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JPMorgan: Poor Economic Decision By Okonjo Iweala



Okonjo iweala

In 2012, when Nigeria was listed on JPMorgan emerging market Bond index, it was done based on a two way quote by the CBN and the then minister of finance, Okonjo Iweala, backing their decision on Nigeria growing economy of 7.4 percent annual GDP and 6.9 percent in 2011, substantiated with a blooming global oil price averaging between $90 to $100 a barrel as at the time, and Knowing fully well that cost of servicing foreign debts will reduce significantly and position she, Okonjo Iweala as the powerhouse of Africa largest economy on the international scene and the force behind the actualization of Nigeria dream to a more mainstream investment destination, they concluded it was the right thing to do without proper consideration for future consequences in the advent of global disaster like current drop in global energy prices and emerging market economic rout.

Here is the logic, Nigeria is a petrol-dollar economy, which means her economic growth is directly proportional to both petroleum (crude oil) and dollar strength. The former is regulated by global demand and supply while the latter is determined by the US economy, while Nigeria’s economy is being driven by non-oil sector (construction, telecoms, manufacturing and agriculture) mainly, it is normal to expect the economic team representing the nation to base their decisions on those sectors that are thriving and can be internally regulated even if it means not been listed as at the time but no, their decision was based on crude oil price.

In 2014, when oil price started falling after peaking at $105.64 in June, with fewer options left to curb the situation, Okonjo Iweala, the minister of finance took to the media, in her words “Nigeria should brace for tougher economic times ahead” insinuating she has no solution apart from her overzealous ambiguity to be at the realm of power and yet we were being chastised for not retaining her team in power.

The current Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) administration came in without much time to curtail the situation, and with naira weakened to more than 200 per dollar for the first time, Godwin Emefiele, Chairman of Central Bank of Nigeria was forced to take a decisive decision which includes spending $380 million to stop the fall of the Naira, restricting 41 item’s importers from accessing FOREX official rate, overhauling foreign currency domicile accounts, restricting dollar withdrawal limit on locally issued credit cards and pegging naira to a fixed rate of 197 to a US dollar. Bear in mind that these might not be perfect economic measures as Nigeria is a heavy import-dependent economy but juxtaposing the danger of what would have happened without these measures with been delisted, an economist will agree it is an acceptable policy given the circumstances.

Here are the possible consequences if the CBN had succumbed to JPMorgan pressure and gone ahead with the devaluation using two-way forex market has suggested, naira value would be between 300 to 320 naira to a US dollar by now, inflation would have surged to double digit from 9.20 percent recorded in July, 2015. Cost of goods and services would jumped to a new height, followed by increase in unemployment as interest rate would have risen, making loan almost inaccessible for companies to finance capital projects. Overall, the decision would have created negative perceptions about Nigeria true economic growth (GDP), and subsequently, forced these same foreign investors backed by JPMorgan to safeguard their fund by withdrawing based on uncertainty and high risk after profiting from the decline.

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


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




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




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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Shipping Companies Lost 1,382 Containers to Bad Weather Yearly – Report




World Shipping Council Says 1,382 Containers Lost Year

A recent report by the World Shipping Council has estimated that about 1,382 containers are lost at the sea yearly due to bad weather and other unforeseen circumstances.

In the report titled ‘Containers lost at sea – 2020 update’, the council attributed the disappearance of over 1,382 containers to severe weather, rough seas, ship groundings and structural failures as some of the problems which can result in containers being lost at sea.

The report said it used a survey-based system to calculate the losses made by shipping companies over a 12-year period.

It said, “Upon review of the results of the 12-year period (2008-2019) surveyed, the WSC estimates that there were on average a total of 1,382 containers lost at sea each year.

“With 12 years of data, it is particularly interesting to look at the trend of three-year averages, reported in each of the survey updates.

“In the first period (2008-2010), total losses averaged 675 per year and then quadrupled to an average of 2,683 per year in the next period (2011-2013).

“This was due in large part to the sinking of the MOL Comfort (2013) that resulted in a loss of 4,293 containers and further impacted by the grounding and loss of M/V Rena (2011) resulting in approximately 900 containers lost.

“Nevertheless, the next period (2014-2016) was marked by another vessel sinking with the tragic total loss of the SS El Faro (2015) with the loss of 33 crew members and 517 containers.

“Even with that, the three-year average annual loss for the period was 1,390, about half of the previous period. The downward trend continued into the most recent period (2017-2019) when the three-year average annual loss was almost halved again to 779.”

The WSC, therefore, encouraged governments and other stakeholders to improve container safety and reduce containers lost at sea.

This, it said could be achieved by making adjustments to the Safety of Life at Sea and revising the International Organisation for Standardisation standards for container lashing equipment and corner castings.

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