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Daily Watch – PFA holdings reach ₦14.59tn, Exxon to leave Equatorial Guinea

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The FG borrowed ₦6.3 trillion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the first 10 months of 2022, The Cable reported citing data from the banking regulator. The Muhammadu Buhari administration has been borrowing from the CBN through Ways and Means Advances. Ways and Means is a loan facility through which the CBN finances the government’s budget shortfalls. The data, obtained from CBN’s website, showed that Ways and Means debt climbed from ₦17.5 trillion in December 2021 to ₦23.8 trillion in October 2022 – an increase of ₦6.3 trillion in 10 months. The government borrowed ₦704.3 billion from the CBN in January, ₦226.3 billion in February, ₦507.7 billion in March, and ₦112.3 billion in April. It also borrowed ₦569.6 billion in May, ₦335.8 billion in June, ₦695.2 billion in July, ₦1.46 trillion in August, ₦749.4 billion in September, and ₦957.2 billion in October. These borrowings are currently not included in the country’s total public debt stock (federal and state governments) which currently stands at ₦42.84 trillion. Section 38 of the CBN Act, 2007, stipulates that the total amount of Ways and Means Advances outstanding shall not at any time exceed 5 percent of the previous year’s actual revenue of the federal government. But the FG’s borrowings from the bank have repeatedly exceeded the threshold.

Three migrants rescued in the Canary Islands, after apparently enduring an 11-day journey from Nigeria crouched on the rudder of a fuel tanker, should now be returned home under stowaway laws, a police spokesman said on Tuesday. In a photograph distributed on Twitter by the Spanish coast guard on Monday, the three stowaways are shown crouching on the rudder under the hull, just above the waterline of the Alithini II. The 183-metre ship, sailing under a Maltese flag, arrived in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria after setting out from Lagos on 17 November and navigating up the West African coast, according to Marine Traffic. A Canary Islands police spokesperson said it was up to the ship’s operator to take care of stowaways, provide them with temporary accommodation and return them to their origin as soon as possible. However, the migrants may be able to remain in Spain if they claim asylum, Helena Maleno, director of migration non-governmental organisation Walking Borders said. The Spanish-owned Canary Islands are a popular gateway for African migrants attempting to reach Europe. The number of migrants arriving illegally to the archipelago by sea fell 17.6% to 14,875 in the first ten months of 2022 from a year earlier, according to the Interior Ministry.

Nigeria’s pension assets under management by Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) rose to ₦14.59 trillion as of the end of October 2022. According to figures released Tuesday by the National Pension Commission (PenCom), the total pension assets increased by ₦164.44 billion from ₦14.424 trillion in September. The commission said 9,850,094 Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders have enrolled in the Contributory Pension Scheme as of October, while 84,000 have signed up to the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) as of the end of September. In terms of assets distribution, federal government securities continue to maintain a leadership position with 63.23 percent of the total assets totalling ₦9.225 trillion, including ₦8.840 trillion in FGN bonds. Money market instruments followed with 14.91 percent of the total assets under management (TAM) worth ₦2.175 trillion, of which ₦2.036 trillion were in fixed deposit instruments. State government securities were third with 10.46 percent of TAM worth ₦1.527 trillion, while domestic ordinary shares were ₦828.167 billion, equivalent to 5.68 percent of TAM.

Exxon Mobil will wind down oil production in Equatorial Guinea and leave the West African country after its license expires in 2026, Reuters said quoting two unnamed sources. The departure reflects a wider move by major oil producers to reduce crude production in West Africa and shift investments to lower-carbon natural gas development on the continent, and to more lucrative projects in the Americas. Exxon has cut its output in the country to less than 15,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) through its existing production unit Serpentina, one of the sources said on Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss non-public information. It evacuated staff from the offshore production platform Zafiro this year due to water entering the ageing vessel. Europe, which has been looking for alternative oil suppliers after sanctions were imposed against Russia this year, is the main destination for Equatorial Guinea’s oil exports. Exxon’s oil output in Equatorial Guinea, an OPEC member, peaked at more than 300,000 bpd eight years ago and has been declining since. Exxon has been trying to sell its Zafiro operation since 2020. The company last year pumped about 45,000 bpd out of the country’s total production of 93,000 bpd. Africa is struggling to meet OPEC quotas due to the lack of investments in crude production. Output from its top two producers, OPEC members Angola and Nigeria, sank by a third to 2.1 million bpd in October from 3.2 million bpd in 2019. Since 2013, it has declined by 41%.

Source: SB Mintel