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Economy

Euro stuck near 21-month low after dovish ECB talk and before U.S. jobs data

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The single currency stood little changed at 1.1196 dollar after tumbling one per cent on Thursday to touch 1.1176 dollar, its lowest since June 2017. It has declined 1.5 per cent this week.

The euro’s big hit on Thursday came as the ECB pushed back the timing of its first post-crisis interest rate hike to 2020, cut its economic forecasts and launched a new round of cheap bank loans.

The euro slid along with euro zone yields with the 10-year German bond yield declining to its lowest since October 2016 following Thursday’s ECB meeting.

The February U.S. jobs report to be released as 1330 GMT could stack more pressure on the floundering euro.

Economists polled by Reuters expect to see 180,000 jobs added in the United States last month after two months of staggering growth.

The U.S. economy added 304,000 jobs in January and 222,000 in December.

“Whether the dollar can remain on an uptrend in the long-term is debatable, but for now a strong U.S. jobs report would provide further boost for the currency,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

That in turn would weigh on the euro, caught in a downward spiral after the ECB meeting and also shackled with Brexit woes, Ishikawa said.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was a shade lower at 97.548.

The index soared 0.75 per cent on Thursday to brush a near three-month peak of 97.71 and was headed for a weekly gain of 1.2 per cent.

The dollar “is head and shoulders above peers, but this also means that it is the currency most susceptible to potential adjustments,” said Daisuke Karakama, chief market economist at Mizuho Bank.

The greenback was down 0.15 per cent at 111.44 yen , stretching overnight losses amid risk aversion in broader markets.

Global equities were lower after the ECB stoked economic growth concerns.

The yen, a perceived safe haven, attracts demand in times of political tensions and market turmoil.

The Australian dollar trod water at 0.7013 dollar, having declined 0.9 per cent this week and hitting a two-month trough of 0.7005 dollar after data showed the economy grew at its slowest pace in two years last quarter.

The currency showed little reaction to official data on Friday showing China’s February dollar-denominated exports plunging a steeper-than-expected 20.7 per cent from a year earlier, while imports dropped 5.2 per cent.

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Economy

Woman makes N120,000 monthly from kunu, zobo drink business

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A 40 year-old businesswoman, Margret Mummy-Anthony, on Friday, said she was making an average of N120,000 monthly from selling Kunu, ginger and zobo drink.

The businesswoman, who resides at Narayi area of Kaduna, made this disclosure in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency .

She recalled how she started the business in 2017 with N2,000 only but expanded her business this year with a N40,000 loan she received from the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“I now sell other soft drinks with my kunu and zobo, I make an average sale of N4,000 daily even though, I don’t have a shop yet.

“As you can see, customers are coming to my stand to get a drink because of the busy area; so the business is less stressful,” she said.

She said that she had been able to pay her bills and helped her family through the business.

Mummy-Anthony lauded NDE for the support accorded small businesses and expressed the hope of getting a shop one day with the assistance of the directorate.

She called on women to desist from staying idle and start a business no matter how little, as according to her, success is a gradual process.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that kunu is a local drink made from millet while zobo is a drink made from roselle leaves.

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Economy

Border closure: entrepreneur commends FG, urges Nigerians to look inward

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An entrepreneur, Alhaji Kamarudeen Yusuf, the Chairman and Chief Executive, Kam Industries has commended the Federal Government for closing the country`s land borders.

According to him, the closure will make Nigerians look inward

Yusuf said this on Thursday in Ilorin, when Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development paid a familiarisation visit to his industry.

He said that as the giant of Africa, Nigeria should be self sufficient, stressing that the closure should also be to its sea boarders.

This, he said, would address the smuggling of arms and ammunition into the country from its sea borders.

He noted that the closure of the country’s land borders was one of the biggest achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, but however, said there was the need for tighter security at the boarders.

“We need effective boarder control system, like an enforcement to reduce human trafficking, it should be coordinated by the military, the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs Service,” he said.

He thanked the minister for the visit, which he said would spur him to do more.

Earlier, the minister expressed satisfaction with the high rate of production in the industry, saying it was something that should be emulated by well meaning Nigerians.

He also expressed optimism that if such industry was replicated in other parts of the country, cases of banditry and restiveness would be reduced to the barest minimum.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Kam Industries Limited is an indigenous manufacturing industry that specialises in the production of cold roll, steel coil, nails, binding wires, galvanising and colour roofing sheets.

The company which was registered in 1996, also manufactures British Reinforcement Concrete (BRC) Mesh wire, binding wire, bale tiles, drawn wire, and straightening wires among others.

