08 May

Daily Watch – Amnesty budget swells, Glo adds weight as telcos bleed subscribers

  • Nigeria has almost tripled the budget for the Presidential Amnesty Programme, a key factor in maintaining a tenuous peace in the Niger Delta and supporting crude production. An additional ₦30 billion ($98.47 million) would be released for the former militants and an extra ₦5 billion added at some later stage, the presidency said on Saturday. Until 2016 the annual budget was ₦20 billion. Funding of former militants under the 2009 amnesty is key to maintaining the relative stability in the Delta and stopping attacks on oil facilities, as it was last year by militants who cut crude output by as much as a third. Under the amnesty programme, each former militant is entitled to ₦65,000 a month plus job training. But in March a special adviser to Nigeria’s president said the programme was facing a cash crunch. “Currently the Amnesty Office has now paid up all ex-militants backlog of their stipends up to the end of 2016,” the presidency said.
  • The FG is projecting a production capacity of at least 20,000 barrels per day from the first modular refinery that would be licensed to operate. Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said this after meeting Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa on Friday. He said the process for the eventual take off of modular refineries in the Niger Delta region was being fine-tuned. Okowa said the FG had given its nod for the Gbaramatu Modular Refineries, “but policies and regulatory frameworks that would ensure a friendly environment for the business to strive and achieve its desired objectives are being considered”. The modular refineries are expected to complement the country’s regular refineries.
  • The Nigerian Communications Commission says GSM operators in Nigeria lost 1.66 million subscribers in March. According to the subscriber data released on the commission’s website, all GSM operators, excluding Globacom recorded a decline in subscribers. The NCC said the active telecommunications service customers, which was 154,120,484 in February, declined to 152,467,198 in March 2017. A total of 151,999,197 of the 152,467,198 active numbers were subscribed to GSM network services. The GSM operators’ active customers decreased by 1,662,350 on the 153,661,547 subscribers recorded in February. MTN had 60,391,959 users in March, indicating a decrease of 998,738 from the 61,390,697 recorded in February. Airtel had 34,656,605 subscribers in March, showing a decline of 175,576 users, from the 34,832,181 recorded in February. Etisalat also recorded a drop in customers by 566,408 in March, giving a customer base of 19,621,806, as against 20,188,214 users in February. In contrary, data from Globacom showed an increase of 78,372, giving a total of 37,328,827 customers, as against 37,250,455 in February. Data from the NCC showed that 83.9 million inactive GSM lines, an increase of 2.1 million from the 81.8 million recorded in February.
  • Nigerian farmers who borrowed money under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme have commenced repayment, with at least ₦8.3 billion already paid back. Details of the loan disbursement and repayment obtained from the regulator show that, as at March 31, ₦33.34 billion had been released through 12 participating finance institutions to 146,557 farmers across 21 states, cultivating over 180,018 hectares of land. Out of the amount released, ₦15.137 billion was disbursed to 73,941 farmers in Kebbi State alone, with ₦7.119 billion or 47 percent already repaid. On the other hand, the balance of ₦18.203 billion 12-month tenor loans to 20 other states for two cropping seasons – wet and dry – is yet to be due for repayment.
  • The management of the National Salt Company of Nigeria (NASCON) says it will launch new products to improve earnings. Fatima Aliko Dangote, the company’s executive director, said this at NASCON’s annual general meeting which held on Thursday. “We are expanding, we are investing in the new refinery for our salt and we are also looking at innovations, we are bringing other products that are going to be launched this year,” she said. The company’s chairman, Yemisi Ayeni, had told shareholders that NASCON would be investing in salt packaging and seasoning cubing line., adding that the company recorded a turnover of ₦18.29 billion, a 13% increase over the ₦16.18 billion recorded in 2015. Ayeni said profit after tax, increased by 15% from ₦2.11 billion in 2015 to ₦2.42 billion, while earnings per share also increased from 79 kobo to 91 kobo. Shareholders approved the payment of 70 kobo per share dividend, representing a payout ratio of 77% at ₦1.85 billion, as against 2015 when it paid ₦1.46 billion to shareholders.