FG Urged to declare Power Supply as Matter of National Emergency


By admin


Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, has urged the federal government to declare the power supply as a matter of national emergency in order to save nation’s businesses from collapse.

He also appealed to the government to ensure protection of all telecommunications infrastructures in the country so as to boost its operational service delivery.

Adebayo who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a privately owned radio station, Royal FM, 95.1 Ilorin, Kwara State, stated this yesterday on the occasion of the 10th year anniversary of the establishment of the radio station.

According to him, the epileptic power supply in the country has become a threat to the growth of the businesses in the country.

Adebayo who said that this ugly development has hindered many businesses to grow especially in the operational duties of radio stations added that, “On many occasions we have been running our radio station on diesel and this is not economical at the end of the day.”

He noted that, “In my radio station, I have five generators that I have been using and these consumed a lot of diesel when the power supply was not available for service.

“Out of the 10 years, for the last six years we have been running generator permanently.

“And this is not good for growth at all because the money being committed to the buying of diesel can be used to invest in another business that can still be useful for the masses.

“It is also worrisome now that, no employment opportunities in public service again and the private investors that are employing people should be encouraged by making sure all the necessary needs that can improve their businesses must be provided.”

While calling on the federal government to declare power supply as a national emergency, Adebayo said that the development would go a long way to stabilise the business activities and improve the economic growth of the nation.

Adebayo who used the occasion to laud the support of the workers of the Royal FM, Ilorin, for their commitment and unalloyed support for the growth of the radio station noted that their support has pushed the radio station into a national pedestal.

He also commended the listeners for their advices and ideas which according to him have continued to serve a tonic towards the development of the station

Adebayo, however, called on the government to protect the telecom infrastructures located across the nation so as to avoid being vandalised by men of the underworld.

He pointed out that the development would also assist the Telecom providers to serve the people of the country and also boost the economic activities of the society.

Again, IMF urges FG to remove petrol, electricity subsidies

By Favour Nnabugwu



The International Monetary Fund (IMF), yesterday, acknowledged efforts by the Federal Government to fast-track growth but warned that the “reemergence of fuel subsidies and slow progress in revenue mobilisation” exposes the country’s fiscal outlook to significant risks.

The observations were contained in a statement on preliminary findings by IMF staff at the end of an official staff visit (otherwise described as mission) to its member countries to monitor economic development.

The institution noted that the views expressed in the statement did not necessarily represent the position of the IMF’s Executive Board, saying another report would be prepared by the staff for the Executive Board’s “discussion and decision.”

The statement also observed that the continued dependence on administrative measures to address lingering foreign exchange (FX) shortages has a negative impact on confidence building.

The IMF, World Bank and other international institutions had previously called for broad reform of the FX market to achieve market-led and more dynamic operations.

In yesterday’s statement, IMF reiterated that there was a need for the urgent FX market, fiscal, trade and governance reforms to rescue the economy from muted recovery.

“Without urgent fiscal and exchange rate reforms, the medium-term outlook faces sub-par growth. There are significant downside risks to the near-term outlook arising from the uncertain course of the pandemic and the domestic security situation.

“In the medium term, there are upside risks from faster-than-expected reaching of the Dangote refinery’s production capacity along with the effective implementation of the 2021 Petroleum Industry Act in terms of higher manufacturing production and investment in the oil sector; major reforms in the fiscal, exchange rate, trade and governance are needed to alter the long-running lacklustre growth path.

“On the immediate front, fiscal and external imbalances require removal of regressive fuel and electricity subsidies, tax administration reforms and installing a fully unified market-clearing exchange rate. Over the medium term, moving away from inward-looking policies through trade, monetary and foreign exchange reforms, enhancing public trust through governance and fiscal transparency reforms and improving welfare through job creation and agricultural reforms are priorities.”

