Business News in Brief

MTN, Ecobank to Form Africa Mobile Banking Partnership

South Africa’s MTN has signed an agreement to form a partnership with Ecobank on mobile banking across Africa, the telecoms group and lender said on Tuesday, according to Reuters report.

Rob Shuter, group CEO of MTN, and Ade Ayeyemi, CEO of Ecobank, attended the signing in Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria. 

Agency Alerts on Influx of Illegal Genetically Modified Products

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has alerted the nation of influx of illegal Genetically Modified (GM) products into the country.

Dr. Rufus Ebegba, the Director General of NBMA, has therefore given importers of GM seeds a 7-day ultimatum to formalise their dealings or risk closure.

He also directed dealers to obtain the necessary biosafety permit from the agency before making such importation.

“This permit allows the Agency to carry out risk assessments on GM Seeds.

UAC Plans ₦20b Bond Sale for Real Estate Unit

Nigerian conglomerate UAC plans to raise 20 billion ($65.4 million) naira this year through a bond sale to refinance short-term borrowings at its real estate subsidiary, where losses have widened, group CEO Abdul Bello said on Thursday.

Bello said the company would restructure its real estate unit UPDC, which is suffering from a current oversupply in the market coupled with a drop in Nigerians’ purchasing power, new agency Reuters reports.

Kaduna Gets Solar Power, Tractor Assembly Plants

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has inaugurated Blue Camel Renewable Solar Power Assembly Plant and Renewable Energy Training Academy in Kaduna.

The governor said at the launch in Kaduna that the plant was important to the Kaduna State Government “because we believe that renewable energy and solar energy were the future of the developing world.

“The world today has become mobile, personal, decentralised and aggregated with the rapid drop in components required to make solar energy.”

OPEC March Oil Output Sinks to 11-month Low

OPEC oil output fell in March to an 11-month low due to declining Angolan exports, Libyan outages and a further slide in Venezuelan output, a Reuters survey found, sending compliance with a supply-cutting deal to another record.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 32.19 million barrels per day last month, the survey found, down 90,000 bpd from February. The March total is the lowest since April 2017, according to Reuters surveys.

New CBN Deputy Governors, MPC Members Assume Office

Mrs Aisha Ahmad and Mr Edward Adamu have formally assumed office as Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), following the confirmation of their appointments on March 22 by the Senate.

According to a statement signed by the bank’s acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okoroafor in Abuja, Prof Adeola Adenikinju, Dr Robert Asogwa and Dr Aliyu Sanusi also commenced their tenure as Members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

ICD Extends $50m Islamic Financing to Nigerian Bank trio

The Jeddah-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) has extended a combined $50 million in financing to three Nigerian lenders, aiming to help channel funds to local businesses.

The ICD, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank, has in recent years sought to expand its activities across Africa, home to a quarter of the world’s Muslims, Reuters reports.

The multilateral body said it had signed financing agreements with Jaiz Bank, SunTrust Bank and Wema Bank worth $20 million, $10 million and $20 million respectively.

Ambode Woos Japanese Investors in Tokyo Talks

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has held talks with the Japan-African Union Parliamentary Friendship Committee in Tokyo on how to improve transportation in the state.

Ambode, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Habib Aruna, said the meeting which was to woo Japanese investors, was being attended by two members of Japan House of Representatives.

The governor gave their names as Ichiro Aisawa and Asahiko Mihara.

He said his presence in Japan was pursuant to his determination to achieve infrastructure renewal for the state.

Nigeria Bond Auction Raises ₦64b, Less than Targeted

Nigeria raised 64.06 billion naira ($210 million) at Wednesday’s auction of government bonds , less than it originally planned but at lower yields, traders said, according to Reuters report.

The government has been working to cut its borrowing costs, particularly as inflation slows. It sold Eurobonds last month to help repay some treasury bills rather than rolling them over as it has done in the past.

Nigeria Misses Out of Free Trade Agreement

Nigeria was obviously absent on Wednesday when African leaders signed the Largest Free Trade Agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Sunday cancelled his trip to Rwanda due to pressure by Labour union not to participate in signing the agreement.

A statement signed by the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile said the president cancelled his trip to Kigali, Rwanda to allow more inputs from Nigerian Stakeholders.

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