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COVID-19: Rising Unemployment Rate in Nigeria

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  • COVID-19: Rising Unemployment Rate in Nigeria

It is no longer news that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted Nigeria’s labour market and eroded recent economic gains.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Nigeria’s economy could contract as much as 3.4 percent in 2020 while the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had said without a well-structured stimulus package, the nation would plunge into an economic recession this year.

Earlier this month, Access Bank announced it was letting go 75 percent of its workforce to better manage the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the organization and stay afloat. This was after Arik and other airlines cut April’s salaries by 80 percent and compelled all staff to go on compulsory leave starting from May 1st.

Hadi Siriki, the Minister of Aviation, during a COVID-19 briefing in Abuja a few days ago, said the aviation sector is losing about N17 billion per month, saying many of the domestic airlines would not make it out of COVID-19 pandemic without government’s support.

The nation’s unemployment rate stood at 23.1 percent or 20.9 million with youths’ underemployment/unemployment rate current at 55.4 percent in a nation with the largest youth population in Africa and one of the largest in the world.

The rising unemployment rate amid zero new job creation highlighted Nigeria’s precarious situation, especially when the nation’s weak foreign reserves, inability to sell crude oil, rising capital flight and expected high layoffs are factored in.

Experts have said the Central Bank of Nigeria needs to lower interest rates to stimulate economic growth and compel deposit money banks to further increase credit facility to the private sector or rather increase loan to deposit ratio from 65 percent to 70 percent.

However, the effectiveness of that method is uncertain given the recent reports that several businesses are holding off on loan applications due to the disruption in global supply chain and the recent Naira devaluation. The central bank had devalued the Naira to protect the foreign reserves and curb excessive capital outflow by foreign investors liquidating their investments in Nigeria.

Therefore, except the Federal Government lowered interest rate and aggressively stimulate the economy across key sectors, the unemployment rate will jump above 30 percent as more companies will layoff regardless of government position.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Rivers State Partners Shell Nigeria on Assa North Gas Project

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Oil downturn

Rivers State, Shell Nigeria Partner on Assa North Gas Project

Rivers State and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) have partnered to build SPDC’s Assa North Gas project, with a capacity of 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.

According to the people familiar with the project, it has the potential to be one of the largest domestic gas projects in Nigeria when completed.

Mr. Eloka Tasie-Amadi, the State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, who spoke at the inauguration event, urged the comrade Orikoha Ekwueme-led newly elected officials of the Cluster Development Board to use the opportunity of leadership to make positive impacts that will improve living standards in their communities.

The state government is always available to support you. Always speak with your people, including the Community Trust Committees (which were also newly inaugurated). Adequate communication will ensure the buy-in of all your stakeholders.

“Leadership is more of sacrifice; not an opportunity for personal benefit”, he said.

Also, speaking was Mr Igo Weli, the General Manager External Relations, SPDC, said, “The Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), that you signed today, sets the framework for a long-term partnership between SPDC JV and the Egi/Igburu Cluster. The GMoU runs on the principle of community-led development. Today, SPDC JV commits to providing funding to help you realise your community development aspirations.

Represented at the ceremony by SPDC External Relations Manager for Projects and Opportunities, Dr Banji Adekoya, he asked the CDB to “be prudent and implement projects and programmes that will deliver maximum benefits to the Egi/Igburu communities. Note that government, SPDC JV, and the communities that you represent will hold you accountable for the judicious utilisation of the development funds.”

“With the inauguration, SPDC reiterates the company’s commitment to the Assa North Gas Project and to making it an exemplary one, particularly in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency, for power generation and industrialisation,” he said.

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Economy

Electricity Consumers, Hoteliers, Others Kick Against Petrol Price, Power Tariff Hikes

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Groups Kick Against Increase in Petrol Price, Power Tariff

The Network for Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria, the Nigerian Hotels Association, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja, and Power Up Nigeria have all kicked against the recent increases in power tariff and petrol price.

In a joint press conference held in Abuja on Friday, the groups rejected the increase and demanded an urgent reversal, saying the economic hardship imposed on Nigerians and businesses in the country by the COVID-19 pandemic would worsen if the increases in electricity tariff and petrol remains.

The speech jointly signed by presidents of NHA, FTAN, HOFA, Power Up Nigeria and read by the NECAN Secretary, Uket Obonga, the groups said it was sad that the Federal Government had chosen to compound the suffering of the Nigerian people at a time when the rest of the world are making efforts to ease the impacts of COVID-19 on their citizens.

They said, “It is sad to note that while other nations are enacting policies and taking measures to cushion the hardship imposed on their citizens by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has chosen to place an unpardonable burden on Nigerians.

“This burden is not only the electricity tariff increase but also the hike in the pump price of petrol at a time that the people are suffocating under a distressed economy.”

They added, “It is very unfortunate that the Federal Government could allow itself to be misled into believing that tariff increase is the silver bullet that will shoot the sector revenues to Eldorado.”

The groups further stated that the cause of weak revenue in the power sector had not been addressed, neither is the nation’s low internally generated revenue addressed.

According to the groups, this was not the first time power distributors companies were pushing for a tariff increase, but the past Multi Year Tariff Order reviews that ended up increasing the price of electricity did not yield the desired result.

They said, “Recall that as soon as the MYTO 2015 order came into effect on February 1, 2016, the power distribution companies began another quest for further increase.

“They flagrantly disregarded the provisions of the MYTO path and energy charges contained therein, as the Discos went ahead to choose which tariff rate to use in determining bills given to the customers.

The groups argued that the incessant request for tariff increase had become a hypothetical exercise rather than the solution to the sector’s revenue problem.

We, therefore, wish to state categorically that we reject the September 1, 2020 tariff increase as ordered by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission,” they said.

They added, “We call on the Federal Government to rescind the increase because we note that there is nothing put on the ground to cushion the effect of the dual increase of the end user tariff and the pump price of petrol.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved power distribution companies (DisCos) to start collecting 87.9 percent of the recently raised electricity tariff from consumers in the first half of 2021.

This was disclosed in the latest tariff review documents forwarded to the 11 power distribution companies in the country. Also, DisCos were approved to start collecting 100 percent of the new tariff from the second half of 2021.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Electricity Consumers to Start Paying Full Rates from H2 2020

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Electricity Consumers to Pay Full Rates from July 2021

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has approved power distribution companies to collect an average of 87.9 percent of the recently raised electricity tariff from consumers in the first half of 2021.

In the latest tariff review documents issued to the 11 power distribution companies, power distribution companies had been approved to collect 100 percent of the new tariff from July to December 2021.

The approved new collection rates for the Discos means that Nigeria’s electricity consumers would be required to pay higher tariffs starting from the second half of 2021.

This is coming despite Nigerians kicking against the increase implemented on September 1, 2020. Nigerians have declared the numerous increases by President Muhammadu Buhari as anti-people policy, saying the administration continues to compound the people’s burden despite COVID-19 negative impacts on them.

A few numbers of Nigerians have staged protests to compel the administration to revise increases on Value Added Tax, pump price and electricity tariff because of the ongoing economic uncertainties and weak macroeconomic data after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the inflation rate rose above 13 percent, unemployment rate hits 27.1 percent and general plunged in economic activities and earnings of the Nigerian people.

However, the approval means DisCos will collect an average of 88 percent tariff in the first half of 2021 and up it to 100 percent in the second half of 2021 as contained in the NERC’s directive.

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