The Coca-Cola Company is now a shareholder of the holding company of Chi Limited, Tropical General Investments Group . . .
Unilever Plans New Plants To Enhance Local Manufacturing; Access Bank, Airtel Develop Mobile Banking Platform For Subscribers . . .
The Federal Government said MTN Nigeria should withdraw the suit it instituted at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos against the Nigerian Communications Commission and the federal government if it wants an out-of-court settlement for the N1.04 trillion fine for not deactivating 5.1 million unregistered subscribers . . .
Popular fast food brand, Chicken Republic has capitalized on the Olisa Metuh corruption saga, and released a new advert ostensibly to mock the detained spokesperson of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh . . .
Warri & Kaduna refineries shut; How crash in oil prices tears OPEC apart; Senate adopts corrected version of Buhari’s 2016 budget; Nigeria loses N650b to NLNG tax holiday . . .
Warri & Kaduna refineries shut
AS a fallout of the attack on some oil and gas pipelines in Gbaramatu area of Delta State by suspected militants at the weekend, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has shut down the Kaduna and Warri refineries.
The development threatens government’s efforts at reducing fuel importation at a time when the local refining seems to be gaining momentum.
Besides, President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that his administration would tackle resurgent militancy, oil theft and vandalism of oil pipelines and other forms of insecurity in the Niger Delta region.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, yesterday confirmed that the company has shut down crude oil flows to the two pipelines due to the recent attacks on the facilities. “We have shut down flows for now, the military are on top of the matter,” he said, without offering details of the attacks.
Crash in oil prices tears OPEC apart
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is tutoring on the heels of persistent crude oil price drops lately. The oil cartel may have divided into factions as the interest of the 13-member cartel is jolted by falling oil prices in the international market.
The seemingly uncontrollable fall in oil prices has largely affected the economic status of some members, including Nigeria since 2014, but the test of strength within OPEC appears to have overshadowed the need for urgent and strategic decision that could reduce the tension.
Oil prices have fallen by more than 70 per cent over the last 18 months, mainly as a result of oversupply. The cartel, in a policy championed by Saudi Arabia, had decided to keep production unchanged to avoid domination of the emerging shale oil. Now the prices have slid to critical level.
Benchmark Brent crude futures slipped yesterday below $28 a barrel to a 12-year low, while the OPEC basket was $25 per barrel.
Senate adopts corrected version of Buhari’s 2016 budget
The Nigerian Red Chamber, The Senate, has unanimously adopted a corrected version of the proposed budget (2016 fiscal plan) sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday.
It also resolved to begin work on the budget today even as the upper legislative chamber declared that it had taken Buhari’s corrected version as the substantive budget proposal.
Shortly after the plenary session commenced, the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, read Buhari’s official communication to the upper chamber, a copy of which he also sent to the House of Representatives, in which he lamented that errors in the budget document were not corrected before the presentation to the joint session of the National Assembly in December.
In the House of Representatives, a deft handling of the matter by Speaker Yakubu Dogara helped to make short-lived a disagreement at the commencement of plenary yesterday.
The letter tagged “2016 Budget Proposals,” which acknowledged the confusion that had been generated by efforts to ensure that there were no errors in the document, however, attracted some criticisms from senators because of the error in dates as the president, in the first line of the letter wrote 2016 when it should have been 2015.
Nigeria loses N650b to NLNG tax holiday
Tax incentives by the Federal Government to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited has deprived the nation of about $3.3billion or N650 billion at an exchange rate of N197 to the dollar from 1999 when it began operations, according to a report.
The Nigeria LNG is a joint venture project by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell (25.6 per cent), Total (15 percent), and ENI (10.4 per cent).
The consortium was established in 1989 to help Nigeria harness and exploit her huge reserves of natural gas resources for exports.
The report by ActionAid titled “Leaking Revenue-How a big tax break to European gas companies has cost Nigeria billions”, criticised the tax exemption arrangement, and extension arguing that even with a normal five-year tax holiday, the NLNG would still have been profitable.
