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Nigeria Moves To Boost Export With N50B Expansion Facility

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Nigeria is poised to boost its non-oil exports leveraging the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network.

The network, which was recently inaugurated, is geared towards increasing the volume of trade within the region.

The Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo is also the inaugural President of the ECOWAS TPOs.

The NEPC has started repositioning the nation’s export through the implementation of its N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP).

The EEFP is a part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) whose development and implementation is being led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

EEFP is expected to significantly raise the volume of non-oil exports in Nigeria, and it is a spin-off of the Zero Oil Plan developed by NEPC and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Besides providing financial support for the average Nigerian exporter, the EEFP will engender the establishment of top-notch warehouses in the country, close to airports where Nigerian goods meant for export would be packaged to global competitive standards ahead of their exportation.

The EEFP, in line with the ESP, is focused on cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the non-oil export sector, thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new ones.

Earlier in March, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, inaugurated the EEFP and the first online Grant Management Portal (GMP) for non-oil exports.

While the EEFP is being implemented by the NEPC, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment are the supervisory body over the agency and its operations.

The programme anticipated 500 beneficiaries since the inauguration but it has received more than 3,500 applications for the grant, out of which more than 2,000 were verified after meeting the eligibility criteria.

Federal Government officials say further details and plans on disbursement to final successful beneficiaries are being awaited.

More so, Adebayo said that aside from being an intervention to save and create jobs, the programme would support resilience in shoring up the foreign exchange, diversification, modernisation of Nigeria’s economy and acceleration of economic growth and economic support.

Under the EEPF, there are 16 programmes as approved in the Implementation Work plan under seven workstreams.

The workstreams are Capacity Building, Emergency Interventions, Export Aggregation, Export Inclusion, Export Trade facilitation, Institutional Strengthening and Market Development.

The Emergency Intervention is to support existing exporters in responding to shocks caused by COVID-19, while Market Development involves penetrating identified export markets as value chain analysis for priority products, leveraging Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) and other trade treaties.

Considering the significant role it plays in growing the Nigerian economy, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector is the target group of support from the EEFP and the Export Development Fund (EDF).

At the recent inauguration of the TPO Network, Osinbajo said that there was the need to expand intra-regional trade in the ECOWAS sub-region, with the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

On his part, Awolowo had said that the network would work towards facilitating the ease of trade for MSMEs within the ECOWAS region and Africa in general.

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Economy

Nigerians Pay N210 Billion For Electricity in Three Months

Nigerian electricity consumers pay N210 billion to power distributors in three months

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Nigerian electricity consumers pay N210 billion to power distributors in three months.

Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) disclosed that Nigerians used N210 billion to buy electricity from distribution companies (Disco) between October and December of 2021. 

According to the 2021 fourth quarter (Q4) report of the commission which was released yesterday, electricity distribution companies otherwise known as “Discos” released a bill of N303.11 billion to consumers in Q4 2021 while a sum of N210.17 billion was retrieved. This means that N92.94 billion were left uncollected within the period under review.

NERC further stated that total billing by Disco increased by N30.12 billion if Q4 2021 is compared with Q3 2021. This represents an increase of 11.03 percent. Similarly, revenue collected in Q4 2021 increased by N16.64 billion when compared with Q3 2021. 

Although there was a slight increase of N16.64 billion in the revenue collected in Q4 2021, the increase in revenue did not however match up with the increase in electricity billing which was N30.12 billion, leaving a difference of N13.48 billion. 

Meanwhile, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) conceded that there is a huge metering gap for end-user customers. The commission acknowledged that metering deficiency is a perennial challenge that has critically hampered revenue generation in the industry.

The commission, therefore, disclosed a decrease in the number of meters installed in Q4 2021. 

“A total of 81,084 meters were installed in 2021/Q4 as compared to the 288,154 meters installed in 2021/Q3. The reduction in the number of meter installations in 2021/Q4 was largely driven by the winding down of the NMMP phase zero (0). The Commission’s records indicate that, of the 10,514,582 registered energy customers as at December 2021, only 4,773,217 (45.40%) have been metered compared to 42.93% metering as at September 2021” the report stated.