The company started its backward integration in 2011, when it started the construction of 150,000 tonnes per annum Cold Rolled Mill (CRM).

The CRM has since been completed and operating and it consists of slitting line, pickling line, cold reduction mill, galvanising line, rewinding, cum trimming line, cut to length, and corrugated machines.

It also has water and waste effluents treatment facilities among others.

The industries which currently has more than 4,000 employees, had applied to the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) for the grant of 11 exploration licences in Kogi.

Four of the applications had been granted while the remaining seven were still being processed.

The company had also identified a suitable limestone deposit in Kogi which would be explored and mined to supply required flux materials for liquid steel production.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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Economy

Data, veritable tool to achieving SDGs — Presidential aide

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Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) says data is a veritable tool to achieving the SDGs.

Orelope-Adefulire said this at the High level Dialogue on “Data Bond and Responsibility Framework for SDGs” in Abuja on Thursday.

She explained that data was very important to nation planning, pointing out that without data, there wont be any planning.

“Whoever fails to plan will plan to fail. Data is also used for measuring performance as well as to plan for programmes or projects.

“The health sector and food security for instance, require data because you must know the number of people you are planning for.

“We are working closely with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to generate reliable data for Nigeria.

“Data is used to measure where we are in SDGs, to find out where we are now, where will we be in the next five or 10 years.

“Data is a projection as it helps us to plan ahead of time,” she added.

The Chairman of NBS Board, Dr Kabiru Nakaura also emphasised on the importance of data.

Nakaura said data was a lifeline of any economy, adding that without data, there wont be planning, without planning, there wont be execution and without execution there wont be development.

“We are aware of the daunting responsibilities and challenges being faced in the task of statistical production across all the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).

“It is for this reason that the Government is working hard to put in place the enabling environment that would guarantee continuous production of the required statistics for tracking and monitoring the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.

“This has become necessary because planning and policy formulation can only be effective when statistics is promoted as a tool for evidence-based policy making.

“I commend the initiatives of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs for collaborating with the NBS in laying a solid foundation for sustained data production to support government strides in developing the Nigerian economy.

“There is no doubt that this is the right step in the right direction,” he said.

The board chairman said BBS was the custodian and authoritative source of official statistics in Nigeria which had the primary responsibility to generate statistics cutting across all spheres of human endeavours.

He added that in doing this, NBS collaborated with other stakeholders to achieve maximum results.

“As a matter of fact, to attain sustainability in the generation of quality and timely statistics, there is the need for sustained cooperation and collaboration of all data gathering agencies in the country.”

Nigeria News Agency reports that the event was attended by some agencies of government as well as development partners.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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Economy

FG to stop importation of steel materials – Minister

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The Federal Government on Thursday, said it planned to stop the importation of steel materials into the county to encourage local investors in the sector.

Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said this during a familiarisation visit to Kam Industries Limited, a privately owned steel industry in Ilorin.

Adegbite added that the government would stop the importation of steel materials into the country once it attained self sufficiency in steel production.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that KAM Industries Limited is an indigenous manufacturing company that specialises in the production of cold roll, steel coil, nails, binding wires, galvanising and color roofing sheets.

The company which was registered in 1996, also manufactures British Reinforcement Concrete (BRC) Mesh wire, binding wire, bale tiles, drawn wire, and straightening wires among others.

“My ultimate aim is that we ban steel importation into the country totally.

“But then, before we do that, we must be able to satisfy local consumption from local production and have some excess for export; that is where we are heading,” the minister said.

He said it was necessary for local private investors to invest in the country’s steel sector rather than foreigners, to avoid capital flight.

The minister expressed satisfaction over the level of production in the industry, saying that it was something that should be emulated by well meaning Nigerians.

He also expressed optimism that if such a company was replicated in other parts of the country, cases of banditry and other anti-social vices would be reduced.

“It is impressive, I have been to see our own steel plant at Ajaokuta, though it may not be working now, but I have been shown the processes.

“Coming here, I can see a functional one, of course with a similar process; this is very commendable.

“For a private entrepreneur to do this, providing employment for more than 4,000 people, it is very impressive and it is worth my coming here today.

“Our dreams and hopes for the Nigeria steel industry was built on Ajaokuta, and it has become something very emotional to the whole country,” Adegbite said.

He, expressed optimism that with the support of President Muhammadu Buhari, Ajaokuta Steel Company would bounce back and would produce steel before the end of the current administration.

