Delayed Budget ‘ready by Easter’

Nigeria’s legislators would send this year’s spending bill to President Goodluck Jonathan before the Easter holiday, ending wrangling that has delayed the Budget by four months, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said yesterday. The Nigerian Senate passed a 4.7 trillion naira (R298 billion) Budget in proceedings in Abuja yesterday. The House of Representatives has to pass a spending bill before it goes to the president to be signed into law. Investors have been watching the Budget for signs that spending will surge in a pre-election year as it did before the 2011 presidential vote, when it rose 17 percent. “We have been on a path of fiscal consolidation, and we’ve continued on that path this year,” Okonjo-Iweala said. “That was always a risk, but we’re almost over that now that they’ve passed the Budget.” – Bloomberg


SABMiller unit’s lager sales slide

SABMiller’s Zimbabwe affiliate reported an 18 percent decline in annual volume of lager beer yesterday, hit by an economic slowdown that has dented consumer demand. Delta Corporation is 38 percent owned by global brewing giant SABMiller. It said in a trading update that its lager business had taken a knock from government levies, which pushed prices up. Zimbabwe’s largest listed company with a $1.4bn (R14.6bn) market capitalisation produces lager and sorghum beer as well as non-alcoholic drinks. Its total beverage production was flat at 6.9 million hectolitres during the year to March. Revenue, which peaked at $631 million last year, declined by 1 percent during the period. The company is due to announce its full-year results next month. Shares of Delta were flat at $1.15 in Harare yesterday. – Reuters


Flag carrier to return to profit

Kenya Airways expected to return to full-year profit, commercial director Gerald Clarke said yesterday as the carrier announced a deal to broaden its presence in Africa’s nascent low-cost airline market. Among Africa’s largest airlines, it is expanding its fleet with nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners due for delivery by July next year and the launch this month of low-cost offshoot Jambojet. “The airline is about to embark on a strong growth path,” said Clarke, as it looks to rebound from a pretax loss of 10.826 billion shillings (R1.28bn) in the year to March last year. Its results are due out on June 12. – Reuters