The Fund noted that the fiscal deficit could worsen in the near term and remain elevated over the medium term. According to the statement, the fiscal deficit is projected to widen in 2021 to 6.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) despite the bullish oil prices.

IMF also called for aggressive tax reform to boost revenues, saying: “Nigeria will have to adopt tax rates compared to its peers in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to raise revenues to levels targeted in the 2021-25 National Development Plan.”

The institution, however, commended the country’s “pro-active approach” in managing the COVID-19 crisis. The efforts, it admitted, has contained the infection and fatality rate.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been well managed but there is a lasting imprint on the vulnerable. Like much of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Nigeria underwent a third wave of the pandemic in August 2021. The authorities’ proactive actions, including a robust infection tracking system and a national strategy for vaccine procurement and rollout, have helped keep infection rates and fatalities lower than in many other countries,” it added.

Leadway: PenCom clarifies pension fund asset investment

By Favour Nnabugwu


The National Pension Commission (PenCom) says the equity investments in FBN Holdings made by Leadway Pensure Ltd on behalf of the pension funds under its management are in the name of the pension fund and belong to the RSA holders.

This comes against the backdrop of an allegation of misuse of the pension fund by Leadway Pensure Limited.

PenCom explained in Abuja, yesterday, that the equity investments in FBN Holdings Plc, as stated, could not be appropriated or classified as shareholdings of any related party to the PFA.

It declared that Leadway Pensure Ltd was not in breach of the investment regulation by investing pension funds in the equities of FBN Holding Plc.

It added: “Records, which can be confirmed from the Securities and Exchange Commission, show that the equity investments in FBN Holdings Plc are in the name of the Pension Fund on behalf of the RSA holders.”

Citing the relevant sections of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014), PenCom explained further: “Pension fund assets are managed by licensed PFAs and held in custody by Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) on behalf of Retirement Savings Account holders and other beneficiaries of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), in line with the provisions of Section 69 (b) of PRA 2014 stipulates that the PFA and PFC shall take reasonable care that the management or custody of the pension funds is carried out in the best interest of the retirement savings account holders. Therefore, all investments made by licensed PFAs in eligible securities and corporate entities are ‘ring-fenced and belong to the RSA holders and other pension beneficiaries. Accordingly, these pension assets cannot be appropriated directly or indirectly to any individual or related party of the PFA.”

According to the pension regulatory body, the provisions of Section 6.1(iii) of the Investment Regulation dealing with conflict of interest, stipulate that “the PFA or any of its agents are prohibited from investing Pension Fund Assets in the shares or any other securities, issued through public or private placement arrangements, by related party/person of any shareholder of the PFA. Related persons/party as defined in Section 1.10 of the Investment Regulation ‘includes natural persons related by blood, adoption or marriage; legal entities one of which has control or significant influence over the other, or both of which are controlled by some other person or entity; a corporate entity where any of the aforementioned holds five per cent or more beneficial interest; and any other relationship that can be reasonably construed as related persons or parties.”

The Commission restated that there was no breach of its investment regulation whatsoever, urging the general public to be guided accordingly.

The Commission restated its commitment to fulfilling its regulatory and supervisory functions as well as ensuring the safety of pension assets and the soundness of the pension industry.

AfCFTA rolls out $10b fund as buffer for tariff loss

By Favour Nnabugwu


African countries are losing $5 billion yearly as costs of currency convertibility, Secretary-General of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, has said.

Besides, Mene disclosed that AfCFTA, in collaboration with Afreximbank, has plans to roll out a $10 billion adjustment fund for countries that might suffer revenue loss arising from the elimination of tariffs on goods produced in the continent.

Speaking during a press briefing at the ongoing Intra-African Trade Fair in Durban, South Africa, yesterday, Mene said AfCFTA was working closely with Afreximbank to establish a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), which would enable Africans to transact in real-time on a digital platform with entities in other parts of the continent using their local currency to ensure successful implementation of the trade pact.

