Economic and Business News

For the week ending, Friday, 24th February, 2017

1.

Govt begins trial run of first pencil factory

The Akwa Ibom State Government is set to inaugurate the first ever pencil factory in the state.

The factory, which is also producing toothpick, is wholly-owned by the state government as it was floated in 2015 under the Akwa Ibom Enterprises and Employment Scheme.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, said AKEES was an initiative aimed at reawakening the spirit of enterprise among youths and positioning them to benefit from the industrialisation programme of the state government.

The Administrative and Utility Manager of the factory, Miss. Nsisiong Umoh, said the factory was currently on a trial run with staff strength of over 60, who were drawn from AKEES database.

Punch. Sunday, 19 February 2017

2.

Government to establish international onion market

The Kebbi State Government on Monday said it would construct an international onion market at Aliero Local Government area of the state.

Alhaji Abubakar Dakingari, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Atiku Bagudu, quoted the governor as making the promise during a visit to Aliero on Monday.

He said the governor, who addressed onion farmers and marketers at the onion market in Aliero, promised that the international market would be established in the area considering the abundance of the commodity in the area.

"The commodity is being transported to other parts of the country and neighbouring countries of Benin and Niger Republic in commercial quantities," he said.

The Guardian. Monday, 20 February 2017

3.

Wheat farmers seek review of CBN’s borrower programme

The Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) in Kano has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow commercial banks to participate in the Anchor Borrowers programme.

The state WFAN Chairman, Alhaji Faruk Rabi'u, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Monday.

According to him, reviewing the policy on 50 per cent risk sharing formular will encourage many commercial banks to partake fully in the programme.

"CBN insisted that all commercial banks wishing to participate must bear 50 per cent risk and this prompted most of the commercial banks to withdraw from the programme.

"The policy has seriously affected the implementation of the programme in the state.

"Even though the Bank of Agriculture took over, that has not solved the problem because it has no banking flatform," he said.

Punch. Monday, 20 February 2017

 

4.

Enugu revenue board seals banks over N1bn debtn

The Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue on Monday sealed 36 branches of eight commercial banks allegedly indebted to the state government to the tune N1bn.

The exercise, which started by 6 a.m, was carried out at 23 locations of the affected banks across the Coal City.

Addressing newsmen after the exercise, the Chairman of the BIR, Mr Emeka Odo, said that the board sealed the banks due to their failure to remit about N1bn owed the state government.

Odo said that the board had in Feb. 6, obtained an ex parte order from the state high court to distrain the affected banks.

He said that the debts were part of the withholding taxes they were supposed to remit to the state government which dated back to 2007.

Punch . Monday, 20 February 2017

5.

7,000 Zamfara farmers get interest-free loans

Over 7,000 rice farmers in Zamfara State are to benefit from interest-free loans by the state government and the Central Bank of Nigeria for the 2017 dry season farming.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Comprehensive Agriculture Revolution Programme, Alhaji Aminu Dankwangila, said this during an interview with our correspondent on Monday.

Dankwangila said out of the targeted farmers, 2,300 were registered by the state government under the special dry season pilot scheme, as part of its ZACAREP programme, while about 5,000 farmers would be registered under the CBN/Anchor Borrower's programme.

He said, "All the farmers registered under the scheme would be given interest-free loans for farming input such as fertilizer, seeds, insecticides and cash for labour activities, with the agreement that they are to repay with their farm produce.

Punch. Tuesday, 21 February 2017

6.

Osinbajo meets govs, ministers over rice, wheat production

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday presided over a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat as part of the Federal Government's efforts aimed at enhancing food security.

Those who attended the meeting included four state governors - Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, also attended.

Bagudu later told State House correspondents that the meeting reviewed the government's wheat programme and what could be done to increase production.

He said, "This is the meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat and we reviewed the wheat programme and what we can do more to support states in order to increase production of wheat.

"We also want to ensure that our farmers who have responded to the call are supported in terms of getting good price for their output in order to sustain their interests.

Punch. Tuesday, 21 February 2017

7.

Nigeria will not seek IMF loan – Adeosun

Nigeria's finance minister, Kemi Adeosun says the country will not apply for an IMF, International Monetary Fund loan as it is pursuing its own economic reform plan.

"For us the IMF is really a lender of last resort when you have balance of payments problem. Nigeria doesn't have balance of payments problems per se, it has a fiscal problem," Adeosun told CNBC in an interview aired today.

"We are already doing as much reform as any IMF programme would impose on Nigeria," she said.

"Nigerians want to take responsibility for their future. We must have our home-grown, home-designed programme of reform."

