- European Bank to Finance Solar Power in Nigeria, Others
The European Investment Bank on Monday announced the signing of $25m financing deal aimed at developing off-grid solar systems in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.
The Vice President, EIB, fondly called the EU bank, Ambroise Fayolle, made the announcement at the sixth Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
He said the financing deal was sealed with d.light design to strengthen access to energy in Africa via solar kits that would not require a grid, easy to use and inexpensive for users, thanks to a pre-payment system.
Particular emphasis, he stated, would be placed on rural and suburban populations and micro-entrepreneurs.
The bank VP said the EU financing would enable d.light design to develop the installation of solar kits, including not only panels and lamps, but also low-energy equipment such as radios and TVs, in sub-Saharan Africa with the ambitious goal of reaching 10 million solar installations within five years.
Fayolle stated, “I am delighted that the EIB has signed this new financing with d.light in Africa for an off-grid solar project that will have a major economic and social impact on people and micro-entrepreneurs.
“The EU bank is determined to implement the Paris climate agreement and to cooperate to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly when it comes to ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all. With its unique technical and financial expertise in the support of solar projects, the EIB will mobilise new investments to develop renewable energies in Africa.”
Fayolle emphasised that the installation of the off-grid solar systems with d.light would initially take place in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.
Meanwhile, the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has launched a report on new investment opportunities in Africa.
In spite of the sluggish regional growth, the report said Africa’s economies were rapidly expanding, offering significant opportunities for private enterprises and investors across the globe.
Entitled ‘Shaping the Future of Africa: Markets and Opportunities for Private Investors’, in partnership with the Africa CEO Forum, the report noted that growth on the continent recovered from a two-decade low of 1.3 per cent in 2016 to an estimated 2.4 per cent in 2017, and projected to improve further to 3.6 per cent in 2020.
The report found that Africa’s economic potential was about more than recovering commodity prices, but other forces like favourable demographic trends, economic reforms, infrastructure investment, buoyant services sectors and strong agricultural production.
The report stated that certain sectors showed potential for high growth due to productivity gains or consumer demand.
“Food production and agriculture stand out in a region that continues to import food, while a rapidly urbanising population requires more choice. Africa’s need in infrastructure remains vast, and ranges from power to transport to sanitation, among other areas,” the report added.
It also highlighted obstacles that had continued to constrain Africa’s development and competitiveness, including lack of financing and the infrastructure gap.
The Vice President, Economics and Private Sector Development, IFC, Hans Peter Lankes, gave an assurance that there were considerable opportunities for investors on favourable trends, adding that Africa’s growing middle class was consuming a wide range of goods and services, while technology was changing the services delivered to consumers.
“The result is enormous potential across a range of sectors in Africa,” he added.
The Founder and President, Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yamid, described the report as a demonstration of the abundant business opportunities in Africa, noting that the forum was created to provide a dialogue that engaged business leaders and helped investors to turn the opportunities into successful projects that would create jobs and drive Africa’s economic development.
Oil Marketers Fix Pump Prices as PPPRA Remains Silent
Filling Stations Fix Pump Prices Amid Pricing Confusion
Oil marketers across the country have started fixing their own pump price for petrol over silent of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
According to Tunji Oyebanji, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, 11 Plc, certain members of the association had to fix their pump price between N148-N148.80 per litre.
He said oil marketers are interpreting PPPRA silence as ‘a go ahead’ to adjust price according to the recent increase in ex-depot price.
“There is a need for some clarity. If we are to fix the price of the product, we should be told so. There is a lot of confusion and people are not clear as to the direction. All we have is silence,” he added.
Earlier this week, the PPPRA increased ex-depot price by N6 to N138.62/litre in line with the latest deregulation plan to allow market forces dictate the nation’s pump price and finally put an end to fuel subsidy that over the years has enriched few people at the expense of national growth and development.
However, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria have voiced their opposition to the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector when the country is still depending on importation for refined products.
Since the PPPRA announced a new price band of N140.80 to N143.80 per litre in the month of July, it has remained silent in August despite raising the ex-depot price on Monday.
