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CBN, NBET Negotiate Fresh N180bn Fiscal Stimulus for Power Sector

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The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are currently negotiating new financial stimulus worth N180 billion to support electricity operators in Nigeria’s power sector.

The paper gathered from an exclusive interview with the acting Managing Director of NBET, Mr. Waziri Bintube, at the weekend in Abuja that negotiations on the new package had advanced with the CBN favourably disposed to it.

NBET is a government agency responsible for the bulk purchase of electricity from generation companies (Gencos) for resell to distribution companies (Discos). It acts as a financial stabiliser in power trades between the Gencos and Discos.

Bintube, however, said the CBN had in addition to the N213 billion it approved in its Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) for disbursement to operators at a concessionary term, agreed to put another N180 billion into the facility.

He also said NBET had not touched its capitalisation fund, and that while the CBN expects to wrap up its first N213 billion to the market, the new N180 billion would immediately kick in.

“The NBET has a working capital, up to $350 million was given to us under the Euro bond facility and we have that amount in our kitty which we can deploy in exceptional situations. In addition, the government has given us N50 billion from its privatisation proceed on Egbin, and which we have put in our escrow account, the purpose of that is to breach the time difference when the Gencos want their money and when they can be paid.

“In addition, there are some off-the-line supports like the Central Bank’s Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation fund that was granted by the CBN to cover obligations in the market from the date of privatisation. That was another form of support to the market.

“We are currently negotiating with the CBN again to come in with a second tranche. They have some amount that they are yet to disburse but even after that, we are looking at getting the board to approve another second tranche on top of the N213 billion that has already been approved. We are looking at about N180 billion,” said Bintube.

Asked if the negotiations have largely being positive, he said: “Yes, we have the assurance of the CBN governor. He is very dedicated to resolving the logjam and ensuring that all the key pillars of the economy work because they are interrelated.”

He added: “If the power plants work, the manufacturers will have lesser problems, the banks will get paid for their products and then there will be less need for foreign products to come in and that reduces the request for foreign exchange. Just imagine that if our refineries are working, we will not need to depend on importation which takes away a lot from us including profits and jobs.”

Bintube also disclosed that NBET in conjunction with United States’ President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, recently trained key government agencies and officials involved in evaluating, reviewing and regulating power projects in the country on understanding Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and Put Call Options Agreements (PCOAs).

He said the training was done to help the agencies and its officials understand the contents and significance of the PPAs and PCOAs considering that they would always have to come across it for review and approvals for investors who are interested in building power plants in Nigeria.

According to him, the ministries of power, finance, justice and Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), as well as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were some of the agencies that were trained on the use of the industry documents.

“Over the past several months, NBET has been negotiating PPAs and PCOAs with numerous gas and solar independent power project developers who are actively developing utility scale projects which will create circa 5,000 megawatts of new generation capacity for the country.

“The NBET PPA-PCOA training was designed to familiarise key government officials with the PPA and PCOA documents which will then be submitted to their respective offices for approval,” Bintube added.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Government

FG Resumes Conditional Cash Transfer Programme Across Six Local Govt. In Kebbi

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NAIRA - Investors King

The Federal Government has resumed the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme in Kebbi State, commencing with a payment of N9.24bn to 76,107 CCT beneficiaries.

The National Coordinator of the programme, Hajiya Halima Shehu, made the announcement during a state visit to Governor Atiku Bagudu in Birnin Kebbi.

“As at now, payment to CCT beneficiaries is ongoing in the state. A total number of 76,107 beneficiaries across six local government areas of Bagudu, Danko, Wasagu, Dandi, Jega, and Shanga, will be receiving the payment. The beneficiaries will be receiving 26 months of payment circles, starting from January to February 2020.

“The payment will be in two batches of those 60,000 beneficiaries for four payment cycles, using the virtual account. The second batch has 70,107 beneficiaries for nine payment cycles through the debit cards. The total amount for the two batches in the state, according to Shehu, was over N9.24 billion.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria, in partnership with the World Bank in 2016, designed and developed a safety net programme for Nigeria under the platform of National Social Safety Net Programme (NASSP).

“One of the components of NASSP is the national conditional cash transfer office responsible for implementing the household uplifting- conditional cash transfer to the poor and the vulnerable households across the country,” she said.

Shehu commended the governor for providing her an audience and the chance to update him on the commencement of payments and the state’s successful implementation of the program.

