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Govt, World Bank Discuss $1b Power Sector Loan

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The Federal Government and the World Bank Power Sector team yesterday met on the possibility of Nigeria accessing a $1 billion Performance Based Loan (PBL) from multilateral institutions.

Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed dropped the hint at a joint news conference with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele at the end of the 2019 World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings in the United States.

The minister cleared the air on fuel subsidy, saying removing it is not on the cards. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been advocating the removal of fuel subsidy to free more money for infrastructural development. The Federal Government believes doing so will increase the burden of the poor.

Mrs. Ahmed said: “We met with the World Bank Power Sector team and discussed the way forward on the proposed $1 billion PBL. We agreed to bring relevant MDAs together to ensure that we advance this operation in a timely manner. We will also discuss the Country Portfolio Performance of Nigeria, which currently stands at $9.8 billion, with the Nigerian Country team at the World Bank and how we could manage the portfolio for optimum results.”

She spoke of plans by the Debt Management Office (DMO) to issue N15 billion Green Bond to fund agriculture, power, health and water amenities to make life better for the people, saying the Green Bond will be the second one and would be used to finance agriculture, power sector – mostly solar projects – as well as some projects in the water sector.

She pointed out that the projects for which the funds will be applied “must be green. They must be projects that are not contributing to carbon dioxide emissions to society. The first green bond issuance was successful and all the projects that were scheduled to have been financed have been done and the projects are at various levels of completion.”

On fuel subsidy, Mrs. Ahmed said there was no plan by the government to remove fossil fuel subsidies. “We are here to discuss with the global community on various policy issues. One of the issues that always come up, especially in the IMF Article IV is how we handle fuel subsidy.

“So, in principle, the IMF would say fuel subsidies are better removed so that you can use the resources for other important sectors, which is good advice, but in Nigeria, we do not have any plans to remove fuel subsidies at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that will enable us to remove the subsidy and provide cushions for our people.

“So, there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy. We will be working with various groups to find out the best approach if we have to. We discussed this very frequently at the Economic Management Team but what is the alternative? We haven’t yet found viable alternatives. So, we are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidies.”

On Brexit, Emefiele attributed ongoing Brexit controversy in the United Kingdom (UK) to immigration and trade opportunities.

The CBN governor said: “I would say that though Britain and Nigeria have a trade relationship, it is not as strong as what we have with China and the United States (U.S.) For instance, China is Nigeria’s largest trading partner, followed by the U.S. And I had imagined that Britain comes quite low on the scale.

“So, if you look at that, you would find that, in my view, there is not going to be any adverse consequences on Nigeria, but we are reviewing it to see the implication, which I expect, would naturally be positive.”

Giving an overview of the meetings, Mrs. Ahmed said they provided an opportunity to review developments in the global economy, examine emerging and associated risks. They also offered a potential policy menu to ameliorate the situations, going forward, she added.

The meeting noted the slowing down of the global economy with a revised global growth from 3.3 per cent in 2019 to 3.6 per cent in 2020, mainly due to the heightened trade tensions, tightening financial market conditions, softening industrial activity, dampening global investment, monetary policy normalisation and geopolitical tensions, such as uncertainties over Brexit, all resulting in policy uncertainty.

In terms of fiscal policy, Mrs. Ahmed said government debts to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratios had reached unprecedented levels and this limits the capacity of some of these countries to provide countercyclical policies; consequently, potential growth remains subdued in most of these countries, partly as other factors, such as aging populations, declining birth rates and raising barriers to immigration weigh in.

Mrs. Ahmed said the key takeaway was that the IMF requested for a mandate to pursue some negotiations with governors for temporary financing options for ensuring that the Fund remains adequately resourced by maintaining the current resource envelope through borrowed resources.

The minister said this arose partly due to the delay in completing the 15th general review of quotas, adding that while governors endorsed this position, “we called for an ambitious timetable for the 16th General Review of quota which should result in increased quota shares for dynamic economies in line with their relative positions in the world economy while protecting the voice and representation of the poorest members.”

Mrs. Ahmed said: “I issued a statement calling for normalization of trade relations among the contending parties and called for concerted efforts to support multilateralism and avoid protectionist sentiments.”

