16 Oct

Daily Watch – Data subscribers hit 5-month high, Electricity tariffs set to increase

  • President Buhari’s office on Friday denied that he favoured the north of Nigeria over other regions after he was criticised for asking the World Bank to focus on the region. The northeast, in particular, has been wracked by an eight-year Islamist militant insurgency that has killed more than 20,000 people and forced 2 million to flee their homes, spawning what the UN says is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim told journalists on Thursday in Washington that Buhari had asked the bank to focus on that region when they first met. That led to criticism in the domestic press and social media from those who say Buhari has an anti-south agenda, highlighting the deep ethno-religious tensions in the country.
  • The NNPC saw its trading deficit rise by 128.5 percent in July to ₦11.87 billion, with the nation’s crude oil refineries responsible for most of the loss. The NNPC, in its latest financial and operations report, noted that the ₦11.87 billion deficit was an additional loss of ₦6.68 billion relative to the previous month’s deficit of ₦5.19 billion. The country’s refineries – the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, Port Harcourt Refining Company, and Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company – lost a total of ₦8.52 billion in July, as their combined capacity utilisation dropped to 11.94 percent. The Kaduna refinery, which did not process any crude in June and July, lost ₦3.6 billion in July; the Port Harcourt refinery lost ₦2.63 billion and the WRPC recorded a deficit of ₦2.28 billion.
  • The tariff payable by electricity consumers may soon increase by 61.5 percent according to a proposed rate directive from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission awaiting final approval from the federal government. According to NERC, the actual tariff for one kilowatt-hour of power is supposed to be ₦51, against the current unit cost of ₦31.58 for which electricity distribution companies sell the commodity. NERC, in a training manual, explained that the ₦51/KWH tariff was based on economic fundamentals considered when carrying out minor tariff reviews, adding that the commission had completed the process for the new tariff but had yet to receive approval from the Federal Government to announce its implementation.
  • The Nigerian Ports Authority says it gave the Integrated Logistics Services (Intels) to comply with the FG’s directive on the TSA, NPA spokesman, Abdullahi Goje, said in a statement. Reacting to the threats by the company to withdraw its investment plans in Nigeria, NPC said business can only thrive when “the laws of the country of operation are adhered to”. Attorney General Abubakar Malami had directed NPA to terminate its boat pilotage monitoring and supervision agreement with Intels; a development which Intels has vowed to fight, arguing that the TSA was not part of its initial agreement with the NPA, and the termination is inimical to its operations.
  • About 739,975 new data subscribers were added in August to Nigeria’s GSM networks, official figures from the NCC show. The total number of subscribers rose for the fifth consecutive month since April to 92,159,918 in August, a 0.8 percent increase over the previous month. These figures are, however, far below the peak of 97 million users the country attained in September 2016, amounting to a deficit of five million users across all the networks. MTN, with the country’s largest subscriber base, gained 333,847 new subscribers in August, its sixth consecutive monthly rise since March. Airtel gained the highest number of new Internet users, 576,861, for the fourth month running since May 2017. The second largest network provider, Glo added 43,215 new Internet users following a loss of about 271,941 subscribers in July and 9mobile lost some data customers, leaving 11,842,298 Internet users on its network in August. The number of active lines increased to 139,444,227 million in August, rising marginally from 139,144,705 in July. The number of active lines had been on a steady decline since the beginning of the year and Nigerian network providers have lost 15.7 million active lines in eight months.