The Senate has asked the FG to cancel the entire privatisation process of the power sector that was carried out under the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, following “its very epileptic nature.” Senators also urged the FG to immediately suspend the planned electricity tariff increase due to take effect from July following the increased hardship occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic. It has asked the FG, through the Ministry of Finance to include the Nigeria Electric Power Sector in the disbursement of proposed ₦1.7 trillion Covid-19 intervention crisis fund. Speaking during discussions on a motion titled, “Power Sector Recovery Plan and the impact of COVID- 19 Pandemic,” Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North) expressed dismay that despite huge sums of money spent so far on power, there were results, and claimed that if the privatisation of the power sector is not reversed, Nigeria as a country may not have proper power supply in the next 10 years. Lawan insisted that Nigerians expected efficiency and something better. Since the Discos being private businesses have no capacity to supply stable power, Nigerians shouldn’t continue to give them money, Lawan added. A committe led by Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue North East) has been asked to investigate all FG interventions in the power sector since the privatisation of the sector to date with a view to ascertaining the adequacy of such interventions and their desired impact and to report back within four weeks. It also asked its Committee on Power to investigate all market participants in the power value chain and ascertaining the level of corporate governance compliance in the Nigerian Electricity Industry and to report back within four weeks.
The global credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has said Nigeria may face a deeper economic contraction and fiscal deficits as it complies fully with the oil production cut deal led by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The development would also compound pressures on external finances as a result of the slump in oil prices, the ratings said. It added that the country’s foreign exchange reserves would fall to $23.3 billion by the end of 2020 from $38.6 billion in December 2019. The country’s increased recourse to concessional multilateral loans would ease near-term liquidity pressures, but the risk of a disruptive macroeconomic adjustment would persist, Fitch Ratings said. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva had said that Nigeria is expected to cut production by 417,000 bpd to 1.41 million bpd in May and June, in addition to condensate production of between 360,000 and 460,000 bpd after OPEC+, agreed in April to cut output by 9.7 million barrels per day in May and June, representing about 10 percent of global supply. Fitch reduced its forecast oil output to 1.88 million bpd (including condensates) in 2020 and 1.87 million bpd in 2021, compared with its earlier forecast of 2.1 million bpd for both years. It adjusted its GDP forecasts, and now expect Nigeria’s economy to contract by three percent in 2020, before a recovery to three percent growth in 2021. Despite the OPEC+ deal, the ratings said its oil price forecasts remain unchanged at $35/barrel for Brent on average in 2020 and $45/barrel in 2021. The IMF had projected in April that the Nigerian economy would shrink by 3.4 percent this year, falling into its second recession in five years. Fitch said Nigeria’s foreign-currency reserves had dropped by $5 billion over the first four months of the year despite only limited depreciation in the naira’s key exchange rates. This, it added, reflects moves by the CBN to tighten foreign-currency access, which has contained capital outflows temporarily, although the build-up of pent-up foreign-currency demand may increase the risk of a disruptive future exchange-rate adjustment. The agency said the contraction in the country’s exports and remittance inflows meant the current account would remain in deficit, despite a sharp drop in imports.
Sokoto residents now rely on soldiers from Niger Republic to save them from incessant attacks of the bandits in the state as the Nigerian military was no longer capable of the responsibility, a Senate member representing Sokoto East Senatorial District, Ibrahim Gobir, has said. The APC Senator said this Tuesday on the floor of the House while seconding the motion moved by the Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, on the order given by the President Muhammadu Buhari, to the Nigerian soldiers to flush out bandits from some states. Gobir added that at least 300 people have either been killed or kidnapped in the last three months while over 5,780 cows valued at ₦2.5 billion had been stolen. During attacks by the criminals, the Nigerian army whose personnel are a few kilometres away don’t respond instantly compared to the Nigerien soldiers who are in about five kilometres away, but moved in swiftly to ward off the intruders. Gobir also said over 5,000 Nigerians in the troubled parts of the state have relocated to the Republic of Nigér following the increased bandit attacks on local communities.
Sudan is required to pay punitive damages to some of the victims of the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania carried out by al-Qaeda, the US Supreme Court has ruled. More than 200 people died and thousands were injured in the attacks. Sudan was accused of giving al-Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden technical and financial support. The Supreme Court ruling applies to US nationals, embassy employees and contractors. The ruling comes at a time when Sudan’s new government is pushing to be removed from the US’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The unanimous decision by the Supreme Court means that about $800m (£650m) out of the more than $4 billion that was awarded in punitive damages in 2011 has been reinstated, Christopher Curran, who was representing Sudan, is quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying. Nine years ago, the judge in the Federal District Court in Washington said that Sudan should pay roughly $6 billion in compensation as well as $4 billion in punitive damages, the New York Times reports. In 2017, Sudan successfully challenged the ruling on the punitive damages arguing that they were awarded under a 2008 amendment to a law that could not be applied to something that happened 20 years earlier. The Supreme Court decided on Monday that Congress had said it was possible for it to be used retrospectively. The case of punitive damages for Kenyans and other nationals who were not directly employed by the embassies, as well as non-US relatives of any of those injured or killed in the attacks, was referred back to a lower court. The $6 billion compensation was not in dispute in this case and in February it was reported that Sudan was in negotiations over the sum to be paid.