Responding, Gov. Bagudu, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Samaila Yombe-Dabai, thanked the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, headed by Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, for actualising the programme in the state.

“I assure you that the state government will do all it takes to support the success of the programme in the state.

“We are looking forward to getting more local governments to be involved in the cash transfer programme,” Bagudu said.

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Ukraine/Russian War: Twitter Heightens Fight Against Misinformation 

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In the wake of the Russia-Ukarine crisis, Twitter has stepped up its effort to put an end to misleading tweets from official accounts about the war.

Investors King gathered that Twitter has already limited content from more than 300 Russian government accounts, including President Putin. The new change will be effected under the company’s new “crisis” policies.

Twitter will also prioritise labelling false posts from accounts with wide reach, like state media or official government accounts, while preserving them for “accountability” reasons.

Twitter users will now be required to click through the warning notice to view the post and Twitter will disable the ability to like, retweet or share the content. The company said it would also change its search and explore features to avoid amplifying false tweets.

Twitter’s head of security and safety, Yoel Roth, wrote in a blog post announcing the changes saying “Today, we’re introducing our crisis misinformation policy – a global policy that will guide our efforts to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises. In times of crisis, misleading information can undermine public trust and cause further harm to already vulnerable communities. 

“Alongside our existing work to make reliable information more accessible during crisis events, this new approach will help to slow the spread by us of the most visible, misleading content, particularly that which could lead to severe harms. 

“While this first iteration is focused on international armed conflict, starting with the war in Ukraine, we plan to update and expand the policy to include additional forms of crisis,” Twitter said examples of problematic posts included false or misleading allegations of war crimes, false information regarding the international response and false allegations regarding use of force.

The company said it would rely on multiple sources to determine when claims are misleading. Strong commentary and first person accounts are among the types of tweets that would not be challenged by the policy, it said.

Twitter has approved a $44bn takeover by billionaire Elon Musk, who has criticised its content moderation policies

The new policies come just weeks after Twitter’s board agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from billionaire businessman Elon Musk, who has called for less moderated speech on the platform.

Musk had said in the past week that he would revoke Twitter’s suspension of former United States president, Donald Trump. 

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Government

Modest Increase in the FAAC Payout – Coronation Economic Note

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The gross monthly distribution by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to the three tiers of government and public agencies amounted to N725.6bn in April (from March revenue). This shows an increase of 4.4% or N30.6bn from the previous payout.

Based on data in the local media, it was observed that companies’ income tax (CIT), petroleum profit tax (PPT), value-added tax (VAT), oil and gas royalties, import and excise duties recorded increases over the previous month. The FGN received a total of N277.1bn and state governments received N227.2bn, including N53.4bn representing the 13% derivation for the few oil producing states.

The headline figure consists of N337.4bn in gross statutory distribution, N165.6bn from the VAT Pool, and excess bank charges of N7.5bn was recovered. The total deductions for cost of collection was N44.4bn and the total deductions for statutory transfers, refunds and savings was N382.8bn.

The committee disclosed that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) is USD35.4m.

The average monthly FAAC distribution (N665.1bn in Q1 ‘22) declined from an average of N682.5bn in Q4 ’21 but is slightly above the average of N647.0bn recorded in Q1 ’21.

Based on local newswires, the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) has not made any remittance to the federation account this year due to the high fuel subsidy costs. The NNPC spent N210.4bn (USD500.1m), N219.8bn (USD522.9m) and N245.8bn (USD584.8m) as subsidies on petrol in January, February, and March respectively. This is a total of N675.9bn (USD1.6bn) in Q1 ’22.

The NNPC is expected to deduct N671.9bn from its remittance to FAAC for April which is due for sharing at the May ‘22 FAAC meeting. The estimated total shortfall of N671.9bn comprises of shortfalls recorded in February (N152bn) and March (N519bn).

Money markets saw an inflow of N391bn in early-May ‘22, representing the net distribution to state and local governments. The FGN’s share is directly to the treasury single account.

Analysts at Coronation expect continuous strain with regards to FAAC payouts. According to them, it is imperative for states that depend solely on the inadequate monthly FAAC distribution to seek ways to boost their internally generated revenue. The FGN’s primary objective should be to create a conducive business environment as IGR sustainability is a by-product of an enabling environment.

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