• Nigeria’s trade account turned positive in 2017 as a rise in oil exports outweighed imports after dollar shortages frustrated transactions, the NBS said. The balance of trade last year was ₦4.03 trillion ($13.2 billion). The net trade balance stood at a negative ₦290 billion for 2016. The rise boosts Nigeria’s ambition to promote exports to support its fragile economy and earn foreign exchange while reducing imports. Its 2017 gross domestic product rose 0.8 percent to emerge from Nigeria’s first recession in 25 years. The NBS said oil and gas exports accounted for more than 93 percent of exports in the fourth quarter, with cocoa bean exports, largely to the Netherlands, Malaysia and Indonesia, making up 0.37 percent. Fourth-quarter imports dipped 8.5 percent from the previous year to ₦2.11 trillion, the statistics bureau said. But exports more than compensated, jumping 31.3 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to ₦3.91 trillion, the NBS said.
  • The CBN’s Financial Stability Report says DMBs contributed ₦190.89 billion to the Banking Sector Resolution Cost Trust Fund Sinking Fund from January to June 30, 2017. The sinking fund mandates commercial banks to contribute five basis points or 0.5 percent of their audited total assets at the end of each year to AMCON to enable the corporation pay some of its recovery expenses. The regulator makes an annual contribution of ₦50 billion to the fund, which was established following the realisation that recoveries from AMCON-acquired bad loans might be insufficient to meet the cost of restoring financial stability.
  • The has offered for a subscription a two-year savings bond at 10.74 percent and three-year savings bond at 11.74 percent. According to a DMO posting, the two year savings bonds will be due in March 2020. The debt office said the three-year savings bond would be due in March 2021. While not stating the total amount on offer, the maximum subscription was ₦50 million at ₦1,000 per unit, subject to minimum subscription of ₦5,000 in multiples of ₦1,000. The offer closes on Friday and the savings bond issuance is expected to help finance the country’s budget deficit.
  • One of the country’s three hydroelectric plants, Shiroro, has been shut down as a result of a flood problem, with seven thermal plants left idle by gas constraints and other issues. Shiroro, which generated a high of 428MW on 3 January 2018, was said to be “out due to [a] turbine pit flood problem.” Data obtained from the Power, Works and Housing ministry showed that the plant had been idle since 20 February. Nigeria generates most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, with output from hydroelectric plants making up about 30 percent of national output. Total electricity generation stood at 4,455.5MW as of 0600 hours on 28 February, while 2,139.6MW was unused, ministry data show. The number of power plants idle as the end of February was eight, comprising Sapele I, AES, ASCO, Azura-Edo and three plants built under the National Integrated Power Project scheme – Alaoji, Ihovbor and AES.
  • The Presidential Air Fleet and Arik Air have signed an MOU that will allow the airline assist in providing proficiency and line training for PAF’s pilots. The agreement was signed on March 1 when Hassan Bala Abubakar, an air commodore and commander of PAF, led senior officials of the fleet to the Arik Air Aviation Centre at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed Airport. “According to the terms of the agreement, Arik Air shall provide pilots of the Presidential Air Fleet rated on the aircraft line training and hour building to maintain proficiency on the aircraft, including undertaking regular commercial flight under supervision, as per the standards approved for the airline,” a statement announcing the agreement read. Line training programs help pilots increase the number of hours flown, gain experience in the actual aircraft. The proficiency training covers subjects like aviation weather, flight planning, flying technique tips and in-depth aviation accident analysis.