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Power Firms Oppose Plan to Centralise Revenue Accounts

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Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola
  • Power Firms Oppose Plan to Centralise Revenue Accounts

The 11 electricity distribution companies in the country on Monday condemned the alleged plan by the Federal Government to escrow and centralise their revenue accounts over poor market performance with respect to their various monthly remittances to the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc.

Speaking under the aegis of their umbrella body, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, the power firms said such a move would be a nationalisation of the 11 Discos privatised just three years ago.

The NBET had on several occasions published reports, as well as announced that the Discos remitted only about 30 per cent of their monthly energy invoices in 2016.

The Market Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, also confirmed this after its Executive Managing Director, Mr. Moshood Suleiman, in October last year at a market participants’ workshop in Abuja, declared that if the poor revenue collection continued, the firms’ revenue accounts might be escrowed.

But ANED’s Director of Research and Advocacy, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, said in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, “Any attempt to centralise or escrow the Discos’ revenue accounts will be tantamount to nationalisation or expropriation of the distribution companies.”

According to him, such an action is contrary to the objectives of the National Electricity Power Policy, 2001 and the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 of a private sector-owned and managed electricity sector.

“It will also send very wrong signals to domestic and international investors that Nigeria is not fully open for private sector investment and that we are still partial to the old habits of nationalisation, preventing the injection of the cheap and sorely needed capital that is critical to the rehabilitation and improvement of the electricity infrastructure,” Oduntan stated.

He said it would be improper to have a supposedly private sector-owned and managed business in which the government would seize control of its revenues.

ANED advised the Federal Government to avoid any consideration of regulations or action that would intrude into corporate responsibilities of procurement, financial management or personnel management.

“Relative to procurement, we are not aware that the Nigerian Communications Commission issues regulations to guide the internal procurement of the telecommunication companies; the Central Bank of Nigeria, that of the banks; or the Department of Petroleum Resources, that of the oil companies,” Oduntan added.

The power firms also said they learnt that the Federal Government was mulling a decision to call for the declaration of eligible customers for the electricity market.

“Such can be declared by the minister only when a competitive market exists in the Nigerian electricity supply industry,” Oduntan stated.

ANED, however, argued that such a competitive market, driven by efficiency, presence and utilisation of industry contracts, did not exist at the moment.

According to the association, the minister, under Section 27 of the EPSR Act, 2005, has the authority to determine end-user customers, who then constitute eligible customers.

But it noted that Section 28 of the Act required that the Discos must be compensated for any reduction in their ability to “earn permitted rates of return on their assets,” or any inadequacy in their revenues as a result of such determination.

The power firms, therefore, warned that any such move would have an effect on consumers.

“What this means is that consumers will have to suffer an increase in their electricity tariff to accommodate this premature declaration of eligible customers,” ANED added.

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.

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Sterling Homes Plans To Reduce Housing Deficit

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Sterling Homes Limited has said it is committed to working with the government through private public partnership to reduce housing deficit in all the geo-political zones in the country.

The Managing Director, Mr Kunle Adeyemi, said this during an event on the company’s rebranding organised as part of its 10th year anniversary in Lagos on Friday.

During the event, the company while expressing commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction, unveiled its new logo with colours to define its mission and objections.

We want to be present in all the six geo-political zones on Nigeria by providing affordable luxury homes, excellent torch. So for us, there is a need for us to rebrand and have a new direction and vision.

“We want to partner with the government on the present housing deficit; we want to embrace a public, private partnership with the government to reduce the deficit in every geo-political zone.”

The managing director said that one of its unique selling points was its after sales services which was top notch.

He said it ensured that its customers were taken through the journey of actualising their dreams of becoming home owners.

While noting that everyone deserved to have a comfortable home despite the economic situation, he said it had designed a structure payment plan with zero interest in some cases to help intending home owners.

He said it also had provisions for high breed options and developing areas to accommodate various income levels.

Before the end of the year, he said, Sterling Homes would be establishing new presence and projects in other regions.

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Mutual Benefits Drives Financial Inclusion

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Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc says it is committed to deepening financial inclusion and creating easy accessibility for insurance in the country.

A statement from the firm on Friday said it expressed this commitment when it inaugurated its South-West region franchise operations in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Managing Director, Mr Femi Asenuga, said this was part of its efforts to develop the insurance business and create values.

He said, “The role we all have to play is to be ambassadors of Mutual Benefits.

“A franchise is a well-known word and the way Mutual Benefits practices franchise is in our normal style of creating and adding value; we never rest.”

Asenuga said that the firm was working with stakeholders to increase awareness and take its message to the grassroots.

In developed economies, he said, insurance firms owned banks. He regretted that this was not the situation in Nigeria.

He said the firm would provide stakeholders with the platform and support to make them excel as a member.

The Managing Director, Mutual Benefits Life Assurance Limited, Mr Ademola Ifagbayi, appreciated the stakeholders and urged them to take advantage of the franchise.

The Group Managing Director, Odua Group, Mr Adewale Raji, in his address, advised stakeholders to be committed and showcase good character and integrity.

He said, “The Odua investment is owned by the six South-West governments and it is in our interest when economic, businesses and investment spreads across the South-West states.

“This is an opportunity for us to strengthen insurance penetration within the South-West states.”

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CAC Sets Three-Hour Circle For Company Registration

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Corporate Affairs Commission

The Corporate Affairs Commission on Sunday stated that following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it was now prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just three hours before the end of year 2021.

Registrar-General of the commission, Garba Ababukar, gave the indication at a dinner in honour of the Chairman, Governing Board, CAC and Nigerian Ambassador Designate to the Kingdom of Spain, Ademola Seriki.

The commission disclosed this in series of tweets posted via its Twitter handle on Sunday.

“To achieve the target, the registrar-general said the commission was making arrangements to empower over 400 approving officers with working tools to process and approve registration applications either from home or anywhere necessary,” the agency stated.

Abubakar noted that the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic had adversely hampered CAC’s delivery timeline.

He, however, said the CAC was resolutely committed to serving its customers despite being forced to operate with less than 50 per cent of its workforce.

While bidding farewell to Seriki, the registrar-general said he received the news of his appointment with mix feelings as CAC was going to miss his tremendous support and guidance.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the outgoing CAC Chairman as a man of immense pedigree and endowed with enormous potential to justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.

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