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Despite African Union Saying NO, ECOWAS Endorses Okonjo-Iweala for WTO DG

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ECOWAS Endorses Okonjo-Iweala for WTO Director-General

Despite the African Union saying no to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala nomination for the post of Director-General of World Trade Organisation, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has thrown its weight behind her candidacy.

This was stated in a statement signed by President H.E. Mahamadoi Issoufou of Niger Republic on behalf of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

“Having acknowledged the strong academic and professional background of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and her very large experience in national affairs as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister briefly in 2006,” the statement read.

ECOWAS leaders said they endorsed Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy because of her vast experience and academic qualification.

This is coming a week after the African Union disqualified her nomination, saying Nigeria had nominated Fedrick Agah and decided to withdraw it for Okonjo-Iweala in a move that contradicts the AU committee rules on nominations.

The African Union says “the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala violates Rule (11), 1, 2 and 3, Rule 12 and Rule 15(3) of the rules of procedure of the committee on candidatures within the International System of the AU as well as Council’s Decisions Ex CI 1072 (XXXV), Ec CI Dec 1090 (XXXVI) and Assembly Dec 795 (XXXIII).”

Earlier this month, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the post of Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO).

In a statement written to the African Union, the Federal Government said, “The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and permanent mission to the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa present compliments to all embassies and permanent missions in Addis Ababa and has the honour to inform that the Federal Government of Nigeria has withdrawn the candidacy of Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah for election to the position of director-general of the World Trade Organisation.”

“Nigeria is therefore pleased to request the support of esteemed AU member states as well as permanent missions and embassies in Addis Ababa in favour of the candidacy of Okonjo-Iweala.”

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.

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Economy

Bloomberg Says Nigeria, Congo Are Hotspots for Hunger

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Bloomberg Experts Have Said Nigeria and Congo Are Emerging as Hotspots for Hunger

The Democratic Republic of Congo is emerging as the country with the world’s largest food crisis in terms of absolute numbers.

About 21.8 million people in the nation are acutely food insecure, new figures from the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization show. The staggering figure underscores how the fallout from the pandemic is driving up hunger in countries that were already gripped by crisis.

In addition to the Congo, the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months have taken place in Burkina Faso — which has witnessed a nearly 300% uptick in the overall number of people experiencing acute hunger since the start of 2020 — as well as Nigeria, Somalia and the Sudan, the FAO said.

In Nigeria, working the land can be a dangerous occupation because of longstanding religious and ethnic tensions and, more recently, organized crime. That’s as farmers already were having to contend with flooding or drought. It’s all now hitting agriculture just when the country needs it most. The pandemic has triggered a surge in food prices in a nation that imports more than a tenth of its food supply.

With 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in the world’s most food-insecure continent. Producing food at home matters more as importers struggle to access dollars to pay for shipments from overseas after an oil price crash sapped foreign-currency reserves. “We are heading toward famine and starvation,” Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani Bello warned in April.

The challenges come as the world is forecast for a sharp rise in food insecurity because of Covid-19’s impact. As many as 132 million more people globally may fall into the grip of hunger this year, including in many places that used to have relative stability.

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NNPC Posts N20.365 Billion Trading Surplus in July

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NNPC Declares N20.365 Billion Trading Surplus for July

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) posted an increase in trading surplus to N20.36 billion in the month of July, up from the N2.12 billion surplus achieved in June 2020.

Dr. Kennie Obateru, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, disclosed this while explaining the details of the figures captured in the July 2020 NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR).

He said the 858 percent overall upswell in performance was largely due to the 178 percent rise in the surplus posted by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), NNPC’s flagship upstream entity.

Obateru further stated that the impressive performance was as a result of the continuous improvement in global crude oil demand for the third consecutive month.

This, he said boosted the corporation’s performance through the 739 percent increase in profit posted by the Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL) and a 51 percent growth recorded by Duke Oil Incorporated, both NNPC companies.

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Nigerians to Pay N417.09bn in 4 Months for Electricity Consumption

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Electricity Consumers to Pay N419.09bn in 4 Months

Following the recent increase in electricity tariffs, the 11 distribution companies in the country are allowed to collect a total of N417.09bn from their customers from September to December.

The Discos had early this month announced what they called ‘new service reflective tariff’, which took effect from September 1, with the tariffs being charged residential consumers receiving a minimum of 12 hours of power supply rising by over 70 per cent.

The amounts recoverable by the Discos through the allowed end-user tariffs range from 61 per cent to 90 per cent of the total revenue required, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The tariff shortfall, which is the difference between the Discos’ revenue requirement and the amounts they are allowed to recover from their customers by the regulator, will be funded by the Federal Government.

The media had reported that the Federal Government would fund a tariff shortfall of N104.5bn that will be recorded by the Discos in the four-month period, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Ikeja Disco is allowed to recover N66.52bn (90 per cent of its total revenue requirement) from September to December, a NERC document showed.

Eko Disco is allowed to recover N48.46bn (86 per cent); Kano Disco, N34.13bn (84 per cent); Abuja Disco, N49.16bn (83 per cent); and Enugu Disco, N38.81bn (82 per cent).

The amounts recoverable by Kaduna Disco is N35.22bn (82 per cent: Ibadan Disco, N54.61bn (78 per cent); Benin Disco, N34.94bn (74 per cent); and Yola Disco, N13.34bn (71 per cent).

Port Harcourt and Jos Discos are allowed to recover N23.63bn (68 per cent) and N18.27bn (61 per cent) respectively.

NERC said the Power Sector Recovery Plan provided for a gradual transition to cost-reflective tariffs with safeguards for the less privileged in the society, adding that full cost-reflective tariffs would be charged by July 2021.

“The Federal Government, under the PSRP Financing Plan, has committed to fund the revenue gap arising from the difference between cost-reflective tariffs determined by the commission and the actual end-user tariffs during the transition to cost-reflective tariffs,” it added.

According to the commission, all the Discos are obligated to settle their market invoices in full as adjusted and netted off by applicable tariff shortfall approved by the commission.

It said the Discos would be liable to relevant penalties/sanctions for failure to meet the minimum remittance requirement in any payment cycle in accordance with the terms of its respective contracts with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading and the Market Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

The Discos only collect an estimated 24 per cent of the tariff revenue, while the balance goes to the TCN, generation companies and other industry stakeholders, according to the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors.

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