17 Aug

Daily Watch – Gambling is Nigeria’s biggest sport, StarTimes has a racism problem

  • The FG allotted ₦738.14 million in its August 2019 and 2020 savings bond sales. The Debt Management Office on its website on Wednesday said that ₦215.64 million was allotted at 13.53 percent with 328 successful subscriptions to mature in August 2019. It stated that ₦522.50 million was allotted at 14.53 percent with 433 successful subscriptions to mature in August 2020. The savings bond issuance is expected to help finance the nation’s budget deficit. The bond issuance is part of the Federal Government’s programme targeted at the lower income earners to encourage savings and also earn more income (interest), compared to their savings accounts with banks. The bonds are debt securities (liabilities) of the Federal Government backed by its ‘full faith and credit’. Interests are to be paid at regular periods and principal repaid at maturity. The bonds have a tenure of between two to three years and a minimum size of investment of ₦5,000 and maximum of ₦50 million.
  • Nigeria’s production cost per barrel of crude oil is down to $23, the NNPC said on Wednesday, after the country last month said the cost was $29 a barrel, one of the highest levels in the world. The NNPC did not say in its statement how the firm had driven the cost down by $6 in the three weeks since the government’s cabinet approved a national petroleum policy that put the price at $29, using data from Rystad Energy. The NNPC “has driven down the cost of crude oil production from $78 dollars per barrel as at August 2015 to $23 per barrel representing a 70.5 percent reduction,” the company said. Oil prices began crashing in 2014 and were under $78 for the whole of 2015. All producers have worked since the crash to cut their exploration and production costs, with most succeeding in driving them down. The NNPC now aims “to bring the cost of production to between $17 and $19 for onshore and offshore production respectively,” it said.
  • The naira depreciated against the U.S. dollar at the parallel market on Tuesday to ₦370, down from ₦368 on Monday. The local unit had closed at ₦367 to the dollar on Friday. The development followed the lack of dollar sales by the CBN on Monday. The CBN has been supplying dollar to the forex market through intervention on Mondays in the last few weeks. The exchange rate had hovered between ₦363/$ and ₦365/$ in recent weeks. Economic experts said unless the CBN maintained its weekly supply of forex into the market, it might find it difficult to keep the naira below ₦370/$. Stakeholders expect the regulator to announce the sale of forex before the end of the week.
  • A new public opinion poll shows that gambling and betting are becoming very popular in Nigeria, particularly amongst the country’s youth and sports fans. A significant proportion of Nigerians polled (77 percent) attested to the high prevalence of betting and gambling in their locality; particularly amongst respondents in the South-West (92 percent) and South-South (91 percent) geopolitical zones which recorded the highest prevalence, according to the survey report released by NOIPolls. Also, the top four betting platforms for Nigerians are Bet9ja (64 percent), Nairabet (34 percent), Pool (22 percent) and Lotto (20 percent). Similarly, betting has become a growing trend amongst young Nigerians aged between 18 – 35 years, who accounted for the highest proportion of Nigerians who engage in the practice. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, about 60 million Nigerians between the ages 18 and 40 years spend up to ₦1.8 billion on sports betting daily with an average investment of ₦3,000 Naira per day.
  • StarTimes, a popular Chinese pay TV company in Nigeria has been accused of systemic racism and anti-labour practices by its Nigerian employees and ex-staff. According to a Nigeria CommunicationsWeek report, five Nigerian senior management staff and numerous junior executives have recently resigned from the company also known as NTA-Star TV Network following widespread discontent between the Chinese handlers who occupy the top positions and their Nigerian colleagues. The ex-staff accused the top echelon, comprised mostly of Chinese nationals, of deep-seated racial discrimination, management high-handedness and widespread discontent. But Henry Eyo, director of Human Resources at the company in an email told the blog that the allegations are “very untrue and quite unfortunate”. The latest resignation, according to the report was John Esoimeme, the company’s erstwhile National Sales Director in July 2017. Apart from Esoimeme, Dare Kafar, the company’s only ever Nigerian Marketing Director resigned in March following heated arguments and a reportedly unresolved power struggle while its public relations head, Israel Bolaji left in June 2017.