- Nigeria returned to growth in 2017 after suffering its first recession in a generation the previous year, data released from the country’s statistics office showed on Tuesday. GDP grew by 0.83 percent in 2017 after shrinking by 1.58 percent in 2016, which was its first annual contraction in 25 years, according to NBS data. Africa’s largest economy and its biggest oil producer fell into recession in 2016 largely as a result of low crude prices and militant attacks on energy facilities in the Niger Delta. It returned to growth in the second quarter of 2017 but the recovery has been fragile since it is largely due to higher oil prices. The IMF said in December that the economy remains vulnerable. Oil production rose to 1.91 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter from 1.76 mbpd in the same period of 2016, the statistics office said.
- Labour and Employment minister, Chris Ngige says the implementation of the new minimum wage will begin in Q3 2018. Ngige, who spoke at the 40th-anniversary celebration of the NLC in Abuja, said the negotiation committee for the new minimum wage for workers has received memorandums from all the stakeholders involved in the process. The FG has said that it would prepare a supplementary budget to accommodate the costs of increased salaries when the new minimum wage is approved. In October 2017, members of the House of Representatives called for a review of the national minimum wage, in effect since 2011 and currently ₦18,000. The NLC has a proposal for an upward review of the minimum wage to ₦56,000.
- The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency says it has concluded arrangements for the deployment of four stand-alone JOTRON high-powered, very high-frequency long-range communication radios to improve the country’s air traffic system. According to the agency, the radios will be installed in Lagos West and Lagos East as well as Kano West and Kano East area control centres. The agency said it had conducted a successful inspection and factory acceptance test of the equipment in Norway, in an exercise that included physical inspection of the facilities and their technical specifications. NAMA’s Managing Director, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu said he was optimistic that the new solution would not only offer options to controllers to discharge their duties efficiently but would also reduce delays and controller workload. “With a range of over 260 nautical miles each, the radios will have sufficient overlapping of propagated signals to eliminate blind spots,” Akinkuotu added.
- The NSE has upgraded UBA and Access Bank to its Premium Board, joining Dangote Cement, FBN Holdings and Zenith Bank. The bourse started the week on a positive note, as the All-Share Index advanced marginally by 0.02 percent. The year-to-date return was thus pushed higher to 11.34 percent. The market recorded 21 gainers and 26 losers. Japaul Oil & Maritime Services started the week as the top gainer, with its price rising by 9.52 percent to close at ₦0.45. Other top gainers were Unity Bank, Nascon Allied Industries, Redstar Express and International Breweries. Topping the losers’ chart was Courtville Business Solutions, which shed 6.25 percent, dragging its price to ₦0.30. Other losers in the day were 11 Plc (Mobil), Caverton Offshore Support Services, May & Baker Nigeria and Cap.
- Shoprite Holdings will move into Kenya, where weakened competitor positions have opened an opportunity for Africa’s biggest grocer to expand its presence in East Africa, its CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said on Tuesday. South African retailers have struggled to lift earnings at home as high household debts squeeze consumer income, although Shoprite has fared better than others with its focus on budget-conscious consumers, including more than 10 million South Africans on welfare grants. To diversify its earnings base, it has expanded deeper into the rest of Africa to take advantage of Nigeria, Angola and now Kenya. Shoprite, which reported a 14.2 percent increase in half-year headline earnings per share, expects to be in Kenya before the end of 2018.