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Power Tariffs Reversal Push By Labour Hits Brickwall

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images 16 1 Power Tariffs Reversal Push By Labour Hits Brickwall

Labour’s push for the reversal of hike in electricity tariffs may have hit the brickwall.
This is because of the high cost of gas – the critical component used by the Generating Companies (GenCos) to power their plants.
The GenCos sell power to the Distribution Companies (DisCos) which take it to the end-users.
Highly-placed sources close to the committee set up by the Federal Government to look into the pricing of electricity said there has been no agreement among committee members as to whether gas is subsidised or not.
Labour threatens to call workers out on strike to protest last month electricity tariffs.
The setting up of a seven-man committee to review the electricity tariffs is the product of negotiation to starve off the industrial action.
The government also compelled the DisCos to put on hold for two weeks, the new tariffs to enable the committee to meet and submit a report.
The deadline for the committee expires this weekend.
The Technical Committee is made up of Minister of State for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo, (Chairman); Minister of State Power, Godwin Jedy-Agba – member; Chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, Prof. James Momoh – member and the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Infrastructure, Ahmad Rufai Zakari as Secretary.
Others are: Dr. Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen – member (NLC); Deputy President of the NLC and Secretary-General, Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Comrade Joe Ajaero – member; Comrade Chris Okonkwo – member (TUC) and a representative of Power Distribution Companies (DisCos) – member.
It was gathered that one of the recommendations on the table is a further halt in the implementation of the new tariffs beyond the two weeks.
The source said: “We have not really concluded. We will conclude this week, but the conclusion of the work of the committee this weekend cannot give us what Nigerians are looking for. It is not a factor that you just wake up and say it is this amount and it is not this amount. There are some other determinants.
“Let me give you this without making reference to the work of the committee. The greater chunk of the money is spent on gas. Gas is their main source of generation. They had to now dollarise gas before they now price it at the GenCos.
“If GenCos now allegedly buy gas in dollar, then they now pass the dollar price to consumers.
“If we are able to address this matter by looking at policy directives especially on gas pricing, if we go through that process, then definitely we are going to puncture the issue of tariff no matter what they are going to pay.
But where we are having serious divergence is on the issue of whether actually there was subsidy. Some of us said there is no subsidy but the government is claiming there is subsidy.
“These are still not things you can do within two weeks. So, the work of the committee may take more time to look at it critically. We are trying to see if there is anything we can do in order to submit our report within two weeks deadline.
“But the job that will lead to a reversal is not a job of two weeks. Some of them require policy direction.
“We will revert to the house at the end of the two weeks to submit our report. If they succeed on sitting in this freeze (suspend the implementation of the tariff) until the final report is done, fine.
“If we are able to get this minor relief until the final report is done, fine. That is what we are working on for now. We are still working but we have not fully agreed on anything to push out to the people now.”
The source said the two weeks given to the committee to work on the issue was not enough.
“We are working tomorrow through the weekend. We have done a lot of reading and consultations with stakeholders. We need to tidy up our report and submit and take another directive.
“You can’t do within two weeks and say reverse. If you know how these people are buying gas, the question will be — should they buy it at this rate? We will find out. We also need to look at the policy in the oil and gas sector in terms of dollarising gas before.
On the need to further suspend the implementation of the new tariff, another source said: “Those are things we have not agreed upon. These things are on the table, options are on the table. Before the weekend we will concretise those options.
“Even those things you are saying now we have not agreed on them until they are ratified by our bosses. But options are on the table.”
Keyamo declined to comment on the work of the committee when contacted last night.
He said: “We are making progress. When the larger house meets, most likely this weekend, the details of the communique may be made known but like I said we are making progress, the details I cannot reveal now but we are making progress.”
The Seven-man Technical Sub-committee to review the increase in electricity tariff by the Federal Government was inaugurated on September 28.
The committee had its first sitting at the minister’s conference room last month.
The committee was set up at the end of a marathon meeting between the Federal Government and organised labour to avert last month’s planned strike.
The committee is expected to examine the justifications for the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the field which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC and metering deployment challenges.
The other mandates of the committee are as follows:
° To look at the different Electricity Distribution Company (DISCOs) and their different electricity tariff vis-à-vis NERC order and mandate.
° Examine and advise government on the issues that have hindered the deployment of the six million meters.
° To look into the NERC Act under review with a view to expanding its representation to include organised labour.