Adeosun said non-oil revenues were improving while the government was fine-tuning an economic reform plan needed to support an application for a loan of at least $1 billion from the World Bank. It is also seeking further funds from the African Development Bank.

"Non-oil revenue is improving very steadily. All the measures we have put in place are beginning to yield fruits," she said, without giving numbers.

Vanguard. Tuesday, 21 February 2017

8.

CBN moves to ease forex scarcity at nation's airports

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday ordered all banks to open foreign exchange (forex) kiosks at major airports and approved outlets.The order was issued barely 24 hours after The Guardian exclusively reported that passengers were stranded at the international airports on account of dollar scarcity.

The move is to ease acute forex scarcity and reduce the wide gap between the official and parallel markets to enhance efficiency. It also indicates that the apex bank has stepped up the foreign exchange liberalisation plan, as it switched back to an earlier policy of selling dollar through banks.

Yesterday, the regulator said in a statement that it would now provide direct funding to banks to meet the needs of Nigerians for personal and business travel, medical needs, and school fees, with immediate effect, a few days after the National Economic Council (NEC) ordered it to review the policy.

The Guardian. Tuesday, 21 February 2017

9.

Nigerian Breweries records 27.3% drop in profit

Nigerian Breweries Plc has reported a 27.3 per cent fall in its profit before tax for the 2016 financial year. Its 2016 group profit before tax tumbled to N39.62bn from N54.51bn recorded a year ago.

The firm's group revenue for the 2016 financial year stood at N313.74bn compared to N293.91bn posted a year ago. The company said it was proposing a final dividend of 258 kobo per share, in its reports filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday.

Nigerian Breweries Plc had posted a profit after tax of N38.06bn in 2015, as against N42.52bn in 2014.

Punch. Tuesday 21 February 2017

10.

FG to install 110 rice milling machines to boost production

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, confirmed this development on his Facebook page on Monday, in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the presidential aide was quoted at the weekend as saying that Nigeria was the second largest producer of rice in the world.

Shehu, quoting an investigative media reports, revealed that 48,000 new millionaires had emerged in Kebbi State alone last year, for growing rice According to him, Nigeria has just achieved the record of the second largest producer of rice in the world, following a "rice revolution started just a year ago".

The Guardian. Tuesday, 21 February 2017

11.

Budget deficit: Osinbajo seeks NASS approval for $500m eurobond

ABUJA – THE Presidency Wednesday sought the approval of the National Assembly to raise additional $500 million eurobond from the international capital market.

The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in a letter to the House of Representatives explained that the fund would be used to finance the total sum of N4.023 trillion budget deficit in the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years respectively.

The letter read, “The Rt. Honourable Speaker may wish to refer to line items 229 and 244 of the 2016 Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Appropriation Act, which provided for a deficit of N2,204.742 billion and new borrowings of N1,818.675 billion respectively.

“The Act also provided for Domestic Borrowing of N1,182.798 billion and external borrowing of N635.877 billion in line items 245 and 246 respectively,” Osinbajo said in the two page letter read by Speaker Yakubu Dogara during Wednesday plenary.

Vanguard. Wednesday, 22 February 2017

12.

CBN to make forex available for PTA, school fees, others.

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday modified its foreign exchange policy with the reduction of the tenor of its forward sales from the current maximum cycle of 180 days to 60 days from the date of transaction.

For business and personal travel allowances, the CBN said it would ease the difficulties encountered by Nigerians in obtaining forex for these types of transactions.

To achieve this, it said in a statement issued by its Acting Director of Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, that it would provide direct additional funding to banks to meet the needs of Nigerians for personal and business travels, medical needs and school fees, effective immediately.

The CBN said it expected such retail transactions to be settled at a rate not exceeding 20 per cent above the interbank market rate.

It said, "Having cleared the historic backlog of matured letters of credit at the inception of the current flexible exchange rate system, the CBN will immediately begin to provide foreign exchange to all commercial banks to meet the needs of both personal travel allowances and business travel allowances for onward sale to customers.

Punch. Wednesday, 22 February 2017

13.

FG to reduce agencies operating in ports to six

The Federal Government is currently working towards streamlining the number of agencies operating in the nation's ports to only six from about eight.

This is part of the decisions reached at an expanded meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council presided over by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

According to a statement by the council's secretariat, the meeting approved a national action plan to be implemented across its three priority areas of entry and exit of goods; entry and exit of people; and government transparency and procurement over the next 60 days to deliver tangible changes for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in Nigeria.

The reforms, the statement added, would also help improve Nigeria's ranking in the World Bank Doing Business Index 2018.

