23 Jun

Daily Watch – Etisalat blames naira for troubles, Nwankwo quits DMO

  • Abraham Nwankwo, who became DG of the DMO in 2007, will be leaving office at the end of June 2017. Addressing stockbrokers on the NSE, in Lagos, Nwankwo said, “I want to appreciate market operators for the very successful joint enterprises we have had together. We had quite a number of initiatives and it all succeeded because of the corporation of the capital market operators. Having spent 10 years in office, the major achievements we made were due to the effort of the staff of management of DMO. I want to use this opportunity to thank you immensely that the NSE and the dealing members have considered it appropriate to honour my exit as the chief executive of DMO.”
  • NUPENG has warned that the gridlock being experienced by petroleum tankers and articulated vehicles as a result of the ongoing reconstruction on Apapa-Wharf Road, Lagos could lead to a petrol scarcity. Tokunbo Korodo, the south-west chairman of the union said that since the inauguration of reconstruction of the road, petroleum tanker drivers had been on queue, finding it difficult to gain access to the tank farms to get products. He said that the tank farms within the Apapa Marine Bridge road received petroleum products from the NNPC to be distributed by petroleum tankers to different parts of the country and that the reconstruction of the road would affect movement of articulated vehicles to the port.
  • Various groups have criticised the National Assembly for reducing the budgetary allocations for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge. The lawmakers reduced the budget for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from ₦31 billion to ₦10 billion, while the vote for the Second Niger Bridge was cut from ₦15 billion to ₦10 billion. The National Assembly hiked its own budget to ₦125 billion. Condemning the lawmakers, civil rights organisations said the National Assembly, by slashing allocations for the projects and increasing its own votes, had shown that it was selfish. Earlier, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, complained about the insertion of projects outside the purview of his ministry into the 2017 Appropriation Act by the National Assembly. Fashola said it was unfair to the executive arm for the inclusion of such projects after public hearings on the budget and defence of the fiscal estimates by the ministries.
  • THE management of Etisalat Nigeria has blamed its predicament on the economic downturn and devaluation of the naira. The telecommunications firm, whose parent company in Abu Dhabi had to shed its equity earlier in the week sequel to failure to repay a loan facilitated by a consortium of 13 banks, said the “sharp devaluations of the naira negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan” it took from the consortium and impeded its repayment plans. Etisalat Nigeria’s vice president, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Ibrahim Dikko, said, “It would be recalled that the $1.2 billion loan, a medium-term seven-year facility, was obtained by Etisalat Nigeria for the purpose of expanding its network and improving the quality of service on its network. The economic downturn of 2015 and sharp devaluations of the naira negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan by driving up the loan value, thus prompting Etisalat to request a loan restructuring from the consortium of banks.” Denying reports that the company was being investigated by the EFCC, Dikko said there could not have been any need for such because “concerned parties have access to our books and do not require an investigation into how the loan sum was utilised. All of the infrastructure investment and services for which the loan was secured, were paid through our banks and these are verifiable.”