- FG Considers Tax Holiday Extension for Power Sector Investors
There are strong indications that the federal government is considering granting further tax holiday to investors in the power sector in its bid to help stimulate investment in the sector.
A top government source said the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, recently set up a committee to look into the matter. The outcome of the committee meetings would guide the federal government in decision-making, the source added.
Pioneer status takes the form of five-year tax holiday to qualifying industries anywhere in the federation. The grant of pioneer status to an industry is aimed at enabling the industry concerned to make a reasonable level of profit within its formative years. The profit so made is expected to be ploughed back to facilitate expansion and growth of the industry.
“I am aware that the Minister of Finance has set up a committee to review the pioneer status of the power sector firms. So, we are waiting for the outcome, “the source said.
Attempts to confirm the development was unsuccessful as the minister of finance declined to respond to several text messages sent to her phone.
Since the Power Sector Reform Act was enacted in 2005, transferring public control of the Nigerian Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) to the PHCN, the federal government has made frantic efforts to attract private investors while also taking various steps towards the restructuring of the Nigerian power sector, all in a bid to establish an electricity supply that is efficient, reliable and cost-effective throughout the country. However, it has seemed like a herculean task as power supply is yet to improve was expected since the privatisation.
The National Electric System Operation (SO) puts the general National Peak Demand Forecast at about 17,000MW, conversely the highest power generation ever attained was 5,074.7MW while the recent peak energy generated is just a little over 4, 000MW.
This is paltry when compared to the national demand and easily translates to an unavailable and unstable electricity supply. This situation is rather lamentable as Nigerians still depend on imported generators for electricity as the little power generated is not sufficient for the over 170 million citizens of the country, according to a recent report by the NOI Polls.
Inadequate gas supply due to pipeline vandalism, inability of power companies to sign gas supply contracts, and large amounts of debt owed to power companies by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the three tiers of government, are also some issues affecting the sector.
But as part of efforts to address the worsening power situation in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had disbursed N55,456,161,481 from its Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) to firms in the sector as at May last year. A breakdown of the amount had shown that while all the distribution companies got N8,670,234,863.76; the generating companies – N35,834,536,939; gas suppliers N10,491,710,788.66; all the service providers in the power value chain were given a total of N459,678,889.55. The amount was the fourth batch from the N213 billion stabilisation that was designed by the central bank as part of development finance intervention in the economy.
Speaking on the likelihood of granting further tax holiday to the power sector investors, the Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said what the sector requires currently is a financial bailout.
“A tax holiday only incentivises those who are making profit. These are loss-making entities right now, because they borrowed monies and borrowed in dollars as well. What the government should be doing is to look for how to bail them out rather than give them further tax holidays.
“Tax holidays are good for people who initially were profitable and all of a sudden became unprofitable, that is like Google, Facebook or MTN. Tax holidays helped them in investing more. Tax holiday is useful after the fundamentals of that industry have shown that the companies are going to be profitable. Right now, that is not the case. What these companies need is a financial bailout and interest moratorium to enable them cover their cost and invest additional capital in transforming the industry,” Rewane explained.
When Rewane was reminded that the CBN had created a special intervention fund for the sector, he said: “It is always too little and it is never enough. So, they (government) need to do something really bold.”
FG Seeks Support for ‘Green Bonds’ Projects
Meanwhile, the federal government has called for the support of Nigerians in its quest to issue a Green Bond.
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, said this while speaking at a congratulatory dinner organised for her, on her appointment as the United Nation’s Deputy Secretary General Designate, in Lagos at the weekend.
Mohammed said the bond would be the first sovereign Green Bond in an emerging market, saying that it was about leveraging external resources to support projects in the sector.
“We have to show that we can lead the way and we would continue to be innovative and creative, so that businesses can come in. If you check the budget of the ministry of transportation, what the environment sector got might be five percent of the entire budget of the ministry of transportation.
“But the Green bonds are really about us trying to leverage funding. Whatever you do in the global compact, if you can’t make profit, it is called corporate social responsibility (CSR). Sustainable development is not CSR. It goes beyond CSR. It is about your business model. You can make profit taking care of your environment and sustainable development is all about that. For me, the Green bond is a demonstration that business matters,” she explained.
The minister had last month said the federal government plans to raise N20 billion by March this year, to help fund renewable energy projects.
“We are on track to sell the bond in the first quarter, and could have another by the end of the year,” she had explained.
The sale will also help fund an electric-vehicle commuter project in the city and tree-planting in the country’s arid north.
However, speaking about her latest UN appointment, the minister said: “For me, I see this as an opportunity for women, particular the young girls, so that they know they have to aim higher. If you work and believe, it would happen. So, for women, whenever you have the chance, act on it. President Obasanjo once said we have to invest in women.”
In his remark, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said: “This is a night of celebration and a night of fun. The United Nations has been in existence for over 68 years, so this is remarkable achievement for us. More importantly, it is the first time a Nigerian is getting to that position.
“You (Mohammed) are a special gift to all of us as Nigerians and the entire world. I say so because there is something about championing a greater tomorrow for future generations. You have done so in Nigeria. First of all, as Minister of Environment, we watched the attention you gave several of the burning issues with respect to the environment in this country. For those of us who had sustainability at the heart of what we do, you were so focused in ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are pursued.”
Others that spoke at the event were Chief Oba Otudeko, Mr. Lawyer Jaiyeola, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Bola Adesola, and Senator Aisha Alhassan.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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