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Our budget was inflated by N11bn – FERMA MD

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Managing Director of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Nurudeen Rafindadi, told members of the House of Representatives Committee on FERMA that the Ministries of Finance and Works and Housing raised the 2021 budget of the agency by over N11bn.

He also said he had no knowledge of the increase.

The drama ensued at the Budget Defence of the agency when a member of the committee, Yusuf Gadgi, asked the FERMA MD why the budget had suddenly increased by N11bn billion.

Rafindadi had appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on FERMA in Abuja to defend the proposal by the agency.

But Rafindadi denied the increment, saying, “Our proposal of budget as it is today is submitted to the Federal Ministry of Works, and the reason is that FERMA is an agency under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Works. We are represented at the cabinet by the Honourable Minister of Works (and Housing, Babatunde Fashola).

“Our budget is subsumed in the envelope of the Federal Ministry of Works, so the ministry is asked by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to submit its budget within a specified envelope and that envelope includes budgets of agencies under the supervision of the ministry, of which FERMA is one. So, we get instructions to submit our budget through the Ministry of Works; we submit it to the Ministry of Works.

“What happens after is between the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and subsequently until reaches the House. We only know what was in our budget after submission of the budget to the National Assembly.”

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NCC, telecom firms agree on 5G deployment

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All appears set for the deployment of 5G as the Nigerian Communications Commission and major telecoms companies have agreed on the guidelines.
The instruments are the Annual Operating Levy Regulations and the Frequency Spectrum (fees and pricing) Regulations.
The agreement came after a public inquiry organised by the NCC on the two key instruments at its headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, which was attended by Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta and representatives of major telecoms companies such as Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Glo Mobile Network, 9Mobile, and other stakeholders.

The 5G wireless technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users.

While Airtel Nigeria agreed with key issues regarding the instruments, MTN Nigeria pleaded for extension of timeframe.
But Danbatta assured all stakeholders that frequency spectrum would be assigned and managed in a way that ensures fair pricing and efficient deployment of attendant services.
According to him, the two instruments were not only tailored to meet the challenges of the industry but ensure that all stakeholders are carried along as the country prepares for deployment of 5G technology.
Danbatta said, “More importantly, this Public Inquiry is precursor to the Commission’s current drive to ensure efficiency in spectrum management and the unveiing of next generation services through varied enablers.
“It is in that regard that the Commission issued a Spectrum Trading Guidelines in 2018, to ensure frequency spectrum is readily available to licensees through an effective process.
“Furthermore, the commission has commenced the process for deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) Technology in Nigeria and is driving the provision of such ubiquitous services on making Frequeney Spectrum available to its licensees.
“The efficacy and reliability of these initiatives will be hinged on proper market valuation of the frequency spectrum and fair assessment of levies.”

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Inflow of foreign capital drops by 54% to $875.62m

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The total value of capital importation into Nigeria dropped to $875.62 million in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics has said.
According to the NBS, the figure represents a 54.06 per cent drop compared to the $1.91 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021.

It stated this in its latest report titled, ‘Nigerian capital importation (Q1 & Q2 2021)’.
In 2020, Nigeria’s capital importation plunged by 59.65 per cent at $9.68 billion – the lowest level in four years.

“The largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 62.97% ($551.37m) of total capital importation,” the report stated.
“It is followed by other investments, which accounted for 28.13% ($246.27m) of total capital imported and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which accounted for 8.90% ($77.97m) of total capital imported in Q2 2021.”
Capital importation into the banking industry dominated in Q2 reaching a total of $296.51 million, followed by financing with $205.88 million and shares with $194.59 million.
In both Q1 and Q2, brewing, fishing, hotels, tanning and weaving sectors had no record of capital imports, the report added.
Similarly, only Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital territory (FCT) recorded capital inflows across Nigeria in Q2.
Lagos emerged as the top destination of capital investment in the second quarter with $780.06 million, Abuja had $95.26 million, while Ogun had $0.3 million.
By banks, foreign firms emerged as the top capital investment in Nigeria in Q2. Stanbic IBTC recorded $310.21 million, Standard Chartered was second with $282.37 million, then Citibank ($94.15 million).
The report also stated that “the United Kingdom emerged as the top source of capital investment in Nigeria in Q2 2021 with $310.26m.”

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Nigerians experience another nationwide blackout as grid collapses

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Most parts of Nigeria experienced total blackout on Wednesday after a national grid collapse, which electricity distribution companies confirmed in separate notices to their customers.
In a public notice sent out to consumers, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company said the collapse occurred at 12.26pm but did not say how long it would last.
The notice read, “Dear Esteemed Customers,
Following a grid system outage that occurred at about 12:26 pm today, we have been unable to service our customers in Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa State as well as a significant part of the Federal Capital Territory.
“At the moment, only 20MW has been allocated to AEDC as against the over 400MW that they have been receiving in recent times.
“We urge our customers to be patient and promise that the power supply will be restored to our franchise area as soon as there is a significant improvement in our
allocation.”
In a similar notice, Eko Disco said, “Dear valued customer, we regret to inform you of a system collapse on the National Grid that’s causing outages across our network.
“We are working with our TCN partners to restore supply as soon as possible. Please bear with us.”
Ikeja Electric also sent out a message that read in part, “The current power outage is due to a nationwide system collapse that occurred at about 12:26hrs.
“Power supply will be restored gradually to various parts of the network as soon as the grid is stabilised. Kindly bear with us.”

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