Meanwhile, the NLNG has faulted the report, arguing that the tax arrangement was in line with the Nigerian constitutional provisions. The firm also said under the arrangement “the Nigerian government’s initial $2.5billion investment, bolstered by the associated tax incentives, has so far yielded over $33billion in the form of dividends, taxes and feed-gas purchases for the country over the last 16 years, with an estimated additional $5billion accruing through corporate spend on local goods and services during the same period.”
Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has indicated sluggish growth amidst adverse operating environment across manufacturing sector at year end 2015 . . .
Interbank rates rise over N770b fall in liquidity
Contrary to expectations of continued robust monetary policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), its multiple currency mop up last week pushed the interbank lending rates high . . .
Nigeria said Wednesday it would not cut oil production outside the framework of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), even as nose diving crude prices caused by a global supply glut have ravaged its revenue . . .
As Oil Prices Hit 12-year Low, OPEC Members Request Emergency Meeting
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said a ‘couple’ of members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are requesting an emergency meeting, saying current market conditions justify the need to hold such a gathering.
Benchmark Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were trading at less than $31 per barrel yesterday, their lowest level since April 2004, and have shed almost three-quarters of their value since mid-2014. At the current price, it means oil prices have fallen to near a 12-year low.
Kachikwu told reporters at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi that there was a lot of push from various blocs within OPEC for a meeting.
“A couple of countries, I don’t want to mention names,” he said when asked if any had requested holding an emergency meeting.
Any meeting that would take place would be to review OPEC’s position to see if there was any need to change its strategy, Kachikwu said, adding that the meeting could take place in February or March.
Kachikwu told AFP that he expects an extraordinary meeting of the OPEC oil cartel in “early March” to address nosediving crude prices.
“We did say that if it (the price) hits the 35 (dollar per barrel), we will begin to look (at)… an extraordinary meeting,” said Kachikwu.
The prices have hit levels that necessitate a meeting, he told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi.
The US crude oil price tumbled below $31 a barrel Tuesday, extending a sell-off that has pushed it to more than 12-year lows amid a global supply glut, a strong dollar and tepid demand.
Saudi-led Gulf exporters within OPEC have so far refused to cut production to curb sliding prices, seeking to protect their market share despite a heavy blow to their revenues.
Kachikwu, who was president of OPEC until the end of December, said that member states differ on the issue of intervention.
“One group feels there is a need to intervene. The other group feels even if we did, we are only 30 to 35 percent of the producers really,” as 65 per cent of supply comes from non-OPEC countries, he said at the Gulf Intelligence UAE Energy Forum.
“Unless you have this 65 percent (of) producers coming back to the table you really won’t make any dramatic difference,” he added.
Senate to begin debate of 2016 budget
The Senate has announced that the 2016 Appropriation Bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari will be subject to debate from the lawmakers from Tuesday 19th January.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, made the announcement on Wednesday, during plenary.
“Senate President @bukolasaraki announces that the debate of #2016AppropriationBill will commence on Tuesday 19th January 2016,” reads a tweet from the Twitter account of the Nigerian Senate.
There were reports,Tuesday, that the budget was no longer available in the Upper Chamber, leading to rumors of ‘Missing budget’
However, it is unclear if the budget is now available or the speech of Saraki is to douse tension.
NCC vs MTN: Court orders parties to maintain status quo
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered parties to maintain status quo, following a mareva injunction by the Attorney General of the Federation, seeking to bar MTN Nigeria from emptying its accounts in 21 commercial banks in Nigeria.
Trial judge, Justice Idris Mohammed, ordered parties to maintain status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the suit and adjourned till January 22, 2016 for hearing.
“An order is hereby made directing the parties cited herein to maintain the status quo ante bellum pending further hearing,” the judge said.
