- Electricity Consumers Won’t Accept Tariff Hike, NLC Warns
The Nigeria Labour Congress on Monday said consumers across the country would not comply with the payment of electricity bill should the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission go ahead with the proposed increase in the tariff payable by power users.
It also warned NERC not to succumb to the pressure mounted on the commission by power firms that had been calling for an increase in electricity tariff.
The President, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who disclosed this while speaking at the public consultation on capping of estimated billing, organised by NERC in Abuja, noted that many rich consumers were no more receiving supply from electricity distribution companies’ because of high tariff.
He wondered how low-income earners would cope, much more when the NERC implemented an increase in tariff, as he cautioned the commission not to make laws that consumers would violate with impunity.
Wabba said, “On our part, anything that will add cost to the consumers at this point in time, certainly, as a consumer and somebody that represents a large constituency, we will not be able to bear the cost. Where we are, the poverty level in Nigeria, I am telling you that many of us cannot afford to pay this exploitative billing.
“A retired DIG called me to say that he used to pay such amount and now this is what he is paying and that he cannot pay it again. Those are people at the higher level. What of those at the lower level, small and medium scale enterprises, like the barbers? Can the cooks pay?”
The labour leader urged the commission and stakeholders in the power sector to think of other options on how to generate revenue, instead of trying to make profit that would not be commensurate with the supply of electricity to the consumers.
“What is the per capital income in Nigeria? Let us be realistic, if not, we will put laws in place that are violated and nothing will happen,” Wabba stated.
He called for a review of Nigeria’s power sector privatisation exercise and noted that it was unfortunate that Nigeria copied the model from India, a country that was also lamenting over epileptic power supply.
The labour leader said, “If we are going on a wrong direction, we should not continue to go the wrong direction, because it will not take us to the ultimate destination. Recently, I was in India. The lamentation we are doing here is what they are doing in India. We borrowed this whole process from India.
“I saw that the same issues we are passing through is what they are passing through. So, if we borrowed this power concept from India and India is even having the same problems we are having, it means we are going the wrong direction. Then we must revisit it so that we get to the point that will take us to the right destination.”
Wabba condemned the exploitative tendencies of power distribution companies with respect to estimated billing, particularly mentioning the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company.
He accused the NERC of treating the Discos with kid gloves, while it had on the other hand been hard on power users in Nigeria, as he stressed that the commission should mandate the power distributors to meter their customers.
The Commissioner, Consumer Affairs, NERC, Moses Arigu, had earlier stated that not all consumers would be metered at the same time, regardless of the implementation of the recently introduced Meter Asset Provider regulation.
According to him, NERC had resolved to deliberate with consumers and other stakeholders what unmetered customers should pay in the meantime.
“The proposed order is expected to be a ‘catalyst’ for the Discos to accelerate or fast-track the deployment of meters to unmetered customers,” he said.
Nigeria Receives £4.2 Million Looted By James Ibori
The government of the United Kingdom has repatriated the sum of £4.2million that was looted by associates and family members of the convicted former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Tuesday confirmed the receipt of the looted fund in a statement he made available to newsmen in Abuja.
In the statement signed by Malami Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, the Minister of Justice disclosed that the naira equivalent of the amount was credited into the designated Federal Government account on May 10, 2021.
The AGF had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of the loot fund on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
According to him, “the development was a demonstration of the recognition of reputation Nigeria earns through records of management of recovered stolen Nigerian stolen in the execution of public oriented projects”.
AfDB, European Bank To Bridge $2.5tn Africa’s Financing Gap
The African Development Bank Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday to promote sustainable private sector development in Africa.
In a statement issued by its Communication and External Relations Department, the AfDB said, “The MoU will help catalyse new sources of financing to help bridge the $2.5tn annual financing gap for development in Africa.
“This gap requires that development finance institutions work in partnership.”
The bank stated that under this partnership, the AfDB and the EBRD would capitalise on their respective
expertise and experience, with a particular focus on climate change, green and resilient infrastructure and capital markets development.
“They will also work on improving business environments, bolstering the real economy and mobilising private sector investment,” the AfDB stated.
It observed that COVID-19 was threatening progress made towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and was exacerbating the debt vulnerability of many African countries.
The bank stated that sustainable private sector development would be key to recovery and prosperity across the continent.
AfDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, after signing the memorandum with his counterpart, EBRD President,
Odile Renaud-Basso, was quoted as saying, “The new partnership agreement between our two institutions will pave the way for us to do more together, especially in supporting the growth of Africa’s private sector.
“The impact of COVID-19 on government resources is huge and we need to mobilise more private resources to help African countries build back stronger.”
On his part, Renaud-Basso, said, “The COVID-19 crisis has made the need for better and ever closer collective action even more urgent.
“Collaboration between the EBRD and the African Development Bank has grown from strength to strength over the years in the region.”
Despite Rising Debt Profile, President Buhari Seeks New N2.342T External Loan
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, urged the Senate to approve a new external loan of N2,343,387,942,848.00, about $6.183billion, for the Federal Government to finance the 2021 budget deficit.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan read Buhari’s letter of request on the floor of the Senate at plenary.
Last Month, Investorsking recalled that there was a controversy when Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki had raised concerns over the financial trouble Nigeria might find herself due to the continuous rising debt profile.
In a recent report carried out by PWC, it was reported that:
“Actual debt servicing cost in 2020 stood at N3.27 trillion and represented about 10 percent over the budgeted amount of N2.95 trillion. This puts the debt-to-revenue ratio at approximately 83 percent, nearly double the 46 percent that was budgeted.
“This implies that about N83 out of every N100 the FG earned was used to settle interest payments for outstanding domestic and foreign debts within the reference period. In 2021, the FG plans to spend N3.32 trillion to service its outstanding debt. This is slightly higher than the N2.95 trillion budgeted in 2020”.
According to DMO Nigeria’s total public debt as at December 31, 2020, was N32.915 Trillion.
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