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Friday, 29 June 2018

ECOWAS says it is committed to enhancing access to electricity in the sub-region by 60 per cent in line with the set target of 2020.

This formed part of discussions at the meeting organised by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) on the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) in Accra. ROGEP aims to enhance electricity access in West Africa and the Sahel region, through standalone solar systems, including solar lanterns, solar home systems, solar water pumps, solar mills, among others.

The project sponsored by the World Bank has a budget of $200 million and aims to enhance electricity access in 19 countries. They are: the 15 ECOWAS member states, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, and Mauritania. Stakeholders reiterated that the project was pertinent to ensuring access to electricity by citizens, especially in rural areas, within the region who had no form of electricity connection.

Mr Sire Diallo, Coordinator of Private Sector Support Facility, ECREEE told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that multilevel cooperation among member states would facilitate the aims of ROGEP.

“The project is going to be a five-year project and we are looking at 2022, but the project came after the targets were set for the region by the Heads of State to achieve a 60 per cent electrification rate by 2020.

“In this project, we try to address such issues at many levels and some of these challenges are not linked to the entrepreneurs, just that the enabling environment does not exist.

“Those are related to policies, so we have to work with our public sector and governments to make sure that they put in place appropriate mechanisms so that our entrepreneurs in the sector can thrive.”

Diallo added that capacity building and provision of funds were necessary to the sustenance of such projects in the region. Another participant, Mrs Sakeena Twumasi, Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Business and Energy Systems Ltd, called for persistent sensitisation of all community citizens to ensure the realisation of electricity access by 2020.

Twumasi also said that quality in product delivery would also facilitate the success of the project.

“ECREEE, for example, has made all stakeholders aware of the project so when it is being rolled out, everybody knows, but if no one is aware they do not understand,this slows down implementation.

“What the client needs is what you have to give them that, is why there are smaller packages that are affordable and whatever we as solar companies are supplying has to have quality.

“If there is quality, more people come on board and we are focusing on the rural communities.

“We need to educate them and make sure that we do not politicise anything we are doing or we will not meet our targets.”

The two-day meeting had more than 150 participants drawn from public and private sectors and the international community. (NAN)

Published in Engineering
Total revenue from the solid mineral sector in Nigeria in the past nine years stands at about N262 billion, maintaining a slow rise from N8.1 billion in 2007 to N65.7 billion in 2015.
Analysis of data provided in the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit dashboard showed that the country’s revenue from the sector in 2008 stood at N9.5 billion and moved to N19.4 billion in 2009. In 2010, the figure declined to N17.3 billion but moved to N26.9 billion, N31.4 billion, N33.8 billion in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2014, the revenue went to N49.6 billion before hitting N65.7 billion in 2015.
However, while the total royalty earned for the period under review stood at N7.4 billion, the total metric tons of solid mineral produced in the country stood at about 330 million metric tons with contributions from limestones hovering at 54.5 per cent of the total production.
According to the report, production of solid mineral reached the peak in 2014, when the country produced about 47 million metric tons of solid mineral while the lowest production was recorded in 2007, when the country produced about 13 million metric tons of solid minerals.
Though Nigeria is blessed with numbers of solid minerals, including coal, lignite and Coke, gold, columbite wolframite and tantalite, bitumen, iron Ore, uranium, mining of minerals only accounts for 0.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a situation blamed on the influence of vast oil resources.
Chief Executive Officer, EPINA Technologies Limited, Prof. Eguakhide Oaikhinan, noted that while the sector could add as much as $50 billion (about N15.3 trillion) to the nation’s GDP by climbing from 0.5 per cent to 10 per cent growth, government has been insensitive to the call for the overhaul of the sector.
“Everybody seems to be concerned with oil or the mining of the minerals. In the raw state, these mined minerals sell at very low prices but when characterised and processed, it could have very competitive market value for the country,” he noted.
While the Advisory Partner and Mining Leader at Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC) Nigeria, Cyril Azobu, told The Guardian that Nigeria is a fast evolving mining jurisdiction, he insisted that the sector could contribute much more given that most of the country’s rich solid minerals endowment remain largely untapped.
He noted that the lack of proper policy in the sector remained a basic challenges there must be tackled if desired objective would be achieved in the sector.
Azobu said: “There has over the years been a preponderance of largely informal operations fraught with the use of crude equipment and extremely dangerous working practices because of the absence of a formal policy on artisanal mining.
“We have a situation where for a very long time the solid minerals sector was neglected by the government. The agriculture sector also suffered from this neglect. Because of this, the sector has remained underdeveloped with no real structures put in place by successive governments to unlock its potential.”
Source: The Guardian
Published in Economy

The Federal Government of Nigeria received N3.211 trillion as Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) and Royalties from the third quarter of 2015 to third quarter of 2017, according to the Economic Report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Breakdown of the revenue to the government showed that the country received N495.39 billion as PPT/royalties in third quarter of 2015; N388.66 billion, in fourth quarter of 2015; and N314.04 billion during first quarter of 2016.The revenue from PPT/royalties declined in second quarter of 2016 to N212.78 billion; later increased to N392.38 billion in third quarter of 2016; and decreased to N273.13 billion in fourth quarters of 2016.