The AGF, has sought “an order of mareva injunction restraining the aforementioned banks from releasing, further releasing any funds, making sale, transfer or payment of any monies or dealing in any manner whatsoever with any and all monies maintained by the plaintiff/respondent (MTN) or its agents, privies, subsidiaries, sister companies or the like in the aforestated banks that will alter, decline or reduce the amount of the first defendant’s/applicant’s fine against the plaintiff/respondent in the sum of N1,040,000,000,000 which has remained wholly unsatisfied, pending the determination of the motion on notice.”
The application was to prevent MTN from suspending the payment of the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, over its failure to deactivate its unregistered subscribers.
Even though the court did not expressly grant the application, it has, meanwhile by the status quo order, prevented MTN from moving funds from the accounts in the 21 commercial banks in Nigeria outside the country.
The AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who filed the application, yesterday, had expressed the fear that MTN could move all its funds out of the country before the N1.04tn fine could be enforced.
He had prayed the court to order all the 21 banks to open a special interest-yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court and move N1.04 trillion out of whatever funds that was standing to MTN’s credit in their possession.
The counsel for the AGF, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi, SAN, in a 14-paragraph affidavit in support of the application, had averred that MTN was in the habit of regularly repatriating its funds out of Nigeria.
He further averred that between October 2007 and May 2009, a period of 19 months, MTN moved over $7.7 billion of the money made in Nigeria to a foreign account, pointing the court’s attention to an instance when in one day, specifically on February 8, 2008, MTN transferred over $936 million out of Nigeria to accounts in Mauritius, Cayman Island and British Virgin Islands.
“Unless this court urgently entertains this application, the plaintiff/respondent would move its funds out of Nigeria, being the jurisdiction of this honourable court, and thereby frustrate the enforcement of the fine in the likely event that this honourable court sanctions the imposition of the fine,” he had averred.
He also averred that MTN was under an obligation to pay the N1.04 trillion fine, because it was NCC’s administrative decision, which remained final unless it was reviewed by the commission or nullified by the court, adding that though NCC had earlier given MTN a concession on the fine and reduced it to N780 billion, MTN has neglected or failed to pay on or before December 31, 2015, the fine remained N1.04 trillion.
Justice Mohammed had noted that the AGF had not shown enough facts to prove that MTN was about to empty its bank accounts and move its funds out of the country.
Idris, who noted that the case was sensitive and of public interest, said he would rather hear the case filed by MTN to challenge the fine and give a judgment within a short time.
MTN may lose spectrum license over NBC probe
The federal government may review the 700MHz spectrum license sale following the ongoing probe into the activities of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Daily Trust learnt yesterday. The NBC director general Emeka Mba was arrested on Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly operating a secret account into which about N17billion out of N34bn paid by MTN Nigeria for the 700MHz license was kept.
Part of the reasons for his arrest was a petition written by some aggrieved broadcast and telecoms industries players to EFCC alleging that Mba contravened due process in the spectrum sale to MTN, according to a source. Already, the Frequency Management Council (FMC) is reviewing the spectrum sale and the ongoing probe of NBC may provide the ground for its cancellation, the source, who is a top government official, told Daily Trust yesterday.
The FMC which has a representation from the ministries of science and technology and communication was said to have given NBC the nod to sale the spectrum to MTN during twilight of Goodluck Jonathan administration. But some telecoms and broadcast firms who felt the deal was not transparent later kicked against the sale when the President Muhammadu Buhari administration came on board. Later NCC also voiced out it disagreement with the sale.
The firms, on their part, alleged lack of transparency in the sale to MTN while the NCC said the spectrum should have been auctioned by it not NBC. “We do not intend to join issues with them but we intend to avail ourselves of existing mechanism for arbitration and mediation through the Frequency Management Council,” the NCC executive vice chairman Prof Umar Danbatta had said recently. MTN spokesperson could not be reached yesterday but a top official in the country said the company had nothing to fear as it did not breach any Nigerian law in getting the license. The NBC spokesperson Malam Awwalu Salihu declined to comment on the matter.
