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Buhari Orders Mass-Metering, Zero Tariff Increase, NERC Says

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NERC Says Buhari Orders Mass-Metering, Halts Tariff Increase

The President, Muhammadu Buhari has ordered operators in the power sector to carry out mass metering of the unmetered customers in the country.

This was disclosed in a statement released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) via its official twitter handle, signed by its Chairman, John Momoh, on Wednesday.

In the statement, NERC disclosed that the president had ordered mass-metering nationwide but the commission had not approved any increase in the electricity tariff for Nigerians.

The commission said, “The President has directed that there should be a nationwide mass-metering programme in an effort by the Federal Government to put a stop to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity.

“He has also approved a waiver of the import levy on meters so that those that do not have meters can be supplied as early as possible at reasonable costs.”

“The general public and all stakeholders in the power sector are by this statement urged to disregard any reports of an arbitrary tariff increase affecting Nigerians.”

The commission stated that there would be a review on the tariffs which would be based on the service-based principle.

The NERC said under these service-based principles, power distribution companies would only be able to review customers tariff rates when it consult customers to increasing the number of hours of power supply per day and quality of service.

It said, “In line with these expectations, Discos are directed to engage with their customers on a Service Based Tariff structure.”

The commission added that customers would also be metered, adding that no estimated billing would be allowed based on the strict capping regulation.

“This means that unmetered customers will not experience any cost increase beyond what is chargeable to metered customers in the same area,”

“Even under the above conditions, there will be no change in tariff for the most vulnerable as tariffs for those consuming 50KW or less remain frozen.”

It also added that customers receiving less than 12 hours of supply would also not experience any change in tariffs.

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Online Shopping Skyrockets Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

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NIBSS

Lagos, Tuesday 30 November 2020 – As we experience the first-ever Black Friday promotional phenomenon under lockdown, the dominance of online shopping platforms has become crystal clear.

To keep track of this development Nielsen Global Connect has conducted extensive research that includes an overarching view of the massive increase in online FMCG  shopping and just how rapidly it evolved over the first six months of lockdown.

Nielsen Connect, Global Intelligence Unit, Executive Director Ailsa Wingfield comments; “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, online FMCG shopping usage has advanced by up to five years in just six short months. As a result, there has been a rapid increase in online shopping and usage with new users, frequency and preference having skyrocketed.

Preference of online as the most-used channel has also more than doubled.

Evidence of this results from the Nielsen New Shopper Normal Study which was conducted in May 2020 allowing for powerful insight into the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on consumers, during an unprecedented time in our history.

The Nielsen study found that in terms of new Nigerian FMCG online shoppers, 29% had never shopped online. Sixty-seven per cent recently shopped online during the past week and 12% shopped most often online during the past week versus only 7% pre COVID-19. In terms of Frequency, 23% said they shopped online multiple times a week and 44% shopped once a week.

The best of both worlds

 Nielsen’s consumer and retail measurement evidence therefore clearly shows a massive and ongoing move to online, but it must be pointed out that this is not in isolation when considering the overall shopping journey. In Nigeria, two-thirds of consumers (67%) say they are now using both online and offline channels with fewer exclusive brick & mortar shoppers at 33%.

Wingfield elaborates; “Overall, consumers are shopping and buying in a mixed reality. In many instances, online shopping options are a new addition to their existing store repertoire but most consumers indicate that they will maintain a combination of online and offline – which will lead to the rise of more omnichannel shopping journeys and experiences.”

Interestingly, this adoption is even more pronounced for ‘Constrained Consumers’ – those who have been impacted by job/income loss. These consumers are less likely to be exclusive Brick & Mortar shoppers as Omni shopping is even more important to help them make better and more frugal choices.

Wingfield adds; “The challenge for retailers is that consumers want equivalent experiences regardless of the environment in which they shop. These are categorised by a seamless experience where the retailer’s online, and bricks and mortar offerings, are connected and offer a similar and familiar shopping experience.”

