03 Apr

Daily Watch – Cambridge Analytica’s 2015 work attracts spotlight , Crownrise floats billion naira bond

  • A Daily Trust analysis of NBS data indicates that Nigeria’s 36 states will take at least seven years to repay their total debt stock using their internally generated revenues alone. According to the NBS, at the end of 2017, states’ total debt stock stood at ₦7.33 trillion while total IGR was a paltry ₦931.23 billion, 12.69 percent of total debt. Only a handful of Nigerian states can fund their operations with only their IGR, with FG allocations being the primary source of their finances. The analysis showed that states would require three years to clear their debt using all revenues from IGR and FACC allocations. The total debt stock comprised of external debts and domestic debts while the total revenue included revenues from net FACC allocations, and IGR.
  • Finance minister, Kemi Adeosun says the FG is reviewing requests by states and various individuals in the private sector to extend the deadline of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme. VAIDS is a nine-month tax amnesty programme created to allow various parties regularise their tax status. The deadline for the programme expired on Saturday, March 31. According to her, the government’s data mining unit in the ministry, Project Lighthouse, has compiled data of taxpayers from land registries from the thirty-six states and Abuja as well as their bank accounts.
  • The FG will investigate allegations of improper involvement by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica in the country’s 2007 and 2015 elections, a presidency spokesman said on Monday. The UK-based political consultancy is facing allegations that it improperly accessed data from social media website Facebook to target voters prior to the U.S. presidential election and Britain’s Brexit referendum in 2016. In Nigeria, a government committee is looking into claims that SCL Elections, a Cambridge Analytica affiliate, organised anti-election rallies to dissuade opposition supporters from voting in 2007, Garba Shehu, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, said. He said it would examine claims that Buhari’s personal data was hacked in 2015 when he was an opposition candidate in the presidential election. Depending on the outcome, criminal prosecutions might result, said Shehu.
  • Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $46.2 billion as of March 28, up 8.8 percent from a month earlier, central bank data showed on Saturday. Successful debt sales, including a Eurobond offering last month, have helped the government accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves, although they remain far from the peak of $64 billion in August 2008. The FG raised $2.5 billion in Eurobonds in February and expects more to follow. Nigeria’s foreign exchange buffer has climbed 53 percent since March 2017 when it stood at $30.30 billion.
  • Crownrise Finance, a non-banking financial institution, is the first finance house to float a ₦1 billion bond in the Nigerian debt market and will be available to investors in April. Speaking at a stakeholders’ luncheon to introduce the investment note, Tokunbo Martins, director at the Other Financial Institutions Department of the CBN said these institutions are established to operate within the middle-tier of the financial system with a focus on the small and medium enterprises segment. Martins said the bond issuance will allow other finance houses to follow suit and access cheap funds by making use of available resources in the debt market.