CBN releases new forex rules, ends BDCs funding; Olam targets $1 billion share of Nigeria’s flour milling market; World Bank projects 4.6% growth for Nigeria’s economy . . .
CBN releases new forex rules, ends BDCs funding
A SET of fresh regulations on foreign exchange (forex) saw to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday ending the programme of funding bureaux de change weekly. The scheme which has been in operation for the past 11 years cost the CBN $8.6 billion yearly based on $60,000 per operator.
But the apex financial regulator has permitted commercial banks to begin accepting cash deposits of foreign exchange from their customers. The decision, according to CBN, is not intended to be punitive but rather to ensure it is better able to carry out its mandate effectively and efficiently, which guarantees preservation of the nation’s scarce commonwealth.
However, the operators, under the aegis of Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria, said while it would appreciate the end of the programme, it would not accept the blanket generalisation of the group as bad. The Acting President of the group, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, told The Guardian that the action of the CBN amounted to a devaluation of the currency, as the dollar would soon be exchanged for as high as N400.
Olam targets $1 billion share of Nigeria’s flour milling market
WITH the acquisition of BUA Group’s milling business in Nigeria, Olam International Limited has expressed optimism of doubling its total wheat milling capacity in sub-Saharan Africa to approximately 7,640 tonnes per day or 2.78 million tonnes yearly.
According to the firm, achieving the target will help the firm control a sizeable share of the Nigerian flour market which is presently in excess of $2 billion and is expected to hit five million tonnes by 2020.
Under the BUA deal, Olam acquired Amber Foods Limited, which through its 100 per cent owned subsidiary Quintessential Foods Nigeria Limited owns the wheat milling and pasta manufacturing assets of the BUA Group in Nigeria for a total enterprise value of $275 million.
A statement from the firm explained that the BUA Group, a diversified foods and infrastructure business group in Nigeria, is among the top five wheat millers in the country with wheat milling and pasta manufacturing capacities of 3,760 and 700 metric tonnes per day (TPD) respectively.
“The assets to be acquired include two wheat mills and a pasta manufacturing facility in Lagos, a non-operating mill in Kano in the North of Nigeria, and a wheat mill and a pasta manufacturing plant under construction in Port Harcourt in the Southeast of Nigeria.
World Bank projects 4.6% growth for Nigeria’s economy
THE latest report by the World Bank as projected that Nigeria’s economic growth index would hit 4.6 per cent in 2016, even as it expected that economies would pick up in other oil exporting countries, on the assumption that oil prices will stabilise.
The group, in its January 2016 Global Economic Prospects obtained by The Guradian yesterday, also noted that weak growth among major emerging markets will weigh on global growth in 2016, but economic activity should still pick up modestly to a 2.9 per cent pace, from 2.4 per cent growth in 2015, as advanced economies gain speed.
The Sub-Saharan African region is forecast to accelerate to 4.2 per cent in 2016 from 3.4 per cent in 2015 as commodity prices stabilize. Economic activity will vary across Sub-Saharan Africa, with consumption growth remaining weak in oil exporting countries as fuel costs rise, while lower inflation in oil importing countries helps boost consumer spending.
Nigeria is forecast to expand 4.6 per cent after growing by 3.3 per cent last year while South Africa is expected to advance only modestly to 1.4 per cent growth from 1.3 per cent in the year just ended,” it noted.
NCC mulls national mobile roaming strategy for operators
PLANS are in the pipeline by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to implement a national mobile roaming strategy that will help operators in the country strengthen their operations and compete favourably.
The national mobile roaming is the ability of a cellular customer to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services, including data services, when travelling outside the coverage area of the home network, by means of using a visited network.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in a document title: ‘Consultation Paper on National Mobile Roaming’, national mobile roaming features in several communication licences but has not yet been utilized in the country.
Danbatta said even though it was technically possible to provide facility for domestic roaming, appropriate legal and regulatory framework have to be in place in order to encourage as well as assist the operators in realising roaming arrangement between them without any uncertainty.
MBR | Business news