The NBS says the number of registered workers under the pension scheme in Q4 2018 hit 8,410,184, up from 8,136,202 in Q2. Pension Fund Assets under management as at Q4 stood at ₦8,637 million, up from ₦8,323 million in Q2. According to the NBS’s report, Pension Asset and RSA Membership Data Q4, 2018, FGN Bonds have the highest weight percentage of 52.49 percent of the total pension fund assets. This, the NBS said was closely followed by treasury bills with 19.37 percent, and local money market securities with 8.21 percent. Foreign money market securities had the least with 0.04 percent weight in the period under review. Participants within the age range 30-39 had the highest percentage composition closely followed by participants within the age bracket of 40-49. Participants older than age 65 had the least percentage composition. The data was supplied administratively by PenCom and verified by the NBS.
Budget minister, Udoma Udo Udoma says that Nigeria plans to cut its stake in joint oil ventures with multinational oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil, to 40 percent this year to boost revenue and grow its economy. The state oil firm, NNPC owns 55 percent stake in its joint venture with Shell and 60 percent stakes with others. According to Reuters, the FG has considered reducing its majority in these JVs for more than a decade, but was under little pressure as higher oil prices boosted state coffers. The government has been seeking to boost revenue after it emerged from a 2016 recession two years ago. Udoma said the government will intensify efforts to improve its finances including the “immediate commencement of the restructuring of the joint venture oil assets so as to reduce government shareholding to 40 percent.” He added that Buhari wanted the oil restructuring completed this year. Buhari has presented ₦8.83 trillion budget for 2019, laying out plans to drive growth. He has asked NNPC to take measures to achieve the targeted oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day this year.
Diamond Bank has been fully suspended from trading its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with effect from 20 March, 2019. The suspension follows a court sanction of the Scheme of Merger between Diamond Bank and Access Bank. The local bourse also stated that such action is required to prevent trading in the shares of the Diamond Bank in order to determine the bank’s shareholders who would qualify to receive the Scheme consideration. Diamond Bank obtained the court sanction of the Scheme on Tuesday, 19 March, the effective date for the scheme. The merger process between both tier 1 Nigeria banks is near its concluding stage after both the CBN and the SEC granted the banks final approval to merge.
Babatunde Fowler, FIRS chairman, says that Nigerians should brace up for a VAT increase. Fowler said the impending VAT increase was one of the areas being looked at by FIRS to meet its 2019 revenue generation target of ₦8 trillion. “By the end of this year, we should be ready for an increase in VAT. A lot of Nigerians travel to Ghana and other West African countries and they can see that theirs is much higher. They pay when they go on those trips. We should be ready for an increase in VAT,” he said. The prices of goods and services may rise if the FIRS’s plans to raise VAT by 35% or 50% are approved.