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Adeosun Confirms N350bn Release for Capital Projects

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  • Adeosun Confirms N350bn Release for Capital Projects

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Monday confirmed the release of the sum of N350bn to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government for the implementation of capital projects contained in the 2017 budget.

She confirmed the development exclusively to our correspondent during a telephone interview.

The 2017 budget, christened: ‘Budget of Recovery and Growth, was presented to the National Assembly on December 14, 2016, and passed by the lawmakers on May 11, 2017.

The fiscal document, which was signed into law by the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on June 12, 2017, has a total expenditure of N7.44tn, out of which N2.99tn is for non-debt recurrent spending; N2.36tn for capital expenditure; while debt servicing is to gulp N1.66tn.

Adeosun had on June 6, during the public presentation of the budget, stated that the Finance ministry was ready to release the sum of N350bn for capital projects once the budget was loaded.

The minister, while responding to enquiries by our correspondent on the development, explained that the funds had been released to the various agencies of government.

She said the release of the funds was done in tranches with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing getting the highest amount of capital releases.

This, according to her, is followed by the ministries of transport, defence, and agriculture and rural development.

She said water resources, interior and health were among the ministries with huge sums of capital releases made to them by the Federal Government.

“Yes, we did it (N350bn capital release) in tranches. Largest allocations were for the PWH (power, works and housing), transport, defence, agric, water resources, interior and health,” Adeosun said.

The 2017 budget, with capital allocation of N2.36tn, is targeted at projects that are aligned with the core execution priorities of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan

The capital allocations have been crafted to stimulate activities in critical sectors of the economy that have quick transformative potential such as infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, services, and social development.

For instance, under the 2017 budget, the Federal Government will be embarking on a rail modernisation programme to which N148bn has been allocated as counterpart funds for projects to be financed by China.

They are the Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Lagos, Kano-Kaduna, Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri, Kaduna-Idu and other rail projects.

In the area of electricity, the sum of N40bn for service-wide provision has been made to settle reconciled outstanding bills of government agencies as part of a strategy to revamp the ailing power sector.

For the housing sector, the sum of N28bn was allocated in the budget for the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme nationwide.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, had during the budget presentation shortly after it was assented to by Osinbajo, had said the government was concerned about the number of abandoned projects scattered across the federation.

He added that more targeted releases would be done to agencies of government for projects that were critical to the achievement of the ERGP.

Udoma noted that in this year’s budget alone, funds had been allocated to over 65 roads and bridges and rehabilitation projects across the six geo-political zones of the country.

Some of them are N10bn for the rehabilitation/reconstruction and expansion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway sections I and II in Lagos and Oyo states; N13.19bn for dualisation of the Kano-Maiduguri road, sections I-V; N10.63bn for the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway, sections I–IV; and N7bn for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, phases 2A and 2B, including access roads.

There are also budgetary provisions of N7.12bn for the dualisation of the Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja road; N9.25bn for the dualisation of the Obajana junction to Benin road, phase two, sections I–IV; N7.5bn for the rehabilitation of the Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway; N7bn for the construction of the Bodo-Bonny road, with a bridge across the Opobo Channel.

Similarly, the sum of N3.3bn was budgeted for the rehabilitation of the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani road; N3.5bn for the dualisation of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Federal highway lot 1, Odukpani-Itu bridgehead; N1.5bn for the dualisation of the Kano-Katsina road phase one; and N2.24bn for the dualisation of the Suleja-Minna road, sections I and II, among others.

Udoma had said, “We can’t be doing the same thing and expect different results. We have to do targeted releases by looking at the projects we can easily complete and which are important.

“We are working on that to make sure that over time, we concentrate our resources so that we have maximum impact.”

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

Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

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Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.

NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.

The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.

“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.

The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.

It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.

But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.

NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.

The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).

The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.

“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.

The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.

“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.

NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

Nigeria is moving in the right direction economically but its movement is not fast, the United Nations stated on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said this during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.

She said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, its population large but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.

The UN scribe stated that after traveling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.

Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.

“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”

Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.

“And the challenges still remain with security, our social cohesion and social contract between government and the people. But I know that people are working on these issues.”

She said the UN recognised the reforms in Nigeria and other nations, adding that the common global agenda was the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mohammad commended Nigeria’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as she expressed hope that the arrival of vaccines would be the beginning of the end of COVID-19.

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, told his guest that the Federal Government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

Nigeria spent a total of N10.7tn on fuel subsidy in the last 10 years, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said.

Oyebanji, who was the guest speaker at the 18th Aret Adams Lecture on Thursday, said N750bn was spent on subsidy in 2019.

He highlighted the need for a transition to a market-driven environment through policy-backed legislative and commercial frameworks, enabling the sustainability of the downstream petroleum sector.

“Total deregulation is more than just the removal of price subsidies; it is aimed at improving business operations, increasing the investments in the oil and gas sector value chain, resulting in the growth in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector as a whole,” he said.

The managing director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc) said steps had been taken, “but larger and faster leaps are now required.”

According to him, deregulation requires the creation of a competitive market environment, and will guarantee the supply of products at commercial and market prices.

“It requires unrestricted and profitable investments in infrastructure, earning reasonable returns to investors. It requires a strong regulator to enable transparency and fair competition among players, and not to regulate prices,” Oyebanji said.

He noted that MOMAN had recently called for a national debate by stakeholders to share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on society – especially on the most vulnerable.

He said, “A shift from crude oil production to crude oil full value realisation through deliberate investment in domestic refining and refined products distribution, creates the opportunity to transform the dynamics of the downstream sector from one of ‘net importer’ to one of ‘net exporter’, spurring the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Effective reforms and regulations are key drivers for the growth within the refining sector. Non-functional refineries cost Nigeria over $13bn in 2019. If the NNPC refineries were operating at optimal capacity, Nigeria would have imported only 40 per cent of what it consumed in 2019.”

Full deregulation of the downstream sector remains the most glaring boost to potential investors in this space, according to Oyebanji.

He said, “As crude oil prices will fluctuate depending on the prevailing exchange rates, it will be astute to trade in naira to avoid inevitable price swings.

“There needs to be a balance between ensuring the sustainable growth of the crude oil value chain (upstream through downstream) and providing value for the Nigerian consumer and the Nigerian economy.”

He said the philosophy should be for the government to put the legislative and commercial framework in place and let the market develop by itself.

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