals and corporate organisations for private refineries that were yet to be utilised, citing discussions with the Department of Petroleum Resources. Nigeria’s existing refineries, which have a combined capacity of 446,000 barrels per day, are grossly inadequate to meet national daily demand.
  • The NBS says the country’s foreign and domestic debts stood at $11.41 billion (₦3.49 trillion) and ₦14.02 trillion respectively as of December 2016. The bureau, in its states and federal debt stock data, released on Wednesday, showed that $7.99 billion was owed multilateral agencies; $198.25 million of which was bilateral; while the balance of $3.22 billion was sourced from the China Exim Bank. The report stated that while the federal government alone accounted for 68.72 percent of the country’s total foreign debt, all the 36 states and Abuja accounted for 31.28 percent. Similarly, the report stated that the FG accounted for 78.89 percent of Nigeria’s total domestic debt, while the 36 states and the FCT made up 21.11 percent. Among states, Lagos had the highest foreign debt profile, accounting for 38.70 percent; while Kaduna (6.25 percent), Edo (5.15 percent), Cross River (3.22 percent) and Ogun (2.90 percent), followed. Similarly, Lagos has the highest domestic debt profile, accounting for 10.54 percent, while Delta (8.15 percent), Akwa Ibom (5.25 percent), FCT (5.16 percent) and Osun (4.97 percent) were the other top debtors.
  • Nigeria has appointed advisers to help it set up a national airline and develop its aviation infrastructure — currently seen as a barrier to economic growth — to create a hub for West Africa, junior aviation minister Hadi Sirika said on Wednesday. Sirika said a group of six firms including German carrier Lufthansa would advise the government on setting up an airline, an aviation leasing company and a maintenance hanger, and on creating concessions to run the country’s airports. A cabinet meeting on Wednesday chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had approved ₦1.52 billion ($4.99 million) of funding for the project, he added. An APC transition paper seen by Reuters in 2015 had proposed merging a dozen debt-laden airlines on the books of state-owned “bad bank” AMCON into a single carrier that would partner with a global airline to serve the West and Central African region. The single carrier would include Nigeria’s biggest airline, Arik Air, which AMCON took over in February.
  • The Bank of Industry said it recorded a Profit Before Tax of ₦17 billion in 2016, a 44 percent increase over the ₦11.9 billion that was posted in 2015. The bank’s loans and advances also rose by 10 percent to ₦171 billion in 2016, from ₦156 billion in 2015. Similarly, BoI’s 2016 results obtained on Wednesday showed that disbursements to Small and Medium Enterprises went up by 42 percent within the same period to ₦8 billion, compared with ₦5.64 billion in 2015. The quality of BoI’s risk assets as well improved phenomenally with a reduction in the ratio of non-performing loans (NPL) to 3.72 percent in 2016 from 5.87 percent in 2015. This was achieved in a year when the average ratio of non-performing loans in the nation’s banking industry rose sharply to 14 percent, beyond the CBN’s 5 percent threshold. The bank’s managing director, Waheed Olagunju, attributed the strong numbers to a strong commitment to professionalism and strict adherence to global best practices by the bank management team and staff.
  • MTN Group reported a 7.1 percent rise in first-quarter group revenue helped by a strong performance in data services, the mobile phone operator said on Wednesday. The company said in Johannesburg that data revenue, which contributed 20 pe cent of total revenue, was up 29.4 percent for the three months ended March 31. As result, shares in MTN were up 1.36 percent to 128.52 rand in early trading. “In our key markets of South Africa, Nigeria and Iran, significant network investments made over the past few years are underpinning the improving revenue trends,” Group Chief Executive Rob Shuter said. “The network investment planned for 2017 is expected to support further market share gains across our markets.” Year-to-date capital expenditure stands at 4.6 billion rand, MTN said. Ratings agency Fitch downgraded MTN to junk status in April and gave it a negative outlook, citing weakness in the economic and operating environments of its main subsidiaries in South Africa and Nigeria. The firm, which does the bulk of its business in emerging markets, said Nigeria’s subscriber base declined by 2.3 percent in the quarter due to new regulations, while total revenue increased by 11.6 percent.