• Norway’s ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Peter Kjemrud, has announced that the trade volume between Nigeria and Norway has reached $30 billion. Speaking at a meeting to promote investment opportunities in Norway for prospective Nigerian investors, Kjemprud also said Nigeria is Norway’s biggest trading partner on the African continent, that there is a huge potential to do more. He added that Norwegian investors are interested in investing in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry including her renewable energy. According to the NBS Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics report for Q2 2018, Nigeria’s total foreign trade was ₦6.56 trillion, a decrease from ₦7.21 trillion recorded in Q1. Total trade imports for Q2 stood at ₦2.10 trillion, compared to ₦2.51 trillion for Q1, a decline of 16.34% on a quarter on quarter basis.
  • The EFCC has started an investigation into alleged financial misappropriation involving at least five officials of the Ministry of Finance in Abia. The state’s Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi, announced this during a news conference with the Commissioner for Finance, Obinna Oriaku, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Enyinnaya Appolos, and Moses Orji, a media aide to the governor. Okiyi said that the anti-graft probe was prompted by a petition from a commissioner in the state Civil Service Commission, Guy Okite. He said that four of the suspects worked in the payroll unit of the ministry of finance. According to Okiyi, the finance commissioner was also invited by the EFCC to shed light on some of the issues raised by the petitioner adding that he had since returned to his work. Okiyi said that while two of the suspects were still being detained by EFCC, three others, including Oriaku, would only report to the commission whenever the need arose. On this part, Oriaku, the Abia state Commissioner for Finance, put the amount involved at approximately ₦6 million.
  • Cement producer, Lafarge Africa, closed the first nine months of the 2018 financial year with a loss after tax of ₦10.4 billion, representing a 1206 per cent decline from a profit after tax of ₦938 million recorded in the same period of 2017. The company attributed this to rising operating expenses and increased finance charges. The results show that operating expenses at ₦14.4 billion are 3.7 per cent higher than Q3 2017 figures. Similarly, finance charges increased by 66 per cent year-on-year. Revenue grew by 4.8 per cent year-on-year from ₦223.7 billion to ₦234.3 billion, while net assets fell 15.6 per cent to ₦132.6 billion recorded in Q3 2018 from ₦157 billion in Q3 2017.
  • A date has been set for a court hearing between the CBN and MTN over the alleged illegal repatriation of $8.1 billion. The hearing will be on Tuesday, October 30. The other allegation, of an unpaid $2 billion back taxes made by Abubakar Malami, the AGF, will be heard on November 8. These court dates have been announced despite a statement made last Wednesday by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, that the parties are getting closer to resolving the dispute. The CBN had in August, fined four banks – Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank, Standard Chartered and Citibank – a total of ₦5.86 billion for breaching Nigeria’s extant laws and forex rules when they facilitated the ‘illegal’ repatriation of funds to South Africa on behalf of MTN. Following that, the AGF accused the company of owing $2 billion as back taxes, relating to the importation of equipment and payments to suppliers over the last ten years. Consequently, the CFO of MTN Nigeria, Ralph Mupita disclosed that the company is considering new means of trading its shares. Mupita said the multinational company is currently facing a combined $10 billion in claims from Nigerian authorities and may no longer seek to raise capital through an initial public offering on the NSE.