29 Jun

Daily Watch – ECA ‘most poorly governed’, FG ignores Pensions

  • Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account tied for the world’s most poorly governed sovereign wealth fund, according to a report by the Natural Resource Governance Institute released on Wednesday. The $2.4 billion account was ranked alongside the Qatar Investment Authority as the worst in terms of oversight and transparency in NRGI’s index of resource management. NRGI rated 11 sovereign wealth funds, managing least $1.5 trillion in total, as “failing”. “The government discloses almost none of the rules or practices governing deposits, withdrawals or investments of the ECA,” the report said. It added that the account, along with the other worst performers, is “so opaque that there is no way to know how much may be lost to mismanagement.” Nigeria’s finance ministry did not immediately return a request for comment. Nigeria also runs the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, with some $1.25 billion under management, but NRGI said it had ranked the ECA due to its larger balance sheet. The NRGI report ranked Nigeria 55th in overall resource management, with a high score on its taxation ranking helping to balance its last-place finish in sovereign wealth fund management.
  • The Guardian reports that the power sector last week experienced cumulative revenue losses of ₦7.603 billion. The revenue losses which occurred within six days between June 18 and 23rd, were attributed to constraints in gas supply as well as transmission and distribution lines failure, high frequency and frequency management constraints, according to the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry data. The paper, which says the stats were obtained from the Presidential Advisory Power Team, showed how gas constraints impaired the ability of Generation Companies to power the turbines and the consequent underutilisation of GenCo operating capacity. In a related development, Nextier Power, an Abuja power sector advisory firm says the federal government’s window for large power customers to buy electricity from the GenCos will improve liquidity in the power sector. In a policy brief, the firm said that the DisCos remitted only 26 percent of bulk energy invoice in 2016. Statistical analysis from the firm showed that the DisCos were given invoices of about ₦347 billion for energy delivered to them in 2016 but paid just about ₦100 billion, leaving behind a significant debt.
  • A militant group in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern Niger Delta on Wednesday withdrew its threat to launch attacks on oil facilities from June 30. The New Delta Avengers, previously unheard of and apparently named in a nod to the Niger Delta Avengers who last year crippled the country’s oil production, in early June issued a statement saying they would fight for a greater share of proceeds from crude oil sales to go to the impoverished region. Attacks on oil installations last year deepened a recession in Africa’s biggest economy that was largely caused by low oil prices. The government has been holding peace talks with Niger Delta communities to end the violence and there have been no major attacks this year. In an open letter, the group withdrew its threat on Wednesday. “NDA has decided to shelve our planned attack on major oil facilities in the region from June 30, 2017,” said the group. “We have decided to give peace a chance,” it said, stating that its decision was taken to help local leader Edwin Clark continue negotiations and achieve a peaceful resolution.
  • At least 20,000 INTELS Nigeria jobs are on the risk, as the rift between the oil and gas logistic giant and the Nigerian Ports Authority lingers. The NPA’s Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman had recently ordered that every terminal in the port was free to receive any cargo as far as it has the technical competence to handle such goods. INTELS has protested against the new policy and challenged it at the Federal High Court Abuja. According to the National President of the Nigerian Importers Integrity Association, Godwin Onyekazi, who expressed displeasure about the situation, said it was unfortunate that a simple business disagreement, which could have been amicably resolved “at the coffee table” was allowed to degenerate to the point where more than 20,000 jobs are on the line. “We do not think that companies operating in the country should be subjected to political persecution especially at this time when the Federal Government is pushing hard for peace to reign in the Niger Delta region,” he said.
  • An investigation by the Punch claims that three years after the Pension Reform Act required organisations to increase the minimum pension contribution of both employers and employees to the Retirements Savings Account of workers, the FG has not complied with the law. Some pension fund operators blamed the recession, while Bobboi Kaigama, TUC president, said that his union was concerned about the under-payment into the workers’ RSAs.
  • The FG says that at least 524MW of electricity will be added to the national grid before the end of this year. Four power plants would produce the 524MW, and more electricity would be generated by two other plants in the first and second quarters of 2018. Hakeem Bello, a spokesman for the Minister of Power, said the Dadin Kowa hydro plant in Gombe, a diesel/gas fired plant in Kaduna, an emergency project in Rivers State, and the Kashambila hydro plant in Taraba State would add more power to the grid this year.