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MDAs Owe DisCos N88bn Nationwide – ANED

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The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, said that the distribution companies were set to carry out a nationwide mass disconnection of debtor-MDAs.

According to Oduntan, as at end of April, 2016, MDAs’ debt profile stood at N88.6bn with the military being the highest with a total of N38.7bn.

The debts profile also shows that the Abuja Disco is owed N18.6bn, Benin Disco N5.8bn, Eko Disco N8.6bn, Enugu Disco N7.2bn, Ibadan Disco N6.8bn, Ikeja Disco N5. 9bn, Jos Disco N6.5bn, Kaduna Disco N8.2bn, Kano Disco, N1.2bn, Port Harcourt Disco N6.8bn and Yola Disco N2.4bn.

Similarly, federal ministries and parastatals owe N9.7bn, while state ministries and parastatals owe a total of N16.2bn debt nationwide.

With a huge N78bn debt, the Ikeja Electric Plc, an electricity distribution company, said on Thursday that the debt profile was affecting its operations.

The Head, Media Communications of the company, Mr Felix Ofulue, said that the huge debt was hindering efficient service delivery to customers in the zone.
He said, “The company’s debt profile stands at N78bn being debts owed by customers within our network.

“Out of this, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies owe over N8.9bn to date, we have designed strategies to embark on mass disconnection of all debtors.

“We have also discussed with authorities of the military, navy, police and MDAs on how to settle their debts and we have been assured of payment very soon.”

Ofulue urged consumers to pay their outstanding debts, adding that it would be difficult to sustain supply of electricity in the zone with the huge debts.

He disclosed that the company had reconnected some of the MDAs following agreed payment modalities.

On consumers who were disconnected in estates and other built-up residential areas for debts owed by the MDAs and the military, Ofule promised that the company would ensure that customers, who did not owe were not unjustly punished.

The spokesman said huge debts by some categories of consumers remained one of the major challenges in ensuring uninterrupted power supply in the country. Ikeja Electric had thrown Gowon Estate near Egbeda in Alimosho Council Area into darkness for several weeks as a result of non-payment of huge electricity bills by officers of the Armed Forces living in the estate.

The civilian population had been at the receiving end of the power cut in the estate, a situation which some residents described as unjust and worrisome.

Ofulue said, “Consumers must continue to pay for energy consumed as DISCOs pay heavily to get electricity distributed across the country; so consumers must reciprocate the gesture by paying their electricity bills promptly.

“MDAs of government are the biggest debtors and this is not helping the business of electricity distribution in the country.

“It is unfortunate that we are experiencing this situation, but that is the reality and we must face it.

“Non-payment of electricity bills is like buying “akara” (beans cake) from the seller regularly without paying. The simple implication is that such a business will not last.

“To remain in business, consumers must pay for every bit of power consumed.’’

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

India, Spain, the Netherlands, USA, Nigeria’s Major Export Markets -NBS

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India, Spain and the Netherland top Nigeria’s export markets in the final quarter of 2020, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade Q4 2020 report showed that the United States and China trailed the three.

However, the NBS revealed Nigeria exports mainly crude oil and natural gas during the period under review.

It, “The major export and import market of Nigeria in Q4 2020 were India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China.

“The major export to these countries were crude petroleum and natural gas. The major imports from the countries were motor spirits, used vehicles, motorcycles and antibiotics.”

The bureau stated that the all-commodity group import index increased by 0.13 per cent between October and December 2020.

This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of base metals and articles of base metals (one per cent), boilers, machinery and appliances; parts thereof (1.03 per cent), and products of the chemical and allied industries (0.75 per cent),” it stated.

The NBS, however, noted that the index was negatively affected by animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage products.

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Economy

Onyeama: Qatar To Invest $5bn In Nigeria’s Economy

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The oil-rich state of Qatar is to invest a total of $5 billion in Nigeria’s economy, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Godfrey Onyeama, has disclosed.

Onyeama, who spoke Sunday at a send forth dinner in honour of Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to the State of Qatar, who is also the outgoing Director of Protocol (DOP) at the State House, Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed, also stated that recent career ambassadorial appointments made by the gederal government was based on merit, experience and professionalism.

The minister further said there had been discussions with Qatar on partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), for significant investments in the region of $5 billion in the Nigerian economy.

According to him, ‘‘Qatar is a weighty and strategic country and very strategic in that part of the world and we are putting our best feet forward to advance the interest of our country economically and in other areas.”

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the State of Qatar in 2016 and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, reciprocated with a State visit in 2019.

Onyeama also explained that only trusted hands with a track record of diligence, experience and professionalism in the Foreign Service were recently appointed career ambassadors by the federal government.

The minister said the appointment of Ahmed and other career ambassadors were predicated on posting dedicated and keen Foreign Service practitioners to serve as image makers of the country.

He said: ‘‘Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed is a dedicated professional with a penchant for rigour and detail. He is very capable and one of the best in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is personable, affable, extremely friendly, dispassionate and objective.

‘‘He is going to head a very important mission, a very important country, reckoned to be one of the richest countries in the world, per capita, and there’s a lot we will be doing with the State of Qatar.”

Also speaking, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Adeola Rahman Ipaye, described the honoree as a ‘‘perfect gentleman, very even-natured and always well turned out’’.

Ipaye said he had no doubt that the newly appointed ambassador would serve the country well in Qatar, adding that: ‘‘We are further encouraged that when he completes this assignment, he would return to serve Nigeria in a higher capacity.’’

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, while congratulating the outgoing DOP on his appointment, lauded Ahmed for excellent service to the State House and the nation.

‘‘He served this institution and the nation with the deepest sense of responsibility and it is very important that we establish a tradition where the system appreciates those who have served it well and those who will continue to serve it well,’’ he said.

Umar urged the new envoy to keep very fond memories of his time at the Presidential Villa, assuring him of the prayers and goodwill of all the staff.

Responding, Ahmed thanked President Buhari for the great honour and privilege of making him his principal representative in Doha, Qatar.

The Ambassador-designate pledged to deplore his energy and skill to the promotion of the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Qatar, particularly in the areas of economic, political, cultural and consular affairs as well as other key areas.

Ahmed, who joined Nigeria’s Foreign Service in 1993, said during his years in public service he had learnt that ‘‘patriotism, selfless service, diligence, determination and perseverance will always result in the achievement of the desired objective’’.

According to him, these virtues would be his ‘‘watchword’’ in the pursuit of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives and the attainment of national interests.

The Ambassador-designate singled out for appreciation the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the state Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, saying he had learnt a lot working under their mentorship.

He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary, State House for giving him the opportunity of a memorable work experience in the State House.

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Economy

France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership

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France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.

Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.

A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.

“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”

It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.

It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.

It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.

It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”

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