08 Aug

Daily Watch – Afghan agric hires Nigerian firm, Addax leans out in wake of Swiss fine

  • The MD of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji, has said that contributors to the Sovereign Wealth Fund will be eligible to dividends from 2018. Speaking during a working visit by Information and Culture minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Orji said, “We are not allowed to pay dividends until after 5 years of consistent profitability. From next year, the federal, states and local government will be eligible for dividends from the contributions they made.” The NSIA was set up in 2012 as an agency, to build a saving base for the country, enhance the development of the country’s infrastructure and provide stabilisation in times of economic stress. The FG owns a 46 percent contribution to the Fund while the states and local governments make up the balance of 54 percent. The NSIA has three Funds – the Stabilisation Fund which holds 20 percent of the agency’s assets, the Future Generation Fund which holds 40 percent of assets and the Infrastructure Fund which also holds 40 percent.
  • The FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange has formally launched its Investor Protection Fund (FMDQ-IPF) in compliance with the provisions of ISA 2007. The company said in a statement in Lagos that the inaugural meeting of the fund’s Board of Trustees was held on July 5, 2017. The IPF is a statutory fund established pursuant to the provisions of Part XIV of the ISA to compensate investors who suffer a pecuniary loss in the market. The company said that the launch of the fund and inauguration of the BoT was a significant milestone in the achievement of the OTC exchange’s mandate to provide a secure and credible platform supported by global best practices. It said that the fund would serve as a catalyst for sustaining investor confidence in the Nigerian financial market.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock in Afghanistan has hired Cellulant Nigeria to commence the process of establishing a market-based input distribution technology. The collaborative effort is aimed at bolstering Afghanistan’s drive for self-sufficiency in wheat production although, according to the Punch, Cellulant’s e-wallet technology is expected to boost Afghanistan’s agricultural sector in general. Afghanistan will be the first country in Asia to adopt the e-wallet system, following the footsteps of countries like Liberia and Togo. Co-founder Bolaji Akinboro said, “Cellulant is driven to solve difficult problems on the use of payment technology. We will work with the government of Afghanistan to get inputs to one million farmers in the next 90 to 120 days.” The e-wallet system was conceived in Nigeria and championed enthusiastically by former agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina, who now heads the Africa Development Bank. The technology was said to have enabled Nigeria to increase its food production by an average of 21 million metric tonnes annually between 2012 and 2015, benefiting 17 million farmers, 2500 agri-businesses; 800 e-extension workers and over 2,500 service points in the country.
  • Union Bank has sufficient cover for its ₦3.9 billion ($10.69 million) loan to telecoms group 9mobile and will focus on expanding lending to agricultural and real estate businesses, its chief executive, Emeka Emuwa, has said. Lenders have agreed to extend a $1.2 billion loan which mobile operator 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, took out four years ago but struggled to repay due to a currency crisis and a recession in Nigeria. Emuwa said Union Bank planned to grow its loan portfolio in the sectors that drive economic growth in Nigeria – food and housing. Union Bank last week posted a 5.9 percent rise in half-year pre-tax profit to ₦9.46 billion. Shares in Union, down 4.7 percent so far this year, rose 1.15 percent on Monday to ₦5.30. They shed 20.3 percent last year. The bank plans to raise ₦50 billion ($137 million) in fresh capital via a rights issue by the end of the year to boost lending and hopes to win approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the plan this quarter, Emuwa said.
  • Addax Petroleum is shutting its offices in Geneva, Houston and Aberdeen, a month after it agreed to pay 31 million Swiss francs (₦11.4 billion) to settle charges of suspected bribery of foreign officials. Confirming a report in the Tribune de Geneve newspaper, Addax said its parent firm Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corporation would integrate the three offices into a new technical centre in Beijing. SIPC was streamlining its business model in response to low oil prices, the Addax statement said. Addax’s operating companies will start reporting directly to SIPC headquarters from August 9, and Addax will run a consultation process for its 174 affected staff in Geneva to mitigate the impact of the organisation change, it said. Addax says on its website that it has more than 1,000 employees, and operations in Nigeria, Gabon and Cameroon, as well as joint ventures with Genel in Iraqi Kurdistan and with Repsol in the British North Sea.