Category: BUSINESS.

FG spends N2.6trn on fuel import in nine months

Nigeria  spent N2.582 trillion on fuel importation in nine months, from January to September 2018, rising by 12.9 per cent from N2.289 trillion recorded in the first three quarters of 2017.

The amount spent on fuel import in the nine-month period is 28.3 per cent of Nigeria’s N9.12 trillion budget for the 2018 fiscal year and 36 per cent of the N7.17 trillion proposed expenditure in the budget.

This came as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, said that the Federal Government has paid petroleum products marketers N236 billion, being first tranche of the outstanding fuel subsidy claims owed the marketers.

Members of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, confirmed receipt of the payment and stated that they would still seek clarifications on certain issues with the government.

According to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Foreign Trade Statistics for the Third Quarter of 2018, Nigeria’s fuel import stood at N845.12 billion, N720.4 billion for the first and second quarters of 2018 respectively.

However, in the third quarter of 2018, the report noted that fuel import rose sharply by 41.03 per cent from N720.4 billion recorded in the second quarter to N1.016 trillion in the third quarter of 2018. This, according to the report, was in comparison to fuel  import of N802.4 billion, N744.28 billion and N742.82 billion recorded in the first, second and third quarter of 2018 respectively.

In its month-on-month analysis of the Nigeria’s fuel import, the report showed that in January, February, March, April, May and June 2018, Nigeria imported fuel valued at N384.59 billion, N357.45 billion, N103.08 billion, N190.26 billion, N380.7 billion and N149.44 billion respectively.

For July, August and September 2018, the NBS report stated that N343.25 billion, N378 billion and N295.03 billion fuel was imported respectively.

The report further pointed out that fuel import in the third quarter of 2018, accounted for 24.4 per cent of Nigeria’s total imports in the period under review.

Specifically, the report stated that total imports into Nigeria in the third quarter of 2018 stood at N4.172 billion, rising by 73.8 per cent from N2.4 trillion in the second quarter of 2018. The report further attributed the sharp rise in total import in the third quarter to the importation of an oil rig.

Particularly, the report said the floating or submersible drilling or production platforms worth N1.159 trillion was imported from South Korea in August 2018.

“In the same way, there was a rise of 67.7 per cent when compared with the import value of the corresponding quarter in 2017. The huge increase in import value during the quarter, resulted into a decrease in the country’s trade balance from N2.103 trillion in the second quarter to N681.3 billion in third quarter representing a decrease of 67.6 per cent. The year to date Total Trade amounted to N23.14 trillion,” it noted.

Subsidy In an interview in Abuja, Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, NNPC, Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih, disclosed that the payment, which was done through promissory notes, had been ready since last Wednesday, while the marketers were asked to come pick them up Monday. Ikem-Obih further stated that all the promissory notes for this tranche would mature in 2019, adding that the CBN had also promised to grant special status to the notes.

He said:  “I can confirm that the promissory note has been issued. In fact, there were ready on Wednesday. The marketers got emails inviting them to come and receive them on Monday.

“By the end of Tuesday, there were actually ready from the Debt Management Office, DMO. We had a meeting with the CBN Governor on Thursday and they were informed officially. The Director General of DMO was there and said that they should pick up the promissory note.

“Most of them were waiting for that meeting with the CBN governor; it went very well. one of the things that CBN governor  had taken the initiative to do is to ask the banks to freeze the interest on any loan  that are related to that scheme, the outstanding payment, from end of June 2017 to date.

Those are some of the additional concession that government has done.” NNPC assures Ikem-Obih assured of steady and stable petroleum products supply during the Yuletide season and beyond, stating that the NNPC currently has over 2.7 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol.

Nigeria’s first gold refinery to be completed June 2019

The good news came in on Thursday when a Nigerian firm, Kian Smith Trade & Co Limited, broke ground on the nation’s first gold refinery, saying the project would be completed by the end of the first half of next year.

The firm said the refinery would start with a production capacity of three tonnes per month of 99.99 per cent gold and one ton per month production of 99.99 per cent silver.

