Connect with us

Business

AfDB approves $210 million loan for Nigeria’s power sector1 minute read

The AfDB funded project will run across seven states and will improve the capacity of power grid where it is most constrained

Published

on

AfDB approves $210 million loan for Nigeria’s power sector
(File photo)

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $210 million loan to help Nigeria upgrade its ailing electricity transmission and distribution network.

The loan to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) will support the construction of 330KV double circuit quad transmission lines and sub-stations across the country.

The AfDB funded project will run across seven states and will improve the capacity of power grid where it is most constrained.

Nigeria privatised most of its power sector in 2013 but retained control of its monopoly grid, operated by TCN. Most of the country’s power generation is from thermal power stations that use gas.

The creaking power grid has often been blamed for hobbling growth in west Africa’s largest economy.

The project looks to improve power export and regional power system integration to the West African Power pool, especially through Niger and Benin interconnections.

AfDB’s acting Vice President for Power & Energy, Wale Shonibare says implementing the project will increase evacuation from the south towards the north, where power supply is limited.

The project will also improve power export and regional power system integration to the West African Power pool, especially through Niger and Benin interconnections, he adds.

The country’s power output stands at around 4,000 MW. Total power generation capacity is about 7,000 MW but the transmission network cannot cope if plants operate at full tilt.

Nigeria’s privatized power sector typically does not use meters to provide invoices, bill collections are low and energy tariffs have remained fixed for three years.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Business

DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides

Published

on

DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides
A bicycle carrier cycles with a load of about 300 kilograms of charcoal to sell in Goma, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo(Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

Lush rainforest covers millions of hectares of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a central part of Earth’s natural defence against global warming — but it is under severe threat from a perfect storm of mismanagement.

An array of global and local NGOs are in a tense fight to save the rainforest, which lost an area twice the size of Luxembourg last year alone, according to Global Forest Watch.

But the problems run right through DR Congo society — from the poor who rely on charcoal for fuel in a country with meagre supplies of other power, to the senior officials who profit from illegal logging.

“There are lawmakers and soldiers involved. They don’t pay taxes — it’s unfair competition,” says Felicien Liofo, head of a wood craftsmen’s association.

Local police say soldiers simply rip apart the fences around the forest and threaten to shoot anyone who tries to stop them.

– NGOs fight back 

The government faces a daunting challenge to protect the rainforest. 

Its 2002 forestry code imposed a moratorium on new concessions and regulated the number of trees that could be chopped down under existing permits, but officials complain of a lack of resources.

Felicien Malu, a provincial environment coordinator, has roughly 1,200 workers to cover a province twice the size of Portugal.

DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides
Joseph Bisole, 27, a former child soldier in the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, manufactures charcoal as part of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Ecomakala project to reduce illegal charcoal production, in Burungu, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on September 28, 2019. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

But his staff, he says, are not paid and lack even the basic tools of their trade — boats, motorcycles or pickup trucks. 

“We can’t organise control missions because there are many rivers to cross and unpaved roads,” he says.

His predecessor in the job was suspended for embezzlement, underlining how corruption feeds the problem of deforestation.

NGOs have launched a multi-pronged attack against the plunder.

Greenpeace Africa and a coalition of eight NGOs from DRC and neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville have demanded a halt to all industrial activities in the millions of hectares of peatland shared by the two countries.

DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides
Two beneficiaries of a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) pilot project to produce domestic bio gas to combat illegal charcoal production look at their new gas cooker in their home in Sake, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on September 28, 2019. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

The ancient wetlands store huge amounts of carbon, but companies are involved in oil exploration, logging and industrial agriculture in the area.

Global Witness investigated the illegal logging trade and earlier this year accused a general in the Congolese army of illegally reselling logging permits.

However, electricity in DRC is a rare luxury, meaning that most Congolese still rely on charcoal as their main fuel supply.

Making charcoal involves chopping down trees and slow-burning the wood in covered ovens — all of which comes at a steep price for the environment.

“I get through a $30 sackful every two months. That’s a fair chunk of what I earn,” says Solange Sekera while shopping at a market in the eastern city of Goma. “We have no other means of preparing meals.”

Our forests may disappear’ –

The charcoal trade — known locally as Makala — is worth millions of dollars and it is attracting armed groups to the Goma area, threatening Virunga natural park, a sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas. 

More than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) to the west, the reliance on charcoal in Kinshasa is also causing severe problems.

Kinshasa residents consume five million tonnes of wood a year, according to French research group Cirad, and increasing urbanisation is just raising the pressure on the forests.

On the hillsides around the capital, there are scarcely any trees left.

NGOs and the government are once again trying to respond.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is trying to minimise the impact of charcoal burning by introducing “eco makala” ovens that burn the fuel more efficiently and so use less wood.

DR Congo rainforest attacked on all sides
WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Ecomakala project managers visit a eucalyptus plantation partly intended to produce charcoal in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on September 28, 2019. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

And President Felix Tshisekedi is trying to boost electricity across the country to reduce demand for wood-based fuel.

