• As part of efforts to diversify Nigeria’s economy and develop its mining sector, the FG has awarded a mining contract to ten exploration and consulting companies. Although the mining and steel development minister, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, did not state how much the contracts were worth, in July he had said eight firms would be awarded a government contract to the tune of ₦12.7 billion ($41.5 million). The firms will focus on the exploration of gold, zinc, iron ore and rare earth metals. The mining and quarrying sector, according to National Bureau of Statistics, contributed 12.32% to the country’s overall GDP in the second quarter of 2018, higher than the contributions recorded in 2017 second quarter at 9.08% but lower than the previous quarter recorded at 13.92%. In real terms, the sector grew by –3.84% (year-on-year) in the Q2 of 2018. Compared to the same quarter of 2017 and first quarter 2018, it is lower by –7.34% points and –18.68% points respectively. However, the sector’s contribution to Real GDP in the Q2 2018 at 8.71%, lower than the growth rate of 9.19% and 9.67% recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 respectively.
  • The Senate has asked the FG to suspend the implementation of the increased excise tariff on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, which was proposed in March this year and approved to take effect in June, until all stakeholders have been consulted. Currently, the excise duty paid by the locally produced beverages sector stands at 20 percent across board, but under the approved excise duty tariff hike by the FG, it is fixed at 67 percent, a more than 300 percent increase.
  • Fitch Ratings Agency’s latest credit rating for three tier-1 banks in Nigeria, including UBA, Access Bank and GTB. The new ratings have UBA’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating upgraded to ‘B+’ from ‘B’, with a Stable outlook, while Access Bank’s Long-Term IDR affirmed at ‘B’ with a Stable Outlook. The Outlook on GTBank’s Long-Term IDR was revised to Stable from Negative and its IDR affirmed at ‘B+’. UBA’s Viability Rating was upgraded to ‘b+’ from ‘b’, driven by its intrinsic creditworthiness, as defined by its VR. Access Bank’s VR is affirmed at ‘b’ reflecting adequate profitability, according to the rating agency, although this is weaker than its other immediate peers, while its IDRs are driven by its intrinsic creditworthiness as defined by its VR. GTB’s Long-Term National Rating was upgraded to ‘AA(nga) from ‘AA-(nga)’. The rating noted that GTBank’s IDRs are driven by the bank’s intrinsic creditworthiness as defined by its Viability Rating (VR). GTBank’s VR is the highest assigned by Fitch to a Nigerian bank. The rating further noted that GTBank is one of Nigeria’s largest banks, controlling an overall domestic market share of approximately 11%.
  • In an effort to better secure the Nigeria borders, the FEC has approved ₦14.7 billion for new ECOWAS travel certificates. The new certificates, which will include security features like the photographs, fingerprints of the holder, would be funded by contractor, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, has announced. No date has been announced for the agreement of the contract which is for 10 years with the production of 13 million cards within the period.