07 Sep

Daily Watch – Kale defends NBS’ recession pronouncement, States raise ₦791.2 billion

  • Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari told members of his party before he was first elected that he would only seek one term, implying he did not intend at that time to run in 2019, the minister of women’s affairs told Reuters on Wednesday. The comments by Aisha Alhassan could heighten uncertainty over whether Buhari plans to contest the next election. Buhari took power in 2015 but has been absent for much of this year due to illness. He is yet to say if he will seek a second term. “In 2014/2015 he said he was going to run for only one time to clean up the mess that the (previous) PDP government did in Nigeria. And I took him for his word that he is not contesting in 2019,” Minister of Women Affairs Alhassan said. Alhassan said in the interview she would resign if Buhari seeks re-election and would support former vice president Atiku Abubakar if he decides to run. Alhassan’s portfolio ranks relatively low down in Nigeria’s cabinet.
  • The National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday that its GDP report which showed that Nigeria exited a recession in the second quarter was not politically motivated. The Statistician-General for the Federation, Yemi Kale in a chat with journalists, asserted the independence of the NBS as an agency of government saddled with the responsibility to carry out surveys and publish its findings based on international best practices, saying that at the risk of not being reappointed at the end of his tenure, economic reports that were not in favour of government activities were published by the agency. In his words, “In this administration, I am the one that published that we are in a recession, and I am also the one that is saying, we are now out of the recession.”
  • The SEC has given approval to Oando to conduct its Annual General Meeting hitherto slated for September 11, 2017. This came after the Special Task Team constituted by the SEC to review petitions filed by Alhaji Dahiru Bara’u Mangal and Ansbury Inc against Oando, submitted an interim report, which cleared the oil major of the allegations. In a letter to the Group CEO of Oando, Wale Tinubu dated August 31, the SEC said an interim report had made it conclude that it was unable to identify any material findings that would warrant the postponement of the company’s 40th AGM. On July 10, there were reports that Oando was being investigated by SEC over observed malpractices in the company’s financial statements. The investigation was reported to have been triggered by the petition filed by some foreign investors over the shareholding structure following the $1.65 billion paid by Oando for the acquisition of the oil production assets of ConocoPhillips in 2014.
  • Nigeria’s states have raised ₦791.2 billion through the issuance of bonds over the last 40 years to carry out infrastructural development projects or service loans. According to SEC data, the now defunct Bendel State was the first to secure ₦20 million on behalf of the Bendel State Loan Stock in 1978 for housing estate development. Of the current states, Lagos leads the way with a total of ₦290.090 billion in bond issuances, the largest being a ₦87.5 billion government bond – Series 2 under the ₦167.5 billion debt issuance programme of 2013 for maturity in 2020. Two other states, Bayelsa and Delta, follow with the issuance of ₦50 billion bonds. Others include Osun, which under a ₦60 billion debt issuance programme, in 2012 raised ₦30 billion bonds at a 14.75 rate for road and commercial infrastructure (O-Hub, Dagbolu, Osun), urban renewal (Ilesa, Ikire, Osogbo, Ede and Iwo), the Ede waterworks and refinancing of existing loans and Edo’s ₦25 billion for refinancing total debt obligations and ongoing infrastructural projects.