Abubakar Bwari, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, who was quoted in a statement as saying at the ground-breaking ceremony, stated, “The present administration is determined to develop the mining sector to act as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth of the country.

“Part of our marching orders in the mines and steal development ministry is that we are expected to develop the sector to increase its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, improve its capacity to create jobs and engender sustainable mining.”

The minister noted that it was in keeping with his ministry’s mandate that a roadmap was developed for the growth and development of the mining sector.

“During the focus labs of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of this administration, we discovered that a well-organised gold value chain can trigger an economic revolution as it did in India, South Africa, Switzerland and others,” Bwari said.

Bwari added that the ministry had continued to work in this light to develop a gold value chain for the country.

“We will be supplying the Central Bank of Nigeria, the jewellery and the electronics industry.”

The Vice Chairman, Kian Smith, Nere Teriba, confirmed that they have already secured a significant monthly supply of gold from Zamfara, Kebbi, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Ibadan, Ile-Ife, and Ilesha and about 100kg per month from other parts of Africa,”

She said the firm was finalising supply agreements and terms from suppliers in Kano, adding, “Next week, we will be securing supply from Kogi State.”

According to Teriba, the refinery, when completed, will provide more than 500,000 jobs in two years as it continues to support its suppliers in their bid to become registered business entities in the mining sector.

“There are at present at least one million unregistered business participants in the Nigerian market (considering gold miners, sponsors, dealers, processors, aggregators and gold-workers).

She added that the formalisation, organisation and development they bring to the value chain will provide quick wins to the Nigerian economy,”

Also present is the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Adepeju Adebajo, expressed enthusiasm about the refinery project, saying it was in line with his government’s industrialisation plan, and he described the project as a major boost to the Nigerian mining sector.

Oil prices collapse as glut fear triggers heavy selling

Oil prices slumped Friday to lows not seen since last year as concerns over high crude supplies triggered massive selling, dealers said.


The WTI futures contract, the New York commodities markets’ benchmark, and its European counterpart Brent Crude both fell more than six percent on the day.


High global oil production compared to demand was the top reason for Friday’s selling, while the outlook for a weakening world economy led investors to conclude that growth would not be strong enough to soak up the surplus.


“The truth of the matter remains that rising global crude supply coupled with worrying signs of slowing demand have written a recipe for disaster for the oil markets,” said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM.


With a December OPEC meeting not expected to make a major dent in production levels, WTI now had scope to fall to $50 “in the near term”, he said.


In late European trading, WTI held just over $51 and Brent around $59.


Some analysts said US President Donald Trump had much to do with falling oil prices.


– Some say it’s Trump –


“Although most analysts claim that this has to do with supply overhang and increased production from Russia and Saudi Arabia, the bottom line is that the US President keeps pushing for lower prices,” said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index trading group.


“While this is the case it will be difficult to see a return to oil at a higher level unless oil cartel OPEC decides on a major output cut at its next meeting on December 6.”


The pound dropped versus the dollar, a day after spiking on news that Britain and the EU had struck a draft deal over ties post Brexit.


That came ahead of a weekend summit in Brussels to sign off on an overall package on the UK’s exit from the European Union in March.


Elsewhere, the euro dropped as data monitoring company IHS Markit said business growth in the 19-nation eurozone pulled back in November to its slowest rate in nearly four years, as exports weakened.


– Stocks mixed –


Eurozone stock markets, meanwhile, recoverd to show mild gains by the close but London ended lower as weak energy prices weighed.


On Wall Street, the Dow index was also under pressure with shares in energy companies feeling the pain from lower oil prices and investors weighing headwinds facing the global economy.


“US stocks are lower in early action following yesterday’s Thanksgiving holiday break, with the energy sector seeing some pressure as crude oil prices are continuing a tumble, while European political uncertainty remains and China/US trade worries are lingering ahead of next week’s G-20 summit,” analysts at Charles Schwab summed up market sentiment.


Earlier, Asian stock markets had already plunged into the red.


Chinese shares led the downward charge as Shanghai slumped by more than two percent, with the tech sector hit hard by a Wall Street Journal report that Washington is urging its allies to avoid using equipment from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.


