COST HEADLINES WEEKLY REVIEW

7th to 11th January 2016

January 11, 2016
SUN
ECOWAS tariff killing Nigerian drug manufacturers –Okafor, May & Baker boss

The pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria today is unfairly competitive. Ask how? Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, the Managing Director of May & Baker (M&B) Plc, will tell you: “Those of us manufacturing are having a raw deal. If we are just importing and marketing, you will be surprised that it is much easier. It is easy to go to India or China and bring in some goods. And sometimes, what you are bringing in may sometimes, not be up to the standards you would do if you are operating locally. The ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) has made importation rewarding. It is rewarding importation and punishing local production.” At an interface with the leadership of the capital market recently in Ota, Ogun State, the M&B boss asked that the CET be scrapped. READ MORE



GUARDIAN
Economic report records mixed transactions’ fortunes

Amid seeming heavy transactions in the month of December 2015, a record of economic activities in the period has shown a decline in majority of the indices. The economic indicators, which remained mixed in December compared to November 2015, range from production and supply, raw material inventories to employment generation. READ MORE


PUNCH
Dangote refinery’ll fetch $6bn forex yearly —CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria has expressed its readiness to support the refinery, fertiliser and petrochemical complex being built by Dangote Industries Limited in Lagos by providing foreign exchange for the importation of equipment. The central bank said the project, when completed, would fetch the country about $6bn in foreign exchange yearly through the export of products from the plants. The refinery, which has crude processing capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, is expected to come on stream by mid-2018, with major products such as petrol, high speed diesel and Jet A1, while the fertiliser plant is expected to start production next year. READ MORE



January 12, 2016
LEADERSHIP
Naira Weakens Further As CBN Stops Forex Sales To BDCs

The naira on Tuesday depreciated by 2.51 per cent to exchange at N285 to the dollar at the Bureau De Change (BDCs) segment of the foreign exchange market. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the naira was traded to the dollar at N278 on Monday Jan. 11. A currency trader, Mr. Harrison Owoh, said the further depreciation of the Naira was as a result of the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN’s) announcement to stop the sale of foreign exchange to BDCs. Owoh, the Managing Director of HJ Trust Investment Ltd., said that CBN was yet to issue circular informing BDCs on the latest development, adding that they got the information from the pages of newspapers. According to him, by CBN allowing dollar deposits into domiciliary accounts by Nigerians means the banks would now have more foreign exchange at their disposal. He said that the announcement that the BDCs should source for foreign exchange from the autonomous market needed to be defined by the CBN. This, he said, would enable them to know whether BDCs would now have access to banks to source for foreign exchange. Owoh said that the naira started falling when the CBN banned banks from selling to BDCs. READ MORE



January 13, 2016
PUNCH
BUA sells flour mill to Olam for $275m

The BUA Group has announced the divestment of its flour business to Olam International in a deal worth $275m. The Founder and Executive Chairman, BUA Group, AbdulsamadRabiu, said, “Our group’s strategic focus will now be to diversify to business areas with greater potential for export where the sourcing and utilisation of foreign exchange is less and most of the materials needed for production can be sourced locally, whilst also positioning our current line of foods and infrastructure business for market leadership.” The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Grains, Olam, K. C. Suresh, said the deal would significantly boost Olam’s flour and wheat milling operations in Nigeria to meet consumer needs as well as consolidate its position as a market leader in the food industry. READ MORE



States free to explore, exploit mineral resources –Fayemi

State governments are now free to explore and exploit the mineral resources in their domains provided such is done legally without interfering with locations already given to other stakeholders, the Federal Government has said. The government stated that although it had exclusive rights to mine minerals across the country, the constitution encourages states to either set up their own investment corporations or partner private investors to exploit minerals in their domains. The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, stated these in Abuja while playing host to the Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Wale Oluwo, who led a team from the state to tender some requests before the Federal Government. READ MORE



GUARDIAN
Reps direct CBN to order refund of COT charges by banks

Central Bank Of Nigeria buildingThe House of Representatives has mandated the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to order Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to refund all Commission On Turnover (COT) charges this year or face severe penalties. It was gathered that the order is a consequence of the alleged failure of banks to comply with the CBN’s directive on zero COT. Apparently dismayed by the development, the House, which urged compliance within 30 days, further directed the CBN to ensure full implementation of the zero COT by commercial banks. READ MORE



January 14, 2016
GUARDIAN
Nigeria’s earnings threatened as U.S. begins gas export

Another major threat to Nigeria’s earnings from the oil and gas sector is emerging as the United States (U.S) yesterday lunched her first cargo exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the international market. Nigeria currently exports 22 million tons of LNG, making it the world’s fourth-largest exporter of the product, but the U.S is fast working on liquefaction projects that would position it for 84.3 million tons yearly capacity, a situation which may shrink the Nigeria’s share of the market. READ MORE



