The Russian finance ministry disclosed on Monday, 14th March that it had approved a temporary procedure for repaying foreign currency debt.
The ministry however warned that the payments may be made in Roubles, the country’s local currency. According to the ministry, this is due to sanctions that prevent banks from honouring debts in the currency of issue.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the country has been served a number of sanctions especially Western sanctions that have cut Russia off from key parts of global financial markets.
According to experts, these sanctions have triggered Russia’s worst economic crisis since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, however, refuted claims that Russia can not fulfil its debt obligation. Speaking to newsmen, Anton said: “Claims that Russia cannot fulfil its sovereign debt obligations are untrue. We have the necessary funds to service our obligations.”
Investors King gathered that the Russian government is due to pay $117 million on two of its dollar-denominated bonds on Wednesday, 16th March.
While Russia may have started and approved the temporary procedure to allow banks to make payments in its local currency, the possibility of those payments going through would also depend on sanctions that have already been served to Russia. Recall that a number of banks have also been banned from the SWIFT international payments network which has drastically affected efforts to move money outside of Russia.
Also, if payments are to be made in Eurobond repayments in Roubles, this may also be a heavy loss for Russia as we have seen the Rouble dive to record lows in recent weeks.
Anton also claims that “The freezing of the central bank and government’s foreign currency accounts can be seen as a desire from several Western countries to organise an artificial default.”
The sanctions have undoubtedly affected Russia and the world can also feel the ripple effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The effect of these sanctions has also informed a number of companies to pull out of the Russian market – not just because they are against the invasion of Ukraine but because the ease of doing business in Russia is becoming a blurred line for many companies.
As Abuja-Kaduna Train Service Resumes, FG pledges Security of Lives
The federal government of Nigeria has said the Abuja-Kaduna is set for resumption after being suspended for almost two months.
Spokesperson of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Yakubu Mahmood said in a statement on Monday that the “decision to resume operations by the government does not mean efforts to secure the safe release of those abducted would be shelved.”
“The government wishes to assure the relatives of the abducted citizens still in captivity that the safe rescue of these passengers is a top priority and not to misconstrue the resumption of train services, like abandonment or nonchalant attitude of the government towards their plight,” the statement reads.
“The federal government will never abdicate its responsibility in rescuing these valuable citizens, however, the government assures of its resolve not to succumb to threats by any faceless group.”
“The resolve to resume train services on the route was reached even as most of the kidnapped passengers are still held captive by abductors,” it added.
Relatives of the abducted passengers had warned the federal government against resuming operations along the route until their loved ones were rescued.
Earlier on Monday, reports have it that one of the kidnap victims of the train attack was freed by bandits on compassionate ground.
Eight passengers died in the attack, while over 60 people still remain with the kidnappers.
Lagos State Bans Okada in Six Local Councils, Nine LCDAs
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has banned the operations of motorcycles, otherwise known as Okada in six local councils and Nine LCDAs. This comes on the heels of the growing menace and nuisance constituted by the motorcyclists.
The directive was issued at a meeting in the State House in Alausa to the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders, and Divisional Police Officers on Wednesday.
The six local councils listed by the governor are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa.
Effective from June 1, 2022, the Governor directed security operatives to enforce the proscription order across the listed councils. According to the Governor, the ban is indefinite and total.
Recall that about a year ago, Investors King reported Lagos Government’s plan to execute a complete ban on okada, Keke, and introduce their own mini-buses. While the introduction of mini-buses might not be the major factor for this ban, the aim still remained the same – to reduce the lawlessness and crime rate across the state.
Sanwo-Olu said the Government took the decision in line with the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and menace created by the operations of Okada in the listed areas.
“After critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated. We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Government and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.
“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do. We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total,” he said.
As a matter of fact, the Governor recommended residents who patronize Okada riders on highways to use the government’s alternative transportation initiatives to organize their journey. He stated that the government has rolled out Last Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses to commuters in the impacted districts.
After Six Years of Promise, Power Generation in Nigeria Hits Low Again
Despite promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari to provide Nigerians with 10,000 Megawatts of electricity in 2016, power generation still stands at 3,871MW.
Investors King gathered that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) failed to allocate 1,357MW of electricity from a paltry 3, 871MW generated on Sunday to power distribution companies (DisCos).
In a data report generated by Punch from the division of TCN, Nigerian Electricity System Operator, nine DisCos out of 11 were on Sunday allocated a total of 2, 514MW, leaving 1,357 unallocated.
A breakdown of the allocation for Sunday showed that Abuja DisCo received a total of 289.92MW; Benin DisCo, 226.89; Eko DisCo, 377.31MW; while 251.89MW was allocated to Enugu DisCo. Ibadan DisCos got an allocation of 348.73MW while Ikeja DisCo received the highest load of 478.15MW.
Jos DisCos got the lowest allocation of 138.66MW, Kaduna DisCos received 201.68MW, while Kano DisCos got 201.68MW.
In the last two years, Nigeria’s power generation has been on a record low of not up to 4000MW. The DisCos have most times, dragged TCN for weak transmission lines, low allocation, liquidity gap and others. The TCN, on the other hand, sometimes accuses the DisCos of load rejection.
Although the country’s national grid has a 13,014.14MW capacity, the GenCos generate a meagre 7,652.6MW, while TCN has capacity to wheel 8,100MW.
Experts say Nigeria needs at least 30, 000MW electricity for its over 200 million population to reach sufficiency. The national peak forecast is 19,798MW.
The highest generation ever achieved was 5801.6MW, and that was two years ago.
In a relative situation, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) has decried the incessant attacks on its facilities in the four states under its jurisdiction.
The company said it was bothered by the recent damage of electrical facilities belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria in Cross River State. The Head, Corporate Communications, PHED, John Anonyai, in a statement released in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, stated that the damage caused blackouts in some parts of Calabar, the state capital.
The statement read: “The management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc uses this medium to express her displeasure over the incessant vandalism of electric power facilities in its franchise, particularly the recent case responsible for the power outage in Cross Rivers State.
“This shameful act of vandalism that has rocked Calabar and its metropolis occurred about a month ago and has completely deprived deserving customers access to electricity services across the state.
“Historically, this is not the first time that heartless vandals are targeting such facilities without fear of being caught or electrocuted despite the heavy radiation of power transmitted from the towers.
“Painfully, for every act of vandalism which interrupts service delivery abruptly, PHED is always held liable with different sides to the story without facts as we currently experience in Calabar over this incident.”
According to Anonyai, residents of Calabar had been enjoying relative supply before the black-out as opposed to the current falsehood peddled by a sect of unknown faces whose plan was to trigger an unwarranted backlash against the company.
“It is pertinent to give a clue that the vandalized facilities at Oku Iboku belong to the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“This, notwithstanding, as a responsible company that values the needs and comfort of her esteemed customers particularly in times like this, the company has been collaborating with TCN to restore supply.”
“It is no longer business as usual as the company will explore every single regulatory window to ensure collections and will only resort to disconnection where customers have clearly demonstrated recalcitrance by disregard to repeated demand and reminders to pay their bills,” PHED Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Henry Ajagbawa said in a statement.
“We therefore appeal to our esteemed customers to ensure they pay their bills as at when due while hands are on deck to ensure continuous supply of uninterrupted power to the people of Cross River State and other franchise areas,” he added.
With almost nine years of privatisation, the Federal Government said it had spent over N2tn on resolving decades of rot in the power.
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