Business News in Brief

Lagos signs 18% new CPS contribution rate into law

The Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) on Sunday said that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has signed into law the Amended Lagos State Pension Reform Law.

LASPEC’s spokesperson, Mrs Ajoke Lawal, said the amendment increased the contribution rates under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to 18 percent.

“It will be recalled that the state transited into CPS in April 2007 and has consistently remitted contributions into employees Retirement Savings Account (RSA).

Access Bank gets approval for Diamond Bank takeover

Nigeria’s Access Bank said on Tuesday it had received shareholders’ approval to take over rival Diamond Bank in a $235 million deal that would create Africa’s largest bank by customers.

Access Bank said both banks would operate under the new Access Bank brand from April 1.

In December, Access had agreed to buy mid-tier lender Diamond Bank with cash and shares, creating a bank with 29 million customers, which the two banks have said is more than any other bank in Africa.

Elections: Vendors defy order against trading near polling units

Petty traders at various polling units in Karu Ward, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Saturday engaged in buying and selling polling units in defiance to the warning by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Correspondent who went round the units reports that the traders, who were busy attending to customers without apprehension from law enforcement agents, denied knowledge of the warning.

At Polling Unit 011, one Mrs Asabe Dauda, a food vendor said she was not aware of the instruction.

MTN faces more problems in Uganda as authorities query its sales figures

Uganda accused the country’s biggest telecoms operator, MTN Uganda, on Tuesday of underdeclaring its sales and causing public revenue losses, in a further souring of relations with the South African-owned company.

Uganda deported MTN Uganda’s Chief Executive Wim Vanhelleputte last week, the fourth MTN official to be expelled from the East African country in less than a month on accusations of compromising national security, Reuters reports.

Forte Oil seeks to sell power unit to top investor

Nigerian energy firm Forte Oil plans to enter into talks to sell its power unit to its major investor, billionaire Femi Otedola, after it failed to secure a deal via a public tender, Reuters reports.

Forte said in a statement it was seeking shareholder approval in a vote on Feb. 7 to start talks with Otedola.

Otedola will not take part in the vote, it added.

Forte plans to use proceeds from the sale to expand its fuel retailing unit, its main focus.

Naira gains marginally against dollar at parallel market

The Nigerian currency, naira, gained 50 kobo against the dollar to close at N360 while the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N462 and 411, respectively.

At the Bureau De Change segment, the dollar was sold at N360, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N462 and N411.

Trading at the investors’ window saw the naira closing at N364.3 as market turnover stood at 148.67 million dollars.

Meanwhile, the CBN has continued to inject liquidity at the foreign exchange market in defense of the naira.

British MPs reject May’s Brexit deal

Just as was predicted an overwhelming majority of British MPs rejected the Brexit deal negotiated with the European Union by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The parliamentarians by a vote of 432 to 202 rejected the deal, with the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promptly tabling a no confidence vote in the government.

The defeat of the proposal was the most crushing ever suffered by any government in history.

May in a last-gasp bid had tried to salvage her plan for taking Britain out of the European project after nearly five decades,

Stakeholder denies that Togo's Ecobank faces Nigerian Investigation

Ecobank is not under investigation in Nigeria, the chief operating officer of South Africa’s Nedbank, which owns 21 percent of the Togo-based lender, said on Friday.

A newspaper report that Nedbank’s West African associate was subject to an investigation by Nigeria’s accountancy regulator spooked investors sensitive to any prospect of costly fines in the country, driving down Nedbank’s share price by more than 4 percent.

Apple Plans new $11b Investment in U.S.

Apple Inc said on Thursday it would invest 1 billion dollars to build a second campus in North Austin, Texas and another 10 billion dollars for new data centres over the next five years.

This is aimed at creating 20,000 jobs in the U.S.

The announcement follows a promise by Apple in January to invest 30 billion dollars in the U.S. and comes as companies with major manufacturing operations outside America have been facing political pressure to ramp up investments at home.

PZ Cussons warns of Weakening Demand, Nigeria Challenges

Soap and cosmetics maker PZ Cussons Plc warned on Thursday it was facing weaker consumer demand across its main markets, with its dominant African business hampered by a weakened economy and currency in Nigeria.

The owner of the Imperial Leather brand faced major disruptions in getting goods into Nigeria, and first-half contribution to profits from the west African country, its single largest market, would be lower than a year earlier, Reuters reports.