02 Jun

Daily Watch – MTN faces noise pollution lawsuit, DMBs lose ₦2.19b to electronic fraud

  • A ₦701 billion fund approved by the FG to support power generation companies financially can now be accessed by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, the Power, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, has said. For about two months after the fund was approved, the GENCOs complained that they could not access it from the NBET, amid claims of lack of knowledge about how it was to be disbursed. But according to the Punch, Fashola told an unnamed television station that the bulk electricity trader now had access to the fund and would follow stipulated procedures in disbursing it although he clarified that the trader was not the manager of the fund. “It is not with the NBET. There is a facility to the NBET that the CBN is arranging such that whatever differential from what the Discos should pay and what they actually pay, the NBET can take from that amount and pay the GENCOs, which are actually producing power,” he stated. The minister added that the DISCOs, while cash-strapped, lacked the capacity to borrow, thus hampering their ability to upgrade their facilities, a development that was responsible for load rejection by the DISCOs. About 2,514Mw of electricity cannot be utilised due to 35 idle generation turbines across 15 Generation Companies GENCOs even as the national grid peaked at 4,464Mw last Sunday shortly before the Democracy Day celebration.
  • The Benue State House of Assembly yesterday passed a ₦176.6 billion budget for the 2017 fiscal year. Governor Samuel Ortom had earlier presented a budget draft of ₦163.9 billion to the assembly in December, but the House made an increment of ₦12.7 billion. The budget christened ‘Budget of Rural Transformation’ shows that ₦66.7 billion would be expended on recurrent expenditure and ₦109.9 billion for capital expenditure while deficit financing stands at ₦36.1 billion. The Appropriation Committee chairman, Adam Okloho, said the increase was as a result of the non-inclusion of some projects by the state’s finance ministry and additional requests by MDAs for the inclusion of other critical projects omitted in the first estimates.
  • The Federal High Court in Minna, Niger State, is currently hearing a case of illegal installation of mast instituted by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation against MTN Nigeria. The case was brought pursuant to a petition by a private citizen, Mohammed Nasir Usman of No.1 Ibrahim Kariya Avenue, Suleja alleging noise pollution from the MTN mast installed in his neighbourhood. The petitioner averred in a complaint to the state field office of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency alleging that the erection of the mast constituted a health hazard to residents. Testifying at the resumed hearing of the case in Minna, the then NESREA state coordinator, now a deputy director at the Abuja HQ, Ayuba Francis Jacobs who led the investigation, said independent findings indicated that during the day, MTN used an inverter to power the mast but resorted to generator power at night with the attendant noise. He said MTN officials also failed to furnish the investigators with a letter of approval for the mast’s installation. The case was adjourned to June 18 for further hearing by the presiding judge, Justice Yalim Sulieman Bogoro.
  • Nigerian Deposit Money Banks lost ₦2.19 billion to fraudsters through electronic channels in the 2016 fiscal year, a senior CBN official has said. The Deputy Governor (Operations), Adebayo Adelabu, said this while unveiling a report on electronic fraud by the CBN. Speaking at the first stakeholders’ workshop on cybercrime organised by the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum and themed: “Tackling Enforcement Challenges under the Cybercrime Act”, Adelabu said according to the report, 19,531 fraud cases were reported by banks in 2016, almost double the 10,743 recorded in 2015. Across the counter transactions with a total value of ₦511.0 milllion accounted for the highest losses, followed by ATM transactions with ₦464.5 million; Internet banking services, ₦320.66 million; POS transactions, ₦243.32 million; and mobile banking transactions, ₦235.17 million among others.
  • Portland Paints and Products Nigeria, a subsidiary of UAC of Nigeria, says its current move to restructure its operations will drive further growth and enable it to deliver better value to all stakeholders. The company’s chairman, Larry Ettah, in his address at the company’s Annual General Meeting held in Lagos on Wednesday, said, “Although the firm has been undergoing restructuring of its operations in the reporting year, which has been exacerbated by the daunting challenges in the operating environment, it was able to report a modest result in 2016. Portland Paints recorded revenue of ₦1.971 billion in 2016, a nine percent drop from the ₦2.168 billion of the previous year. The company profit after tax was ₦8.597 million, a major reversal from the ₦232.98 million loss recorded in the previous year. Ettah said in view of this level of performance, the Board of Directors did not recommend the payment of dividend. On the company’s concluded capital restructuring, Ettah said, “The Rights Issue of 2 for 3 approved at the 2015 AGM to raise additional capital for the company hit the market on January 23, 2017, and closed on March 1, 2017. It was 65.5 percent subscribed and was affected by general capital market sentiments and softness.”