 Still more work to be done

In terms of the remaining obstacles for retailers to overcome and where online needs to work harder, the biggest concern for Nigerian shoppers is delivery which has emerged as the most important factor to get right. 42% of Nigerian consumers stated they wanted same/next-day delivery while 21% said they don’t want to wait when there are no slots available.

When it comes to Price & Promo perceptions, 57% of respondents said online prices had increased, while 22% perceived less online promotion and 17% said online was more expensive. That said, online price perceptions are currently more favourable than offline (brick and mortar) perceptions. They may also improve even further, following the heavy push by retailers of online-only Black Friday and year end seasonal promotions.

 Looking to the future

 Looking at how consumers’ newfound relationship with online shopping will evolve, Wingfield comments; “We saw that ‘necessity catalysts’ such as safety and precaution considerations and the availability of products initially drew consumers online, but there are still several obstacles to overcome. To sustain online FMCG traction, retailers and brands will need to focus on how they can solve consumers’ changing needs by differentiating their offerings in the Omni shopping journey.”

She goes on to suggest; “They will need to solve for overall satisfaction and experiences in the areas of time, convenience, availability and value based on consumers’ altered circumstances to truly differentiate themselves.”

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Rising Operating Costs, Exchange Rates, Service Charge Increased Airfares by 100%

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air peace

Price of air tickets rose by 100 percent across several routes as rising operating costs, high foreign exchange and surged in service charge forced airline operators to raise airfares.

Airlines attributed the increase to a series of price adjustments and the introduction of new fees by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). According to them, airline firms were given special concessions, which will continue to push price up and could hit an average of N100,000 for even the Lagos/Abuja route.

Speaking on the situation, Captain Ado Sanusi, the Managing Director of Aero Contractors, said airline companies could not access forex at the official rate while the FAAN had upped its fees.

He said “We were buying dollars at N360 and it went to N380 but you can’t get it for less than N480.

“We are paying VAT at 7.5 per cent. We are paying 15 per cent duty on our spare parts. The boarding passes, we pay 15 per cent duty on it.

“The passenger service charge has increased by FAAN. So, don’t look at one component but look at the total reason for the increase.

“Yes, there is an increase in demand but it is caused by the lack of aircraft and this lack of aircraft is caused by unavailability of spare parts which is also caused by dollar scarcity.”

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Tony Elumelu Receives Licence to Kick Start Heirs Insurance Limited, Heirs Life Assurance Ltd

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The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony O. Elumelu, on Friday said the company has received operating licences from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for its two new insurance companies, Heirs Insurance Limited (HIL) and Heirs Life Assurance Limited (HLA).

The Chairman disclosed this on his social media page.

In his words, he said “I am proud to announce that the Nigerian Federal Government, through the insurance regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has officially issued the operating licences for our new Group insurance companies – Heirs Insurance Limited (HIL) and Heirs Life Assurance Limited (HLA).

“This represents an important milestone of a long-term strategic journey in providing much needed, quality, & valuable financial services, to a broad demographic in Nigeria. Insurance should not be a luxury, and just as we have democratised other sectors, we will democratise insurance – applying our tried & tested business philosophies.

“Fueled by the determination to improve lives & leave a legacy in the African private sector, we have embarked on this journey to revolutionise the insurance space – deploying technology, customer understanding & operational excellence.

“It has been a five-year journey, but with the optimism & the resilience that have brought us this far, it has been worth the wait.

“I would like to warmly thank our new CEOs—Dr. Adaobi Nwakuche, MD/CEO of Heirs Insurance and Niyi Onifade, MD/CEO of Heirs Life Assurance, our Board members, regulatory partners, those who have believed in this dream, despite the obstacles, & those who have cheered us on.”

This is coming barely two weeks after Mr. Elumelu announced Transcorp has acquired Afam Power for N105 billion.

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