Lagos will allow places of worship to resume in-person services from 7 August, the state’s governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a press briefing Saturday. According to the governor, restaurants, social clubs and recreational centres will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity from 14 August as the state, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria eases restrictions despite a continued rise in infections. The state has so far recorded more than 15,000 confirmed cases of the pandemic and 192 deaths as a result of it. By the record, the state is by far has the largest share of Nigeria’s 43,151 cases. The state government had ordered widespread closures and a lockdown in March this year, to curb the spread of the highly infectious virus. The lockdown was eased in early May, but governor Sanwo-Olu scuppered plans to reopen churches and mosques in June, citing a continued rise in cases. Among the conditions given by the state is that houses of worship will only be allowed to open for services once a week at no more than 50% capacity. Sanwu-Olu also increased the limit on public gatherings from 20 to 50 people. Nightclubs, cinemas and some arcades will remain closed.
A security source has said suspected terrorists from Islamist group Boko Haram have killed 15 people and wounded six others in a grenade attack on a camp for displaced people in northern Cameroon Sunday. The security source told and a district mayor, Medjeweh Boukar told Reuters that the assailants threw a grenade into a group of sleeping people inside the camp in the village of Nguetchewe, in the early hours. The camp, the local official said, is home to around 800 people. The village is located in the Mozogo district, close to the Nigerian border in the Far North region. According to Boukar, residents said that 15 people had died. A security official confirmed the attack and the death toll. The wounded were taken to a nearby hospital, they said. Giving the detail of the attack, Boukar said the assailants arrived with a woman who carried the grenade into the camp. The official added that women and children were among the dead as there have been twenty incursions and attacks by suspected Islamist militants over the past month there.
The liquidity crisis in Nigeria’s power sector may not end anytime soon as payment to generation companies for the electricity produced and fed into the national grid has dropped to 14.55 percent. Data from the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc have shown that the NBET failed to pay the Egbin and 24 other power stations a total of ₦181.39 billion from January to April 2020. The government-owned NBET, which buys electricity in bulk from Gencos through Power Purchase Agreements and sells through vesting contracts to the distribution companies, which then supply it to the consumers, received a total invoice of ₦226.12 billion from the Gencos in the four-month period reviewed but paid only ₦44.73 billion, indicating 14.55 percent of the invoice. The breakdown of the data showed that in the month of January, the bulk trader paid 30.11 percent or ₦15.61 billion of the ₦51.85 billion invoices from the Gencos but the payment fell to 25.46 percent or ₦13.09 billion out of ₦51.42 billion in February. The payment NBET made to the Gencos plunged to 11.05 percent ₦5.84 billion out of ₦52.82 billion in March but rose to 14.55 percent ₦10.19 billion out of ₦70.03 billion in April. According to NBET, the payment to the Gencos is based on receipts from the Discos. Meanwhile, as of 6 am on Sunday, the total power generation in the country stood at 3,341.2 megawatts with 10 of the 27 power plants on the national grid being idle, according to the Nigerian Electricity System Operator. Geregu II, Sapele II, Alaoji, Olorunsogo II, Omotosho II, Ihovbor, Gbarain, AES, ASCO, and Omoku power plants did not generate electricity as of 6 am on Sunday.
Investment bank Renaissance Capital and credit rating agency Fitch Ratings have projected banks in Nigeria to see the biggest yearly decline in revenues from 2016 to at least a 20-percent dip by the end of 2020. This, according to senior director, EMEA bank ratings at Fitch, Mahin Dissanayake, is because the country’s banks are dealing with slow growth, a fall in lending, a foreign exchange squeeze and asset quality issues. However, Dissanayake does not expect any of the banks to make a loss despite revenues drop as projected. Renaissance Capital said it expects 2020 before tax earnings for the top six banks to decline by a quarter on average, year-on-year. Solanke told BusinessDay that a decline in Profit before Tax by over 20 percent will be the most severe in the past five years. The implication of this is that if banks record lower profits this year it could lead to a hike in interest rates or an overall slowdown in lending, which would affect access to credit for businesses and individuals. This is even as the banks in the country have been on the receiving end of an economy tipped by the International Monetary Fund to contract by 5.4 percent this year, the most since 1987. The CBN has pulled as much as ₦900 billion out of the local banking system since raising the cash reserve ratio by 5 percent to 27.5 percent in January, according to analysts’ calculations. Bankers say the effective CRR rate is closer to 60 percent and that the CBN now sits on around ₦10.4 trillion of bank deposits earning zero interest in CRR. Data from Lagos-based credit ratings firm, Agusto & Co, had also shown that Nigerian banks’ earnings and profitability were expected to decline drastically in 2020 as the contradictory monetary policy stance, exacerbated by discretionary Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) debits by the CBN, is expected to affect banks’ overall performance this year, Agusto added. According to BusinessDay, whether it is on account of implementing its CRR rule or punishing banks for not lending at least 65 percent of their deposits to small businesses, the CBN has debited banks to the tune of ₦2.1 trillion in 2020 alone.