Data from the National Pension Commission shows that the Pension Fund Administrators have reduced the amount of funds invested in real estate assets to ₦220 billion as of the end of December 2019. The new amount indicates 2.15 percent of the total assets of the Contributory Pension Scheme, which stood at ₦10.21 trillion during the period under review. The operators had invested ₦250.02 billion in real estate as of the end of June 2019, according to PenCom, which said that the operators invested part of the funds in the Federal Government’s bonds, treasury bills, and state governments’ securities. Part of the funds was also invested in agency bonds, supra-national bonds, commercial papers, foreign money market securities, and open/close-end funds. Muhammad Ahmad, the pioneer Director-General, PenCom, said there was a need to encourage the development of enabling framework for pension funds to facilitate national development. Going by that, Public-Private Partnership rules needed to be strengthened at both the national and state levels, he added.
Nigeria’s power minister, Sale Mamman, has announced that the country will build the Mambila hydroelectric plant in Taraba state after the government settled the major problem; a legal dispute that was delaying the project. Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, is finalising the terms of the settlement, Mamman said. The contract for the Mambila project, which was initially estimated to cost $5.79 billion, was signed in November 2017 by Mamman’s predecessor, Babatunde Fashola, who said that the project would give Nigeria an opportunity to comply with the Paris climate change agreement as it would be delivering renewable energy and same time giving the country opportunity to unlock the gift of nature to Nigeria in Taraba. The project was first conceived in the 1970s and is expected to produce 3,050 megawatts of electricity, which is about a quarter of Nigeria’s current installed capacity. A consortium including China Energy Engineering and Sinohydro will build the Mambilla facility, which is forecast to cost $4.8 billion, about $1 billion less than earlier estimates, Mamman said. The minister said he expects the Chinese firms to start construction this year. Sunrise accused the Nigerian government of breaching its 2003 agreement when it granted a separate contract to Chinese companies four years later and was seeking an arbitration award of $2.3 billion. The legal wrangle caused the Export-Import Bank of China to pause its interest in financing the Mambilla plant.
The CBN has restricted the process of cash withdrawal of electronic transfer deposits made into domiciliary accounts. It said that forex can only be transferred but cannot be withdrawn as cash over the counter. The CBN, which said this via a tweet, added that cash deposits also made into domiciliary accounts can only be withdrawn as cash over the counter and not transferred out of the domiciliary account. This means that if a bank customer made an electronic transfer of $5,000 into his domiciliary account and later goes to the bank to make a cash deposit of $10,000, making a total of $15,000 in the account. Such customers can only make withdrawals from the account in the manner/medium he used to make the deposits into the domiciliary account. It means if the bank customer needs to make a payment of $12,000 or initiates a transaction of $12,000, he can only pay $5, 000 through electronic transfer and the remaining $7,000 would have to be paid in cash. This was in response to speculation that the monetary regulator had banned the acceptance of foreign currency as cash deposits in Deposit Money Banks. The regulator denied that it had given any such directive to the DMBs operating within the country.
The Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission has said that the total value of investments in Nigeria dropped significantly after it collated $29.91 billion as investments announcements for 2019. A report from the commission showed that a total of 76 projects were announced across 17 states, Abuja and Offshore Nigeria. The figure realised in 2019 is 204% lower than the $90.89 billion investments in 2018. The huge difference, NIPC said, might not be unconnected with the uncertainty associated with the 2019 general elections. Lagos state, the commission said, had the highest number of projects with 33, followed at a distance by Ogun with five, and Kaduna with three. In terms of value, $19.8 billion or 66 percent worth of investments were announced to be located offshore Nigeria. Investors preferred mining and quarrying, which had $21.5 billion or 72 percent of the investment while manufacturing had $3.2 billion, 11 percent, electricity, gas and water supply $2.3 billion dollars 8 percent and transportation and storage $2 billion dollars or 8 percent. The report said domestic investors, being the most active announced 39 projects with a total worth of $10.8 billion or 36 percent, followed by the Netherlands with a project worth $10 billion or 33 percent. Canada announced three projects worth $2.4 billion 8 percent, Morocco, two projects worth $2.1 billion 7 percent, Malaysia, two projects worth $1 billion and Singapore announced one project worth $1 billion dollars or three percent.