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BPE Justifies N213b Intervention Fund

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BPE Justifies N213b Intervention Fund

BPE Justifies N213b Intervention Fund

By Dipo Olowookere

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) put the accumulated shortfall due to wrongly assumed Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC &C) of 25 per cent from November 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014 at N213 billion.

According to BPE, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) N213 billion intervention fund was made available to enable Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) spread the recovery of the money from the consumers over a ten year period.

Acting Director-General of BPE, Dr Vincent Onome Akpotaire, who made this disclosure in a statement, explaining why the CBN gave a loan of N213 billion to the privatized power companies, said that the  “Multi-Year Tariff Order 2 (2012) that was put in place when investors took over on November 1, 2013, had assumed AT & C loss level of 25 per cent.

He stated that the agreements signed with the investors gave Nigeria Electricity and Regulatory Commission and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) one year to determine the true AT & C loss levels, which was subsequently found to be about 50 per cent on the average.

Expatiating on why the core investors in DISCOs were not investing heavily in line with the agreements they signed with the government, he said the transaction structure compelled investors to raise money and pay for their 60 per cent equity in DISCOs using their own balance sheet and that upon take over, the investors were expected to leverage on the acquired companies’ clean balance sheets to raise additional funds for investments.

However, he pointed out that financial institutions have refused to lend money to the DISCOs until a cost reflective tariff is approved in line with the agreements; and the CBN loan to the industry removed from the books of the DISCOs.

Akpotaire suggested that for the power privatization in Nigeria to work, the industry’s regulator- NERC must be allowed to perform its mandate without interference.

He said that NERC must be allowed to fix tariffs in line with the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) without interference from any quarters and that if the tariffs are considered high the government could decide to mitigate the effects by taking up a percentage of the tariffs instead of outright cancellation.

The Acting Director-General cautioned against the blame-game in the power sector and appealed to  the Executive and the Legislative arms of the government as well as other stakeholders to  come together  to find solutions to the sector’s challenges.

Explaining why the Federal Government is being asked to subsidise the Nigeria Electric Supply Industry (NESI), the BPE’s helmsman said the loss levels at the point of privatistion of 50 per cent could not be fully passed to consumers immediately to avoid rate shock and consumer rebellion.

Akpotaire said, “although the Federal Government owns 40 per cent of the DISCOs, it was not part of the management because it was not funding its shares on the Boards. The Performance Agreement executed with investors has assigned operational risks to investors. The PA provides that a core investor who fails to achieve agreed targets stands the risk of losing his/her equity at the payment of $1 by the Federal Government.”

On why the BPE is on the Boards of the power companies, the Acting Director-General explained that “since 1988 when TCPC, the agency BPE replaced, was established, BPE has always represented the Federal Government on the board of any company undergoing reform and privatisation.” This makes it possible for the BPE to have access to all the information it require to carry out its statutory duties of reform and privatization, “Since all key strategic decisions are made by the board, it would not make sense for BPE to give guarantees on behalf of a company it does not know the critical decisions that its boards had taken.” Besides, he added, “The initial five-year period is usually a time to help nurture the companies on the path of growth and success.”

Guardian

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Agusto Forecasts Nigeria’s Pension Assets to Grow to N14.8trn Amid Headwinds

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Nigeria's pension assets

By Adedapo Adesanya

Global research firm, Agusto & Co, has forecast that Nigeria’s pension assets will reach N14.8 trillion by the end of 2022.

This is as unpaid pension obligations by some employers, enrolees’ apathy toward the transfer of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), and the ability of industry operators to protect the value of pension funds in the face of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly a weakening exchange rate and soaring inflation, are at the heart of the industry’s current problems.

Agusto noted that in the last decade, the 628 per cent surge in the size of pension fund assets to N14.27 trillion is indicative of the industry’s growth and evolution following legislative support provided by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 and the amendment in 2014.

However, the rising rates of emigration and unemployment in the last five years have slowed down the growth rate in pension contributions. If individuals who fall within these groups, who are eligible to access a 25 per cent lump sum of their pension assets, exercise the withdrawal option, it could cause the growth of assets under management (AuM) to stagnate.

