Nigeria revenues for state and local govts up 16 pct in January – Reuters

LAGOS Feb 21 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s distributable government revenues rose in January by 16 percent to 465.19 billion naira ($1.5 billion) as it brought in more oil royalties, the accountant general’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Distributable revenue is government income that is shared at various levels of state including the federal government, state governments and local government councils.

Average oil prices rose from $47.30 to $49.57 per barrel during January, while the total crude export volume rose 1.49 million barrels, the statement said.

OPEC member Nigeria, which last year entered its first recession in a quarter of a century, relies on crude oil sales for two-thirds of its government revenue but has been hit hard by the fall in global crude prices since mid-2014.

Militants have carried out attacks on oil and gas facilities in the southern Niger Delta energy hub for a year, cutting oil production – which stood at 2.1 million barrels per day at the start of 2016 – by as much as a third, though output has since mostly recovered.

The frequency of attacks has slowed in recent months with talks between the government and Delta community leaders to address the grievances of militants, who want the oil hub to receive a greater share of the country’s energy wealth.

Repairs on damaged facilities are underway, but force majeure stoppages remain in place at the Forcados, Qua Iboe and Brass oil terminals.

“Federation revenues increased despite the force majeure and the shut-down of pipelines for repairs and maintenance due to leakages and sabotage,” said the statement. ($1 = 304.2000 naira) (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Hugh Lawson)

 

Nigeria’s Buhari needs further rest as is deputy launches action plan – Reuters

* Buhari left for medical leave in London a month ago

* Ailment unspecified; vice president been put in charge

* Spokesman says no cause for worry, more rest needed (Adds vice president launching economy action plan)

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari needs further rest in Britain following medical tests but there is no need to worry about him, his spokesman said on Tuesday, as his deputy launched a 60-day plan to improve the recession-mired economy.

Buhari, 74, went to London a month ago for medical tests for an unspecified illness, putting Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, 59, in charge. He had originally planned to stay 10 days.

The government has sought to allay concerns of a void at the helm of Africa’s biggest economy during a recession by stressing that Osinbajo has full powers as acting president.

“The president needs to rest for some further time,” Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina told reporters in Abuja. “From the results of the (medical) tests further rest has been recommended.”

He declined to say when Buhari might be back or what his condition is, saying only: “There is no cause to worry. He is the one who owns his body. There is nobody who knows his body better than him.”

Osinbajo, a lawyer, has been holding cabinet meetings and continuing work on an economic reform plan needed to secure a World Bank loan to help plug a deficit caused by low oil revenues.

The 60-day plan he launched on Tuesday aims to attract more investment to Nigeria.

“There are improvements which we expect to see at our ports. Improvements at our airports, improvements at the seaports, improvements in immigration visas,” he said in a statement, without giving details.

CURRENCY CONCERNS

The government had planned to ease the movement of goods and issuing of business visas delayed by corrupt officials but little had been approved amid inertia under Buhari.

The central bank on Monday devalued the naira for retail customers, days after a top advisory body demanded at a meeting chaired by Osinbajo an urgent review.

Buhari has rejected a devaluation despite even some officials privately saying the high naira rate had been deterring badly needed investment.

Osinbajo has also travelled during Buhari’s absence several times to the Niger Delta oil hub to discuss development projects to end attacks by militants fighting for oil revenues.

He met anti-government protesters who had marched on the presidential villa – in contrast to Buhari who has not travelled much in recent months, spending time mostly with his key aides.

Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, was sworn in after the death in 2010 of President Umaru Yar’Adua. His illness created a power vacuum that was only filled by Jonathan, his vice president, after three months of political infighting. (Reporting by Felix Onuah and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alison Williams and Gareth Jones)

 

24 hours after new policy, CBN injects $371m into forex market – The Cable

About 24 hours after The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced fresh policy actions in the foreign exchange market, the bank has pumped $370.9 million into the forex market.

On Tuesday, the apex bank carried out wholesale interventions in the interbank forex market by trading a total of $370,810,810.79 to 23 banks “to meet the visible and invisible requests of customers”.

A source at the CBN said the qualified bids ranged from N315 to N360 per dollar, adding that seven banks received full allotments of their respective bids valued at $37,500,000 each.

“Other banks received allotments ranging from $46, 512.50 to $15,578,081.51,” the source added.

Isaac Okorafor, acting director, CBN corporate communications department, said the bank’s intermediation in the forex market was the first wholesale intervention aimed at easing the pressure of access to forex by Nigerians who intend to meet obligations that fall under visible and invisible needs categories.

He explained that the CBN offered $500,000,000.00 for sale to the banks, but not all of them provided enough naira backing to pay fully for their respective bid amounts.

On Monday, the CBN unveiled new policy actions to make forex readily available for personal and business travels, medicals and school fees.

As part of its new policy action, the CBN also directed all banks in the country to open forex retail outlets at major airports as soon as logistics permit them to do such.

In line with the new policy, the CBN also made spot sales of $6 million to four banks, and sold $35 million for the payment of school fees, medical bills and personal and business travel allowances.