09 Jan

Daily Watch – CBN celebrates external reserves rise, Yam committee targets increased exports

  • The NNPC says the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline, which got burnt by fire, has been restored. Spokesman Ndu Ughamadu said gas supply to customers on the line, including power generating companies, had resumed. On 2 January, a section of the ELP at Abakila in Ondo went up in flames due to a bush fire. The incident affected gas supply to customers in Ondo, Ogun and Lagos states with the subsequent shutdown of a number of power plants. ”With the restoration of the ELP and resumption of gas supply, the affected power plants, with a combined generating capacity of 1,143MW, would resume power generation,” he said. The plants include Egbin in Lagos; Olorunshogo Power Plant, PEL Olorunshogo and Paras Power Plant in Ogun and Omotosho Plant in Ondo. The 36-inch Escravos to Lagos Pipeline System is a natural gas pipeline built in 1989 to supply gas from Escravos in Delta to various consumption utilisation areas. It supplies gas to power plants in SW Nigeria and feeds the West African Gas Pipeline System.
  • Nigeria’s external reserves now stand at $40.4 billion – its highest level since October 2014 and an increase of about $1 billion between December 2017 and January 2018. CBN spokesman, Isaac Okorafor disclosed this in a statement, The Cable reports. He said the new figure makes true, the projection which Governor Godwin Emefiele made at the annual bankers’ dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in November 2017. Okorafor said the increase recorded is a result of the bank’s strategy to “manage forex demand by various sectors of the economy”. Okorafor said the CBN forex restriction policy has ensured that the nation’s import bill reduced from $5 billion monthly to $1.5 billion in 2017.
  • PenCom is working on how to open a transfer window that will enable workers with Retirement Savings Accounts under the Contributory Pension Scheme to change their Pension Fund Administrators. When the window is opened, a contributor will be allowed to transfer his savings in his RSA to another PFA of his choice based on guidelines to be released by the commission. The Director-General of the Lagos State Pension Commission, Folashade Onanuga said this while meeting retirees at a CPS symposium in Lagos. “Arrangements are also in top gear by the National Pension Commission on the issue of minimum pensions and the opening of the transfer window,” she said.
  • The Technical Committee on Nigeria’s Yam Export Programme says it is targeting to export about 480 tonnes of yams per month in 2018. Simon Irtwange, the committee’s chairman said the United States has requested for the supply of five containers monthly, which amounts to 120 tonnes of yams monthly, while there are demands from other countries as well. Speaking in Abuja on Monday, Irtwange said the target would be achieved if all the challenges which yam exporters experienced in 2017 were surmounted. Irtwange said the Nigerian Ports Authority has made available the Ikorodu lighter terminal to facilitate the packaging and movement of yams meant for export. He said the committee was also working with the NPA to seek investors in yam pack houses construction at the terminal.
  • Union Bank has raised ₦49.7 billion through a rights issue which it said was 120 percent subscribed. The mid-sized lender launched the share sale last September at a ratio of five new shares for every seven held at ₦4.10 each. Set up 100-years ago, Union Bank said it planned to spend 80 percent of the funds to enhance its regulatory capital and boost working capital. “Having successfully raised the required capital, we will accelerate the pace of doing business in 2018 as we begin to deploy this fresh capital across identified business areas,” CEO Emeka Emuwa said in a statement. The bank, in which Atlas Mara Ltd, the African investment vehicle of former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, owns a 22.1 percent stake, planned to raise funds to also tap opportunities lending to agribusinesses.