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Liquidity Crisis/Inadequate Tariffs

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nuclear power
  • Liquidity Crisis/Inadequate Tariffs

A key function of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) as contained in section 32(d) of the Electricity Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005, is to ensure that the prices charged by licensees are fair to customers and sufficient to allow the licensees to finance their activities and to allow for reasonable earnings for efficient operation.

It was in pursuant of this mandate that the authority vested in NERC that the commission established a methodology for regulating electricity prices called the Multi-Year Tariff Order.

The MYTO provides a 15-year tariff path for the Nigerian Electricity Industry with minor reviews each year to reflect changes in a limited number of parameters, such as inflation and gas prices.

The MYTO made provision for major reviews every five years, when all inputs are reviewed with stakeholders.

The current MYTO, the first, came into effect November 2013.
It is a common knowledge that in this first five years under the MYTO, NERC has not implemented the cost reflective tariff as envisaged under the arrangement.

“it is unfortunate that five years is coming to a close with NERC yet to implement the key clauses of the five years performance agreement the federal government signed with the DISCOs,” an official of a Disco said.

The three key areas which have been ignored by the federal government are the cost-reflective tariff regime, a clean debt-free book which Discos were supposed to have inherited in 2013 and the N100 billion annual subventions for two years to bridge the gap between what consumers pay and the actual cost of electricity.

Up till this time, the Discos are still being forced to sell their product at an average retail price of N32 per kilowatt hour, for a product that should sell for more than an average retail price of N80 per kilowatt hour.

While the federal government has forced the Discos to sell power below the market price, some Discos have resorted to sell at black market price, far higher than the market price, in the form of estimated billing.

The implication of this gross underfunding and other fall-outs such as interest charges, electricity marketing stabilisation fund, and historical debts such that as at now the total shortfall in the sector is to the tune of N1.35 trillion and still growing.

The current situation is unsustainable and as the first five-year agreement lapses this year, the government needs to come in decisively through NERC by resetting the market and starting afresh.

It is obvious that the government has not fulfilled its own side of the bargain, and this has made the other members of the value chain to fail in their obligations.

So, it is futile and of no use resorting to blame game.

“The only way the distribution end of the value chain can work as envisaged, and by extension, ensure that all other members of the value chain operate effectively and efficiently is for the government to start afresh with the Discos, clean the debt books and commence the implementation of the cost reflective tariff as enunciated in the MYTO,” said an official of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN, who spoke to journalists in Lagos.

The way out and solution to the power sector underfunding and the Discos’ current handicap, according to the official who pleaded for anonymity is the immediate commencement of the implementation of the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) as this is the only panacea to tackling the crisis in the power sector.

The PSRP envisions that the market shortfall will be addressed through an annual federal government budget that will include provisions for fully funding historical and future sector deficit from 2017 to 2021; as well as through the establishment of cost reflective tariffs across the board over the next five years and sooner a bilateral willing buyer/willing seller for premium customers;

The market shortfall can also be addressed through the payment assurance facility to be established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to support NBET, and other such funding initiatives by the World Bank Group on the one hand, and IFC and MIGA, on the other, up to $2.5billion and $2.7billion respectively.

From all indications, it is not in doubt that the 11 electricity distribution companies that invested about N11 trillion to buy the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, (PHCN), distribution assets in 2013 are today in deep crisis owing to acute shortage of funds to invest in infrastructure and expand their operation. Providing prepaid meters for millions of customers has become a big challenge and the entire value chain is crippled by poor funding.

Energy experts have suggested that the way forward is to reset the market through cost reflective tariff and not bringing in new investors.

“Contemplating bringing in new set of investors now is a wrong-headed approach. In any case, no investor will be willing to commit funds to a business where he cannot charge a cost reflective pricing. The problem is not with the DISCOs investors per se, even though one is suggesting that they are saints.

“The problem, however, is with the government and its refusal to live up to its billings. Let the government start afresh, inject funds, allow cost reflective tariff and play by the rules, you will see how investors will be competing to have a foothold in the sector within the first year. It is the only way to go,” said an investment analyst.

Indeed, as the five-year Performance Agreement which the 11 Discos signed with the federal government lapses, November this year, it has become imperative for the federal government to reset the market and commence a new set of Agreements with the investors, if the nation is desirous of a stable and efficient power sector.

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.

Economy

Nigeria’s Growth Forecast Lowered to 3% for 2025, Higher than Most Emerging Markets

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IMF global - Investors King

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 3% growth rate for Nigeria in 2025, slightly down from the 3.1% forecasted for 2024.

Despite this slight decline, Nigeria’s projected growth remains higher than that of many emerging markets as detailed in the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday.

In comparison, South Africa’s economy is expected to grow by 1.2% in 2025, up from 0.9% this year. Brazil’s growth is projected at 2.4% from 2.1% in 2024, and Mexico’s growth forecast stands at 1.6% for 2025, down from 2.2% in 2024.

However, India is anticipated to see a robust growth of 6.5% in 2025, although this is slightly lower than the 7% forecast for 2024.

The IMF’s projections come as Nigeria undertakes significant monetary reforms. The Central Bank of Nigeria has been working on clearing the foreign exchange backlog, and the federal government recently removed petrol subsidies.

These reforms aim to stabilize the economy, but the country continues to grapple with high inflation and increasing poverty levels, which pose challenges to sustained economic growth.

Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole is expected to see an improvement in growth, with projections of 4.1% in 2025, up from 3.7% in 2024. This regional outlook indicates a modest recovery as economies adjust to global economic conditions.