He explained that Afreximbank was providing liquidity worth over $1 billion for the settlement as well as establishing the technology, while AfCFTA was providing the legal framework.

“This is the very first time we have a single set of rules for trade and investment. So, we need to leverage on this single instrument to make sure that we maximise the benefit,” she said.

On the tariff adjustment fund, Mena said it would provide direct interventions for various sectors, especially in the areas of staff retraining, machinery processing and procurement of the latest technology, among others.

He said the trade intervention facility was at the final stage of negotiation, noting that the fund would be made available immediately after both parties conclude the negotiations.

After much anticipation, AfCFTA came into effect on January 1, eliminating tariffs on 90 per cent of goods produced on the continent.

For the agreement to be successful, countries must address more nuanced non-tariff barriers and build regional value chains. Having been pushed back six months from its initial implementation date, trading under the AfCFTA has commenced.

The trade agreement is expected to be mutually beneficial, as importers had over the years struggled to import due to duties and costs created by their governments.

Mene stressed that the intervention fund would be managed under a professional arrangement by a joint venture while disbursement would commence by next year.

He stated that much of African trade involves exporting raw commodities outside of the continent and importing the finished products.

According to him, for the continent to create an internal market for African products, it must begin to manufacture value-added goods and deepen its regional value chains.

He also stated that African markets must discover their areas of specialisation and value addition in their local market before the continent would witness any real inter-African trade.

“It took Europe 72 years to reach the depth market and economic integration is enjoying today. We are not yet there but we want to get to the level of market integration one day.

“If we consolidate our market of 1.3 billion people by the year 2030, close to $7 trillion GDP, our continent will be the seventh or eight largest economies in the world and become as competitive as China and India,” he said

External reserves resume decline, lose $410m in 17 days

Favour Nnabugwu


Nigeria’s external reserves dropped by $410m in the past 17 weeks, after rising by a record $5.05bn last month, the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria have shown.

The CBN data revealed that the reserves dropped to $41.50bn on November 14 from $41.79bn on November 1.

The reserves, which had maintained a growth trajectory in recent months, increased from $36.78bn on September 30 to $41.83bn on October 29. It rose by $2.76bn in September from $34.02bn at the end of August.

The Head of the Economics Department, University of Ibadan, Prof. Adeola Adenikinju, pointed out that how to boost foreign exchange supply to the economy remained a challenge for Nigeria.

He said, “Given the four major sources of expanding supply: oil exports, foreign capital flows, remittances and non-oil exports, foreign portfolio investments, while desirable, is, however, very fungible.

“Oil exports are similarly very volatile. The long-term interests of the country would be served by encouraging remittances and non-traditional exports. Hence, suggestions to nationalise remittances will be counterproductive to the economy in the long term.”

Adenikinju, therefore, advised that Nigerians should be encouraged to bring their funds into the economy by removing any uncertainty around the ownership and management of such funds.

He also encouraged the CBN to conduct studies to better understand the working of the foreign exchange market in Nigeria, especially the microeconomic factors driving economic agents’ behaviour in the market.

He said, “In the light of the above, I would like to make the following recommendations: First, given the limited options open to the bank to expand foreign exchange supply in the near term, there is a need to carry out a comprehensive study of foreign exchange market operations in Nigeria with a view to determining the fundamental drivers, and relative sizes of the segments of the foreign exchange market in Nigeria.

“In addition, there must also be effective monitoring of the DMBs to close loopholes for shady practices, collusion, and round-tripping,” he added.

Outstanding N4.4trn exposure: Kuru Submits List Of Top 1,000 AMCON debtors to National Assembly 

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has submitted a list containing its top 1,000 obligors to the National Assembly. AMCON made the exposé to members of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency at the just concluded retreat of the committee in Lagos. 

