06 Sep

Daily Watch – FEC cancelled again, Banks have a female problem

  • Nigeria moved out of recession in the second quarter but the pace of growth was slow despite higher earnings from oil, suggesting Africa’s largest economy remains fragile and dependent on its dominant export. Growth was 0.55 percent year-on-year, the NBS said on Tuesday, while OPEC data shows crude production rebounded 9.1 percent to 1.68 million barrels per day over the same period. The NBS also said the first-quarter downturn, at 0.91 percent, had been steeper than initially estimated. Two bright spots are inflation, which has fallen from 18.72 percent in January to 16.05 percent in July, and foreign exchange reserves, which have risen from a low of $24.53 billion last September to around $31 billion in August, said Adeyemi Dipeolu, the presidential economic advisor, in a presidency statement.
  • The Presidency cancelled its weekly cabinet meeting for the second time since President Muhammadu Buhari returned from three months of medical leave in Britain. Information Minister Lai Mohammed said that today’s meeting would not take place “due to inadequate time to prepare the documents”. Buhari cancelled the first cabinet meeting following his return on 19 August, raising concerns that the president, criticised for inertia by his opponents, was returning to his former ways when he worked from home and missed ministerial meetings. But the 74-year-old president, who has been working from home since his return, last week presided over his first cabinet meeting since taking leave for an unspecified ailment. Mohammed’s statement said a two-day public holiday on Friday and Monday to mark the Islamic Eid-el-Kabir celebrations had left little time to prepare for the weekly meeting.
  • A Nairametrics analysis shows that of Nigeria’s tier one banks popularly christened as FUGAZ (First Bank, UBA, GT Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank), Zenith had the lowest number of females on its board for the FY 2016. The bank has just one female board member, Adaora Umeoji who was appointed Deputy Managing Director (DMD) in October 2016. Chinyere Asika who was previously on the board retired in 2015. A CBN policy first instituted by former governor Sanusi Lamido had in April 2014 put in place a policy stating that at least 30 percent of the board seats of Nigerian banks and 40 percent of senior management positions were to be held by women. In addition, banks were also mandated to publish their gender positions, that is the ratio of male to female staff, in their annual reports. The star performer in the industry is Unity Bank with 5 female board members. Access, GT Bank, Union and Wema (4); Diamond, First Bank, Stanbic, Sterling and UBA (3); Ecobank has 2 while FCMB is the only major Nigerian bank with no female board members. The CBN policy offers no sanction for failing to meet these gender requirements.
  • Guinness Nigeria announced a 23 percent increase in revenue to ₦126 billion for the full year ended 30 June 2017 versus ₦101.97 billion in the corresponding period last year. The results, which were released to the NSE, also showed a gross profit of ₦48.1 billion which is 16 percent higher versus the previous year and an operating profit of ₦10.2 billion, a 131 percent increase year on year. The company also recorded a profit before tax of ₦1.9 billion versus a loss before taxation of ₦2.35 billion last year. Commenting on the results, CEO Peter Ndegwa said that “despite the challenging economic conditions, we have remained focused on executing our company’s total beverage strategy which gained further traction with strong growth in our international premium spirits portfolio following our first full year of distribution.”