21 Jul

Daily Watch – Osinbajo seeks to shuffle budget, SON shuts Samsung down

  • Nigeria’s Financial Intelligence Unit has been suspended from the Egmont Group in what is widely seen as a significant setback for the Buhari administration and its war on graft. If Nigeria fails to comply with the group’s demands for a legal framework granting autonomy to the NFIU by January 2018, the country will be expelled from the global body which provides the backbone for monitoring international money laundering activities. If expelled, Nigeria will no longer be able to benefit from financial intelligence shared by 153 member countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., while the country’s ability to recover stolen funds abroad will also be hampered. The FG is currently on an aggressive drive to recover funds laundered globally by politically exposed persons and their associates. Nigeria could also be blacklisted in international finance circles, a situation that could affect the issuance of Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards by Nigerian banks as well as the international rating of Nigerian financial institutions, restricting their access to big-ticket international transactions. Nigeria’s admittance into the group in 2007 is considered to be one of the biggest achievements of the Obasanjo administration.
  • Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has submitted a virement proposal of ₦135.6 billion to the National Assembly meant to cover projects across many MDAs, especially the Power, Works and Housing ministry. The request was made in a letter dated July 18, 2017, which was read to members of the House by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, at plenary on Thursday. The acting president said discussions and agreements between the executive and legislature before the 2017 Appropriation Bill was signed into law included an option for the executive to submit a “virement proposal’’ to move some funds from within the budget to other critical items in the document. Some of the ministries affected by the request include Transportation, Agriculture and Rural Development, Interior, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education, the Federal Capital Territory Administration and Health.
  • Etisalat said it will terminate all rights granted to the Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited and EMTS lenders to use its Etisalat brand on July 21. The Group, in a letter addressed to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and signed by Etisalat Group’s CFO, Serkan Okandan, on Thursday said it had become necessary to terminate the rights “since EMTS and the EMTS lenders have decided not to proceed with these negotiations and to use a new brand.” “Further to our announcement dated July 10, 2017, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC “Etisalat Group” would like to inform you that Etisalat Group has entered into extensive negotiations with Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited “EMTS” and the EMTS Lenders under the defaulted facility agreement, in connection with putting in place interim agreements for technical services, strategic procurement support and the use of Etisalat brand (and related IP rights),” the letter read in part. EMTS on Wednesday unveiled its brand name 9Mobile and logo in Lagos.
  • The Standards Organisation of Nigeria on Tuesday sealed the premises of Samsung West Africa in Lagos for failing to register some of its products being marketed in Nigeria. The SON’s Head of Public Relations, Bola Fashina, in a statement said that the SON Act provides for every product imported into Nigeria to be registered with it for traceability and quality confirmation purposes. Fashina said SON records showed that many Samsung products in the Nigerian markets were not registered. He explained that the facility would be reopened once the company registered all its products as required by law. “We are in the era of ensuring ease of doing business in Nigeria within the laws of the land,” Fashina said. He said that the representatives of the company claimed ignorance of the need to register the products and that they neither imported nor sold products, only marketing them. Fashina said it was the duty of the distributors to register the products.
  • Wema Bank plans to raise equity by 2018 to bolster its capital ratio and cut its operating cost as its new digital strategy gains traction, a senior executive said on Thursday. The mid-tier lender said it cut loan growth this year to between one to two percent of total loans, down from 22.3 percent growth last year, Chief Finance Officer Tunde Mabawonku said on an analysts call.