Daily Watch – Nationwide blackout on the cards, MTN, Guinness hit hard times

25th April 2016

  • Electricity workers are planning to shut power transmission nationwide over breaches in labour issues and the takeover of the defunct PHCN headquarters in Abuja. The Daily Trust quoted an unnamed source as saying that government officials in a failed attempt to resolve issues chose to engage the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies instead of the National Union of Electricity Employees. This angered the NUEE and triggered the issuance of a circular on Thursday to its members nationwide to proceed on total strike shortly. According to the source, when a circular is issued by the union, it takes less than 24 hours for them to swing into action.
  • ETA-Zuma says it will start generating 300MW of power from coal to reduce power deficit. Company spokesman, Joseph Ayalogu, said that the company, which engaged in coal mining, had concluded arrangements to start constructing the power plant before the end of the year. He said the company got licence to provide 1,200MW but it would start with 300MW due to huge capital outlay required for the project. He said that the plant, which would be sited at Itobo community in Kogi, would be completed within 13 months. ETA-Zuma is currently mining coal for sale at Okobo close to Itobo.
  • The Financial Times has reported that Nigeria’s oil output is set to decline sharply over the next decade. Quoting various industry executives and analysts, the paper said that this decline is because of uncertainty over promised reforms to the cash-strapped and debt-laden NNPC. Details of a promised overhaul of the NNPC remain unclear, putting investment on hold and stoking frustration in the sector. A drop in production would be another blow to government finances, as low crude prices have sparked the country’s worst economic slowdown in 15 years. The Niger Delta, the country’s oil-producing region, has had long-running problems with militants and a February attack on the Shell-operated Forcados terminal knocked national production down to between 1.7 million and 1.8 million barrels a day.
  • MTN Nigeria disconnected about 4.5 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2016. The telecoms company also revealed in its 2016 first quarter results that it had shed millions of subscribers across the continent, losing 1.4 percent across Africa. The loss in Nigeria, according to MTN, was due to the NCC’s mandated disconnections in February. The decline reduced MTN’s base in Nigeria from over 61 million to 57 million, in the midst of growing controversy on the $5.2 billion NCC fine. MTN also recorded a corresponding revenue decline in Nigeria, while it says it is improving data network in key Nigerian cities. MTN also lost 1.7 percent of its subscriber base in South Africa, plunging its numbers in its home country to 30.1 million.
  • Guinness Nigeria says its nine-month profit has fallen by 83 percent from N5.2 billion in March 2015 to N864 million in March 2016. Nigeria’s second-largest brewer also experienced a revenue drop of 18 percent from N84.75 billion to N69.6 billion. Just after the announcement of the three-quarter results, Guinness Nigeria shares fell by N1.84 to close business on Friday at N98, hitting its lowest point in a month. Though the company did not explain the reasons for the crash in profit, the results show that there was a drastic drop in sales from N45 billion in 2015 to N39 billion in 2016. The results also mean a drastic drop in government revenue in taxes from the brewing giant. Taxes paid in the time under review fell from N1.92 billion in 2015 to N340 million in 2016, resulting in an appreciable drop in revenue for the government.