He has championed hydroelectric power — and ground was broken in early October on a new dam in Goma.

NGOs and locals are not convinced of the viability of the project, but Tshisekedi is adamant: “Given the current rate of population growth and our energy needs, our forests may disappear by the year 2100,” he says.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Business

Buhari nominates new tax chief as dwindling revenues hit Nigeria

Nami’s nomination is subject to the confirmation of the Nigerian Senate which would screen and confirm the nominee

Published

on

Buhari nominates new tax chief as dwindling revenues hit Nigeria
Muhammad Nami. Photo credit: TheCable

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday shocked many citizens especially the business community with his nomination of Muhammad Nami for the chairmanship of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the country’s second major cash cow.

Buhari nominated Nami as the new Chairman of the FIRS thereby putting an end to the tenure of Babatunde Fowler, a close ally of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and ruling party leader, Bola Tinubu who many in the business community had thought would naturally be rewarded with a second term due to his close affinity to powerful politicians and businessmen.

Fowler was qualified and had been optimistic that with the gradual increase in collection of revenues in the past year, he deserved a reappointment despite an initial presidency query which subtly showed President Buhari was unhappy with the drop in previous yearly revenue collections.

Nami’s nomination is subject to the confirmation of the Nigerian Senate which would screen and confirm the nominee upon receipt of an executive communication from the presidency.

Monday’s presidency statement described the nominated tax chief as “a well-trained tax, accounting and management professional with highly rated qualifications and professional practice and licenses from relevant professional bodies.”

Nami has about three decades of practical work experience in auditing, tax management and advisory services to clients in the banking, manufacturing, services and public sectors as well as non-profit organisations, the statement said.

President Buhari also approved the composition of the board of FIRS which comprise of a member representing each of Nigeria’s six geographical zones and statutory representatives from a select number of ministries and government agencies.

Fowler, whose term of office expired same day of the announcement was asked “to hand over to the most senior director on the board, who will take charge, pending the Senate confirmation of the new board.” Shehu said.

Fowler’s sack and political intrigues –

Buhari nominates new tax chief as dwindling revenues hit Nigeria
Former Chairman of Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler in an undated photo/Wikipedia.

Fowler had been nominated by President Buhari in 2015 and his confirmation by the Senate elicited favourable reactions within the business community which is largely based in Nigeria’s south with a larger presence in the commercial city of Lagos.

He had previously been in charge of the local tax authority in Lagos state and was a member of one of the most powerful political family in the southern part of Nigeria led by Bola Tinubu, who has been Buhari’s ally since 2013 after entering an alliance of smaller parties that fused to become the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party would then go on to form a North-South alliance that later defeated then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the centre in 2015.

The Tinubu political family had nominated Yemi Osinbajo, a Professor of Law as Buhari’s Vice Presidential candidate and when the APC won, several offices were shared to the bloc including that of Fowler who naturally got nominated because of his closeness to Tinubu and Osinbajo who have governed Lagos for years.

But trouble started for the former tax chief midway into his four-year tenure when allegations of sharp practices hit the FIRS and reduction in Nigeria’s tax receipts led to an outcry even from the presidency.

A presidency query on August 8th this year signed by Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari had demanded explanations from the FIRS boss over discrepancies in tax revenue remittances between 2015 and 2018 compared to that between 2012 and 2014.

Fowler in his reply attributed the declining performance of the FIRS between 2015 and 2018, to the low earnings from crude oil and the recession, which hit the Nigerian economy in the second quarter of 2016. He also said while the FIRS management has control of non-oil revenue collection figures, oil revenue collection figures were subject to more external forces.

The former FIRS boss had in the August 19 reply disclosed that the total actual collection for the said period under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan was N14.527.85 trillion, while total actual collection between 2016 and 2018 under Buhari’s administration was N12.656.30 trillion.

Highlights of the data presented in the letter showed that during the period 2012 to 2014, out of the N14.527.85 trillion, oil revenue accounted for N8.321.64 trillion or 57.28 per cent, while non-oil accounted for N6.206.22 trillion or 42.72 per cent.

Similarly, during the latter period of 2016 to 2018, out of the N12.656.30 trillion, oil revenue accounted for N5.145.87 trillion or 40.65 per cent and non-oil revenue accounted N7.510.42 trillion or 59.35 per cent.

In his concluding reply, Fowler had told the Presidency that notwithstanding the increase, FIRS had in line with the Nigerian government’s revenue base diversification strategy, grown the non-oil tax collection by over N1.304 trillion (21 per cent) when the total non-oil tax collection for 2016 – 2018 is compared to that of 2012 – 2014.

He remained optimistic that the current strategies and initiatives “adopted by FIRS will improve revenue collections and meet the expectations of government in the coming months,” Fowler said.

But Fowler’s explanation seemed not to have hit the right notes in Aso Rock as President Buhari came out smoking on October 1, where in his Independence day speech he warned of huge consequences for revenue generation agencies that were falling short in their targets and remittances.

“Our revenue-generating and reporting agencies will come under much greater scrutiny, going forward, as the new performance management framework will reward exceptional revenue performance, while severe consequences will attend failures to achieve agreed revenue targets,” Buhari had said.

