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Collect N40bn Electricity Debts from States, FG Charges Discos

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  • Collect N40bn Electricity Debts from States, FG Charges Discos

The Federal Government on Monday charged electricity distribution companies to engage state governments in order to collect the outstanding electricity debt amounting to about N40bn owed by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the various state and local governments.

It stated that on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, the Federal Executive Council approved the verified sum of N25.9bn as the Federal Government MDAs’ debts, and its payment by setting it off against the debts owed by the Discos to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told participants at the 20th power sector meeting that the outstanding MDAs’ debt of about N40bn should be verified with the state governments, as the Federal Government had successfully verified what its MDAs owed the Discos.

He said, “If you engage them (state governments) properly, they can help you to verify debts that are owed so that the payment plan can be developed. Out of the claims that you submitted to us, we found out that only a part of those claims related to Federal Government agencies. So what we have verified does not mean that there may not be legitimate claims in respect of the unverified N40bn.

“But the truth is that it is not the Federal Government’s responsibility; some of them are owed by state governments, local governments and their MDAs. So, there’s a lot of work that you also need to do to engage and interface with them so that they can undertake this kind of verification, clean their records and pay off the debts.”

Fashola advised the power distributors to liaise with state governments with respect to issues pertaining to right of way, security, law enforcement, among others.

He said, “I will like to urge you (Discos) to continue to liaise with the various state governments where your operations are based so that they can assist you in enforcing the law against energy theft, because you will need their support. They can also assist you in protecting and granting right of way for the expansion of your business.

“Also, they can assist you in metering the state and local government offices and institutions, their hospitals, schools, courtrooms, waterworks and so many other facilities that you provide energy to. The interface with the state governments must continue.”

The minister, however, stated that the more pressing challenge confronting the sector was how the Discos could quickly increase their capacity to take power and distribute to consumers.

He also noted that going by a recent letter that was written by the Discos, he observed that the firms were afraid of losing some income or some customers if the government proceeded with certain initiatives that were recently unveiled in the power sector.

The minister outlined the initiatives as the provision of meters to consumers through licensing of meter suppliers; provision of more power to consumers through licensing of eligible customers; provision of independent dedicated power to universities; and promotion of the deployment of more solar power through mini-grids.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

Agricultural Sector’s Contribution to GDP Decreases in Q1 2024

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Nigeria’s agricultural sector declined in its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to recent data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The sector, which encompasses crop production, livestock, forestry, and fishing, experienced a decrease in its nominal growth rate compared to the same period in 2023.

The data reveals that the agricultural sector grew by 0.77% year-on-year in nominal terms in Q1 2024, a decrease of 4.47% points from the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

This decline is significant, especially when compared to the growth rate of 14.94% recorded in the preceding quarter, showcasing a downturn of 14.17% points.

Crop production emerged as the primary driver of the sector, constituting 87.98% of the overall nominal value of the sector in Q1 2024.

However, despite its dominance, the sector’s contribution to nominal GDP stood at 17.22%, reflecting a decrease from the rates recorded in both the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2023, which were 19.63% and 24.65%, respectively.

In real terms, the agricultural sector experienced a modest growth rate of 0.18% year-on-year in Q1 2024, indicating an increase of 1.08% points from the same period in 2023.

Nevertheless, this growth rate represents a decline of 1.92% points from the preceding quarter, which recorded a growth rate of 2.10%. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the sector’s growth rate stood at -32.25% in the first quarter of 2024.

Despite these challenges, the agricultural sector remains a vital component of Nigeria’s economy, contributing significantly to employment, food security, and overall economic development.

As the nation navigates through economic fluctuations, policymakers and stakeholders may need to explore strategies to revitalize and strengthen the agricultural sector to ensure its sustained growth and resilience in the face of future uncertainties.

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Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 2.98% in Q1 2024, Driven by Services Sector

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Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2.98% in the first quarter of 2024 as the services sector sustained growth, the latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report has shown.