LEADERSHIP
Nigerian Economy To Grow By 4% In 2016

Renowned global audit firm, PriceWaterhouseCooper in its recent forecast on the performance of the Nigerian economy in 2016, said with a lot of uncertainty surrounding the economy, it will struggle to grow at 4.0 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).“Our economists have developed three economic scenarios to help public and private sector organizations prepare for an uncertain environment in 2016. In these scenarios, we explored two types of shocks: an oil price shock and a political shock. “We expect that even under a benign economic scenario, the Nigerian economy will struggle to realize any growth much higher than 4.0 per cent. “Nigeria’s economy has tended to suffer following an oil price crash, although its resilience has improved in more recent times. Getting the policy response right matters as falling economic growth imposes a real ‘human’ cost on the population,” PWC said in its recent 2015/2016 World Economic Outlook. READ MORE


January 15, 2016
GUARDIAN
NSE has capacity to finance N2.2tr 2016 budget deficit

THE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), yesterday, pushed aside the cascading profile of its equities to announce the preparedness of the bourse to finance the nation’s 2016 N2.2 trillion budget deficit. The Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Oscar Onyema disclosed this while addressing journalists at the exchange’s 2015 market recap and outlook for 2016 in Lagos. Onyema also assured that the market has the capacity to play its role in the implementation of the nation’s Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). He stressed the exchange’s commitment towards ensuring that it provides various classes of products that would enable investors create well diversified portfolio of uncorrelated asset classes. He also expressed optimism that with greater clarity on policy direction, the investors who had exited the market would return in a near future. “We believe that taking a portfolio approach to investing provides the best risk adjusted alternative for participating in the capital market,” he added. READ MORE



PUNCH
Solid minerals can generate more revenue than oil —KADCCIMA

The Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture has declared that the solid minerals sector has greater capacity to generate revenue than oil. The President, KADCCIMA, Dr. Abdul Bello, who stated this, said Nigeria had large deposits of untapped solid minerals. The chamber declared this in Lagos during a press briefing to announce the 37th edition of the Kaduna Trade Fair. READ MORE



State House budget slashed by N100m

The 2016 budget for the State House may have been reduced by N100m from the N11,909,567,095 submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari three weeks ago to N11,809,567,097 uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning Thursday on. An analysis of the fiscal document, which was submitted by the President to a joint session of the National Assembly and the one uploaded on the website of the ministry showed a discrepancy of about N100m. Following the controversy surrounding the whereabouts of the 2016 budget at the Senate, the Budget and National Planning ministry finally uploaded the details of the fiscal document on its website. It was gathered from top officials in the ministry that the Federal Government was seriously embarrassed about claims that the budget was smuggled out of the Senate by the Executive. This, according to the officials, informed the decision to make the fiscal document available on the website of the ministry for all Nigerians to see. READ MORE



January 17, 2016
PUNCH
FG slashes Lagos-Ibadan Expressway budget to N50bn

The Federal Government has cut its budget for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from N66bn to N50bn in the 2016 Appropriation Bill, representing a drop of 24 per cent. Currently undergoing reconstruction, the two contractors handling the project, Julius Berger Plc and Reynolds Construction Company (Nigeria) Limited, are being owed several billions of naira for the job executed. While unveiling the Federal Government’s blueprint on infrastructural development in December last year, Fashola had stated that the present administration would give priority attention to the completion of major highways. Fashola had said, “Our short-term strategy will be to start with roads that have made some progress and can be quickly completed to facilitate connectivity. We will prioritise within this strategy by choosing first the roads that connect states together, and from that grouping, we will start with those that bear the heaviest traffic.” READ MORE



Edo urges federal MDAs to pay N2bn tax debt

The Edo State Internal Revenue Service has called on federal ministries, departments and agencies in the state to clear their tax debts, amounting to over two billion naira in arrears, being owed the state government for 2014 and 2015. The Executive Chairman of the revenue agency, Chief Oseni Elamah, made the call during a one-day sensitisation programme for heads of federal MDAs in Benin, the state capital. Elamah, who was represented by the Executive Director (Tax Operations), Mr. John Obaze, explained that while some of the federal institutions failed to file their tax returns, others defaulted in deductions and remittance of accurate taxes, in spite of the provisions of relevant tax laws. READ MORE



GUARDIAN
Forex restriction: MAN explores local raw materials’ sourcing

As part of measures to salvage their foreign exchange earnings following the restriction placed on some items by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from its official window, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged its members to explore opportunities in sourcing raw materials locally in order to address production challenges. Indeed, MAN noted that local sourcing of raw materials as an alternative for foreign inputs for local production will further help to reduce pressure on the demand for foreign exchange in the country. MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs, noted that with the CBN maintaining its stance on the forex policy, manufacturers need to consider available options in addressing the challenges adding that the association had objected to the restriction and expects a review of the policy in the near future. READ MORE