She said Nigeria used the Spring Meetings to showcase what the government had been doing in human capital development.

The minister said: “We have set up an inter-ministerial working group with representatives of the state governors and are currently piloting some initiatives in health, education and, of course, you are all aware of the social safety nets programmes of the Federal Government where we have 15 million people already on the register.

“The World Bank Group was pleased with our efforts and promised to offer some assistance. Nigeria endorsed the Coalition Principles as one of the founding members.”

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ISWAP: It‘s Time to Rise Against Islamic State Terrorists Tormenting Nigerians, Others, SHAC Tells World Leaders

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The international community has been asked to rise against the killings of innocent Nigerians by Islamic State of West African Province around the Lake Chad Basin Region.

Save Humanity Advocacy Centre, which made this call on Sunday , said world leaders must act fast to curb the activities of the terrorists around the Lake Chad Basin and the consequent risk this has posed to harmless women and children.
Grace Akatu, Executive Director of the group, while addressing a press conference on Sunday said activities of ISWAP around the Lake Chad Basin region are sources of concern given the way and manner it has continued to maim, harass and kill innocent people that consist mainly of women and children.

The group, therefore, called for urgent intervention from countries around the world to join forces with the Nigerian Authorities in combating the menace of ISWAP around the Lake Chad basin.

Full text of her speech below.

The activities of ISWAP has constituted an enormous threat to the economies of countries around the Lake Chad basin such Cameroon, Niger, and Chad, hence the need for urgent intervention in a bid to address the menace that activities of ISWAP have posed in the Lake Chad Basin region.

The Nigerian Authorities cannot address the ISWAP challenge alone; it consequently behoves on all well-meaning countries to join forces with Nigeria in confronting this terrorist organization.

The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre believes that if the activities of ISWAP are not curtailed, peace and meaningful development might elude the countries in the Lake Chad Basin region and beyond.

The atrocities committed by ISWAP in the region are unimaginable and should be of great concern to lovers of peace and sustainable development around the world.

The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre consequently calls on all the countries in the world to see the threat posed by ISWAP as a global threat rather than a regional threat because of the support it enjoys from international terrorist networks around the world.

The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre also calls of international humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations and its affiliates to rise to this challenge posed by ISWAP in a bid to ensure that the world is a better place and women and children are protected from harm.

The Save Humanity Advocacy Centre reiterates that the efforts of the Nigerian Authorities must be complemented in a bid to rid ISWAP out of the Lake Chad Basin region in the overall interest of peace.

We consequently believe that the urgency of now requires that all the necessary support the world can avail Nigeria should be given in the quest to defeat terrorism in Nigeria, as well as the Lake Chad Basin region. The world must indeed act fast.

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Eko DisCo is the Best in Nigeria, Says NERC Chairman

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The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. James Momoh, has commended the management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) for being the best performed distribution company in Nigeria.

Momoh gave the commendation at the completion of training programme for the 100 newly employed graduates by the company in Lagos.

He said the DisCo has performed credibly well in discharging its statutory obligations towards effective electricity distribution to customers within its operational area.

He said the company has attained 100 per cent customer complaint resolution, adding that part of the NERC scorecard indices used for the rating include Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) loss reduction, revenue collection and metering.

Others are High Voltage fault clearance index, remittance to Market Operator and remittance to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).

According to him, the Meter Assess Provider (MAP) programme has come to stay because all DisCos had signed an agreement with the meter providers within their operation to kick start the rollout of metering but it’s not free.

“Meter distribution is going to be on monthly basis to customers as DisCos are committed to MAP services. MAP is not a problem; Nigerians will get meter but they have to follow the procedure to get the meters.

“Cost-reflective tariff will be effective when there are no more losses in the system. When meters are installed and issues of customers enumeration is put in place and that will address most lingering issues in the sector.

“Very soon the price regime on cost reflective tariff will be out which electricity customers will also partake in the discussion to put the power sector in the right direction,” he said.

The NERC chairman tasked the newly employed graduates to be more committed, dedicated and focused in the course of their duties.

He said that achieving incremental, stable and uninterrupted power in a safe and affordable manner is required of distribution companies which need not to be compromised.

