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Power Sector Privatisation Faulty, Says Saraki

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  • Power Sector Privatisation Faulty, Says Saraki

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has described the privatisation process in the power sector as faulty and hindering the achievement of positive results.

Saraki, in his message at the opening session of the Senate on Tuesday following its resumption from the Christmas and New Year recess, said, “Before we left for the break, myself, a select few of us and stakeholders in the power sector met to get an understanding of why no progress has been made thus far despite the best intention; and the revelations were mind-boggling.

“There had been errors in the privatisation process and the model by which the power sector is being operated, whether at generation or distribution levels, will never take us where we need to be. It has failed and nobody appears willing to tackle the issue head-on towards a permanent resolution.

“I have mandated the Senate Committee on Power to continue the consultation with the relevant parties to forge a path to solving our crippling power deficit. After all, if we are going to drive Nigerian industries, we need to resolve this and fast.”

The Senate President, who noted that the petroleum industry continued to be critical to the health of the nation’s economy, said the Senate was urging the executive to take positive steps to begin a “meaningful dialogue” with those aggrieved in the Niger Delta.

“The proposed engagement, we suggest, must be sincere, constructive, open and confidence-building. This Senate is willing to assist and play whatever role is necessary to facilitate a successful agreement that would help us see to the end of the lingering conflict,” he said.

He stated that it had become necessary that the lawmakers immediately began work on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper to ensure its passage by the end of the week.

He explained, “In this way, consideration and debate on the 2017 budget will immediately follow in the three sitting days of next week. It is our hope that we will, with this budget, begin the implementation of the report of the Committee on Budget Reforms, which has since been submitted.

“This will enable more Nigerians participate in the budget consideration process, deepen the review and create the necessary efficiencies we expect from our budget implementation.”

Saraki noted that as long as Nigeria’s economy remained in recession, “our work is not done because our people are still being laid off.”

He added, “So long as factories are closing shop, for as the hardship in the land continues to bite harder, investment continues to dwindle and the foreign exchange market remains fragmented, I will be demanding even much more from us to get all our economic reform bills passed.

“Ideally, we would like to see them pass together with the 2017 budget. Let me, therefore, urge all our committees involved with our priority bills to double efforts to ensure that by the end of the first quarter of this year, we will have these bills ready.”

While reiterating the importance of making the 2017 budget “the most successful budget we have ever passed,” Saraki said it was equally important to emphasise the need to have the budget back on the desk of the executive on time for implementation.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is to deviate from the practice of merely passing recommendations on budget proposals by considering every detail of the 2017 budget in its plenary.

The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, announced this in Abuja on Tuesday as lawmakers reconvened in Abuja after a 26-day break.

The practice over the years was to refer the budget to the Committee on Appropriation to work on the details after the debate on the general principles had been concluded.

The committee will thereafter report its recommendations on the details to the House, where members will simply pass the figures on the various sub-heads.

The fallout in some cases was that lawmakers voted to pass certain sub-heads without really knowing how the money would be distributed down the chain.

Such developments led to the controversial N40bn budget padding allegation raised against four principal officers last year by a former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Addressing lawmakers as they resumed on Tuesday, Dogara said the old practice would be jettisoned in respect of the 2017 budget so that members would have the opportunity to consider every detail of the budget proposal in the plenary.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Generates N160.06 Billion in 2020

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Naira Exchange Rates - Investors King

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) generated revenue of N160.06 billion in 2020, according to the latest audited financial reports announced by the Managing Director of NSIA Mr. Uche Orji.

The NSIA income came from devaluation gain of N51 billion, and core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019.

But Orji lamented: “Covid-19 adversely affected logistics around infrastructure projects, especially the toll road projects and the presidential fertiliser initiative.

Despite the pandemic, the Authority achieved 33 percent growth in Net Assets to N772.75 billion compared to the previous year’s performance of N579.54 billion.

Orji said the NSIA “received additional contribution of $250 million; and provided first stabilisation support to the Federal Government of $150 million withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund last year.”

The same year, the NSIA received $311 million from funds recovered from the late General Abacha from the United States Department of Justice and Island of Jersey for deployment towards the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway, Lagos Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge.

In response to COVID-19, Orji said: “NSIA partnered the global Citizen, a not-for profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. Separately NSIA acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to the 21-teaching hospital as part of corporate social responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential taskforce on COVID-19.”

In 2020, the NSIA “invested additional capital into NG Clearing, the first derivative clearing house in Nigeria to maintain NSIA’s shareholding at 16.5 per cent following the company’s rights issue of 2020″ Orji said.

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Economy

EFCC Recovers $153m, 80 Assets from Diezani, Says Bawa EFCC Chairman

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Diezani Allison-Madueke - Investors King

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has said the commission recovered $153 million and 80 properties from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Bawa said: “There are several cases surrounding that. As you may have read, I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot. In one of the cases, we recovered $153 million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80 million.

“We have done quite a bit on that. The other cases as it relates to the $115 million INEC bribery as the media has sensationalised it, is also ongoing across the federation.”

We are looking forward to the time when we will, maybe, have her in the country, and of course, review things and see what will happen going forward. The case has certainly not been abandoned.

Speaking on the trial of former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, he said his trial will start soon in Lagos.

Bawa added: “The position is very clear. The EFCC succeeded in 12 years to get him convicted at the Federal High Court. Of course, he went to the Supreme Court, and because the judge that convicted him has been elevated, the ruling was made and the EFCC as a respecter of the rule of law, we have taken it as it is. The Supreme Court has ordered that we should go back to the Federal High Court in Lagos.

“Now, we are at the Federal High Court in Abuja, and we have applied to the court for the case to be transferred to Lagos as ordered by the Supreme Court to enable us start all over again.

“It, however, draws a precedence, and those are the issues; law as the lawyers will say, is a living thing; we had the ACJA in 2015, we have had this problem of elevation of judges from High Court to Court of Appeal, and we pushed that they should be given the opportunity to finish their cases, because some of these cases have taken a very long time.

“We thought we had succeeded in getting this in ACJA, The law was, however, not seen as such. Now, we may have to solve the problem from the constitution, and then, we will be home and dry.”

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Economy

Nigeria Consumes 93m Litres of Petrol Daily in April 2021

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Petrol - Investors King

Nigeria’s daily petrol consumption rose to a record-high of 93 million litres in April 2021, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The amount represents 77 percent of the 120.80 million litres consumed daily in West Africa despite having just 52 percent of the region’s population.

In previous months, Nigeria consumed 61 million litres on average, therefore, the NNPC stated that the 93 million litres per day consumption is unsustainable.

The sudden surged in petrol consumption was a result of smuggling, according to experts.

There is no doubt that Nigeria’s present petrol consumption is embarrassing, due to smuggling which is currently a thriving business,” Mike Osatuyi, national operations controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.

On the allegation that marketers illegally export petrol, Osatuyi asked why the five security agencies across the borders are unable to stop it.

Smuggling of petrol across the borders is becoming more intense as Nigeria inches closer to full deregulation, one stakeholder said. Despite over 95 million Nigerians in poverty, the country inadvertently pays for cheap petrol across West Africa.

It means Nigeria is financing the economies of neighbouring countries,” Osatuyi said. “Nigeria should not be consuming more than 50 million litres per day.

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