There was a rebound of revenue to N325.38 billion in first quarter of 2017; N320.49 billion in second quarter and N489.41 billion during the third quarter of 2017. The CBN report for the third quarter of 2017 released recently, revealed that N103.46 billion was allocated to the 13 per cent Derivation Fund for distribution among the oil producing states. 

analysing the report, CBN disclosed that oil receipt at N1.27 trillion during the quarter under review was lower than the proportionate quarterly budget estimate by 6.2 per cent, but was above the receipts in the preceding quarter by 59.7 per cent. According to the CBN, the decline in oil revenue relative to the proportionate quarterly budget estimate was due to the shortfall in receipts from crude oil/gas exports, owing to the decline in crude oil production, arising from leakages and shut-ins/shut-downs at some NNPC terminals.

It disclosed that Nigeria’s crude oil production, including condensates and natural gas liquids, averaged 1.83 million barrels per day (mbd) or 168.36 million barrels (mb) in the review quarter.This, it noted, represented an increase of 0.17 mbd or 10.2 per cent, compared with 1.66 mbd or 151.06 mb recorded in the preceding quarter. The development was due to sustained peace in the oil production region.CBN said that crude oil export stood at 1.38 mbd or 126.96 mb, representing 14.0 per cent increase over 1.21 mbd or 110.11 mb in the preceding quarter.

The development, it hinted, was due, mainly, to reduced activities of vandals in the Niger Delta region.Allocation of crude oil for domestic consumption was maintained at 0.45 mbd or 41.40 million barrels in the review quarter.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Malam Bello Rabiu, proposed some key amendments to the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act to enable the Federal Government optimize the collection of royalties and other revenue in deep water oil production activities.He noted that it was imperative to effect increment in royalties across all categories to increase government take.

“It is our opinion that the proposal to increase the royalty rate for terrains beyond 1000 metres, from zero per cent to three per cent, is commendable but it is necessary to also make corresponding adjustments in other categories,’’ he said.He argued that in the alternative, the graduated royalty scale as provided in the Act should be removed while the Minister of Petroleum Resources should be empowered to intermittently set royalties payable for acreages located in deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contracts through regulations based on established economic parameters.

“It is our opinion that these incentives have outlived their usefulness and are now impediments to the Federal Government’s revenue collection efforts. The use of such incentives can be terminated by an amendment of section 4 of the Act,’’ the Corporation noted.He called on the National Assembly to seek relevant input from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, to resolve the divergent opinions regarding the methodology for the computation of the taxes which would arise as a result of the proposed royalty regime.

Source: The Guardian

Published in Bank & Finance
Cape Town - The South African Human Rights Commission has said that economic challenges that prompted the VAT and fuel levy hikes announced in the budget could have been averted if the government had earlier demonstrated better management of the economy and clamped down on corruption. 
“Public and private sector corruption, according to the Auditor General, a fellow Chapter 9 Institution, costs the nation billions on an annual basis,” it said.
The commission, a national institution established to uphold constitutional democracy and human rights, said it believed a “significant portion” of the economic challenges facing SA could have been avoided had the state “demonstrated better management of the economy and demonstrated an intolerance toward corruption, inefficiency and maladministration”. 
In his maiden budget delivered on Wednesday, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that VAT would increase by one percentage point from 14% to 15%. 
The current zero-rating on foods including maize meal, brown bread, dried beans and rice would remain, and “limit the impact on the poorest households”. 
The SAHRC said it was “deeply concerned” that the VAT rate would go up, saying it was a tax that impacts the poor the most.
According to the budget, it is expected to bring in R22.9bn in additional revenue in the 2018/19 financial year. 
“Further, the SAHRC is also concerned with the increase in the fuel price through the introduction of a 52 cents per litre fuel levy,” it said. “This increase in fuel price particularly impacts on the poor as it affects the price of public transport and the price of goods as the vast majority of goods sold to the public are transported on the road.”
The commission also acknowledged that the budget was a “complex and difficult balancing act”, saying it was “fully aware” of the difficulties in limiting expenditure while collecting revenue through taxes and stimulating economic growth. 
Going up  
Gigaba had argued that the government was doing all it could to reduce the impact of the VAT hike on poor households, noting that the state was also boosting social grants payments and increasing the bottom three tax brackets.
He said plans to spend R57bn over three years on fee-free tertiary education for students with a family income below R350 000 per annum was another “important step forward in breaking the cycle of poverty and confronting youth unemployment”.
“Labour statistics show that unemployment is lowest for tertiary graduates,” he said.“Higher and further education and training is being made accessible to the children of workers and the poor.”
Published in Economy
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