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Business News

Nigerian Government crashes visa fees by 11% for US citizens

@NigeriaGov has announced the review of visa fees payable by #UnitedStates citizens by 11% from $180 to $160.

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visa fees,FG begs US to lift visa ban on Nigeria

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has announced the review of visa fees payable by United States citizens by 11% from $180 (N55,260) to $160 (N49,120).

A statement signed by Mohammed Manga, stated the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIC), Muhammad Babandede, had been directed to implement reduction with effect from Thursday, August 29, 2019.

visa fees

 

“The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has approved the decrease of visa charges payable by US citizens in line with reciprocity policy as recommended by the committee.” – Manga

[READ ALSO: US revises visa issuance fees for Nigerians]

This is coming a day after Nairametrics reported that the US Government announced that Nigerians will be required to pay visa issuance fees or reciprocity fees from today. This will be charged alongside the non-immigrant visa application fee which all applicants pay at the time of application.

The US Government also claimed that they had engaged the Nigerian Government on the cost of visa issuance to its citizen since early 2018.

“Since early 2018, the U.S. government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to U.S. citizens for certain visa categories.

“After eighteen months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the U.S. Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.”

This means Nigerian applicants going for tourism, study and business visas will be required to pay an extra $110 (N33,770) for the visa issuance fee. Applicants going for the L1 Visa (work permit) will pay an extra $303 (N93,021) if given visas, while those applying for H4 Visa (dependency/spousal) will pay $180 (N55,260) fee.

The statement said a committee had been set up to conduct due diligence in line with the extant policy on the reciprocity of visa fees and had earlier engaged the US Embassy in Nigeria. The ministry further claimed that the delay in the implementation of recommendations was as a result of “transition processes in the ministry at the policy level”.

“The committee had concluded its assignment and submitted a report, but the issuance of authorisation for its recommendations was delayed due to transition processes in the ministry at the policy level”.

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Bottom line: With this reduction in visa fees payable by US citizens by the Federal Government, the US Government will make a U-turn on its earlier announced reciprocity fees.

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[READ ALSO: US Embassy denies banning student visas for Nigerians]

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Tech News

Deezer accepts payment in Naira amid stiff competitions with Spotify, Youtube music, Apple music.

Deezer has gained quite a reputation in Nigeria, as it slashes its subscription fee and now accepts payment in Naira.

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Deezer slashes subscription fee and now accepts payment in Naira amid stiff competitions with Spotify, Youtube music, Apple music.

Deezer, the French music streaming platform that has gained quite a reputation in Nigeria has slashed its subscription fee and now accepts payment in Naira.

This is coming a few weeks after Spotify launched in Nigeria and 38 other new markets in Africa.

The competition in the Nigerian music streaming space is getting hotter by the day. More music streaming platforms are entering the Nigerian market with better payment methods and cheaper pricing, thereby forcing existing players to slash their prices so as to hold on to their customer base

Launched in 2007, Deezer currently connects over 16 million monthly active users around the world to 73 million tracks.

Before now, Deezer’s subscription was rated at $4.99 (₦1,800) for premium customers and the family plan for ₦2,700.

This number has been slashed in half. The music platform now charges ₦900 ($2.36) for Deezer Premium, ₦1,400 for Deezer HiFi and ₦1,400 ($3.67) for Deezer Family Plan.

Other streaming players in Nigeria like Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube music, Boom Play, Audiomack and Soundcloud have also slashed their prices.

For YouTube Music, the monthly individual subscription costs ₦900 while a family plan costs ₦1400 ($3.67).

Spotify Premium cost ₦900 per month in Nigeria. The Premium Family plan goes for ₦1,400 for up to 6 family members.

Apple music charges ₦450 per month for students, ₦900 per month for Individual plan while the Family plan goes for ₦1,400 for up to 6 family members.

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Energy

NERC issues order to DisCos on replacement of faulty, obsolete meters

NERC has issued a directive to DisCos on the structured replacement of faulty and obsolete meters for their customers.

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Electricity, Buhari moves against Discos and agents that collect money for prepaid meters

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued a directive to the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) on the structured replacement of faulty and obsolete meters for their customers with effect from March 4, 2021.

This is to remove the bottlenecks that had previously impeded the rapid deployment of meters to unmetered customers and the receipt of complaints from metered customers in fourth-quarter 2020, that they had been served meter replacement notices by DisCos when all stakeholders were preparing for the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

The directive from NERC is contained in Order No. NERC/246/2021, Titled, “In the matter of the order on structured replacement of faulty and obsolete end-user customer meter in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI),” issued on March 4, 2021.

The commission noted that over 7 million customers are currently unmetered as indicated by the customer enumeration data. It also estimates that an additional 3 million meters are currently obsolete and due for replacement.

NERC pointed out that the existence of unmetered customers contributes to the threat affecting the financial viability of the NESI as unmetered customers expressed their displeasure with the estimated billing methodology.

The statement from NERC partly reads, “The Commission notes that over 7 million customers are currently unmetered as indicated by customer enumeration data. It is also estimated that an additional 3 million meters are currently obsolete and due for replacement.

“The existence of a large population of unmetered customers contributed to threats affecting the financial viability of NESI as unmetered end-use customers expressed deep dissatisfaction with the estimated billing methodology.

“The revenue assurance objectives of DisCos have also been challenged by being unable to properly account for the utilisation of electricity by end-use customers”.

Following the review from both the metered and unmetered customers, NERC issued the following order;

  1. DisCos shall grant priority to the metering of unmetered customers under the National Mass Metering Program.
  2. DisCos may replace faulty/obsolete meters under the National Mass Metering Program but these replacements must be done in strict compliance with the Metering Code and other regulatory instruments of the Commission.
  3. DisCos shall inspect meters of metered end-use customers and the replacement notice shall contain the following –
  • The date of the inspection
  • Name, designation and signature of the officer that inspected the meter.
  • The fault identified in the meter.
  • The date for the installation of the replacement meter
  1. The Commission shall be copied on all replacement notices issued to end-use customers for the purpose of conducting random reviews of the replacement
  2. New meters must be installed upon the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter and under no circumstances shall the customer be placed on estimated billing on account of the DisCo’s failure to install a replacement meter after the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter.
  3. The customer and DisCo representative shall jointly note the units on the meter being replaced and the customer must be credited with these units within 48 hours after the installation of the meter.
  4. Customers shall only be billed for loss of revenue where the DisCo establishes meter tampering, by-pass or unauthorised access as contained in NERC Order/REG/ 41/2017 on Unauthorised Access, Meter Tampering and Bypass.
  5. Activation tokens shall be issued to customers immediately after replacement of the faulty/obsolete meter.
  6. DisCos shall file monthly returns with the Commission on the replacement of faulty/obsolete meters along with their proposal for the decommissioned meters.

This Order may be cited as the Order on the Structured Replacement of Faulty/Obsolete Meters of End-Use Customers.”

What you should know

  • NERC was mandated in the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act to maximize access to electricity services, by promoting and facilitating customer connections to distribution systems in both rural and urban areas and establish appropriate consumer rights and obligations regarding the provision and use of electricity services.
  • Meters serve as a revenue assurance tool for NESI service providers and a resource management tool for consumers that receive services with the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations coming into force on April 3, 2018.

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