Bad debt recovery: AMCON threatens to disengage AMPs

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Mr Ahmed Kuru, has said the corporation may disengage Asset Management Partners that cannot cope with the speed and enormous challenges of debt recovery expected by the corporation.

He also said that the corporation might assign more accounts to AMPs that had shown aggression and zeal based on the review of the AMP scheme so far.

He said this at the 2019 edition of the AMCON/AMPs interactive/feedback session in Abuja, according to a statement made available to our correspondent on Friday.

AMPs are consortiums with skills to ensure debt recovery and resolution appointed by AMCON after a rigorous selection process.

Kuru stated that collaboration with AMPs became necessary because AMCON had a total loan portfolio of over 12,000 loans of various sizes and sectors that were still lingering many years after the corporation was established.

He stated that when this was compared to AMCON’s staff strength, it became obvious that the corporation surely needed a strategic approach to improve coverage, recovery and results.

Kuru also disclosed that the AMPs were currently handling over 6,000 accounts within AMCON portfolio.

Although in terms of weight, the accounts, which had been outsourced to AMPs constituted only 20 per cent or N740bn of the total EBA portfolio of N3.7tn.

AMCON, he insisted placed equal importance on the recovery efforts as they counted towards the achievement of the corporation’s core mandate.

To achieve the mandate as part of the corporation’s renewed strategy to resolve these loans, he said, AMCON in 2016 introduced the AMP scheme to assist the corporation’s recovery activities, especially in tracing, identification and location of obligors with the intent to resolve their outstanding indebtedness; tracing, identification and location of assets of obligors (both pledged and unpledged) to enhance the EBA value, and achieve set recovery objectives.

The AMPs, he added, were also empowered to enable them get involved in negotiation of settlement and restructuring terms with identified obligors in line with approved guidelines; pursuing and enforcing debt recovery and collection activities geared towards optimisation of assigned portfolio to achieve set targets, and initiation of legal actions to further the loan recovery mandates in line with approved guidelines, among other obligor engagements.

With this laid down guideline and with AMCON sunset in sight, Kuru said AMCON was more aggressive with its recovery strategy and also expected its partners to equally step up their game because the corporation would no longer accommodate any AMP that was not moving on the same speed.

“We know it is not easy the jobs we have assigned to you. Recovery is a difficult job but even at that, a few of you (AMPs) have shown they cannot cope; we may have no choice to disengage such partner. But those that have done well, we will upgrade and even assign more responsibilities to such partners because there is indeed need for speed in this assignment.

“We are convinced that the AMP programme is key to the success of AMCON, and we will give you all the necessary support to make you succeed in this exercise,” the AMCON boss added.

The Principal Partner, Lexavir Partners, Mr Francis Agbu, and AMCON’s Group Head, Enforcements, Mr Aliyu Kalgo, who also spoke at the forum called on the AMPs to leverage on the special powers as provided by the AMCON Act 2010 as amended to improve on their assignment.

Mouka Foam increases sleep galleries

Image result for Mouka Foam increases sleep galleriesMouka Limited has further deepened its foam market share by opening another sleep gallery at its corporate head office in Lagos.

The firm, in a statement on Friday, said the sleep gallery was an addition to seven others across the nation.

It noted that the opening was done as part of the 2019 World Sleep Day, which is an initiative of the World Sleep Society to recognise the impact of sleep on human health.

The Chief Executive Officer, Mouka, Mr Raymond Murphy, described quality sleep as a treasured function and one of the core pillars of health.

He added that when sleep failed, health would decline and the quality of life would also decrease.

According to him, the company is relentlessly committed to providing the best mattresses, pillows and other products to enhance quality sleep.

The Senior Marketing Manager, Mouka, Mrs Tolu Olanipekun, showcased the company’s range of products specially designed for different phases of life such as the water-resistant dreamtime mattresses for children, the Regal orthopaedic mattress, among others.

The Commercial Director, Mouka, Mr Dimeji Osingunwa, said consumers could experience Mouka’s wide range of products while experts would help them choose the right mattresses, pillows, beds, beddings and other lifestyle products to suit their physiological needs, style and budget.

Oil prices rise to multi-month highs

Oil prices have surged to their highest level in months, with the US West Texas Intermediate rising above $58 per barrel and Brent trading north of $67.

