29 Aug

Daily Watch – US clears weapons sale to Nigeria, Oando in damage control mode

  • The Pentagon notified the U.S. Congress on Monday of the sale to Nigeria of 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons worth $593 million. Nigeria wants the planes for its fight against Boko Haram. The move on the sale, which includes thousands of bombs and rockets and was originally agreed by former President Barack Obama’s administration, was announced by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The Super Tucano costs more than $10 million each and the price can go much higher depending on the configuration. The Obama administration delayed the deal after incidents including the Nigerian Air Force’s bombing of a refugee camp in January that killed 90 to 170 civilians.
  • Annual inflation in Nigeria slowed for a sixth month in July, easing to 16.05 percent, but the rise in food inflation was the biggest in eight years, the NBS has said. The rate of annual inflation was 0.05 percent lower than in June. A separate food price index showed inflation rose to 20.28 percent in July, up from 19.91 percent in June, the biggest year-on-year increase since 2009, the statistics office said. “The rise in the index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, meat, fish, oils and fats, coffee, tea and cocoa, potatoes yam and other tubers and vegetables,” the report said.
  • The MD of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Usman Gur Mohammed, says the company has obtained an estimated $2 billion for the rehabilitation of the national grid. The funds will also be used for the expansion of its transmission capacities up to 20,000MW within the next three years. The Daily Times reports that some of the transmission facilities are either outdated or inadequate to evacuate power generated by the GenCos. Mohammed stated that because of liquidity pressures in the power sector, the TCN had sought the support of the ministries of finance, and power, which led to the raising of the fund from multilateral donors for the expansion of the grid. The funds were raised from the World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Japanese Agency for International Cooperation, and the European Union.
  • Oando said two petitions filed with SEC alleging gross abuse of corporate governance and financial mismanagement lack merit. A statement issued by the oil and gas company on Monday and filed with the NSE also confirmed that the SEC has since commenced an inquiry into the above-mentioned allegations and that “the issues raised have received board, shareholder and where required SEC approval.” Media reports had suggested that the oil firm was in the grips of a financial scandal, which was said to have led to the postponement of its 40th AGM slated for September 11 in Uyo. The company said it was worried that “any false or misleading information has a materially adverse effect on the Company including but not limited to reputational damage, creating undue and to a certain extent illegal volatility in the share price and causing unfair losses to our shareholders.”
  • Flight activities ground to a halt on Monday morning at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, due to a strike embarked upon by workers of a contractor to FAAN. The contracting firm, Vanderlande, which handles the maintenance of the conveyor belts at the airport, according to the Daily Times, owed its workers over eight months in unpaid salaries. When the workers resumed for duty yesterday morning, they shunned work, thereby paralysing flight activities. While it took the intervention of some FAAN workers at the international wing of Nigeria’s busiest airport before normalcy business resumed, the flight operations of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Qatar Airways, Kenya Airlines and Med-View Airline were disrupted in the early morning hours causing departure delays while airlines’ agents manually checked in passengers’ luggage.