Momoh said: “To achieve optimal energy generation, transmission and distribution, there is need for capacity building to design, construct, build and test the new grid that is sustainable.

“Need new curriculum for Universities that would be revised for every electrical engineering student to take economic courses, finance and vice-versa; the general course in apps design and communication, data analytics should be taught.

In his remarks, Mr. Charles Momoh, the Chairman of EKEDC, advised the newly employed graduates to take the job very seriously and be more focused on achieving their goals, adding that the system will also reward quality, dedication and commitment to service delivery.

Momoh said: “You are the growth that will control the economy. We want you to be free and relate very well and avoid partaking in politics, gossip and disobedience.

The Managing Director of Eko DisCo, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, said: “We are here for an unprecedented premier edition of EKEDC training programme where we have 100 individuals who are graduating today, something that has not been done before in this particular distribution company, where we carefully selected from almost 1,300 applicants.

“We have been able to fairly look at 100 people that we are celebrating today as they are graduating from this programme. We have a mix of 60 per cent of entry level, 30 per cent of mid-level and 10 per cent experts or experienced level. The idea was for them to go through detailed rotation, to ensure that they are good in different departments and come out being very confident. And to also have the capacity to turnaround the power sector,” he said.

Fadeyibi, said the training will bridge the gap for the company, saying that “I am also excited because as a Nigerian, I see a lot of our colleagues in other DisCos probably joining us to do the same or even better.

“At EKEDC, we don’t pay lip service; there is lot more to do. Not just for EKEDC but for everybody else. We are the number one in the country, the key areas we have focused on and succeeded in the last two years include being accessible to customers. We are present online, on social media and direct interactions.

We ensure that customers’ engagement is key. In ensuring quality of service, we ensure to continue to improve our network. We have zero tolerance for safety issues, you can see the reduced amount of incidence that we have faced.

According to Fadeyibi, these are not young graduates, we have the majority that are young graduates but we also have to put a lot of focus on mid-level and the experienced because you can imagine some of the middle level are taking a chance in their career to move into a new area in most cases.

We have already started to see the impact, even during their six months. This is a little over six month programme, intensive like I said, and what we expect is that they will now move into the departments a little focused, understand the clear mission of the company which is to ensure we are the number one customer-focused utility company, not just in Africa but have to compete globally.

So, at the end of the day, what does that mean to customer is how do we start working towards this 24/7 uninterrupted service and I am excited that we are on the right track now.

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Baru Tasks Staff on Optimum Productivity, As He Commissions Duke Oil Office Complex

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The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has tasked staff of the National Oil Company to bolster their productivity.

The NNPC helmsman’s charge came during his inauguration of a new office complex of its crude oil trading subsidiary, Duke Oil (NNPC Trading), in Abuja.

Performing the inauguration of the building, Dr. Baru said studies had shown that a conducive office environment promotes productivity and enjoined staff of the company to translate their satisfaction with the new office complex into optimum productivity and profitability.

“I have been appropriately briefed on the design and location of the new Duke Oil (NNPC Trading) office building. I am pleased to inform you that it has all the necessary features capable of bolstering staff productivity,” Baru submitted.

He declared at the commissioning of the high-tech office complex located in Maitama, Abuja, that the introduction of new business models which saw the coalescing of Duke Oil, Hyson and Carlson into a single company known as NNPC Trading, under the 12 Business Focus Areas (12 BUFAs) was beginning to pay off.

The 12 BUFAS refers to the 12-point agenda Dr. Baru set for the corporation on assumption of office in July 2016.

“I am pleased to state that the inauguration of the Duke Oil (NNPC Trading) office complex today, perhaps, physicalized the consolidation,” Dr. Baru enthused.

He stated that the company was competing favourably well with other local and international crude oil trading companies, adding that he was impressed with the performance of the company in the last couple of years.

The GMD recalled how, in 2004, as the Managing Director of the company, it was difficult to pay staff, stressing that as at today the company had been transformed into a profit centre.

He explained that the company was still operating under the name of Duke Oil pending the resolution of some legal issues.

The highpoint of the vent was the unveiling of the company’s logo.

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