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Discos Knock Obaseki Over Row With BEDC Boss



Power - Investors King
  • Discos Knock Obaseki Over Row With BEDC Boss

The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors has expressed its displeasure over the recent treatment meted out to the Managing Director of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Mrs Funke Osibodu, by the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.

Obaseki, on Tuesday, had ordered Osibodu to leave his office for “failing to meet obligations to electricity consumers in Edo and throwing the state into darkness for weeks.”

The mild drama was said to have played out while the governor was receiving members of the House of Representatives Committee on Power who were in the Government House on a courtesy visit.

But ANED, the umbrella body of the 11 electricity distribution companies in the country, described the governor’s outburst as unfair.

The Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, ANED, Chief Sunday Oduntan, said in a statement, “What is most unfortunate about the whole episode is that there is a misunderstanding about how the power sector works and this has led to the governor’s unfair expectations from the BEDC.

“With the upcoming elections and everyone looking for scapegoats, I cannot also rule out that local politics may be involved in this case and that is highly unfortunate.”

Oduntan noted that governor mentioned that the state was generating over 600 megawatts and as such should not be encountering power supply challenges.

“However, he needs to understand that the power generated at Azura or any other power plant in the country for that matter is first sent to the national grid from where it is redistributed to different Discos for distribution to customers,” he added.

According to him, Benin Disco is only entitled to nine per cent of the power sent out from the national grid and so it is clear that the Disco does not have the power to retain the 600MW generated by Azura.

The ANED spokesman said, “More interesting is the fact that out of this nine per cent, over 40 per cent of it is distributed within Edo State as the host community of the Disco. The other three states in the franchise area – Delta, Ekiti and Ondo – share the remaining 60 per cent.

“You can clearly see, therefore, that Edo State enjoys the lion share of what the Disco gets already. To allocate more to Edo – which is what the governor is advocating – will be grossly unfair to the other states.”

Oduntan said it was “unfair to attack a Disco that is on record as having the highest number of prepaid meters in the country all in a bid to ensure customers get value for their money as well as to end the practice of estimated billing within its franchise area.”

Meanwhile, two groups and a market women association have praised Obaseki for the “display of courage and defence of the common man.”

According to a statement from the Edo State Government, Mr Edorodion Frank, in a message on behalf of Aisiokuo-Edo Group, commended the governor “for sending clear signals to those onlookers who think you are weak or afraid to take some compelling proactive radical decisions, which are in the overall interest of Edo people, no matter whose ox is gored.”

He said his reactions, on behalf of Edo people, had won the hearts of majority of residents in the state, including the opposition parties and the non-indigenes, particularly the Aisiokuo-Edo group.

The leader of market women in the state, Mrs Blacky Omoregie, said the governor had once again demonstrated his love for the common people in the state.

“He rose to the occasion to prove the Edo man in him that he is fearless and honest. Our businesses have been suffering for over three weeks since we have been in darkness in Edo State due to the insensitivity of the BEDC,” she added.

The Benin Integrity Group, led by Chief Uhunwa Ighodaro, was quoted as saying, “The Benin Integrity Group salutes Governor Godwin Obaseki’s patriotism and courage to defend the overall interest of Edo people and advises the governor to take more decisive and proactive actions in his burning desire to lay solid socio-economic and infrastructural development of Edo State.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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IMF Staff Completes Virtual Mission to Lesotho




Lesotho has been struggling with the fallout from the pandemic and a sharp decline in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU); The authorities and the mission team made significant progress in their discussions on policies that could be supported by the IMF under a financial arrangement.

A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mr. Aqib Aslam, conducted a series of virtual missions, most recently from September 7 to October 15, 2021, to discuss the authorities’ economic and financial program and their request for IMF financial support.

The authorities and the mission team had productive discussions on policies that could be supported by the IMF under a financial arrangement. The program under discussion would aim to support a durable post-pandemic recovery, restore fiscal sustainability, strengthen public financial management, and ensure the protection of the most vulnerable. Other key structural reforms to be implemented include strengthening governance and fostering private sector investment to spur inclusive growth and employment over the medium term.

At the end of the visit, Mr. Aslam issued the following statement:

“Lesotho has been experiencing twin economic shocks resulting from the pandemic and a decline in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) that have proved to be highly volatile. Public expenditures have been increasing while SACU revenues were buoyant but have not adapted to their decline and the limited growth in other revenue sources. At the same time, the economy has been in recession since 2017. The resulting fiscal and external imbalances, if left unaddressed, would continue to put pressure on international reserves and lead to government payment arrears.

