11 Sep

Daily Watch – Kano farmers have a credit culture problem, MDAs shun Nigeria’s satellites

  • The FG under President Muhammadu Buhari, and the 36 states of the federation, as well as the FCT, have borrowed ₦7.51 trillion in the last two years, new data shows. The Punch reports that as of June 30, 2015, just a month after the current administration was sworn in, Nigeria’s total debt stood at ₦12.12 trillion. However, as of June 2017, the nation’s total debt had climbed to ₦19.63 trillion, the paper says, citing the latest debt statistics from the Debt Management Office. The debt stock data released by the DMO show the total public debt stock (external and domestic debt stock of the FG and sub-nationals) at the end of June was made up of external debt stock of ₦4.6 trillion (about $15.05 billion) and domestic debt stock of ₦15.03 trillion (about $49.15 billion).
  • Three Nigerian satellites are floating in orbit but earning little revenue for the country, a new Daily Trust report claims. Nigeria’smulti-million dollar satellites are meant to provide communications, data and images for government agencies and the private sector. Despite their existence, many government agencies still patronise foreign satellites and, as a result, deny the country an estimated $20 billion (₦720 billion) revenue annually, the paper says, citing officials and experts in the space sector. The report says that government ministries and agencies were procuring satellite images and data from satellite companies abroad, spending three times what they would have spent on Nigeria’s satellites. The country may have spent about ₦85 billion on five satellites since 2003. Nigeria launched its first earth observation satellite, NigeriaSat-1, on September 27, 2003.
  • Shareholders of Arik Air have filed a ₦20 billion suit against the FG and Ethiopian Airlines over recent claims of negotiations between them concerning a takeover of the airline. The Punch reports that the suit instituted on September 6, 2017, at the Federal High Court, Lagos by Arik’s counsel, Babajide Koku, Chukwuemeka Nwigwe and Ezinne Emedom, named Ethiopian Airlines, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, as defendants. In a statement of claim supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit deposed to by a director of Arik Air, Chris Ndulue, the airline asked the court to stop the Ethiopian and the MoT from further negotiations for the takeover of the carrier. A former Vice President of Arik Air, Senator Anietie Okon, on behalf of the shareholders, said Ethiopian Airlines was indulging in unethical behaviour and conspiring with some people in the government to take over Arik.
  • A ₦950 million loan scheme by the CBN targeted at rice farmers in Kano State may be under threat, as only ₦6 million has been paid back till date. The development poses not only a serious threat to future disbursements, as there is the likelihood of the bank blacklisting the state, it has also created fears that a majority of the farmers might not refund the loan. The state chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Faruk Rabi’u Musa said out of 5,540 rice and wheat farmers that secured loans, less than 50 have paid back. The managing director of the state Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA), Professor Mahmoud Daneji said a Product Monitoring Team (PMT) has been set up to help recover the loans. He said defaulting farmers had a December deadline to refund the loans, stressing that “there is no concrete reason why they are failing to pay. Claiming that the loan was given when it was too late was nothing more than a flimsy excuse.”
  • A new funding model launched by the Red Cross aims to attract private capital to conflict zones to help some of the world’s neediest people while giving investors a return on their money. The “Humanitarian Impact Bond” set up by the International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) with a value of 26 million Swiss francs ($27.5 million), has attracted capital from New Re, part of global reinsurer Munich Re Group, among other investors. The money will be used to build and run three rehabilitation centres for disabled people in Nigeria, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ICRC told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, complete with staff who will be trained in physiotherapy and in producing prosthetic limbs. It is the first time the ICRC has used such a funding model – channelling private capital investments rather than relying only on government or philanthropic donations for humanitarian projects.