Worsening trade tensions between the United States and China have shattered confidence on global trading floors.


“China wants to make a deal. If we can make a deal, we will,” Trump said, ahead of crunch talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 in Argentina next week.


The world’s top two economies have been locked in a trade war since the summer, with the US imposing punitive tariffs on Chinese goods worth $250 billion per year. In retaliation, China imposed tariffs on $110 billion of US goods.


Washington has threatened to toughen measures even further if the issue is not resolved before January.


– Key figures around 1640 GMT –


Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN $3.78 at $58.82 per barrel


Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN $3.42 at $51.21


Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2808 from $1.2866 at 1700 GMT Thursday


Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1340 from $1.1400


Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.87 yen from 113.00 yen


London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 6,952.86 points (close)


Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 11,192.69 (close)


Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 4,946.95 (close)


EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,137.21


New York – Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 24,404.46


Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed Friday for holiday


Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.4 percent at 25,927.68 points (close)


Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 2.5 percent at 2,579.48 points (close)


Vanguard business news


A former Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom, Priti Patel, has warned investors to be wary of investing in Nigeria.
In an op-ed for City A.M., Patel, who is a member of the British parliament, claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari was not in the habit of obeying law and court orders.
Patel cited the case of a firm owned by two Irishmen, which got a contract in Nigeria in 2010, adding that Buhari, upon assuming office in 2015, cancelled the contract.
Patel claimed that the firm’s efforts to get compensation through the court were also frustrated as Buhari refused to obey court decisions made in favour of the foreign firm.
Patel said, “In Nigeria, the unhappy experience of the firm founded by two Irishmen, Process and Industrial Development, is a case in point, and demonstrates the risk that businesses will face in Nigeria.
“In 2010, P&ID signed a 20-year contract with the Nigerian government to create a new natural gas development refinery, but the project fell through after the Nigerian government reneged on its contractual commitments.
“Upon taking office, President Buhari promptly cancelled a compensation settlement.
“Since Buhari reneged on this deal, P&ID has undertaken legal efforts to affirm a tribunal award, first decided in London. It also made several attempts in court to force the Nigerian government to respect its obligations.
“The most recent court decision at a London tribunal confirmed that the Nigerian government owes P&ID almost $9bn for the initial breach of contract, loss of income, additional costs, and interest accrued after five years of non-payment.
“However, the Nigerian government has continued to flout international law and convention, and it refuses to respect the various court decisions.
“Investors must consider this long-running scandal and weigh this obstinacy against Nigeria’s mishandled economic potential.”
He added, “Nigeria is ranked 145th in the world for its ease of doing business, which demonstrates the risks of investment into Nigeria.”
A presidency source said Patel’s claims were being analysed by government.
However, the Presidency described Patel warning as “lacking in substance and devoid of merit in empirical evidence established by facts.”
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, in a statement said, “Her claim is a fabrication that cannot be supported by the facts on the ground.”
“Nigerian has recognised the rights of investors, both local and foreign, as enshrined in our constitution, which states clearly that no investment can be taken from its owners without recourse to the law. Given the constitution, you don’t even need international protection for assets held in this country.
“Beyond this, we have established a proper climate of investment on account of which, the nation has gained 24 points of excellence in the global ease of doing business index.”



The leading opposition political group- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has fingered the “harsh economic policies” of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in the recent withdrawal of General Electric (GE) from a $2.8 billion railway concession deal.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP urged Nigerians to dismiss the “Next Level mantra introduced as Buhari’s 2019 slogan,” stating that the “president has failed to deliver on his promises.”

It added: “The next level Buhari administration can only take Nigeria to severe hunger and pains beyond what Nigerians have been experiencing in the last three and half years.”

The party noted that “with the withdrawal of GE and the continued exiting, from our nation, of other huge foreign investors, due to unabated unfriendly polices, the Buhari presidency has cost Nigerians the much-needed commercial and employment opportunities and further frustrated the development of the nation.”

PDP continued: “The Buhari administration is the major economic challenge facing Nigeria as a nation. Our nation has continued to reel under the administration characterized by economic stagnation, high inflation, soaring unemployment and harsh regulatory regime that scare away investors.”

