Business News in Brief

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.

Facebook Shares Slip as Scrutiny Continues

Facebook shares continued to slide yesterday, amid ongoing furore concerning the use of data collected by the social network, BBC reports.

The firm's stock closed down 2.6%, following a steep decline a day earlier.

The concerns infected fellow social media company Twitter, which was down more than 10%.

Investors are reacting to calls for tighter regulation of tech firms from politicians in the US, UK and Europe.

CBN to hold Interest Rate Meeting April 3-4

Nigeria’s central bank plans to hold its next interest rate meeting April 3-4, a spokesman said on Monday, contingent on the upper house of parliament confirming the president’s nominees for the monetary policy committee (MPC).

“The new dates for the MPC are April 3 and 4,” the spokesman told Reuters by phone. “We are hoping that between now and then the members of the committee would have been confirmed by the Senate.”

CBN to Delay Rate Meeting –Emefiele

Nigeria’s central bank will delay its next interest rate-setting meeting after a political spat over nominations for its Monetary Policy Committee, the governor said on Thursday.

Governor Godwin Emefiele told CNBC the meeting scheduled for March 19-20 would be delayed by about seven to 10 days, or at the latest until the first week of April, Reuters reports.

Nigerians Urged to Patronise Indigenous Products for Economic Growth

The Director-General, Niger State Industrial Parks Development Agency, Dr Abdulmalik Ndagi, has urged Nigerians to patronise indigenous products to help grow the economy.

Ndagi made the call in Abuja, when he spoke on the topic “Building Trust in Indigenous Products”, at the fourth edition of Science and Technology Expo (FASTECH 2018).

The theme of the expo was “Technology and Society in the 21st Century’’.

Nigeria’s External Reserves hits $46b

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the nation’s external reserves currently stand at $46 billion.

Latest figures obtained from the apex bank indicate that the reserves grew by about $3.2 billion between February and March 2018.

The reserves at the beginning of 2018 stood at $39.3 billion, then rose to $42.8 in February before hitting the new high of $46 billion as at the close of work on Friday, March 9.

NAICOM takes over Unic Insurance Plc

The insurance sector on Friday avoided a catastrophic fall of one of its stakeholders after the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) confirmed it had taken over the management of Unic Insurance Plc to reposition the company for better performance.

NAICOM’s spokesman, Mr Rasaaq Salami, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the takeover became imperative to rescue the company from distress.

Salami said the commission had subsequently appointed an interim board to manage the affairs of Unic Insurance Plc for the next six months.

CBN Warns Nigerians on Investment in Cryptocurrencies

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again cautioned Nigerians to be wary of investments in crypto currency as they are virtual currencies that are not legal tender in Nigeria.

The Bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okoroafor, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, and Exchanges such as NairaEx were not licensed or regulated by the CBN.

Barclays Africa Lifts Profit, Looks to Nigeria for Growth

Barclays Africa Group, South Africa’s No.2 lender by market value, plans to extend its reach throughout the continent, it said on Thursday after posting annual profit up nearly 4 percent.

Chief Executive Maria Ramos said the bank, which is changing its name back to South African brand Absa after its split from former parent Barclays, aims to enter Nigeria as it seeks to lift its share of the African market to 12 percent from 6 percent over the medium term.

Finance Director Jason Quinn told Reuters that Nigeria has been in its sights for some time.

Teleology Preferred Bidder for Nigeria’s 9mobile –Sources

Teleology Holdings Limited has emerged as preferred bidder for Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms firm 9mobile and has been asked to pay a deposit of $50 million in March, two sources with knowledge of the deal told Reuters.

Nigerian regulators had set a Jan. 16 deadline to receive binding offers to acquire the debt-laden company. It had said five prospective bidders were in the running.