The IMF report underscores the need for cautious monetary policy. It recommends that central banks in emerging markets avoid easing their monetary stances too early to manage inflation risks and sustain economic growth.

In cases where inflation risks have materialized, central banks are advised to remain open to further tightening of monetary policy.

“Central banks should refrain from easing too early and should be prepared for further tightening if necessary,” the report stated. “Where inflation data encouragingly signal a durable return to price stability, monetary policy easing should proceed gradually to allow for necessary fiscal consolidation.”

The IMF also highlighted the importance of avoiding fiscal slippages, noting that fiscal policies may need to be significantly tighter than previously anticipated in some countries to ensure economic stability.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Inflation Rises to 34.19% in June Amid Rising Costs

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Food Inflation - Investors King

Nigeria’s headline inflation rate surged to 34.19% in June 2024, a significant increase from the 33.95% recorded in May.

This rise highlights the continuing pressures on the nation’s economy as the cost of living continues to climb.

On a year-on-year basis, the June 2024 inflation rate was 11.40 percentage points higher than the 22.79% recorded in June 2023.

This substantial increase shows the persistent challenges faced by consumers and businesses alike in coping with escalating prices.

The month-on-month inflation rate for June 2024 was 2.31%, slightly up from 2.14% in May 2024. This indicates that the pace at which prices are rising continues to accelerate, compounding the economic strain on households and enterprises.

A closer examination of the divisional contributions to the inflation index reveals that food and non-alcoholic beverages were the primary drivers, contributing 17.71% to the year-on-year increase.

Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels followed, adding 5.72% to the inflationary pressures.

Other significant contributors included clothing and footwear (2.62%), transport (2.23%), and furnishings, household equipment, and maintenance (1.72%).

Sectors such as education, health, and miscellaneous goods and services also played notable roles, contributing 1.35%, 1.03%, and 0.57% respectively.

The rural and urban inflation rates also exhibited marked increases. Urban inflation reached 36.55% in June 2024, a rise of 12.23 percentage points from the 24.33% recorded in June 2023.

On a month-on-month basis, urban inflation was 2.46% in June, slightly higher than the 2.35% in May 2024. The twelve-month average for urban inflation stood at 32.08%, up 9.70 percentage points from June 2023’s 22.38%.

Rural inflation was similarly impacted, with a year-on-year rate of 32.09% in June 2024, an increase of 10.71 percentage points from June 2023’s 21.37%.

The month-on-month rural inflation rate rose to 2.17% in June, up from 1.94% in May 2024. The twelve-month average for rural inflation reached 28.15%, compared to 20.76% in June 2023.

The rising inflation rates pose significant challenges for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as it grapples with balancing monetary policy to rein in inflation while supporting economic growth.

The ongoing pressures from high food prices and energy costs necessitate urgent policy interventions to stabilize the economy and protect the purchasing power of Nigerians.

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Economy

Inflation to Climb Again in June, but at a Reduced Pace, Predicts Meristem

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Nigeria's Inflation Rate - Investors King

As Nigeria awaits the release of the National Bureau of Statistics’ report on June 2024 inflation, economic analysts project that while inflation will continue its upward trajectory, the pace of increase will moderate.

This comes after inflation rose to a 28-year high of 33.95% in May, up from 33.69% in April.

Meristem, a leading financial services company, has forecasted that June’s headline inflation will rise to 34.01%, a slight increase from May’s figure.

The firm attributes this persistent inflationary pressure to ongoing structural challenges in agriculture, high transportation costs, and the continuous depreciation of the naira.

Experts have highlighted several factors contributing to the inflationary trend. Insecurity in food-producing regions and high transportation costs have disrupted supply chains, while the depreciation of the naira has increased importation costs.

In May, food inflation grew at a slower pace, reaching 40.66%, but challenges in the agricultural sector, such as the infestation of tomato leaves, have led to higher prices for staples like tomatoes and yams.

Meristem predicts that food inflation will persist in June, driven by these lingering challenges. Increased demand during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration and rising importation costs are also expected to keep food prices elevated.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile items like food and energy, was at 27.04% in May. Meristem projects it to rise to 27.30% in June.

The firm notes that higher transportation costs and the depreciation of the naira will continue to push core inflation up.

However, they also anticipate a month-on-month moderation in the core index due to a relatively stable naira exchange rate during June, compared to a more significant depreciation in May.

Cowry Assets Management Limited has projected an even higher headline inflation figure of 34.25% for June, citing similar concerns.

The firm notes that over the past year, food prices in Nigeria have soared due to supply chain disruptions, currency depreciation, and climate change impacts on agriculture.

This has made basic staples increasingly unaffordable for many Nigerians, stretching household budgets.

As inflation continues to rise, analysts believe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will likely hike the benchmark lending rate again.

The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 650 basis points this year, bringing it to 26.25% as of May 2024.

At a recent BusinessDay CEO Forum, CBN Governor Dr. Olayemi Cardoso emphasized the MPC’s commitment to tackling inflation, stating that while the country needs growth, controlling inflation is paramount.

“The MPC is not oblivious to the fact that the country does need growth. If these hikes hadn’t been done at the time, the naira would have almost tipped over, so it helped to stabilize the naira. Interest rates are not set by the CBN governor but by the MPC committee composed of independent-minded people. These are people not given to emotion but to data. The MPC clarified that the major issue is taming inflation, and they would do what is necessary to tame it,” Cardoso said.

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