Forcing filling stations to start fixing their pump prices. For instance, Conoil and Total filling stations opposite the headquarters of the NNPC increased their petrol prices to N148.7 per litre and N148.8 per litre, respectively.
While the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, South West chapter directed all members to increase the pump price of petrol to N150 per litre.
Experts have attributed the whole confusion to poorly planned deregulation strategy. According to Mr Afolabi Olawale, the General Secretary, NUPENG, any deregulation based on the importation of refined products is not going to ease the burden of Nigerians.
He said, “Our position is that we don’t support any form of deregulation that is based on importation. We support deregulation that is based on local refining of products.
“If we are refining in the country, a lot of costs will be taken away and Nigerians will be able to benefit. But as long as we are not refining, Nigerians will keep experiencing an increase in fuel prices if crude oil price continues to rise.
“Nigerians are suffering; the country is in a dire situation, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things are hard, and we add a higher cost of transportation to it; it is going to be a very terrible period for Nigerians.”
Lagos Lowers Land Use Charges, Waives N5.75bn in Penal Fees
Lagos Reduces Land Use Charges to Pre-2018 Fees
In a bid to ease economic burden and support growth across Lagos State, the commercial hub of Nigeria, the state government has reduced land use charges and other penal fees.
Dr. Rabiu Olowo, the Commissioner for Finance, disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement titled ‘Speech delivered by the honourable commissioner for finance at a press briefing on the 2020 new land use charge law.’
Lagos State Government said land use charges and other fees are revised down to pre-2018, adding that the state will henceforth uphold the 2018 method of valuation.
Accordingly, the state waived the penal fees for 2017, 2018 and 2019. Translating to N5.75 billion in potential revenue.
“In addition to this, there is also a 48 per cent reduction in the annual charge rates,” Olowo stated.
He further stated that owner-occupied residential property was lowered from 0.076 per cent to 0.0394 per cent; industrial premises of manufacturing concerns, from 0.256 per cent to 0.132 per cent; and residential property/private school (owner and third party, from 0.256 per cent to 0.132 per cent.
Olowo added that commercial property — used by the occupier for business purposes — was reduced from 0.76 per cent to 0.394 per cent; and vacant properties and open empty land, from 0.076 per cent to 0.0394 per cent.
While the annual charge rate for agricultural land was revised down by 87 per cent from 0.076 per cent to 0.01 per cent.
FG Spends N2.37 Trillion on Petrol Importation in 13 Months, Says NNPC
NNPC Sells 950.67m Litres of Petrol In May
The Federal Government imported petrol valued at N2.37 trillion into the country in thirteen months, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
On Wednesday, the corporation said revenue from the sales of white products stood at N2.39 trillion between May 2019 and May 2020.
It, therefore, stated that petrol contributed about 98.84 percent or N2.37 trillion of the total sales generated during the period.
In May, the corporation said it realised N92.58 billion from the sale of petrol. NNPC said the product was sold through its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC).
According to the May 2020 version of the corporation’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report quoted by Kennie Obateru, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, 950.67 million litres of white products (only petrol) was sold by PPMC in the month.
This, he said “comprised 950.67 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, only, with no Automotive Gas Oil or Dual Purpose Kerosene.”
“There was also no sale of special product in the month.”
Nigeria continues to depend on importation for its petrol supplies due to local dilapidated refineries that have failed to operate at optimal level despite billions of dollars budgeted for maintenance yearly.
Experts have said petrol importation is one of the main reasons the nation’s foreign reserves continues to struggle, especially at a period when oil prices are trading at a record low with broadly low demand for the commodity.
Nigeria’s foreign reserves is presently hovering around $36 billion, down from its record high of $45 billion attained in June 2019. The decline has also impacted the ability of the Central Bank of Nigeria to support the Nigerian Naira.
The Naira has been devalued by 15 per cent in the last four months and was recently adjusted from N361 a US dollar to N381 per US dollar on the Investors and Exporters forex window to ease the pressure on the reserves.
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