10 Jan

Daily Watch – Nigeria still imports dirty fuels, DMBs suffering from overseas withdrawal syndrome

  • The DMO will roll over treasury bills worth ₦1 trillion in the first quarter of 2018, CBN data shows. This represents 85 percent of the total bills that would mature in the first quarter. This comes after the DMO redeemed ₦198 billion worth of treasury bills with proceeds from the $3 billion Eurobond issue. In December, the DMO had said it would not roll over the treasury bills as part of its “overall debt management strategy of reducing debt service costs”. According to the CBN data, 91-day bills worth ₦87 million would mature by the end of the first quarter. 181-day bills worth ₦244 million and 364-day bills worth ₦933 million would also mature at the end of the same period. According to the document, 91-day bills worth ₦41 million will be rolled over while 181-day bills worth ₦190 million will also be rolled over. 364-day bills worth ₦848 million will also be rolled over.
  • Power minister, Babatunde Fashola says the country currently has 2000MW of idle electricity that cannot be distributed. Fashola said the power is not being utilised because manufacturers have not shown interest in making use of it. Fashola made these comments at the January 2018 edition of the monthly power sector operators’ meeting in Lafia, Nasarawa. He said the FG was putting together a policy position to help expand DisCos distribution networks so they can distribute the currently undistributed 2,000MW.
  • Nigeria is the eighth cheapest place in the world to buy petrol according to Bloomberg. The report explained that Nigeria’s selling price of ₦145 (equivalent to $0.40 per litre) and $1.52 per gallon makes it one of the 10 cheapest places in the world to buy gasoline compared to a global average of $1.12 per litre. The report said despite being a top producer of oil, Nigeria still experienced shortages in supply of petrol. It pointed to the price cap on petrol set by the federal government as one of the causes of instability in the supply of the product, adding that Nigeria’s import dependence is caused largely by the “decrepit state of its refineries”. Other countries listed in the report are Venezuela ($0.01), Turkmenistan ($0.29), Kuwait ($0.35), Iran ($0.36), Egypt ($0.37), Algeria ($0.37), Ecuador ($0.39), Bahrain ($0.42) and Syria ($0.44).
  • One year after Nigeria banned the importation of dirty fuels into the country as part of efforts to curb the environmental impact of vehicle emissions, the country is yet to enforce the ban. The enforcement of the ban failed to come into effect on July 1, 2017, after a December 2016 announcement by the then environment minister, Amina Mohammed. In December 2016, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire agreed to ban the importation of Europe’s dirty fuels, limiting sulphur in fuels from 3,000 parts per million to 50 ppm. According to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, the case for 100ppm was made for the 2015/2016 fuel specifications, but the levels were maintained at 3,000ppm for AGO; 1,000ppm for the PMS; and 1,000ppm for household kerosene. Compared to other parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, fuel quality in many African countries, including Nigeria, remain very poor.
  • Afreximbank has raised around $260 million via three sharia-compliant facilities to support small- and medium-sized businesses in the region, as African markets gradually open to Islamic finance. Cairo-based Afreximbank, which was founded by African governments and other investors in 1993 and focuses on trade finance, obtained a $100 million financing from the Islamic Corp for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). It also signed two financing agreements with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corp (ITFC) worth $100 million and 50 million euros ($59.8 million) to help finance exports among African countries. Afreximbank said it would use the facility to provide sharia-compliant financing to small- and medium-sized enterprises across its member countries. Nigeria-based Africa Finance Corp also issued a debut $150 million Islamic bond last year, the first African government-backed entity to sell sukuk.
  • A number of Deposit Money Banks in the country have barred their customers from using debit and credit cards to withdraw dollars, euros, pounds and other foreign currencies whenever they travel abroad, the Punch reports, potentially putting some Nigerians abroad, especially students in a difficult situation. The naira’s volatility in 2017 led to losses for some Nigerian banks and the fear of losing heavily to future currency volatility occasioned the restraint in reactivating overseas ATM withdrawal services. The report said that Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria were among the lenders that have suspended their ATM cash withdrawal services. PoS and web payment services remain available to Nigerian account holders, the banks said when contacted.