With such a warning coming six weeks after Fowler had replied the Presidency query, it was all too clear that he was the target of Buhari’s independence day broadcast.

But Fowler did not go to sleep as he unleashed his political machinery and friends within business circles close to the presidency to assuage Kyari and other known powerbrokers in Aso Rock. But as he was doing this, his traducers also stepped up their accusations by sponsoring protests against him including a lawsuit by a legal practitioner, Stanley Okwara which accused the FIRS boss of “overstaying his tenure.” The courts later threw the case out for lack of a locus standi.

Nigerians react to non-renewal of Fowler’s term –

Buhari nominates new tax chief as dwindling revenues hit Nigeria
FIRS headquarters building in the Wuse Zone 5 district of Abuja, Nigeria/Nbcc.org

Many Nigerians in their reactions to the non-renewal of Fowler’s tenure at the FIRS said it was not surprising as Buhari had once more shown his tendency to promote sectional interests in his government.

They wondered why Buhari had refused to renew the tenure of a southerner and replaced him with a northerner if the decision was not politically motivated and meant to quash the 2023 presidential ambition of people like Tinubu.

Others who supported Buhari’s action see it as the right step “to prevent an abuse of the FIRS by Tinubu’s boys ahead of 2023 presidential election,” one analyst said.

A known critic of the Buhari administration, Olushola Olufolabi wrote on Twitter that “A FINANCIAL AND TAX ‘TODDLER’ WHOSE EXPOSURE IS JUST KADUNA AXIS, HAS BEEN NAMED TO REPLACE THIS PROVEN AND SEASONED FOWLER. WE KEEP BRINGING THE WORST OF US TO LEAD THE BEST OF US”……

But one of President Buhari’s supporters, Theresa Tekenah said: “Fowler’s tenure expired and Mr Nami was appointed. Is he competent? Yes! Why are youth here wailing and bringing ethnicity to this? Focus on the issues! Just stop!”

One critic blamed Fowler for his fall. Usman Okai Austin said the former FIRS boss did not tackle the allegations against him properly. He also rejected reports that Fowler was sacked. “Not true, his tenure expire and the president refused to denies it. Fowler is a bad accountant who don’t deserves second term in FIRS. Everything in FIRS under Fowler are being handle by consultants from Lagos and Lagos, while the real staffs trained are left idle.”

Former Minister and ardent Buhari critic, Femi Fani-Kayode also said Fowler’s sack was not surprising. “Finally Fowler of FIRS is out and, just as I predicted, he has been replaced by a northern Muslim. When will Tinubu and Osinbajo finally accept that they were outflanked, outmanoeuvred, fooled and scammed into betraying their own people by the Fulani cabal. More to come!”

Some supporters of the presidency said the change at the tax authority was necessary as Buhari’s commitment to rebuild Nigeria through massive infrastructure development in his second term can only happen if the country has more access to funds, especially from increased tax revenues to reduce constant foreign borrowing.

With the recent dismantling of many political positions previously held by politicians loyal to Tinubu and stripping of Vice President Osinbajo’s office of many powers he had previously exercised including the recent refusal of President Buhari to transmit powers to his deputy while on about three week’s vacation, as previously done, it remains to be seen how the presidency will tackle allegations of a proxy war with previously known allies and accusations of sectionalism through “pro-north” policies in a country known for its deep North-South political divide.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Business

South African airways to go into business rescue

Published

on

South Africa’s minister of Public enterprise, Pravin Ghordan, has declared the government’s resolve to “rescue” national carrier, South African Airways.

The move comes after a week of speculation on the airline’s future, which is loss-making and has been unable to raise funding to continue operations.

It is proposed that the government will give the airline an extra $137 million with a second tranche of the same amount to come from existing lenders.

The failing airline which has not made a profit since 2011, has lost more than $2 billion over the past 13 years and experience some internal turbulence last month, when staff went on strike over plans to cut a fifth of its workforce.

“It must be clear that this is not a bailout. This is the provision of financial assistance in order to facilitate a radical restructure of the airline,” Pravin Gordhan says.

SAA, which has not made a profit since 2011 and has depended on government bailouts, suffered an employee strike last month, forcing it to cancel hundreds of flights and pushing it to the brink of collapse. 

Outlining what is expected from the process – described as the “optimal mechanism” to restore confidence in SAA as it seeks a future equity investor, Gordhan says the 2 billion rand provided by existing lenders will be guaranteed by the government and repayable in future budgets. 

The government, via the national treasury, will provide another 2 billion rand in a “fiscally neutral manner” with the full recovery of capital and interest on existing debt not impacted by the rescue proceedings. 

In a business rescue process, a specialist administrator takes control of a company with the aim of rehabilitating it to improve its chance of survival, or securing a better return for creditors than they would receive from liquidation. 

“This initiative demonstrates that the government will undertake the necessary bold steps in order to reposition its assets in such a way that they do not continue to depend on the fiscus and thereby burden taxpayers” , Gordhan adds.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Trending