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Power Sector Needs Over $35B In Investment To Boost Power Supply – FG

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Power - Investors King

The federal government has said that there’s still a lot of financing gap in the country’s power sector, requiring an immediate funding of $30 to $40 billion in the generation, transmission and distribution value chain.

The government stated that from all sources, it expects to spend between $3 billion to $5 billion to boost power supply in the sector in the next 24 months and eventually free itself from the payment of subsidies.

Speaking during a television programme on the challenges and prospects of the power sector, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Infrastructure, Mr. Ahmad Zakari, noted that the sector is currently bedeviled by three major classes of challenges.

He grouped the systemic challenges as regulatory, fiscal and infrastructural, explaining that for years, Nigeria had a situation where distribution companies were buying power at high prices but were only allowed to sell at low prices by the government.

But he noted that the current administration has gone a long way to correct the inefficiency by introducing the service-based tariff despite the regulatory gap which created an investment quagmire wherein any investor who put in money wasn’t able to recover it.

Zakari further stressed that the administration has worked out how it will push more infrastructure into the network, starting from the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), through the emergency intervention from the central bank, commercial banks and donor partners.

This, he said, was in addition to the incremental support from Siemens and other programmes, amounting to about $3 billion actively being spent and would be spent over the next 24 months.

On the issue of grid collapses, he stated that in 2015, there were 28 total or partial collapses, while as of last year there were four , noting that in 2021, Nigeria has had one partial and one total collapse.

“There’s a plan to invest in SCADA, which is the system that digitally manages the grid. It allows you to monitor all of the figures and voltage and whenever there are challenges it can isolate the problematic segment,” he stressed.

On tariff, Zakari noted the law allows adjustment every six months, but regretted that the situation has not been fully communicated with the public even though any time it is done, it is viewed as tariff increase by the masses.

In some instances, the presidential aide noted that tariff may come down, go up or stay flat, saying that what the current administration has continued to do is subsidise electricity for the most vulnerable Nigerians.

He said the federal government has continued to encourage local meter manufacturers, who have already delivered in excess of 500,000 to 600,000 meters in phase zero of the scheme, out of which 400,000 have been installed.

He argued that the national mass metering programme has delivered more meters to Nigerians in four months than what was done in 18 months under the entire Meter Asset Provider (MAP) programme and expressed confidence that the six million metering target will be met.

Through the service-based tariff regime, Zakari noted that new grounds were being broken as the Discos collected N65 billion in December 2020, leading to a 15 per cent increase in delivery of power even before the commencement of capital expenditure.

“So, we are seeing increased liquidity in the system that is likely to continue. The Siemens programme is part of the suite of investments that make up the $3-$5 billion that we are targeting over the next 24 months,” he said.

He noted that despite the improvements, there’s still a lot of gap to be filled and massive investments to be made in the entire value chain of the power sector.

“But we have a gap in this sector in distribution and that’s over $10 billion. If you add everything together, it could be up to $30-$40 billion in terms of the other value chain sectors.

“So, what we are doing is to find all available financing, for instance the emergency funding from the central bank on metering, in-network CAPEX as well as transmission and distribution interfaces. Those are being spent now,” he said.

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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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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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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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