The 3 per cent decline in the industry’s annual contribution remitted to the RSAs in 2021 underlines this growing threat and National Pension Commission (PenCom) approval to use 25 per cent of the amount of a pension contributor’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to pay for an equity contribution for a mortgage may lead to a decline in pension AuM in the medium term.

The research firm noted that low yield in investible outlets amid a 17-year high headline inflation rate of 20.52 per cent will lead to a contraction in the real value of AuM over time and implies that pension fund contributors could be worse off in retirement.

It was noted that this would renew interest in diversifying investments into foreign-denominated securities to improve returns and preserve value but warned that the prohibition on PFAs from acquiring foreign currencies directly through official channels might hinder this.

However, Agusto & Co. expects the pension sector to remain robust, given the industry’s strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the need to align the Nigerian pension scheme more closely with international standards in the near term.

Agusto & Co. also estimates that growth in pension assets will slow from a five-year average of 19 per cent to around 10 per cent in 2022 due to a combination of a muted interest rate environment and a slowdown in the rate of contributions which has been impacted by mass emigration and high unemployment.

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Economy

NASD OTC Down as FrieslandCampina Loses 3.85%

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya

FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc dragged the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange down by 0.6 per cent on Tuesday, October 4, after its share price fell by N3.00 or 3.85 per cent to N75.00 per unit from N78.00 per unit.

It was the resumption of trading activities on the NASD OTC exchange yesterday after the public holiday declared on Monday to mark Nigeria’s 62nd year of independence.

The loss posted by the leading diary company in Nigeria reduced the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) by 4.45 points yesterday to 731.34 points from 735.79 points.

Equally, the market capitalisation of the bourse diminished by N5.85 billion to wrap the day at N962.75 billion compared with the preceding session’s N968.60 billion.

Yesterday, the unlisted securities market finished without a price gainer.

It was observed that the volume of transactions depreciated on Tuesday by 72.2 per cent as investors only traded a total of 29,331 units of shares in contrast to the 105,440 units of shares transacted last Friday.

However, the value of the stocks bought and sold by investors jumped by 37.6 per cent to N2.2 million from the previous session’s N1.6 million, while the number of deals executed by traders went down by 33.3 per cent as only four deals were carried out yesterday compared with the six deals completed in the previous session.

When the market ended for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc was in second place with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, and Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units valued at N313.4 million.

In the same vein, CSCS Plc finished the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, and FrieslandCampina closed in place for trading 14.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion.

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Economy

Naira Closes Flat Against Dollar After Independence Break

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strong dollar demand Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The first trading session after the Independence Day break at the various windows of the foreign exchange (forex) market was stable in Nigeria as the Nigerian currency traded flat against the United States Dollar on Tuesday, except for the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment, where it appreciated.

In the market window, the Naira was exchanged to the Dollar at N749/$1 compared with the preceding session’s exchange rate of N752/$1, indicating that it was strengthened by N3.

However, the local currency remained unchanged against the greenback at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the currency market yesterday at N437.03/$1.

In the same vein, the domestic currency traded flat against the American currency on Tuesday at N740/$1.

In addition, the Nigerian currency closed flat against the Pound Sterling at the interbank segment of the market at N469.88/£1 and also remained unchanged against the Euro in the same market window yesterday at N420.75/€1.

Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, Dogecoin jumped over 7 per cent after news broke that Mr Elon Musk, an advocate of the asset, may finally purchase Twitter on the deal’s original terms after months of drama.

Mr Musk’s attorneys sent a letter to Twitter, proposing to buy the social media company for his original offer price of $54.20 per share. Within minutes of the news breaking, DOGE shot up 7.6 to $0.0649.

Also, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 4.5 per cent jump to trade at $0.4761, Solana (SOL) recorded a 2.8 per cent rise to sell at $34.04, Bitcoin (BTC) gained 2.7 per cent to quote at $20,136.08, and Binance Coin (BNB) added 2.4 per cent to sell for $294.46.

Further, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.6 per cent to $1,351.80, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.0 per cent rise to trade at $0.4322, and Litecoin (LTC) climbed up by 0.9 per cent to sell at $54.81, while Binance USD and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00 each at the close of business.

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