18 Oct

Daily Watch – Inflation continues downward march, EFCC scores win in Lagos oil fraud case

  • Annual inflation in Nigeria slowed for an eighth month in September, easing to 15.98 percent, the NBS said on Tuesday. The rate of annual inflation was 0.03 percent percentage points lower than the rate in August. A separate food price index showed inflation at 20.32 percent in September, up from 20.25 percent in August. “Food price pressure continued into September as all major food sub-indexes increased,” the NBS said in its report. “The rise in the index was caused by increases in prices of potatoes, yams and other tubers, milk cheese and eggs, bread and cereals, coffee tea and cocoa, soft drinks, fish, meat and oil and fats,” it added.
  • The FIRS has accused Integrated Logistics Services (Intels) co-founded by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Gabriele Volpi, an Italian national, of not paying taxes. On Monday, FIRS officials pasted a non-compliance sticker on the headquarters of the company in Onne, Rivers. This comes a week after the company’s pilotage agreement was terminated by the NPA. A FIRS official told TheCable that the company had not been sealed but the agency “only pasted a non-compliance sticker on the premises of the company.” He further added that “the non-compliance stickers are routine. We did not seal nor close the company. Intels is free to carry out its operations. It is not a distrain sticker.” The official refused to commence on the size of Intels’ outstanding tax obligations.
  • Fitch says a return of Nigerian banks to international bond markets marks a small step towards reducing maturity mismatches between foreign currency assets and liabilities‍, adding that sources of longer-term foreign-currency funding are limited for local financial institutions. “In most cases, the issuance will boost [foreign currency] FC funding rather than simply refinance maturing FC debt. Nigerian banks have traditionally operated with significant maturity gaps, funding longer-term loans with short-term customer deposits, as is the case in many emerging markets,” Fitch said. The firm said that Nigerian banks were infrequent issuers on the international capital markets, but three banks, Access, Zenith and UBA with deposit market shares near or above 10 percent have issued medium-term Eurobonds since 4Q16 but it expects more banks will follow these banks, along with Fidelity which issued US$400 million this week and make FC offerings.
  • The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered an interim forfeiture of ₦1.96 billion allegedly belonging to Ontario Oil and Gas over the allegedly fraudulent sale of refined petroleum. In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1464/17, the company’s MD, Ada Ugo-Ngadi was accused of diverting the money for personal purposes. Presiding judge, Hadiza Shagari, gave the order following an application by the EFCC. Shagari also ordered the forfeiture of Renoir Logistics, pending the investigation and prosecution of the case. “That the property mentioned in paragraphs nine of the affidavit viz, Renoir Logistics Ltd currently under investigation be interim attached/forfeited pending the determination of the investigation and possible prosecution of the case,” the judge ruled. The property will be managed and controlled by the EFCC during the duration of the case.
  • Anchor Insurance declared a dividend payment of ₦3.60 per share for the full year ended 2016. The dividend payment, ratified by shareholders at its AGM in Uyo, followed the appointment of four new directors to its board. The payout per share represents 12 percent growth in the dividend following the company’s impressive performance. Anchor saw growth in some key indices, recording an 11 percent growth in profit after tax from ₦205 million in 2015 to ₦228 million in 2016. According to company chairman Elijah Akpan, “investment and other incomes grew by 16 percent from ₦182 million in 2015 to ₦212 million in 2016 as a result of shrewd investment operations and decisions. The company incurred claims of over ₦371 million, while underwriting amounted to ₦1.013 billion compared to ₦965 million in 2015, a 5.04 percent rise.” Total asset increased in 2016 by 6.5 percent with a total of ₦5.8 billion compared to ₦5.4 billion recorded in 2015, while its shareholders’ fund grew from ₦4.5 billion in 2015 to ₦4.7 billion in the year 2016, thus showing 5.03 percent growth in shareholders fund”.