AMCON handed the list over just few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari also signed into law the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act, amending the AMCON Act No.4, 2010. The AMCON Act provides for the extension of the tenor of the Resolution Cost Fund (RCF) and grants access to the Special Tribunal established by the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act 2020, which confers on AMCON the power to among others… “to take possession, manage, foreclose or sell, transfer, assign or otherwise deal with the asset or property used as security for Eligible Bank Assets (EBAs), and related matters.’’ 

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, Honourable Victor Nwokolo representing Ika Northeast/Ika South Constituency in the 9th National Assembly while receiving the list of recalcitrant AMCON obligors from the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, Mr Ahmed Lawan Kuru said the Committee called for the list so that the National Assembly would know those that are holding the country to ransom to enable them meet with relevant agencies of the Federal Government on how to further deal with the debtors to ensure that AMCON realised its mandate in the overall interest of the Nigeria economy. 

Nwokolo who commended the commitment of the Kuru-led agency said that AMCON has been operating under very difficult condition since their establishment, which he stated has been made worse by the coming of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which practically shut everything down.

He said the harsh economic realities caused by COVID-19 meant that the recovery assignment AMCON is doing for the country has been further compounded, which is why the National Assembly is looking at ways of further supporting the recovery drive of AMCON. 

Nwokolo who further disclosed that the National Assembly is considering punitive measures in dealing with those whose names made the top 1,000 AMCON debtors’ list however said he was happy that President Muhammadu Buhari has just signed the Amended AMCON Act into Law because it will help AMCON to recover the huge outstanding debt, which will ensure that the aim of the Federal Government of Nigeria in setting up AMCON in 2010 is not defeated. 

Earlier while presenting the list the AMCON Boss said, “To enable AMCON succeed in its national call to duty, AMCON solicits the continued support of this Distinguished Committee. The Judiciary must be encouraged to respect the provisions of the law that require them to fast-track cases before them, issue certificate of judgement on properties, which the Corporation has no collateral and demand debtors to deposit Judgment sum before proceeding to appeal any judgement. 

Even though the judiciary according to Kuru have been of tremendous support, he told the National Assembly members that AMCON recovery presently is heavily dependent on the Judiciary in the country because AMCON has over 4,000 cases in court and is currently challenged with so many issues including unperfected title documents of some properties from Eligible Financial Institutions (EFIs), which often prevent or elongate the completion of the sale of some of the assets; A general market perception that AMCON assets are distressed, hence buyers request for deeply discounted prices, and the basis for pricing of EBA’s at the point of purchase was the valuation of the assets, just to mention a few. 

Kuru added that more recently, due to the socio-economic downturn, the market values of assets have significantly reduced, lower than the valuation at the point of Eligible Bank Asset (EBA) purchase, making it extremely difficult to consummate sales transactions. With the support of the National Assembly and the Judiciary, Kuru argued that recovering the total current exposure on all EBAs, which stands at N4.4 trillion may be possible before the sunset period.
Covid-19 estimated to cause 17m death globally

By admin


While the official death toll from Covid-19 is just over 5 million as at 1 November 2021, the actual number might be much higher. Various studies conducted by international bodies, researchers and press groups indicate a death rate three times higher than the one reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

On 16 November 2021, “The Economist” re-evaluated the death toll at 17 million and demographic data could confirm these unofficial figures.

In several countries the excess mortality during the pandemic period far exceeds the expected mortality (modeled based on data from previous years). In Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Mexico, excess mortality during the health crisis exceeds expected mortality by 50%.

In India, based on the same calculation method, Covid-19 victims would not be counted in thousands but in millions.

In Russia, it is the same: “The Economist” refers to 900 000 Covid-19 related deaths while the official figures are 250 000 deaths.

In countries known for the reliability of their data, the official figures also have a considerable margin of error. For example, in France, where the counts are carried out by different institutions: “French public health agency (SPF), the National institute of statistics and economic studies (INSEE) and the Inserm centre for epidemiology on medical causes of death (CépiDe)” the results that are revealed are very different.