- Telecoms Operators Decry Multiple Environmental Taxes
Telecoms operators under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria are lamenting the huge tax burden from states and federal ministries of environment.
They complained that they had been receiving demand notices on Environmental Impact Assessment from ministries of environment in various states after paying to the Federal Ministry of Environment through National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency.
“We have received complaints from our members that they have been receiving demand notices for Environmental Impact Assessment payment from some state ministries of environment, which we considered as an aberration of the existing law,” the Chairman, ALTON, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, said.
In a letter seeking clarifications from the Federal Ministry of Environment, he asked if the ministry had ceded the task of issuing EIA certification to some state ministries of environment.
He also wanted to know if state ministries of environment could conduct EIA process to network operators without recourse to the Federal Ministry of Environment and NESREA.
He sought to clarify if “the statutory responsibility on environmental issues of the Federal Ministry of Environment has been transferred to the states.
“That the states now have the power to collect ecological fund from private sector after payment has been made to them by the Federal Government. We kindly request from the Federal Ministry of Environment to clarify these positions, so to guide us in our dealing with the situation and to advise our members accordingly.”
The Executive Secretary, ALTON, Mr Gbolahan Awonuga, added that telecoms industry was being over burdened with taxes and levies, saying operators might be forced to call for the review of the tariffs.
He enjoined the Federal Government to examine the Tax and Levy Amended Order 2015 that was signed by a former Minister of Finance in the last administration, Mrs Ngozi Okonji-Iweala.
“This order has created a lot of confusion in the taxes and levies regime and making the environment harsh for business, not minding the government Ease of Doing Business programme. The issues of EIA demand notices by some states has led to sealing of many telecommunications sites thereby causing issues of quality of service, which many times are beyond the control of the operators,” he said.
Awonuga added, “We plead with the Federal Government to declare telecommunications infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure as stated in the Cybercrime Act 2015 forbidding any state or agency from tampering with any telecoms infrastructure.”
NLNG Boosts Cooking Gas Production to 1.5 Million Metric Tonnes Annually
Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has announced a significant milestone in its operations, boosting its annual production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, to over 1.5 million metric tonnes.
This surge in production underscores NLNG’s commitment to meeting the rising demand for clean cooking energy in Nigeria.
The entirety of NLNG’s 1.5 million tonnes production is now being sold domestically within Nigeria.
Moreover, the company has initiated a landmark shift by starting to supply LPG in naira, moving away from the traditional practice of trading in United States dollars.
This move aligns with calls from stakeholders in the oil and power sectors advocating for naira transactions, especially amidst the challenges posed by currency fluctuations.
During a panel session at the 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, NLNG’s General Manager of Finance, Fatima Adanan, highlighted the company’s dedication to enhancing LPG penetration across the country.
Adanan emphasized NLNG’s vision to make Nigeria a better place by promoting the use of cleaner energy sources like gas.
While NLNG’s production surge is commendable, Adanan acknowledged that Nigeria’s LPG requirements surpass the current output, necessitating imports to bridge the gap.
However, NLNG remains committed to expanding its production capacity to meet the nation’s energy needs and drive increased adoption of LPG as a cleaner cooking fuel.
CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate by 400 Basis Points to 22.75%
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the benchmark interest rate by 400 basis points to a record 22.75%.
The decision made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) comes amidst rising inflationary pressures and growing uncertainty in Africa’s largest economy.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 29.90% in January 2024, the highest in over two decades while the nation’s unemployment rate quickened to 5% in the third quarter of 2023. Suggesting that the rising costs have continued to drag on both new job creation and the existing ones.
This coupled with a series of policy adjustments implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has plunged economic productivity and eroded consumer spending as citizens grapple with high fuel prices, electricity tariffs, a record-high foreign exchange rate, and insecurities.
Therefore, it is surprising that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) led by the CBN will further increase borrowing costs by 400 basis points at a time when job creation is paramount.
While the economy reportedly grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, this growth is yet to crystalise as businesses and citizens have taken to the street protest against the harsh economic situation.
Economic experts have started questioning the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) given its lack of correlation between the data and economic reality.
President Tinubu Unveils Geometric Power Plant in Aba After 20-Year Wait
After two decades of anticipation, President Bola Tinubu, through his representative Vice President Kashim Shettima, inaugurated the long-awaited Geometric Power Plant in Aba, a significant milestone in the city’s quest for reliable electricity supply.
The event, which also saw the commissioning of three rehabilitated roads by Abia State Governor Alex Otti, symbolizes the culmination of years of perseverance and determination to transform Aba’s power landscape.
Addressing the audience, Vice President Shettima hailed the project as a testament to the power of visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to progress.
He said the Geometric Power Plant exemplifies the transformative impact of strategic infrastructure investments on local communities.
Governor Otti echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of the power project in positioning Aba as a hub for national and international business ventures.
He commended the efforts of Geometric Power Limited while urging them to uphold transparency and avoid exploiting consumers.
The inauguration of the Geometric Power Plant comes amidst growing concerns over Nigeria’s power infrastructure and the need for sustainable solutions to address electricity shortages.
The project, with a capacity of 188MW, holds promise for significant improvements in power supply across Abia State, benefitting nine out of seventeen local government areas.
The Managing Director of Geometric Power Limited, Ben Caven, underscored the scale of investment involved, totaling $800 million.
He highlighted the comprehensive nature of the project, which includes the installation of new power substations and a 27km natural gas pipeline, signaling a comprehensive approach to enhancing Aba’s energy infrastructure.
In conclusion, the inauguration of the Geometric Power Plant represents a transformative moment for Aba, offering renewed hope for economic growth and prosperity powered by reliable electricity supply.
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