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Finance

China’s central bank injects $2.94bn into system

By Xinhua

 China’s central bank on Sunday continued to pump cash into the banking system via reverse repos to maintain liquidity.

The People’s Bank of China injected 20 billion yuan (about 2.94 billion U.S. dollars) into the market through 14-day reverse repos at an interest rate of 2.35 per cent, according to a statement on its website.

The move was intended to maintain stable liquidity in the banking system at the end of the third quarter, the central bank said.

A reverse repo is a process in which the central bank purchases securities from commercial banks through bidding, with an agreement to sell them back in the future.

China pursues a prudent monetary policy in a more flexible and appropriate way, according to this year’s government work report.

Alumni lists impediments to enforcement of Cabotage Law

By Anthony Areh 

Mr Austin Umezurike, President, Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron (AMANO),  has identified  contractual requirements, competency and certification as some issues that should be addressed for full enforcement of the Cabotage Law. 

Umezurike made this known on an Instagram live programme organised by Mrs Ezinne Azunna of the MaritimeTv, to commemorate the 2020 World Maritime Day. 

According to him, the Cabotage Law stands on four pillars, among which  is that manning of vessels must be 80 per cent to 100 per cent done by Nigerians. 

“Among the vessels that operate within the Nigerian maritime sector, 80 per cent to 90 per cent supports the oil and gas industry and they are dominated by International Oil Companies which have stringent certification requirements. 

“They make sure that vessels operating with them have certain categories of personnel onboard and also ensure that local vessel owners are forced to meet the requirements. 

“One of the requirement is that they should have certificates from certain countries that are internationally recognised; if they do not meet the requirements, they will not get contracts. 

“The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) can enforce compliance with the Cabotage requirements in terms of 100 per cent manning, but contractual requirements have actually affected full implementation,” the AMANO president said. 

He said that competency, certification and quality of local seafarers  should also be ensured  for effective enforcement of the Cabotage Law. 

Accordung to him, effective enforcement  of Cabotage Law requires collective efforts of all stakeholders in the maritime space, including NIMASA and Maritime Academy of Nigeria,  to ensure production of required personnel. 

Umezuruike said that  there was the need to have more maritime academies which should be  well-equipped and have  competent lecturers. 

He said that the existing maritime academy  was not attracting qualified lecturers because it was a government parastatal and had a salary structure  not good enough. 

“Government needs to know that maritime education is very key globally; for the country to compete globally, we need to make sure we have qualified lecturers that will provide the needed training for our cadets. 

“The Federal Ministry of Transportation needs to look into this issue of remuneration of lecturers in the academy because this is the only way qualified personnel will be employed,” he said. 

The AMANO president expressed satisfaction that NIMASA was addressing the issue of certificate of competency of Nigerian seafarers, hoping that it would ensure that the seafarers  would work with international vessels. 

“Nigeria has an advantage, majority of our population are youths and they speak English which is the maritime language; so, there is no way they cannot dominate the maritime industry,” he said. 

He, however, regretted that Nigerian waterways were being polluted with waste, urging that it should be tackled. 

“AMANO is not just an alumni, it is one of the most versatile players that produce professionals in the Nigerian maritime space with the aim of practicalising some policies and pronouncement from government agencies. 

“We can’t  continue to talk without actions; that is why, to mark the World Maritime Day, we went to the Sagbonkoji in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area  to clean up the area,” Umezurike said. 

Ms Koni Duniya, Chairperson, AMANO Planning Committee, noted that foreign vessels passed through the Sagbonkoji community before going to Lagos ports. 

“What these vessels will see is not good, our waterways are polluted and require education of communities on  proper waste disposal,” she said. 

The World Maritime Day is celebrated on Sept. 24 annually and 2020 edition  had the theme, ‘Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet’.  

Problems cause increase in power tariff

By Chris Ndibe 

The sale of power generating and distributing companies to incompetent investors caused the problems that have led to increase in electricity tariff. 

Information and culture minister Lai Mohammed stated in Lagos at a meeting with the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria. 

Mohammed, who was responding to questions on the adjustment in electricity tariff, said that the federal government had spent N1.7 trillion to supplement electricity tariff after the previous government sold and handed over to the investors. 

He said that the government could no longer afford the cost of the subsidy, especially under the prevailing economic conditions.  

The minister noted that the revenues and foreign exchange earnings by the government had fallen by almost 60 per cent due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector.  

“Before we came in, the power sector had been privatised by the previous administration, but the people they sold to them are incompetent. 

“When we assumed power, we met the mess. 

“Apart from the fact that the Distribution Companies (Discos), could not meter the people, they also could not pay for the electricity generated by the Generation Companies (Gencos), from the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Companies. 

“We had two options – cancel the entire sales or to get the Discos to recapitalise. 

“We took over the debt of the Discos, which was about N701 billion, because of the effect the cancellation of the sale will have on the country and international investors. 

“The people are simply incompetent and if we did not provide the money that means they will not distribute power to anybody,” he said. 

The minister noted that the government did not have the resources to continue along the path of subsidising electricity tariff to private companies. 

“To borrow just to subsidise generation and distribution, which are both privatised, will be grossly irresponsible,” Mohammed stressed. 

To cushion the effects of adjustment of the tariff, the minister said that government was providing incentives to local manufacturers of meters through the Central Bank of Nigeria 

He said that companies importing meters would get incentives through tax waivers. 

Mohammed added that in order to protect the large majority of Nigerians who could not afford to pay cost-reflective tariffs, only customers with guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity would have their tariffs adjusted. 