This growth was higher when compared to the 2.31% recorded in the corresponding period of 2023, but lower than the 3.46% growth observed in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The report indicates that the services sector spearheaded this expansion as it grew by 4.32% in the period under review and contributed 58.04% of the aggregate GDP

Contrary to previous quarters, where the agriculture sector faced challenges, it rebounded modestly to post a 0.18% growth rate.

This positive performance marks a notable turnaround from the decline of -0.90% recorded in the first quarter of 2023.

Also, the industry sector recorded a growth rate of 2.19%, compared to the marginal 0.31% growth in the same period last year.

The aggregate GDP in nominal terms stood at N58,855,142.27 million for the first quarter of 2024.

Oil Sector First Quarter 2024

Delving into sectoral specifics, the oil sector posted a real growth rate of 5.70% year-on-year in Q1 2024.

Although this growth rate represents a decline from the previous quarter where it stood at 12.11%, the oil sector still contributed 6.38% of the total real GDP.

This performance revealed the sector’s continued importance despite ongoing global economic shifts and fluctuations in oil prices.

Non-oil Sector First Quarter

On the other hand, the non-oil sector expanded by 2.80% in real terms during the reference quarter.

This growth was predominantly driven by key sectors such as Financial and Insurance, Information and Communication, Agriculture, Trade, and Manufacturing.

In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 93.62% to the nation’s GDP in the first quarter of 2024, lower than the share recorded in the first quarter of 2023 which was 93.79% and lower than the fourth quarter of 2023 recorded as 95.30%.

Despite the challenges posed by the global economic landscape and domestic factors, Nigeria’s GDP growth in the first quarter of 2024 shows resilience and potential for further expansion.

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Federal Government Disburses N260bn to Revitalize Primary Health Centres Nationwide

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The federal government has disbursed N260 billion to the 36 states to revitalise primary health centres (PHCs).

This initiative, announced by Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, will improve healthcare accessibility and quality for all citizens.

During a ministerial sectoral update organized by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation on Friday, Pate emphasized the urgency and importance of this investment.

“N260 billion is sitting right now at the state level for the revitalization of their primary healthcare centres,” he stated, highlighting the immediate availability of funds for this crucial sector.

The fund, part of which is sourced from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, is intended to upgrade and equip up to 17,000 primary healthcare centres nationwide.

This ambitious target aims to significantly improve the quality of healthcare services available to Nigerians, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

Pate noted the government’s strategic focus on primary healthcare as the foundation of a robust health system.

“Our goal is to ensure that every Nigerian, regardless of their location, has access to quality healthcare services. By revitalizing these primary health centres, we can provide essential health services closer to the people, thereby reducing the burden on tertiary healthcare facilities.”

The minister also pointed out that this financial injection would address several challenges faced by the PHCs, including inadequate infrastructure, lack of essential medical supplies, and insufficient staffing.

“This funding will enable states to renovate existing facilities, procure necessary medical equipment, and employ additional healthcare workers to meet the increasing demand for healthcare services,” Pate explained.

The disbursement of these funds is part of a broader strategy to strengthen Nigeria’s health system, which has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The revitalization of PHCs is seen as a critical step in achieving universal health coverage and improving health outcomes for all Nigerians.

Stakeholders in the healthcare sector have welcomed the government’s initiative, calling it a timely intervention that could transform the country’s healthcare landscape.

“This is a significant milestone for Nigeria’s healthcare system. The revitalization of primary health centres is essential for achieving sustainable health improvements and ensuring that every Nigerian has access to basic healthcare services,” said Dr. Adeyemi Adeniran, a public health expert.

The successful implementation of this initiative will require close collaboration between the federal and state governments, as well as active participation from local communities.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has pledged to monitor the utilization of the funds to ensure transparency and accountability.

As the government embarks on this ambitious project, the hope is that it will not only enhance healthcare delivery but also build a resilient health system capable of addressing current and future health challenges.

With the N260 billion disbursement, the federal government has taken a significant step towards achieving this goal, reaffirming its commitment to the health and well-being of all Nigerians.

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