The instability in Venezuela and the growing evidence of a slowdown in US shale have pushed prices up.

Weekly figures showed that US oil production dipped to 12 million barrels per day last week, down from 12.1 million bpd the week before.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced production by 221,000 bpd in February, a more modest reduction than in prior months.

Most of the reductions came from Venezuela, which saw output drop by 142,000 bpd. Meanwhile, OPEC estimated that OECD inventories rose by 22 million barrels in January, or 19 million barrels above the five-year average.

Chevron, GACN, Dangote seal gas supply deal

Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Gas Aggregation Company Limited (GACN) and Dangote Fertilizer Limited have signed agreement to deliver Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Chevron’s facility to the Dangote Fertilizer plant.

The agreement was signed by the companies at the Department of Petroleum Resources’(DPR) Office in Lagos. According to statements issued by Chevron and Dangote, the fertilizer company will start operations soon.

The contract under the Gas Sale and Aggregation Agreement (GSAA) was part of Chevron’s gas obligation to the domestic market through the Gas Aggregation Company Limited.\

Dangote Fertilizer Limited will be commissioned before the end of the year and expected to produce three million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) of Urea. The fertilizer plant consists of twin train with each single train having a capacity of 1.5 million tons per annum of Urea and Ammonia.

The fertilizer plant a total capacity of three million tons per annum and sits on an area of 500 hectares.

Textile union lauds CBN’s ban on sale of forex

The General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Mr Issa Aremu, has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria for banning the sale of foreign exchange to textile importers.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the CBN had on March 5, banned the sale of forex to importers of textiles into the country at a meeting with stakeholders in the cotton, textile, and garment value chain in Abuja.

The CBN listed all forms of textile materials among items prohibited from foreign exchange in its official windows.

It promised a financial intervention to textile manufacturers with the provision of funds at single digits rate to refit, retool and upgrade their factories to enable them to produce high-quality textile materials for the local and export market.

Aremu, who is also a National Executive Council member of Nigeria Labour Congress, gave the commendation on Thursday in Abuja.

He observed that more than ever, the CBN had commendably financed development in Nigeria under the leadership of Mr Godwin Emefiele, citing the anchor rice borrowers’ scheme that had improved rice sufficiency in the country.

He said smuggling and wholesale importation of textiles contributed to the closure of many textile industries in the past.

Aremu, however, described smuggling as an economic terrorism, adding that the new initiative of the CBN would boost local production, create jobs and lessen the pressure on forex if fully implemented.

The labour leader commended the creativity of the CBN on the dollar restrictions on goods Nigeria could produce at home including textiles.

According to Aremu, the CBN governor said the decision was critical toward reviving the moribund sector and creating jobs for Nigerians.

Emefiele disclosed that the country was spending over $4bn annually on imported textiles and ready-made clothing, which he said was unacceptable.

He said the CBN would craft adequate measures to deal with the menace of smuggling, which had often threatened efforts toward self-sufficiency.

Aremu warned all forex dealers in the country to desist from granting any importer of textile material access to foreign currency in the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

He recalled that in the 1970s and early 1980s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industry with over 180 textile mills in operations, which employed close to over 450,000 people.

The labour leader said the industry was supported in the production of cotton by 600,000 local farmers across 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states, among others.

He said that in recent times, many of the textile employers had to lay off employees, while most of the factories mentioned had all stopped operations.

“This has left only 25 textile factories in operation presently and operating below 20 per cent of their production capacities with total workforce of less than 20,000 people,” he said.

Aremu commended the CBN for all the creative measures to stimulate domestic production, which would put a stop to factory closures and create new jobs.

He said that as a developing economy, Nigeria needed creative monetary policies and development financing that could boost industrialisation.

He called on the Federal Government to complement the development financing of the CBN through fiscal, industrial and labour market policies to re-invent the Nigerian economy and ensure sustainable decent jobs for the youths.

Nigeria, Sao-Tome and Principe award three oil blocks to Total

Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe on Thursday formally granted Total, a French international oil company, the exclusive right to begin exploration for crude oil in three blocks – 7, 8 and 11, located within the hydrocarbon-rich Joint Development Zone owned by both countries in the Gulf of Guinea.

Total was awarded the right to explore for oil in the JDZ blocks after negotiations were concluded and a Production Sharing Contract signed by the three parties involved in the deal.