He noted that though the ministry was responsible for steel production and development in the country, it was not in control of the quality of steel that was coming into the country.

He, however, said the ministry was working with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON),the agency saddled with the responsibility of standard control, to ensure that steel brought into the country met international standards.

NAN reports that the minister earlier paid a visit on Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, of Kwara.

Mr Kayode Alabi, the state Deputy Governor, who received the minister on behalf of , appealed to the Federal Government to help identify mineral resources in the state and to ensure exploration for national development.

Alabi noted that while the state had a lot of unidentified mineral resources, those identified were being mined illegally, adding that there was need for the Federal Government to help address the situation.

“We have a lot of mineral deposits in the state and we will want you to follow up to ensure exploration,” he said.

He said the state was very proud of Kam industries because it gave employment to its people.

NAN further reports that from its humble beginning as a manufacturing company, Kam industries had grown into one of the largest independently owned nail and wire producing company in the country.

During the good days of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Kam used to be the biggest buyer of its coil.

The company started its backward integration in 2011 when it started the construction of its 150,000 tonnes per annum Cold Rolled Mill (CRM).

The CRM is completed and running and it consists of slitting line, pickling line, cold reduction mill, galvanising line, rewinding, cum trimming line, cut to length, and corrugated machines.

It also has water and waste treatment facilities among others.

The industry had applied to the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) for the grant of 11 exploration licences in Kogi.

Four of the applications had been granted while the remaining seven were still being processed.

The company had also identified a suitable limestone deposit in Kogi, which would be explored and mined to supply required flux material for liquid steel production.

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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Economy

NAHCO generates N7.38bn revenue in nine months

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The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO Aviance) says it has recorded a gross revenue of N7.38 billion for the nine months ended Sept. 30.

The company also said the figure was N241.3 million higher than the amount recorded in the corresponding period of 2018.

NAHCO Aviance disclosed in a statement by Mr Tayo Ajakaye, Manager, Communications and Corporate Services on Thursday in Lagos that the figure represented 32.96 per cent increase on the amount recorded in the same period of 2018.

He said profit after tax stood at N782 million for the period reviewed compared with the N601.31 billion recorded for the same period 2018, representing 30 per cent increase.

Ajakaye added that the performance released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that the organisation was already reaping from the gains of its transformation programme which commenced at the inception of the present management.

Also, earnings per share stood at 48 kobo as at the end of the third quarter of 2019, compared to 37 kobo recorded third quarter of 2018.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the board of the company appointed a new management which early in the year embarked on a five–year transformation plan.

The company is also continuing with the upgrade of its equipment, warehouses and other facilities at the airports.

Commenting on the results, the Group Management Director, Mrs Olatokunbo Fagbemi, said she was delighted that the company was making progress on all fronts.

“NAHCO is in a good place. Apart from being the industry leader in ground handling in West Africa, we are also providing leadership in supporting our partners, the Cargo agents, in the important skills of packaging for export.

“In the period that the new management took over, the company had increased the capacity of its export warehouse and is currently renovating its import warehouse.

“NAHCO is also taking advantage of opportunities emanating from Federal Government’s closure of the land borders as it is partnering stakeholders on proper packaging for their products for exports.

“NAHCO recorded an impressive revenue in excess of 9.8 billion for the 2018 financial year,” she said.

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa /Ismail Abdulaziz

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Economy

Airtel Africa set to expand Nigerian market with additional spectrum

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Airtel Africa Plc on Thursday announced an agreement with Intercellular Nigeria Limited to acquire an additional 10 megahertz (MHz) spectrum in the 900 MHz band in Nigeria.

Airtel Africa stated this in a statement pasted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) website.

It said that the acquisition of additional spectrum through Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel Nigeria) would enable it to expand its telecommunications network across Nigeria.

The statement said that Airtel Networks Limited signed an agreement with Intercellular Nigeria Limited to acquire an additional 10 megahertz (MHz) spectrum in the 900 MHz band in Nigeria.

It said that the acquisition, valued at 70 million dollars, would allow Airtel Nigeria to expand its operations and strengthen its LTE networks across the country.

The company stated that the acquisition was subject to regulatory approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Commenting on the acquisition, Raghunath Mandava, the Chief Executive of Airtel Africa, said that data was the key pillar of the company’s growth.

Mandava said that it was also driven by increasing 4G networks, supported by the increased affordability and increasing penetration of smartphones.

He explained that data presents a significant opportunity for growth with an overall smartphone penetration of more than 35 per cent and data consumption growing by 92 per cent in the six months period ended Sept. 30.

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

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