He said that the industry regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), would ensure that those who get less than 12 hours supply experience no increase. 

In addressing the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing, he said that mass metering programme was being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians. 

The minister said that the government was also taking steps to connect Nigerians not yet connected to electricity at all, to the facility. 

“As you are aware, under its Economic Sustainability Plan, the government is providing solar power to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months. 

“This alone will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation, thus ensuring that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system,” he said. 

The minister assured Nigerians that the service-based electricity tariff adjustment and the ongoing work by German company, Siemens, to boost power supply in Nigeria, would help end the perennial power problem in the country. 

According to him, under the three-phase Siemens deal, Nigerians will enjoy 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by the end of 2021 ((phase 1), 11,000 megawatts by the end of 2023 (phase 2), and 25,000 megawatts in the third phase. 

Customers pressure Multichoice on pay as you go tariff

By Tanko Mohammed  

Nigerian subscribers have intensified their pressure on Mutichoice Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) and other service providers to introduce the Pay as You Go Tariff (PAYG). 

A cross section of subscribers said it was time the providers introduce PAYE in Nigeria. 

Mrs Jumai Aliyu, a subscriber in Maitama said it was wrong for the service providers to stick to the fixed monthly tariff, unlike what was obtainable in other countries. 

“Nigeria constitutes about 40 per cent of DSTV’s global market share, yet the company refused to adopt the pay as you go tariff by sticking to the fixed monthly tariff which is exploitative. 

“Over 40 per cent of the Nigerian subscribers do not use a greater part of their monthly tariff due to engagements that take them from one location to the other on a daily basis. 

“Most subscribers cannot access the services upon expiration, whether or not they use their previous subscriptions until they renew it for another month,” Aliyu said. 

She was reacting to the recent hike in tariff by the providers. 

“The DSTV operates pay as you go tariff in other countries but chose to exploit Nigerians through a fixed monthly tariff,” Aliyu said, adding that the recent tariff hike was uncalled for. 

She noted that the development can make the company loose subscribers while forcing some to downgrade to lower packages. 

“I think that the increase in subscription tariff was ill- timed .The sad part of this development is that the company decided to hike the tariff even with the COVID-19 pandemic which has a devastating effect on the economy of the country. 

“The DSTV and other service providers like GOtv should either bring down their tariff, adopt the pay as you go tariff or risk losing their large patronage in the country,” she said. 

Mr Kenny Ayodeji, a subscriber in Nyanya corroborated Aliyu ‘s claim calling on the Federal Government to intervene in the matter. 

” I think government has a duty in ensuring that Nigerians are protected against unnecessary exploration by foreign companies like DSTV. 

“I remember that the National Assembly promised to ensure that the DSTV and other service providers adopt the pay as you go tariff and reduce their subscription fees, but I don’t know what happened eventually. 

“The lawmakers even promised to summon them for a meeting to discuss the issue but I don’t really know the outcome. 

” I think the time has come for both the executive and the legislature to join hands and safe Nigerians from the exploration of these companies,” he said. 

Mr Uche Chukwuma, a subscriber in Wuse, said that the service providers had never compensated subscribers for poor services especially during rain season when the services were always poor. 

He said that the present increase was coming too soon, after the last one was effected in June. 

“They effected a tariff hike in June and just three months after, another one,” he said. 

Responding, an official of Multichoice, who spoke on anonymous condition, said several factors were considered by the company before adopting the fixed monthly tariff in Nigeria. 

” The operating environment in Nigeria is much different from what is obtainable in other countries, even in Niger Republic here the environment is different. 

“In Nigeria most companies have to provide their own infrastructure and this contribute to the cost of production,” he said. 

The official also said that the recent hike in tariff was caused by the same factors calling for understanding from subscribers. 

AU’s committee assist Nigeria to solve economic problems

By Moses Uwagbale

The African Union (AU) Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) has resolved to work closely with Nigeria and the organised private sector, to address economic challenges in the country..

ECOSOCC is an advisory body of the AU, designed to give Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) a voice within AU institutions and decision-making processes.

Mr Aziemethe Omoh, Head of Economic Affairs Cluster Committee of the AU-ECOSOCC, disclosed this in an interview with NAN, on the sidelines of the committee’s inauguration on Saturday in Abuja.

According to him, there are always economic challenges in every nation, just like Nigeria, but the committee will review the organisation’s measures to tackle such.

“Our idea is to build on the blocks that the preceding generations have built, but our approach will be different.

“Our goal is to think out of the box, in terms of reviewing the way things have been done, which unfortunately has impacted on most parts of Africa.

“We want to review economic challenges with a private sector eye and to do things differently and, even more professionally, we will also partner with government and bring our private sector`s experience to bear,’’ Omoh said.

According to him, AU-ECOSOCC will work closely with the government and try to make more appreciable impacts on society within a short period.

“This appointment will not be forever.

“Therefore, within the stipulated period, we want to progress by moving the agenda of Africa forward and impacting positively on Nigeria economy.’’

He said that the committee would partner with many local and international private sector economic consultants to explore best practices.

Omoh said the committee decried a situation whereby Nigeria is portrayed as a poor country in the world, adding that more would be done to deviate from the past.

“India used to have more population, five or six times the size of our population, yet they were able to lift the majority of their people out of poverty.

“We will seek collaborative support from relevant sectors of the economy; we will look at the agenda of government seriously.

“We know government means well, so we will find ways to work with them because Nigerian government is also a signatory to all the AU treaties,’’ NAN quotes Omoh as saying.

“We will also explore the policies, treaties and vision of AU with Nigeria government, but with a private sector eye to achieve targets.’’