Over 50 SMEs benefit from MTN – Microsoft Training in Lagos

MTN Nigeria, in partnership with Microsoft recently held the first session of the MTN-Microsoft Training Program in Lagos, aimed at empowering Nigeria’s fast-growing SME segment to streamline their financial and business processes, improve customer interactions and make better decisions with integrated intelligence.

Doubling the number of training events in response to the overwhelming interest of SMEs in the industry, the program was designed to provide entrepreneurs with a comprehensive set of Microsoft Office skills required to aid the growing commercialisation of small businesses, which in turn, is part of a larger effort to keep contributing to the country’s economic growth.


Over 50 SMEs benefit from MTN - Microsoft Training in Lagos


The training allowed for business owners to standardise their entire organisational business processes, including sales, finance, human resources, operations, logistics and marketing to function as one integrated whole, by connecting data across accounting, sales, purchasing, inventory and customer interactions.

The SMEs gained access to a holistic view of business management and chart financial performance in real time. Over 50 SMEs benefited from the 6-hour session and gained first hand experience on how to use Microsoft Excel to improve accounting and record keeping.

Speaking on the experience, one of the entrepreneurs, Cecelia Edom, CEO of Cece Confectionary said, This has been very instrumental in helping to bring technology and management closer to entrepreneurs. It was a great opportunity to show anyone that they can learn the basics of computer science in a fun and engaging way.” The participants demonstrated great enthusiasm throughout the sessions, as well as the willingness to learn how to perfect their organisational skills.

Over 50 SMEs benefit from MTN - Microsoft Training in Lagos

Addressing guests at the training, General Manager, Enterprise Marketing, Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka represented by Senior Manager, SME Segment at MTN Nigeria, Damilola Runsewe said, “We believe we can make a significant impact by providing free resources for a generation of entrepreneurs who are passionate about developing and commercialising small scale businesses,”


He further emphasized that, “MTN Nigeria has decided to open its doors to all SMEs who are committed to learning and building. We are interested in supporting anyone and everyone who can contribute to improving Nigeria’s economy.”


MTN Nigeria continues to seek ways to contribute to the Nigerian economy by extending its partnership capabilities to brighten the lives of small business owners within the country. The training is the first in the series of training collaborations, MTN has planned for small business owners across various regions in the country to deliver value to businesses.

More photos below…

Over 50 SMEs benefit from MTN - Microsoft Training in Lagos

Over 50 SMEs benefit from MTN - Microsoft Training in Lagos

Over 50 SMEs benefit from MTN - Microsoft Training in Lagos

Over 50 SMEs benefit from MTN - Microsoft Training in Lagos

Over 50 SMEs benefit from MTN - Microsoft Training in Lagos

UPDATED: Coca-Cola buys coffee chain Costa for £3.9bn

Coca-Cola on Friday said it had agreed to buy global coffee chain Costa from its UK owner Whitbread for £3.9 billion ($5.1 billion).

“Hot beverages is one of the few remaining segments of the total beverage landscape where Coca-Cola does not have a global brand. Costa gives us access to this market through a strong coffee platform,” Coca-Cola chief executive James Quincey said in a joint statement.

The deal comes amid eroding consumer demand for conventional carbonated drinks owing to health and obesity concerns in the US and other markets.

Earlier in August, Coca-Cola’s fierce rival PepsiCo struck a deal to buy Israeli company SodaStream for $3.2 billion — in a pitch to consumers concerned also about mounting waste from soda cans and plastics in landfills worldwide.

SodaStream makes machines that carbonate home tap water.

Meanwhile following pressure from activist shareholders, Whitbread announced in April that it would spin off Costa, leaving it to concentrate on its hotel chain Premier Inn.

Whitbread was forced to act after US group Elliott became its biggest shareholder with a six percent stake.

“The announcement today represents a substantial premium to the value that would have been created through the demerger of the business and we expect to return a significant majority of net proceeds to shareholders,” Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said in the statement.

“Whitbread will also reduce debt and make a contribution to its pension fund, which will provide additional headroom for the expansion of Premier Inn.”

