Nigeria

Abraaj Group, the private-equity firm that collapsed after defaulting on debt, will get a 70 percent stake in C&I Leasing Plc by converting a $10 million loan into equity in the Nigerian company, Bloomberg News reported. “Abraaj knows that pulling out $10 million will be detrimental to the growth of the business, so rather than cash out, they decided to convert,” C&I Chief Executive Officer Andrew Otike-Odibi said by phone from Lagos. Once done, C&I plans a rights issue or an initial public offering that may dilute Abraaj’s stake to about 30 percent, he said.

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Nigeria’s fourth-biggest wireless carrier 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, repaid part of a loan taken from a group of banks following its acquisition by Teleology Holdings Ltd, Bloomberg News reported. “The money has been distributed to the banks,” Abiola Rasaq, head of investor relations at Lagos-based United Bank for Africa Plc, one of the institutions that received a payment, said by phone. The reimbursement is expected to improve the asset quality of the creditor banks that had classified the loan as non-performing, he said.

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The Nigerian government faces a daunting challenge to close a shortage of 17 million houses, Bloomberg News reported. Gripped by poverty, Nigeria has no formalized title-deeds registry and most homes consist of informal structures on land passed down through generations. Rapid urbanization is also causing a proliferation of slums and shanty towns. Buhari’s drive to clear a backlog of mortgage applications comes ahead of a tough re-election bid next year and as the economy struggles to recover from 2016’s contraction.

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Nigeria’s Finance Minister Resigns

Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, has resigned following allegations that she used a forged certificate to avoid participating in the country’s mandatory year of youth service, the Financial Times reported. President Muhammadu Buhari accepted her resignation and appointed Zainab Ahmed, minister of state budget and national planning, to oversee the finance ministry in Africa’s largest economy.
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Rivers State Internal Revenue Service, RSIRS, has again sealed off the Port Harcourt head-office of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, over alleged tax liabilities, disrupting activities at the commission, yesterday. The state government had in April picketed the commission for allegedly owing her withholding tax estimated at over N600 million according to the RSIRS chairman, Adoage Norteh, but the tax body had backed down after a settlement understanding was reached between parties, Vanguard reported.
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A consortium led by top oil trader Vitol has entered exclusive talks to acquire stakes in Nigerian offshore fields that are held by Brazil’s Petrobras and its partners, industry sources said, Reuters reported. The assets are estimated to be worth up to $2.5 billion, the two banking sources and one industry source told Reuters. The buyers are talking to state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, which is leading the sale, the sources added.
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Nigeria is reducing its domestic borrowing after government debt reached 22 trillion naira ($61 billion) in 2017, with most of it made up of high-interest, locally-acquired credit, the country’s debt office said. The government is working on a strategy to reduce domestic debt to 60 percent of the total, from 73 percent, Patience Oniha, director general of the Abuja-based Debt Management Office, told reporters on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported.
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Nigeria’s finance minister plans to drag tax defaulters who don’t make use of an amnesty to court as she seeks funds to plug the nation’s $25 billion infrastructure gap, Bloomberg News reported. In the nine months of reprieve ending March, some penitent taxpayers have said “you got me” and cleared arrears without paying interest and or penalties, Kemi Adeosun said in an interview on Tuesday in her office in the capital, Abuja. But some have said “we wish you luck with this, catch us if you can,” she said. Nigeria wants to double its tax to gross domestic product ratio by 2020.
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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari projects the nation’s budget shortfall will narrow next year as revenue from non-oil sources increases, Bloomberg News reported. Buhari asked lawmakers on Tuesday to approve the 2018 budget with a deficit of 2 trillion naira ($5.6 billion), compared to this year’s estimated fiscal gap of 2.356 trillion naira. Non-oil revenue is projected to triple to 4.2 trillion naira and will include funds raised from “restructuring of government’s equity in joint ventures,” he said in his budget speech in the capital, Abuja, without providing more details.
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Nigeria’s Senate voted in favour on Tuesday of launching an investigation into the default on a $1.2 billion loan earlier this year by Etisalat Nigeria and into how the funds were used. Etisalat Nigeria, now called 9mobile, took out a syndicated loan from 13 Nigerian banks but failed to make repayments earlier this year, Reuters reported. “The Senate is aware of allegations that the loans had been diverted to other uses not related to the business, as there was no evidence of what the company did with the loans,” the upper house said in an order paper published on Twitter.
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