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Council Approves over N300bn Projects

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Buhari on arrival from London
  • After Six-hour Meeting, Council Approves over N300bn Projects

A six-hour Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday in Abuja approved a volume projects valued at over N300 billion in various parts of the country and across different sectors of the economy.

wednesday’s FEC meeting which took off at 11 a.m. and ended at some minutes before 6p.m., was the longest ever presided over by the president. Following its inability to exhaust the agenda before it, the meeting will continue today in its commitment to exhaust 42 memoranda it is considering before the end of 2017.

Of the 42 memoranda tabled before FEC in the Council Chamber yesterday, 22 were considered and approved while the remaining 20 have been scheduled for consideration today. It is the first time that FEC meeting would be held on two consecutive days since the advent of the current Buhari administration.

Leading four ministers into the press gallery to brief journalists on issues considered at the meeting, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said both the massive approvals made yesterday as well as the resolve to continue the meeting today underscored the level of government’s commitment to the wellbeing of Nigeria.

In his briefing, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said some of the projects approved were institutional while others bordered on transport, roads, power and education.
He was joined in the briefing by his counterparts in Transportation Ministry, Rotimi Amaechi; Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello.

According to Fashola, the institutional projects approved included the completion of Police Service Commission (PSC) headquarters whose cost was reviewed by the council from initial N3.4 billion to N3.9 billion as well as a review of the cost of building Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum in Anambra State from hitherto N1.496 billion to N1.953 billion.

He also said FEC approved N155.7 billion for the construction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road and another N14.4 billion for the rehabilitation of the Efire-Araromi-Aiyede-Ayila Road to connect Ondo State with Ogun State.

He also said the council approved the augmentation of Amanze section of Onitsha-Enugu expressway at the cost of N38.74 billion as well as the full rehabilitation of Umunya section of the road earlier awarded at the rate of N23.4 billion, both totaling about N62.06 billion.

The minister also said the council approved the provision of independent power plants to nine universities and one teaching hospital at the cost of N38.965 billion to provide power for students’ use and street lighting.

Fashola also said his ministry was working assiduously to ensure the restoration of power to Ondo South senatorial district of Ondo State which has been in black for over three years.

In his own briefing, Suleiman said council approved N5.6 million for the completion of Adada dam which was started in 2010 in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu to supply water to Nsukka in 2018.

He also said the council approved N16.5 billion for the completion of the second phase of Galuma dam, an irrigation dam in Kaduna meant to supply water to Zaria as well as the review of consultancy fee for a dam in Ogwashiukwu in Delta State at the cost of N133 million.

In his own briefing, Amaechi said the council resolved to fund early childhood education including the distribution of text books to pupils in primary 4, 5 and 6 in public schools nationwide at the cost of N6.9 billion.

He also disclosed the approval of the construction of Jos central library and faculty of animal sciences and engineering at the cost of N587 million, adding that the council also approved the purchase of two vessels hitherto being hired by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to escort vessels to sea port at the cost of N1.9 billion.

Amaechi also said approval was made for the purchase of two other vessels in eastern port of 17 metres to assist vessels in the sea port at the cost of N1.2 billion.

Other projects approved according to Amaechi, were the purchase of calibration inspection at the cost of N111.6 million; a new terminal at Aminu Kano Airport, Kano, at the cost of N621 billion and direct procurement of installation and inaguration of wide area of multilateration for the Gulf of Guinea at the cost of N3.9 billion. He said this purchase would help to capture equipment flying below the radar.

Also briefing, the Minister of FCT, Bello, said approval was made for the completion of Goodluck Jonathan expressway whose section was opened recently to aid traffic flow in Abuja at the cost of N3.8. billion. Bello said the completion would aid movement from Keffi to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Garki.

He also said Wassa resettlement site in South-eastern part of Abuja consisting of 197 roads of 88.9 kilometres was approved at the cost of N26 billion.

Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday swore in six new permanent secretaries before the formal take-off of the FEC meeting.

The new permanent secretaries are: Mustapha Sulaiman (Kano); Adekunle Adeyemi (Oyo); Ekaro Chukwumogu (Rivers); Adedayo Apata (Ekiti); Abdukadir Muazu (Kaduna); Osuji Ndubuisi (Imo) and Bitrus Nabasu (Plateau).

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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Economy

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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Economy

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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