The parties signed the PSC at a ceremony in Abuja on Thursday, where it was disclosed that the JDZ is an area in the Nigeria – São Tomé and Príncipe boundary speculated to be rich in oil and gas reserves.

Considering the fact that neither of the two countries could have explored the resources in the zone without interfering with their maritime rights, it was added that they agreed in a treaty to create a Joint Development Authority to develop the field and mutually benefit from its resources.

Parties to the deal then signed the JDZ in Abuja on February 21, 2001.

In his address at the PSC signing ceremony on Thursday, the Managing Director, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria, Nicholas Terraz, said his firm would invest more than $10m to acquire 3-dimensional seismic data of oil and gas prospects in the blocks.

According to him, it would be too early to estimate the hydrocarbon potential of the blocks, adding that more than 1,000 squares kilometres of the field would be explored.

He said, “This is for seismic acquisitions, and the investment is over $10m. It is too early to tell the quantity of the oil. We have a four-year exploration period and during which we will need to acquire the seismic data. Total will be funding 100 per cent for the time being.”

The Executive Director, Monitoring and Inspections at the JDA, Dr Ibiwari Jack, said while the potential of the oil blocks were unknown, Total’s exploration of same would provide partners with the details of the hydrocarbon content of the blocks.

He noted that the oil blocks assigned to Total had not been explored before now, and that the company would be the first to explore it.

“Having Total back to our JDZ gives us so much confidence. If others look back to see Total, they will want to come. The blocks they are into now, nobody has done any exploration there.

“They will go to do their seismic studies there and hopefully in the next one or two years, we will get to know the potential but the prospect is there, very huge,” said Ibiwari.

The Acting Chairman of the JDA, Dr Almajiri Geidam, stated that the signing of the PSC with Total was aimed at reviving activities at the JDZ after years of idleness.

Geidam noted that the JDA intended to also revive interests on the JDZ among investors and oil companies.

He said, “Since the JDA was established in January 2002, it has held two licensing rounds which culminated into the award of six blocks in the JDZ. Some exploration activity took place in most of the blocks that resulted in some discoveries of hydrocarbons.

“Today’s event, which is as a result of a careful re-engagement of the industry by the board,  aimed at reviving the fortunes of the JDZ requires us to commend Total also for the renewed interest in the zone.”

He said the event was expected to elicit even more interest and confidence of other prospective investors as well as consolidate the existing cordial relationship between the Federal Republic Nigeria and the Democratic

Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.

“I wish to seize this opportunity to also reiterate the commitment of the board and members of staff of the JDA that we will work assiduously to ensure that the PSC signed today and indeed other existing PSCs are fully executed in accordance with the Abuja joint declaration on transparency and good governance signed by the two heads of state of the state parties,” Geidam added.

Nigeria, US trade hits $35bn

Nigeria and the United States have been very good partners with about $35bn worth of trade between the two countries, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, has said.

Baru disclosed this during a meeting with the US Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, and some African petroleum ministers, on the sidelines of the 19th CERAWeek Conference taking place in Houston, United States.

This came as the US energy secretary told his guests that the US would help Africa to become energy-independent.

Speaking at the meeting, Baru called for more integration among countries within the West African sub-region towards providing lasting solution to the region’s numerous energy challenges.

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, said the corporation’s boss explained that energy integration across the sub-region was necessary as it would reduce unemployment and restiveness, as well as improve the economies of the affected countries.

Baru said, “Nigeria as a regional leader has already encouraged regional integration by first putting up the West African Gas Pipeline to ensure gas is available to West Africa. We are also doing the Trans- Sahara Gas Pipeline, even as we are intent on extending the WAGP to Morocco.”

He said the intent was to come up with a West African Power Pool that would put up power plants and other gas-based industries along those areas within the respective countries.

The GMD said Nigeria’s crude oil production had seen tremendous improvement in recent years due to the Federal Government’s efforts in ensuring security in the Niger Delta region.

In his remarks, Perry expressed his country’s commitment towards helping Africa achieve energy independence for the benefit of Africans.

He said, “On our part, we will support progress by engaging economically as well as championing open markets in societies. We endorse the modernisation of critical oil and gas infrastructure which leads to better security and diversification of energy supplies and exports.”

