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eNaira will facilitate direct payments to citizens by govt – CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has said its new project, eNaira, can serve as a medium for the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes.

The apex bank stated this in a document titled, ‘Design Paper for the eNaira’, which spells out some of the details of the new initiative.

This capacity for the eNaira to provide seamless process for government to send direct payments to citizens would be an added advantage in the adoption of the eNaira in Nigeria, it stated.

According to the apex bank, the eNaira will make it possible for government to make targeted welfare payments to citizens directly, without the need for any intermediary.

The CBN noted that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed a significant challenge to the payment system globally particularly regarding welfare distribution.

It stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic tested the effectiveness of payment systems globally and highlighted gaps especially in the distribution mechanism of welfare incentives. In some instances, cash was distributed due to lack of visibility and adaptability of existing payment infrastructure to new and emerging modes of value transfer.”

According to the CBN, the eNaira as a means by which the challenge of government’s monetary distribution to citizens can be effectively and efficiently addressed to ensure accountability is achieved.

“The eNaira provides a clear means for the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programs more rapidly than through other means. This ensures that accountability is achieved, and the right persons get the funds. When a need arises, such as in times of economic crises, the central bank can also serve as a government agent and execute eNaira transfers to individuals and businesses affected,” the bank stated in the document.

It also said, “The eNaira will make it possible for governments to make targeted welfare payments to citizens directly, without the need for any intermediary. This will reduce the cost of delivering welfare benefits to citizens in need of welfare support and ensure the right people are receiving support.”

The CBN had stated earlier that the eNaira would create a secure and cost-effective process for remittance inflow to the country, amongst other benefits.

It also stated that eNaira’s usability would definitely improve as Nigerians without internet-enabled phones would be able to transact without having to subscribe to data or having an internet-enabled phone.

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Amid poor electricity supply, NERC gives fresh tariff increase notice

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is not backing down on its resolve for an upward review of electricity tariff even as poor supply persists.

The commission gave a notice of minor review of the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) in a statement on Wednesday titled, “Notice of Compliance in Respect of the Biannual Review of the Revenue Requirements of Licensees”.

The new notice is coming two weeks after NERC unveiled the new rates for electricity tariff which it effected on February 1, 2022.

Latest supply showed  20 power plants as of Wednesday were generating 3,378 Megawatts despite the fact that the tariff increase was predicated on improved supply.

NERC in the notice signed by its Chairman, Sanusi Garba, posted on its official website explained that the review will not necessarily lead to tariff increase.

It stated, “Pursuant to the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission adopted the Multi- Year Tariff Order (MYTO) Methodology in setting out the basis and procedures for determination of licensees revenue requirements and review of electricity tariffs in Nigeria.

The methodology provides for Minor Reviews (every 6 months), Major Reviews (every 5 years) and Extraordinary Reviews in instances where industry parameters have changed significantly from those used in the operating tariffs to such an extent that a review is required urgently to maintain the viability of the electricity industry.

“We wish to clarify that such reviews do not automatically translate to an increase in tariffs. Indeed where the impact of improved efficiency in operating parameters for individual licensees exceeds the impact of changes in macroeconomic parameters, end-user tariff may be reduced as exhibited in some tariff classes under MYTO 2022.

“In compliance with EPSRA and other relevant industry rules, this notice is issued to inform the general public and industry stakeholders of the Commission’s intention to commence the processes for the July 2022 Minor Review of MYTO 2022 to consider changes in relevant macroeconomic indices, generation capacity and CAPEX required for evacuation and distribution of the available generation capacity in compliance with extant rules.”

 

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FEC approves N169bn tax credit for road projects

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The Federal Executive Council has approved N169bn in private sector investments for road infrastructure through the government’s tax credit programme.

The approval came on Wednesday at a FEC meeting in Abuja presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the programme was initiated in 2019 through executive order No 7 signed by the President.

He said the executive order allowed the private sector to finance public infrastructure in lieu of tax and then offset it over time using tax credit.

Fashola further explained that the first project the council approved based on the policy was the 234-kilometre road from Bali to Sheti through Gashaka to Gembu in Taraba state at the sum of N95,232,474,010.72.

He said the existing N20bn under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) tax credit scheme would be used to kick-start the project immediately.

“The second road which is also the tax credit scheme, which was approved by the council is three roads. The applicant, in this case, is Mainstream Energy Solutions, a major energy player in the country is now seeking to also participate in this policy by investing a total of N74,486,577, 050,” he said.

Also, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of his counterparts in aviation, power, and agriculture, said the council approved the sum of N3,491,622,340 for the purchase of a property in Abuja for the ministry of aviation.

He said the property would enable the ministry to co-locate with many of its agencies.

Mohammed said that the council also awarded a N553.575 million contract for the establishment and deployment of advanced report generation utility engine web-based reporting tools in favour of Messers Sinecou Limited with a delivery date of 12 months.

He said the council approved (for the power ministry) an upward review of the original contract sum in respect of the construction of 232 kilometres Yola, Song, Gombe, Mubi, Gulako 132 KV double circuit transmission line from $16 million, plus N1.248 billion to $16.698 billion, plus N2,337,643,640.

The minister added that N409 million was approved for the power ministry to replace defective circuit breakers.

He also said a memo from the minister of agriculture seeking approval for a national agricultural technology innovation policy was approved.

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Finance minister suspends accountant general of federation over N80bn fraud

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The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, has been suspended indefinitely by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed over alleged fraud.

Idris was arrested two days by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N80bn fraud.

The minister’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr Tanko Abdullahi, confirmed the suspension, stating that it was indefinite and was meant to ensure unhindered investigations into the fraud allegations.

 

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