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Lower oil demand may persist beyond 2021 – World Bank

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images 2020 10 23T153303.293 Lower oil demand may persist beyond 2021 – World Bank

The World Bank on Thursday said lower demand for crude oil may persist beyond 2021 .
It stated that while metal and agricultural commodities had recouped their losses from the COVID -19 pandemic and were expected to make modest gains in 2021 , energy prices , despite some recovery , were expected to stabilise below pre – pandemic levels next year .
Oil prices fell dramatically in the early stages of COVID -19 and have only partially regained pre -pandemic price levels .
Metal prices on the other hand , declined relatively modestly and have returned to levels that preceded the shock, according to the semi -annual Commodity Markets Outlook report, as stated by the bank .
The bank stated that agricultural produce prices were relatively unaffected by the pandemic , but the number of people at risk of food insecurity had risen as a result of the broader effects of global recession .
“ The impact of COVID – 19 on commodities has been uneven , and could have lasting effects for energy markets ,” World Bank Group Acting Vice President for Equitable Growth , Finance and Institutions and Director for the Prospects Group, Ayhan Kose , said.
He added, “ When declines in commodity prices are short -lived , policy stimulus can buffer their impact.
“ However, when prices remain depressed for an extended period , policymakers need to find solutions so their economies can adjust smoothly to a new normal .”
He stated that because of COVID – 19 , the new normal for oil – exporting emerging and developing economies arrived earlier.
Kose explained that in the post -COVID world , these countries need to be more aggressive in implementing policies to reduce their reliance on oil revenues .
The bank said oil prices were expected to average $ 44 per barrel in 2021 , up from an estimated $41 per barrel in 2020 .
It said demand was expected to rise only slowly as tourism and travel continued to be held back by health concerns and as global economic activity was anticipated to return to pre -pandemic levels only in the year after next.
It said supply restraint was expected to be eased steadily .
“ Energy prices overall , which also include natural gas and coal, are expected to rebound sizably in 2021 , following large declines in 2020 , an upward revision from April ’s forecast,” the bank said.

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Ban Tomato Importation – Dangote Tomato MD Tells FG

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images 2020 10 23T104030.892 Ban Tomato Importation - Dangote Tomato MD Tells FG

Ban tomato importation – Dangote tells FG
The Managing Director of Dangote Tomato Processing plant in Kadawa, Kano State, Abdulkarim Kaita has on Thursday called on the Federal government to ban importation of tomato paste like it ban rice importation into the country.
This was as he decried importation of tomato paste which he said was still thriving as the commodity was being imported from Cameroon and Cotonour in Benin Republic.
Kaita made the call while flagging off the distribution of tomato seedlings to 5,000 farmers under the Anchor Borrower of Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday at Kadawa village in Kura LGA of the state.
The MD also dropped hint that plans are underway by the company to ensure that Nigeria is self sufficient and positioned to export tomato by establishing the biggest greenhouse in Africa which has the capacity to produce 350 million seedlings annually.
According to him, “We are appealing to the Federal Government to put a total ban on the importation of tomato like what it did to rice.
“The ban is necessary so as to boost local production of the commodity and ensure that Nigeria is self sufficient in tomato production.
“the ban on the importation of tomato paste would lead to the establishment of more tomato processing plants thereby creating job opportunities for many people in the country.
“The company had on several occasions visited the Customs Headquarters and met with the Controller General with a view to lodging complaint over the issue but nothing was done to check the ugly trend.
“It is only by putting a total ban on tomato importation that the government can encourage farmers to grow the commodity for the country to be self sufficient.
“The company was working with the Central bank of Nigeria under the anchor Borrower programme to provide tomato farmers with high yield seeds which will enable them to produce a minimum of 40 tons per hectare.
“Similarly, the company is putting a lot of effort to ensure that Nigeria is self sufficient in tomato production by establishing the biggest greenhouse in Africa which has the capacity to produce 350 million seedlings annually.
“There are 12 major tomato producing states in the country which if fully cultivated, in the next one year, Nigeria will be able to start exporting tomato.
“The greenhouse which is the largest in Africa, is established to provide tomato growers with high yield tomato seedlings in the country,” Kaita said.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Kano State chapter, Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria, Sani Danladi-Yadakwari commended the Federal Government for including tomato value chain in the anchor borrower programme noting that it would go a long way in boosting tomato production in the country.
Some of the items benefitted by the tomato growers include seedlings, fertilizer, water pump and other inputs.

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Fuel Scarcity Looms As Depots Stop Loading

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images 2020 10 22T134311.286 Fuel Scarcity Looms As Depots Stop Loading

The scarcity of petroleum products is imminent in Nigeria as some depots have stopped loading-trucks, The Nation learnt on Wednesday.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN ) National Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi, disclosed this to our Abuja correspondent on phone.
He added that the #EndSARS protests and the resultant crises have stopped the marketers from transiting their loaded trucks.
According to him, since petroleum products are highly inflammable, the drivers decided to park their trucks in safe places nationwide.
He explained that since consumers buy fuel on daily basis and there is no replacement, there is bound to be a scarcity of petroleum products.
Maigandi further said the marketers do not hoard products so there will be no reservoirs to turn to upon the exhaustion of available stock.
Asked whether there is any fear of scarcity, he said “definitely, because some of the depots are not loading due of insecurity.
“The ones that have already loaded parked their trucks in the yards so that protesters will not set them on fire. There is no way you can have sufficient fuels in the filling stations because we don’t do hoarding.”
The IPMAN National Vice President urged the protesters to dialogue with the Federal Government for the amicable resolution of the crises.
He asked them to embrace the olive branch because of the economic losses that emanate from the crisis.
His words: “The EndSARS issue is a Nigerian issue so the protesters and government should dialogue over it for a lasting solution. Nigerians (both government and the governed need to have attitudinal change. So, it is better to dialogue. “

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