On electricity generation capacity, NERC noted that the average generation capacity for Q4 2022 was 5,465.72MW, with 4,294.02MWh/h generated per hour while the total power generated in Q4 2021 from 25 generating plants across the country was 9,480.21GWh.

 

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Economy

Severe Flood Ravage Farmlands in Nigeria, Experts Raise Concerns of Looming Food Shortage

The persistent rain being recorded in Nigeria lately has resulted in severe flooding that has ravaged farmlands as experts warn about food shortage in the coming months.

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The persistent rain being recorded in Nigeria lately has resulted in severe flooding that has ravaged farmlands as experts warn about food shortage in the coming months.

Due to torrential rainfall in recent weeks, with no sign of slowing down, almost all 36 states of the federation have experienced one form of flooding or the other.

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) had recently warned that flooding will persist till the last quarter of 2022, which will take a great toll on farming.

In the North-Eastern part of the country, more than 150,000 hectares of land have been destroyed. Farmers in the region have expressed concerns over the large-scale destruction of produce, stating that the damage caused by the rainfall could be estimated at N30 billion.

They have therefore called for urgent interventions to mitigate the effects of the flooding, so as to reduce hunger and enhance food security.

Kenechukwu Onuorah, an expert at Global Rights, an international human rights capacity-building non-governmental organization, stated that one major consequence of persistent flooding is the huge impact it will have on agricultural output.

According to him, persistent flooding will make basic foodstuff scarce and expensive if nothing is done urgently to mitigate it.

His words, “The persistent rain may be good because it creates swampy lands that are good for the plants but flooding is a disaster.

“It comes with erosion, especially in the South, and washes away the plants. It destroyed the crops and even livestock will have nothing to feed on.

“There is so much we could do that we are not doing. We must ensure appropriate urban planning and drainage systems.

“Government at all levels must work to set Nigeria on the path towards greener renewable energy in order to reverse the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, the government is not working in that direction yet”.

Also speaking on the issue, The  Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency that provides services required for the assessment of Nigeria’s surface and groundwater resources, disclosed that flooding would persist, noting that the River Niger and Benue system had started building up.

The agency said, “As we are aware, Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin, which is occupied by nine countries, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. Our country is at the lowest portion of the Basin.

“This means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding”.

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Economy

Nigerian Lawmakers Express Concerns As Crude Oil Theft Increases Nation’s Debt

Lawmakers in Nigeria have expressed concerns over the incessant crude oil theft witnessed in the country as Nigeria’s debt reaches an all-time high of N42.84trn.

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Lawmakers in Nigeria have expressed concerns over the incessant crude oil theft witnessed in the country as Nigeria’s debt reaches an all-time high of N42.84trn.

The Speaker, of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, while delivering his welcome remarks after the house resumed from a recess, stated that the continuous oil theft witnessed in the country has so far sabotaged Nigeria’s economy as there is a massive decline in the volume of crude oil exports.

He further stated that this act carried out by unscrupulous people is nothing but treason against the country, for which they must be severely dealt with.

He described those who carry out such dastardly acts as not being different from terrorists and insurgents.

In his words: “Due to theft and various acts of economic sabotage, we are experiencing a massive decline in the volume of crude oil exports.

“Our crude oil export of 972,394 BPD for August is the lowest we have recorded in the last two decades. 

“At a time when we are already experiencing severe financial constraints, there are mechanisms in place to prevent these sorts of bad actors, and the government spends significant amounts of money each year to protect oil and gas resources in the country. 

“Evidently, these existing arrangements do not suffice. As such, there is an urgent need to review them and make the necessary improvements. 

“It is also of particular importance that the perpetrators of these crimes against the state are identified, prosecuted, and subjected to the stiffest penalties the law allows. 

“Those who seek to impoverish our country in this manner have declared war against the Nigerian people. The government’s response must be sufficient to convince them of the error of their ways and deter others who might be tempted to join in their treason.   

“I met with the Finance Minister and the DG Budget and made it clear to them that enough of crude oil theft. Nigerians don’t want to hear that again. What do you intend to do about it? That’s the important question.” 

According to the managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) Mele Kyari, he had disclosed that thieves from all levels in the country steal 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

It should be recalled that in 2021, Investors King reported that Nigeria lost $3.5 billion to crude oil theft.

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