Perry described innovation as the surest path to energy security, adding that once countries innovated, they were greeted with greater economic growth, opportunities and national security.

“We support efforts to improve the regional interconnectivity. We also see energy access as critical to increasing prosperity and combating the cycle of poverty,” he said.

The US energy secretary stated that as the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world, the US was more than well positioned to not only share its resources, but also its technology and know-how.

Perry said his country would work towards transforming Africa’s domestic energy systems so that it would provide power, create jobs, foster development, open up new opportunities and improve almost every facet of human existence on the continent.

“The US is very eager to share its energy resources and expertise with the African continent. As we go forward, we want to be a desired partner in ensuring that the global energy market is supplied with the diversity of energy sources,” he stated.

Other ministers and high level energy executives from African countries such as Ghana, Mali, South Sudan, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone participated in the meeting, NNPC stated.

Stock market reverses gains, reverts to losing streak

The Nigerian equities market has reverted to its losing trend, reversing gains recorded on Wednesday.

Investors lost N56bn as the market capitalisation of equities listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange dropped from N11.694tn on Wednesday to N11.638tn on Thursday.

Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said the sell-offs witnessed in bellwethers – Dangote Cement Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc led to the reversal in prior gains in the All Share Index, which declined by 0.48 per cent to 31,213.47 basis points while the year-to-date loss moderated to –1 per cent.

Activity level was mixed as volume traded shed 53.1 per cent to close at 177 million units while value traded appreciated by 13.2 per cent to settle at N2.560bn.

The top traded stocks by volume were Zenith Bank (80.8 million units), Sterling Bank Plc (16.8 million units) and First City Monument Bank Plc (12.1 million units), while Zenith Bank (N1.8bn), GTB (N228.2m) and Nestle Nigeria Plc (N109.4m) were the top traded stocks by value.

Similar to yesterday, performance across sectors was mixed as two indices closed on a negative note, two appreciated, while one closed flat.

The industrial goods and banking indices closed in the red, down by 0.5 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively, following losses in Dangote Cement, GTB and Zenith Bank.

On the flip side, the insurance index gained 0.5 per cent due to price appreciation in NEM Insurance Plc and Linkage Assurance Plc, while buying interest in Oando Plc led to a 0.1 per cent uptick in the oil and gas index.

Losses in Nestle neutralised the gains recorded in Dangote Flour Mills Plc, causing the consumer goods index to close flat.

Investor sentiment as measured by market breadth (advance/decline ratio) weakened to 0.4x from 0.7x recorded on Wednesday as nine stocks advanced against 20 decliners.

“Despite today’s sell offs, we expect positive corporate earnings releases to drive the performance of the equities market in the near term,” analysts at Afrinvest said.

NCC, NSPM to partner on security printing

The Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc and the Nigerian Communications Company are exploring areas of partnership in the printing of security documents in Nigeria and beyond, NSPM Plc has said.

The Managing Director, NSPM, Alhaji Abbas Masanawa, said this in Abuja on Thursday when he led the top echelon of the company on a courtesy visit to the telecommunications regulatory body.

Masanawa, according to a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, also disclosed that the minting company was positioning itself to be able to secure minting jobs from abroad.

Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said he inherited a world-class organisation when he was appointed the helmsman of the commission in 2015.

According to him, he had since been building on what he inherited in order to add value to the processes and performance of the NCC.

Danbatta said it was for maintenance of standards that another government agency, the Bureau of Public Service Reform, gave the commission a platinum rating in 2017.

He said, “The verdict is out there on the performance of the commission as a word-class regulatory agency. We didn’t pass this verdict by ourselves. But it took a lot of hard work and commitment by both management and the entire members of staff of the commission for us to achieve the enviable position we are today.”

Derivatives market: NSE to train compliance, operations officers

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has revealed plans to organise a derivatives workshop for officers as part of its commitment to improving the capacity of professionals in the Nigerian capital market.

The NSE said in a statement that the workshop was targeted at compliance officers and operations officers of dealing member firms and designed to provide participants with insights into the structure and operating requirements of the NSE derivatives market.

The statement read in part, “It will also provide them with an understanding of the potential of the market, as well as risk management and return enhancement benefits.

“A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset (like a security) or set of assets (like an index).

“Common underlying instruments are bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates, market indexes and stocks.”