05 Sep

Daily Watch – PenOp slams ‘faulty’ new RSA bill, NNPC claims fuel price reductions

  • Atlas Mara, the African investment vehicle of former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, said on Friday that Fairfax Africa now holds 42 percent of the company after it subscribed to 70.1 million new shares. The change in ownership comes after Atlas Mara announced plans in June to raise $200 million so that it could increase its stake in Union Bank of Nigeria and scale up other businesses. Fairfax subscribed to around 80 percent of Atlas Mara’s share issue, with existing shareholders taking the rest. Fairfax Africa is part of Canadian investment firm Fairfax Financial, led by Prem Watsa, to invest in African assets. Diamond teamed up with Africa-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar to set up Atlas Mara, a vehicle through which they planned to buy up assets to help build it into a powerful force in African banking.
  • The NNPC says the ex-depot price of petrol has dropped from ₦138 to ₦133.28 per litre in most of its depots, indicating a gain of ₦4.72 for marketers. This drop is even sharper in private depots where the price came down to ₦130 or ₦131 per litre, a gain of ₦7 to the buyers. The corporation explained that as a result, the pump price of petrol has fallen steadily from ₦145 per litre to between ₦142 and ₦143 per litre in some stations across the country. Motorists with 60-litre vehicles, for example, will gain ₦180 any time they fill their tanks when they hit reserve. NNPC’s spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, said the drop was due to sustained strategic intervention in the sector.
  • The disparity between the lending and savings deposit rate in Nigeria is at 26 percent, a 10 year high, according to the latest CBN data. The maximum lending rate, which is the top rate paid by borrowers in Nigeria topped 31 percent, the highest in over a decade. In contrast, the savings deposit rate is at 4 percent, also the highest in 10 years. In pursuit of a hawkish monetary policy, the CBN in 2016 began a policy of mopping up the local currency from banks at rates topping 20 percent while also selling treasury bills to Nigerians at record levels, with one-year bills topping 22 percent in yields.
  • The Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), the umbrella body for all pension fund administrators in Nigeria has kicked against a proposed 75 percent lump sum withdrawal from the retirement savings accounts of retirees. PenOp says the proposal if operational will be detrimental to retirees welfare as what may be left of their savings in the RSAs will not guarantee them a quality standard of living. The National Assembly considered in May a private member bill sponsored by Senator Aliyu Wamako, APC Sokoto North, seeking a Law “For An Act To Further Amend The PRA 2104 To Provide For Definite Percentage A Retiree Can Withdraw From His RSA And For Other Matters Related Thereto”. But PenOp in its latest paper titled “upholding and promoting the cause of the contributory pension system in Nigeria” said the new bill is faulty on many levels. The current replacement ratio under the Contributory Pension Scheme is 50 per cent of last pay by virtue of the Pension Reform Act 2014 and Regulations issued by the National Pensions Commission. The report said in part, “It is doubtful if the 25 per cent balance in a retiree’s RSA, after deduction of 75 percent lump sum, would, if spread through the retiree’s expected life span, be adequate to reasonably cater for his livelihood during old age.”