27 Nov

Daily Watch – FG loans states ₦28 billion for budgets, Synlab acquires majority in PathCare

  • The FG has approved the release of ₦28 billion in budget loans for 35 states, excluding Lagos. Budget and National Planning Minister, Udoma Udoma disclosed to reporters at the end of the NEC meeting chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. According to him, each state will receive ₦800 million to meet salary requirements, pensions and other necessities. Udoma said President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated the release of the money to the states through the Accountant-General of the Federation. The AGF, according to Udoma, told the NEC that the balance in the Excess Crude Account and Stabilisation Fund Account were approximately $2.31 billion and ₦6.69 billion respectively as of 17 November.
  • Finance minister Kemi Adeosun says the FG is working on policies to increase the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol. She said this while speaking at the ECOWAS financial council of ministers in Abuja on Friday. Edward Singhatey, ECOWAS vice president, said the commission would increase excise duties on tobacco and other unhealthy products to increase revenue and reduce consumption of such products in the sub-region. Singhatey said this would ensure compliance with obligations of member states under the World Health Organisation framework convention on tobacco control and the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.
  • Europe’s largest lab operator Synlab has bought a majority stake in Nigerian diagnostic company PathCare Nigeria to try to tap into Nigeria’s under-served market for medical tests. Synlab, owned by private equity firm Cinven, did not say how much it paid or the size of its stake in a company which it said was the largest private pathology laboratory firm in Nigeria. The German lab chain — which operates in more than 30 countries mainly in Europe — has previously said it was looking at selective acquisitions in its current and in new markets. PathCare Nigeria operates six laboratories and 21 blood collection points across Nigeria and is engaged in a public-private partnership with the leading public hospital in Lagos. Richard Ajayi, PathCare director, said the company bought back a 26 percent stake held by PathCare South Africa, its former parent company this year before the Synlab deal.
  • The CBN said it injected $287.89 million into currency market on Friday to meet requests in four industries for dollars, extending efforts to boost liquidity and alleviate shortages. The four industries targeted are agriculture, airlines, petroleum and raw materials, it said in a statement. The regulator said it would continue to intervene in order to drive growth in the economy and guarantee stability in the currency market.
  • Trans-Nationwide Express and Unilever Nigeria have listed additional shares on the NSE in a bid to boost their capital stance. Dealing members were notified of Tranex’s move to list 270,027,370 ordinary shares on the NSE daily official list. The additional shares listed arose from Tranex’s rights issue of 270,027,370 ordinary shares of 50 kobo at ₦0.80 per share in the 3:2 ratio of ordinary shares held as of 25 January 2017. Unilever Nigeria listed 1,961,709,167 ordinary shares on the daily official list. The additional shares also arose from Unilever’s rights issue of 1,961,709,167 ordinary shares of 50 kobo at N30 per share in the ratio of 14:27 ordinary shares held as of 28 June 2017. “With this listing of 1,961,709,167 ordinary shares, the total issued and fully paid up shares of Unilever Nigeria Plc have now increased from 3,783,296,250 to 5,745,005,417 ordinary shares,” a document signed by Godstime Iwenekhai, NSE Head, Listings Regulation Department said.
  • The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate has paid a second instalment of the outstanding 33 percent pension increase to federal retirees under the Defined Benefit Scheme. Police pensioners were paid 12 months’ arrears making a total of 24 months payment from the previous instalment, with 18 months left outstanding. Civil Service pensioners got a six months’ arrears from the latest instalment, making a total of 30 months paid for till date, with 12 months outstanding. Parastatal pensioners were paid a six months’ arrears, making a total of 18 months received so far. However, they have the most months – 36 still outstanding. The DBS, in force in Nigeria’s public sector for almost four decades, was replaced by the current Contributory Pension Scheme in 2004.