The statement read in part, "The reforms are to be implemented by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, which became operational in October 2016 and has Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment as its coordinator.

Punch. Wednesday, 22 February 2017

14.


Manufacturers calls for full implementation as CTG Fund revamps 38 firms

MANUFACTURERS Association of Nigeria (MAN) has indicated that about 38 textile manufacturing companies have so far benefited from textile special revival funding window. With this progress MAN has proposed a full implementation of the National Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) policy to further boost the sector.

Vanguard learned that the N100 billion mapped out to revive moribund companies in the sector is being managed by Bank of Industry on behalf of the federal government and was being disbursed in tranches of N10 billion to beneficiary firms.

In an update on the impacts of the Fund so far on textile firms, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, MAN President, said: "As at December 2016, about 38 textile firms have benefitted from the N100 billion Textile fund with another 22 companies benefiting from support services. The exact numbers of MAN members is yet to be ascertained. However, given the fact that majority of members of NTMA are members of MAN, it is estimated that 30 of the 38 companies would be members of MAN."

Vanguard. Thursday, 23 February 2017

15.

Infrastructure development will drive growth, create jobs – Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that infrastructure development would play a fundamental role in unlocking Nigeria's economic potential, laying a foundation for economic competitiveness and long-term future growth.

Adesoun said this on Wednesday at the United Capital launch of its Eurobond and Wealth for Women Funds in Abuja.

Adesoun said that investment in critical infrastructure across the country would unlock job and wealth creation and strengthen economic development across all states in Nigeria.

The Sun. Thursday, 23 February 2017

16.

Newly introduced foreign exchange policy will strengthen naira - CBN

Abuja – The newly introduced foreign exchange policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will help shore up the naira, an official of the bank has said.

Mr Emmanuel Ukeje, the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Financial Markets, said this in an interview in Abuja on Thursday.

Ukeje described as baseless the argument by sceptics that the newly introduced foreign exchange policy would further weaken the naira.

Vanguard. Thursday, 23 February 2017

17.

Naira rises by N4 as CBN intervenes with $411.8m

LAGOS-The naira, yesterday, appreciated to N516 per dollar in the parallel market as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, intervened in the foreign exchange market by selling $411.8 million dollars for visible and invisible foreign exchange transactions.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, yesterday, commended latest effort of the CBN to address the depreciation of the naira in the parallel market.

Under the new policy, the CBN said it would sell direct additional dollars to banks to meet the needs of Nigerians for Personal Travel Allowance, PTA, and Business Travel Allowance, BTA, medical needs and school fees at exchange rate not exceeding 20 per cent above the interbank market rate.

Foreign exchange sources told Vanguard that the CBN, yesterday, carried out wholesale interventions in the interbank forex market by providing a total sum of $370.8 million futures transactions to 23 banks to meet the visible and invisible requests of customers. The apex bank also provided $46 million in spot transactions.

Vanguard. Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Other Economic and Business Indicators

GDP -2.24%
(Q3, 2016)
Inflation Rate
(Year-on-Year change)
18.72%
(January, 2017)
Unemployment Rate 13.9%
(Q3, 2016)
Underemployment Rate 19.7%
(Q3, 2016)
Monetary Policy Rate 14%
(December, 2016)
Inter-Bank Call Rate 10.39%
(December, 2016)
Prime Lending Rate 17.09%
(December, 2016)
Maximum Lending Rate 28.55%
(December, 2016)
External Reserve USD 29,051,165,986   
(2 February 2017)
Exchange Rate (CBN)
23 February 2017
USD: 305.5
POUNDS: 381.56
EUROS: 322.76
Exchange Rate (Parallel Market)
24 February 2017
USD: 495.00
POUNDS: 600.00
EUROS: 510.00
Liquidity Ratio 30%
Treasury Bill Rate (91 Days) 13.69%
(15 February, 2017)
Currency in Circulation (Million Naira) 2,179,174
(December, 2016)
Banks Reserves(Million Naira) 3,318,344.71
(December, 2016)
External Debt - FGN + States (USD million) 11,261.89
(as at June 30, 2016)
Local Debt - FGN only (NGN million) 10,606,334.22
(as at June 30, 2016)
Bank Credit to to Private Sector (NGN million) 22,374,718.08
(December, 2016)
Demand Deposits at Banks (NGN million) 9,699,750.76
(December, 2016)
Nigeria's Merchandise Trade 4,721.9 billion (Quarter 3, 2016)
Crude Oil $53.95 (OPEC Daily Basket, February 23, 2017)

Source: CBN, NBS and DMO
Compiled by: Research Department, NACCIMA
27 February, 2017