- The NNPC said it had awarded two of three gas pipeline contracts which in total will be worth more than $2.8 billion. One contract for a roughly 200 km stretch of the 614 km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline and stations was awarded to Oando and OilServe, the state oil company said in a statement. Another stretch of about 200 km was given to a partnership between China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau and Brentex. The NNPC did not say how much each individual contract was worth. A third contract will be executed in the coming weeks, the company said.
- Recent Nigeria Insurers Association data shows that 29 out of the country’s 58 existing insurance firms reported negative reserves at the end of 2016. The negative reserves amounted to ₦93.15 billion in 2016. According to the report, 15 non-life operators posted ₦51.79 billion, while 14 life operators posted ₦41.36 billion. According to ThisDay, the negative results were connected to the 2016 recession where firms, who issue dollar-denominated policies, paid the claims from their reserves due to the high inflation rate and an unstable forex market.
- A new Skills Gap Assessment report released by the Industrial Training Fund in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation shows that despite high unemployment, there are 925 “difficult and very difficult-to-fill vacancies in the country’s labour market. The survey, which relied on responses from industries polled, disclosed that 19.7 percent of vacancies in housing are difficult to fill along with 13.9 percent in petrochemicals, 14.7 percent in ‘other goods,’ 11.4 percent in auto industry, 10.3 percent in textiles, 10.1 percent in steel, 8.9 percent in services and 3.3 percent in leather. The report found that 15.7 percent of all hard-to-fill vacancies were due to lack of technical skills, 11.8 percent due to lack of basic IT skills and 9.2 percent due to a lack of advanced IT skills. Soft skills such as planning and organising skills, customer handling skills or team working skills were mentioned with regards to between 9.7 percent and 7.5 percent of hard-to-fill vacancies.
- The U.S. government’s decision to include Russian magnate Oleg Deripaska on its sanctions blacklist on Friday will reverberate around the world because his business empire has a global footprint and counts major multinationals as partners. Deripaska, estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $6.7 billion, is the main owner of the conglomerate EN+, which in turn is the co-owner of some of the world’s biggest metals producers, Rusal and Nornickel. Hong Kong-listed Rusal is one of the world’s biggest aluminium producers. It says exports to the United States account for over 10 percent of its output. Rusal owns assets in Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Nigeria, Guyana, Guinea. It also owns a stake in Australian QAL, the world’s top alumina refinery.
- FCMB expects loan growth to be flat this year – down from last year’s 5.4 percent rise – as oil companies pay down debt, its Group CEO said on Friday. Ladi Balogun said the bank would focus on retail banking with a higher margin this year to make up for a drop in government bond yields as the lender may not be able to write large loans quickly enough to counter-balance repayments by oil firms. Balogun said the group was seeking to convert its wholesale banking unit in Britain, FCMB UK, into a retail bank, as part of its push to grow its balance sheet and tap into non-institutional customers in Britain. Balogun said the earnings contribution in naira terms from the British unit will be around ₦500 million ($1.64 million) for 2018. FCMB UK grew pre-tax profit by 250 percent to ₦300 million last year. The FCMB Group posted a 29.5 percent drop in 2017 pretax profit to ₦11.46 billion on Wednesday.