• Nigeria’s Agriculture Promotion Policy, aimed at attaining food security, import substitution, job creation and economic diversification by 2020, has been described as failure since it lacks political will to execute. The importation of more than three million metric tonnes of rice into the country in 2018 and the drop in local rice production from 2016 to 2018 compared to the situation in 2015 as divulged by the US Department of Agriculture’s World Markets and Trade, are confirmation of the APP’s failure. Francis Nwilene, the Country Representative and Regional Coordinator of Africa Rice Centre, Ibadan, to further make bare the failure of the policy, said Nigeria’s demand for rice per year hovers around 7.8 million metric tonnes, while production still hovers around 5.8 million metric tonnes.
  • The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that the FG is no longer keen on providing sovereign guarantees to investors interested in building new power plants in the country. Speaking on the Morning Show of Arise News, Fashola said that instead of providing sovereign guarantees, the government, Fashola said, would support interested investors with stable conditions for their investments. The government’s new position may not be unconnected with an unhappy experience with the Azura Power project in Edo State.
  • Qatar announced on Monday that it would withdraw its membership of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries from January 1, 2019. Energy Minister, Saad al-Kaabi, said the “technical and strategic decision is a reflection of the country’s desire to focus its efforts on developing and increasing its natural gas production from 77 million tons of gas per year to 110 million tons, and raise its oil production from 4.8 million barrels of oil equivalent a day to 6.5 million barrels. The move comes amid a deteriorating political situation between Qatar and its neighbours; Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which have them imposed a trade and travel embargo on the country since June 2017 over allegations that Qatar supports terrorism. Al-Kaabi however said the exit from the oil cartel is not in anyway linked to the 18-month political and economic boycott of Doha. This development marks the first time a Mideast nation has left the OPEC since its founding in 1960.
  • Fitch Ratings Agency has revised the Outlook on the Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings of FBN Holdings and First Bank of Nigeria to Positive from Negative and affirmed the IDRs at ‘B-‘. The agency has also upgraded the National Long- and Short-Term Ratings of FBNH and FBN to ‘BBB(nga)’ and ‘F2(nga)’ from from ‘BB+(nga)’ and ‘B(nga)’, respectively, The companies’ IDRs according to the ratings are driven by their standalone credit profiles, as defined by their Viability Ratings while the VRs are influenced by the operating environment in Nigeria, reflecting FBN’s position as one of the country’s largest banks and its resilient franchise, which provides robust revenue generation capacity, a solid funding base and sound liquidity.