29 Sep

Daily Watch – SW Cameroon shuts Nigerian border, 2019 election dates announced

  • Nigeria’s next presidential and legislative elections will be held on 16 February 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission said on its official Twitter account on Thursday. The date will mark the end of ailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term. He has not said if he will run again. Buhari came to power in 2015, promising to crack down on endemic corruption, rid the country of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the northeast and kickstart a flagging economy. Critics say his presidency has been marred by inertia and little progress has been made on those key policies. A presidency spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Buhari’s plans.
  • The government of one of Cameroon’s Anglophone regions ordered its border with Nigeria closed this weekend in response to calls by activists for protests to demand more rights for the country’s English-speaking minority. The move on Thursday represents an escalation in a crackdown on months of protest spurred by complaints about political and economic discrimination in the Anglophone regions of the predominantly Francophone country. In a statement, Southwest region’s governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, said the border would be closed from 2100 hours Friday until 0700 hours Monday “following persistent threats of destabilisation through manipulation by individuals acting from outside the national territory.” It was not clear whether similar restrictions would be imposed in Northwest, Cameroon’s other Anglophone region. The Anglophone regions have strong ties to eastern Nigeria, and authorities may fear that allowing the border to remain open during protests offers the demonstrators a rear base and makes it harder to maintain order.
  • The federal government, state and local governments shared ₦637.704 billion in September. Ahmed Idris, Accountant-General of the Federation stated this at the end of the monthly FAAC meeting on Thursday in Abuja. He said that the sum indicated a rise in the revenue shared by the three tiers of government of ₦169 billion for September compared to about ₦467.8 billion shared in August. The total revenue statutory gross is ₦550.992 billion there is also an element of Value Added Tax of ₦86.712 billion making a total of ₦637.704 billion. “And this figure is distributed among the three tiers of government after deduction of the cost of collection due to the revenue generating agencies,” Idris also said. The Federal Government got ₦263.609 billion from the gross statutory revenue, states received ₦132.184 billion and local governments received ₦101.908 billion.
  • Udoma Udoma, budget and national planning minister, says the 2018 budget will be ready in January 2018 instead of the October 2017 he earlier announced. Udoma, represented by Aso Vakporoye, deputy director, economic growth in the ministry, spoke in Abuja on Wednesday during the public presentation and capacity building on 2017 agriculture budget. “For 2018, the federal government part of it has been concluded with the hope that it will be submitted to the national assembly in January,” he said. “Government is putting more effort to address the issue of dry season farming because when the budget is passed on time, it will enable it to provide funds for farmers promptly,” Udoma said, adding that the effort of relevant stakeholders, the issue of late passage of budget would be addressed. The minister had said that the budget, which is estimated at ₦7.9 trillion, will be submitted to the National Assembly by early October 2017 to give lawmakers time to consider the fiscal document and pass it on time.
  • Coca-Cola’s Nigerian operation will invest $600 million by 2020 to boost sales, in line with a global strategy to extend the product range beyond its soft drinks. The beverage maker plans to expand its offering of drinks to include flavoured and condensed milk, iced tea and bottled water to meet demand in the country, Peter Njonjo, the president of the company’s West Africa operations, told Bloomberg. “Our objective is to provide whatever beverages you need across your life stages,” he said. In 2016, Coca-Cola bought a 40 percent stake in Nigerian juice and dairy company Chi Ltd. for $240 million and said at the time it intended to take total control within three years.
  • Fidelity Bank has offered to buy back $300 million of debt and intends to issue new notes, aiming to extend the maturity of its debt profile, it said on Thursday. The $300 million of debt, with an interest rate of 6.875 percent, is due to mature 9 May 2018, Fidelity said in a statement. It will offer $1,010 per $1,000 of notes held. The offer “is being made in connection with a concurrent offering of new unsecured and unsubordinated notes,” the bank said, giving no further details about the new debt. Citigroup Global Markets Ltd and Renaissance Securities (Nigeria) Ltd are managing the deal, Fidelity said. The offer expires on October 10 and the results will be announced the same day.