Whitbread bought Costa in 1995 from founders Sergio and Bruno Costa and presently runs about 2,400 stores in the UK and some 1,400 around the world.

Costa also operates more than 8,000 Costa Express self-serve machines in eight countries, as well as placing its products in supermarkets.

Premier Inn has 785 hotels in the UK and a sprinkling of others in Germany and the Middle East.

NCAA warns travellers against patronising unregistered travel agencies

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has advised all intending travellers to stop patronising unregistered travel agencies.

According to the aviation industry regulator, the warning became necessary in view of a recent increase in reports of fraudulent ticketing practices by unregistered travel agencies.

In a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, on Sunday, the NCAA stated, “The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015, Part 18.9.1 (111), prohibits the undertaking of the business of travel agency by any person in Nigeria, without a certificate of registration or licence issued by the authority, upon fulfilment of certain requirements, including that an applicant submits evidence of membership of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents.

“In addition, Section 30 (4) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 empowers the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to regulate, supervise and monitor the activities of travel agents in Nigeria.”

The NCAA stated that based on reports of sharp practices by unregistered travel agencies, it had directed all duly registered travel agencies to display their certificates of registration or licences in all their outlets.

It added that there were about 150 travel agencies on its register and applicants must fulfil both the International Air Transport Association and the NCAA requirements to be registered.

“The NCAA therefore reiterates that prospective passengers should do business only with travel agencies registered with the regulatory authority,” the NCAA said.

Dr. Onu woos Nigerian investors in US

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, will on Monday begin a tour of the United States where he is expected to meet and discuss with Nigerians in the Diaspora and advance a case for returning home and exploring opportunities in the country.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Head, Press and Public Relations Unit, AbdulGaniyu Aminu, the ministry said that Onu would also travel to Cuba to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on science and technology.

Aminu said, “The visit to the United States of America which is from August 27 to September 4 will afford the minister the opportunity to meet with Nigerians in the United States to sensitise them to the numerous advantages of the Executive Order Five, which is to ensure the realisation of the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, 2017-2020.

“In accordance with section five (capacity building) of the Executive Order Five, the ministry is expected to take steps to encourage indigenous professionals in the Diaspora to return home and use their experience to develop Nigeria. Onu is expected to visit New York, Washington-DC and Florida.”

He added, “The minister will, at the end of the visit to the US, proceed to Cuba on September 5 to honour the invitation of the Government of Cuba to enable both countries to evaluate the possibilities of cooperation in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

“The two countries are expected to sign cooperation agreement in science, technology, and innovation, under the auspices of Ministries of Science and Technology of both countries.”

Aminu said that Cuba had developed some of the technologies Nigeria could domesticate to reduce importation in line with the Executive Order Five.

UK export agency to accept naira for trade settlements

It was reported at the weekend that naira would soon become one of the three West African currencies that UK Export Finance Agency has pre-approved for its programme of funding transactions to promote trade with Britain.

Although the other two national currencies were not disclosed, finance experts say that when added, Nigerians and others in the UK wishing to use the naira to make payments or provide financing for business transactions denominated in the local currency would be able to do so without hindrance.

The only exception, the statement said, would be in the area of loans taken in local currency, which must equally be repaid in local currency.

In 2016, a referendum to decide its continued membership of the European Union (EU) resulted in a vote for Britain to exit the Union.

Since then, there has been extensive consultations by the UK government with the EU and other trade partners on the need to review the terms of its trade ties with the rest of the world.

Since December 2017, the UK government and the EU have agreed to discuss ways to improve future trade ties with member countries.

Nigeria has for long remained one of UK government’s biggest trade partners and allies, particularly in the West African sub-region.

“This is a clear indication of how much value the UK places on its relationship with Nigeria. It will provide a firm foundation for a significant increase in trade and investment between both countries,” the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, was quoted to have said in a UK’s credit agency statement on Friday.

The statement said the UK government would provide up to 85 per cent of funding for projects containing a minimum of 20 per cent British content. “The naira financing will follow the same structure as someone buying in pound sterling, except that Nigerian firms taking out a loan in local currency can benefit from a UK government-backed.