“Discussions emphasized the need to support a robust and inclusive post-pandemic recovery. To this end, the mission discussed with the authorities a number of options for containing the fiscal deficit to a level that is sustainable and can be fully financed. The team noted that the adjustment should be focused on expenditure measures while boosting poverty-reducing social spending to protect the most vulnerable. Complementary actions include efforts to broaden financial access and inclusion; strengthen financial supervision; modernize the legal frameworks for bank lending, business rescue, and restructuring, and digitalize payment systems.

“On the fiscal front, efforts should focus on addressing the public sector wage bill, which is one of the largest in the world compared to the size of the economy; saving on public sector and official allowances; better targeting education loans; streamlining the capital budget and initiating gender-responsive budgeting. Discussions also considered measures to modernize tax policy and improve domestic revenue mobilization. The mission noted the need to address long-standing PFM issues to ensure the provision of reliable fiscal data, the integrity of government systems, and the sound use of public resources.

“Significant progress was made during the visit, and discussions will continue in the coming weeks. If agreement is reached on policy measures in support of the reform program, an arrangement to support Lesotho’s economic program would be proposed for the IMF Executive Board’s consideration.

“The IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and constructive discussions.”

The IMF mission met with Prime Minister Majoro, Minister of Finance Sophonea, Central Bank Governor Matlanyane, and other senior government officials. The team also met with representatives of the diplomatic community, private sector, civil society, and multilateral development partners.

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Nigeria’s Inflation: Prices Increase at Slower Pace in September 2021



Consumer Confidence

Prices of goods and services moderated further in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria in the month of September 2021, the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed.

Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate, grew at 16.63 percent year-on-year in September, slower than the 17.01 percent rate achieved in the month of August.

On a monthly basis, inflation rose by 1.15 percent in September 2021, representing an increase of 0.13 percent from 1.02 percent filed in August 2021.

Food Index that gauges price of food items grew at 19.57 percent rate in the month, below the 20.30 percent rate recorded in August 2021.

The increase in the food index was caused by increases in prices of oils and fats, bread and cereals, food product N.E.C., fish, coffee, tea and cocoa, potatoes, yam and other tuber and milk, cheese and egg.

However, on a monthly basis, the price of food index rose by 0.20 percent from 1.06 percent filed in August 2021 to 1.26 percent in September 2021.

The more stable twelve months average ending in September 2021 revealed that prices of food items grew by 0.21 percent from 20.50 percent in August to 20.71 percent in September.

Prices of goods and services have been on the decline in Nigeria in recent months, according to the NBS. However. on masses are complaining of the persistent rise in prices of goods and services across the nation.

Some experts attributed the increase to Nigeria’s weak foreign exchange rate given it is largely an import-dependent economy.


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Global Debt Rises by $27 Trillion to $226 Trillion in 2020 – IMF



IMF - Investors King

The pandemic has led to an unprecedented increase in debt—issued by governments, nonfinancial corporations, and households the IMF estimated in the latest Fiscal Monitor report. In 2020 global debt reached $226 trillion and increased by $27 trillion, the IMF estimated Wednesday  (October 13) in Washington, DC.

High and growing levels of public and private debt are associated with risks to financial stability and public finances, said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.

“According to preliminary estimates from the Global Debt Database, global debt by governments, households, and non-financial corporations reached $226 trillion. That represents an increase of $27 trillion relative to 2019. Both the level and the pace of increase are record highs. We know that high and rising debts increase risks to financial stability and public finances,” Gaspar said ahead of the Fiscal Monitor release.

Gaspar emphasized that countries with a high credibility fiscal framework benefit from better bond market access. They also experience lower interest rates on sovereign bonds.

“A strong message from the fiscal monitor is that fiscal credibility pays off. Countries that have credible fiscal frameworks benefit from better and cheaper access to bond markets. That’s a precious asset to have in an uncertain and difficult times like COVID 19. Fiscal credibility pays off!,” added Gaspar.

He also recognized that while the international community has provided critical support to alleviate fiscal vulnerabilities in low-income countries, still more is needed.

“In 2020, the IMF’s rapid financing and the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative contribute to make resources available to the countries that need it the most. But more is needed. With a general allocation of SDRs of $650 billion, liquidity has been provided, but much more could be achieved if rich countries would make part of their resources available to the developing world. By doing so, donors would be contributing to fighting the pandemic and to the achievement of sustainable and inclusive growth,” said Gaspar

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