- The EFCC will probe “massive fraud” in the Social Investments Programme, according to Maryam Uwais, special adviser to the President on social investment programmes. Uwais said that a total of 7,812,201 Nigerians are direct beneficiaries of the programme, which include the home-grown school feeding programme, conditional cash transfers, N-Power; while also catering to 1.5 million secondary beneficiaries – mainly farmers and cooks. According to her, the total actual spending on SIPs in 2016 and 2017 was 15.58 percent of the budget. Half a trillion naira had been budgeted in each of the two years, meaning that only ₦158 billion had been released and spent. She said challenges encountered by the SIPs include “corrupt practices in the states, like shortchanging, racketeering and harassment of beneficiaries; exploitation of the vulnerable due to poor levels of literacy; insufficient awareness/publicity and logistics for monitoring the programme”.
- The National Economic Council, made up of state governors, and chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, has asked for “correct” pricing of petrol in the country. The MPR recently said the landing cost of imported petrol is ₦177. The NEC mandated its committee on the forensic audit of revenue accrued into the federation account, excess crude account and consolidated revenue fund to interface with the NNPC to “determine the appropriate price for petrol.” This comes as most Nigerians still pay far above the approved ₦145 per litre price according to an NBS report. The NBS in its PMS price watch for January said on average, Nigerians paid ₦190.9 per litre, about ₦46 per litre higher than the official price. Consumers in Osun were the worst hit as they paid ₦228.89 for PMS in January. Abia and Benue followed as consumers paid ₦227.5 and ₦223.33 respectively. On the other hand, the Zamfara at ₦159.12 per litre; Gombe at ₦157.73; and Kogi at ₦152.83 paid the lowest for petrol.
- The World Bank has approved a $486 million credit facility to Nigeria for electricity grid improvements, the lender said on 16 February. “The investments under the Nigeria Electricity Transmission Project will increase the power transfer capacity of the transmission network and enable distribution companies to supply consumers with additional power,” the World Bank said. Power, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola said the NETP was a comprehensive package of policy, legal, regulatory, operational and financial interventions that will restore the financial viability of the power sector. The International Development Association credit line will be used to rehabilitate and upgrade electricity transmission substations and lines.
- Loading plans for April showed an increase for three key grades, while Chevron also placed a cargo into the latest tender from India Oil Corporation. Nigeria is set to export more of its largest crude oil stream, Qua Iboe, on a barrel-per-day basis in April, while Bonny Light and Forcados exports will also rise, Reuters reports citing official loading programmes. The NNPC is said to have boosted its official selling prices for Bonny Light and Qua Iboe crude oil to dated Brent plus $1.16 and $1.22 a barrel respectively. These had been set at premiums of 86 cents and 92 cents in February. About 10 March-loading cargoes were left to trade, including Agbami, Bonny and Erha.
- Plans are underway for Dangote Cement to raise $1 billion from a share sale on the London Stock Exchange. Bloomberg reports that the company has approached investment banks to discuss a possible listing. “The Nigerian company, controlled by Aliko Dangote, has approached investment bankers to discuss a potential UK listing, said the people, who asked not to be named as the talks aren’t public,” the report read. “Once banks have been appointed, it will probably take at least five months to complete the process, one of the people said. The cement maker is also considering issuing a debut Eurobond, according to two different people familiar with the matter.” Fresh capital would enable Dangote Cement to fund expansion plans in sub-Saharan Africa and broaden its base of investors. It sees London as a more favourable place to attract about $1 billion than in its Lagos home base. Dangote Cement’s spokesman, Anthony Chiejina denied knowledge of the listing. The highest a Nigerian company has raised in an IPO is $796 million by Starcomms in 2008.