A steel plant currently under construction in Kagorko, Kaduna state is expected to produce 5.4 metric tons of steel daily and generate about 3,500 direct jobs, Nigeria’s ex-Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari has said. The plant being built under the partnership between African Natural Resources and Mines and Stanbic IBTC and Standard Chartered Bank is funded with a $600 million investment. According to Bwari, the outgoing administration, which he led has been favourable to the sector, which has also helped, among others, the exportation of Zinc from Nigeria to other countries. The ex-minister added that the ₦15 billion National lntegrated Mining Exploration Project which was embarked upon has already discovered new findings. Within the four years of the administration, the sector has been able to produce more accurate geoscience data through world class exploration projects, block plugging revenue leakages, increased funding, improving job opportunities in the sector while developing the downstream sector. The sector, according to Bwari, has attracted companies, which have increased the investment portfolios of the country as about fifty of the companies are engaged in formal mining. The companies include, the Australian company Symbol Mining currently exporting zinc from its open pit mine in Bauchi where the ore is confirmed to be 22 percent as compared to the global average of six percent.
Figures from the NBS show that the manufacturing sector recorded a decline of about ₦77.92 billion in output in Q1 2019. The report said out of the 13 sub-sectors that made up the manufacturing sector, only four recorded an increase in economic performance between December and March this year, while nine sub-sectors recorded a decrease in productivity. The four sub-sectors that recorded increase are cement from ₦145.97 billion in December to ₦152.41 billion; wood and wood products from ₦51.59 billion to ₦53.21 billion; non-metallic products from ₦59.34 billion to ₦60.43 billion; and motor vehicle assembly from ₦7.14 billion to ₦8.69 billion. The nine sectors that recorded decline in productivity are oil refining from ₦40.03 billion to ₦14.67 billion; food, beverage and tobacco from ₦387.98 billion to ₦359.51 billion; paper products from ₦14.13 billion to ₦13.35 billion; chemical and pharmaceutical products from ₦40.34 billion to ₦37.07 billion. Others include plastic and rubber products, which moved from ₦58.86 billion to ₦58.17 billion; electrical and electronics from ₦1.3 billion to ₦930 million; iron and steel from ₦46.19 billion to ₦40.71 billion and other manufacturing from ₦78.06 billion to ₦72.61 billion. The sector had been badly hit by a harsh operating environment, which took its toll on the profit margins of many companies operating in that segment of the economy. Other challenges faced by the manufacturing sector include limited access to credit and financial services by some of the firms, poor infrastructure and unreliable power supply that forces businesses to rely on other more expensive sources, thus increasing their input costs and reducing their overall competitiveness and profitability.
MTN Nigeria has paid ₦55 billion as the remaining balance of the ₦330 billion SIM infraction fine imposed on the company by the FG. Officials at the NCC, and sources close to the telecom firm told the Punch that the operator had met the 31 May deadline given by the regulatory body. The NCC has issued a receipt to the mobile network operator upon receiving the payment of ₦55 billion, which is the sixth tranche of the ₦330 billion fine. The regulator imposed a fine of ₦1.04 trillion on the network provider in 2015 after it missed a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered lines amid a security threat in the country. The fine was reduced to ₦780 billion in December 2015 after several negotiation. It was later reduced in June 2016 to ₦330 billion with its payment spread over three years. As of March 2017, the company had already paid a total of ₦110 billion of the ₦330 billion fine. The third tranche of the payment, ₦55 billion was paid on March 31, 2018; ₦55 billion on December 31, 2018; and another ₦55 billion by March 31, 2019. In May, the NCC confirmed that MTN had paid ₦275 billion to the FG. Part of the fallout of the negotiated terms of payment of the fine was the listing of MTN on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which was achieved as the company listed 20.35 billion shares at ₦90 per share on the NSE on 16 May.
The Economic Confidential has ranked Lagos the most indebted state in Nigeria with a debt of ₦1.043 trillion in 2018. The state has ₦513 billion as external debt and ₦530 billion as domestic debt. According to Economic Confidential’s researchers on the Annual High Indebted States, “the amount owed by Lagos State represents about 20% of the total debts owed by the 36 states and Abuja, which is ₦5.376 trillion in 2018.” The front runners in the highly indebted states for the external debt stock include Edo, Kaduna, Cross River and Bauchi with $276.25 million (₦99.45 billion), $227.25 million (₦81.81 billion), $188.77 million (₦67.95 billion), and $133.93 million (₦48.21 billion) respectively. The first five highly indebted states in the local debt stock are Lagos with ₦530.243 billion, followed by Delta with ₦228.805 billion, Rivers with ₦225.592 billion, Akwa Ibom with ₦198.663 billion and Cross River with ₦167.955 billion. The five least indebted states externally are Taraba, $21.611 million; Borno, $21.618 million; Yobe, $27.486 million. Of the 36 states of the federation, five states account for the lowest in both domestic and external debts. They are Yobe (₦37.667 billion), Jigawa (₦46.586 billion), Sokoto (₦52.723 billion), while Katsina and Niger states have ₦53.220 billion and ₦63.915 billion respectively. The external debt profile of Federal Capital Territory for 2018 stands at $31.848 million (₦11.465 billion) while the domestic debt is ₦164.245 billion bringing a total of its external and domestic debts to ₦175.710 billion.