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Free power supply: Not yet approved – DisCos

DisCos have disclosed that the free two months power supply suggested by the National Assembly is still a proposal and not approved by the Federal Government 

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Contrary to the reports in some national dailies that electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria would soon offer free power supply to consumers, the DisCos have disclosed that the initiative has not been approved.

A source in one of the biggest DisCos in Nigeria, who spoke to Nairametrics on the condition of anonymity, explained that though the initiative would alleviate the economic pressure of Coronavirus pandemic, certain processes need to be followed before such a decision can be taken.

According to him, the DisCos would come up with an estimated amount that it would cost them to offer Nigerians free power supply for two months, meet with the National Assembly to deliberate on it, then pass it before the Federal Government signs it into law.

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Findings revealed that it could cost the DisCos an average of N30 billion to provide electricity for Nigerians and residents for one month. That means it would cost the Federal Government about N60 billion to provide free power supply for Nigerian in two months.

READ ALSO: Power sector records N2.2 billion loss, here is why

Can DisCos bear the cost?: Contrary to the expectations of some Nigerians that the DisCos should be able to shoulder such responsibility, experts explained that such would be a great burden on the 11 firms.

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A PWC’s report on the assessment of the companies revealed that the companies could only collect 66% of electricity billed as revenue. For instance, in 2018, out of a total of N661.6 billion worth of electricity billed by Discos, only N437.9 billion was received.

That is not all; all 11 Discos are currently unable to pay tax because they have reported losses consistently since 2013. Also, their tariff shortfall has been a clog in the wheel of their progress. The tariff amounted to N384 billion, due to the fact that electricity consumers are not charged the cost-reflective tariffs.

Ikeja Electric speaks

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To clear the air, the management of Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), one of the biggest DisCos in Nigeria, explained that it fully supports the on-going efforts of the National Assembly, in collaboration with the Federal Government, to consider a proposal on the possibility of providing free electricity for two months.

READ MORE: Tariff hike: Unmetered customers will be exploited by DisCos, FCCPC alleges

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But Head, Corporate Communications, IE, Felix Ofulue, told Nairametrics in an interview that it is important for Nigerians to note that the initiative is only a proposal now and that it is still undergoing stakeholders’ reviews on its feasibility.

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He said, “It has not been approved by the Government as a stimulus package or palliative. The ability of the DisCos to implement the proposed palliative is subject to the stimulus package being passed by the legislators and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We urge all our customers to continue to pay their utility bills as usual, while on our part, we shall continue to serve our customers first during this difficult period.”

Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - abiola.odutola@nairametrics.com.

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Nigerians will now pay N50 stamp duty on electronic receipts – FIRS

“Any electronic receipt for, or electronic transfer of, money deposited with any bank or with any banker in any type of account of an amount from N10,000 upwards shall attract a singular or one-off duty of the sum of N50.” –FIRS

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Nigerians will now pay stamp duties on all forms of electronic notifications acknowledging receipts of funds.

This includes SMS and messages on any electronic platform such as emails and Whatsapp messages.

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This is according to a circular that was signed by FIRS’ Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, as seen on the tax agency’s website. Part of the circular said:

“Any electronic receipt for, or electronic transfer of, money deposited with any bank or with any banker in any type of account of an amount from N10,000 upwards shall attract a singular or one-off duty of the sum of N50.

“Stamp duty upon receipt (written, printed or in electronic form) for transactions between corporate bodies or between a corporate body and an individual, group or body of individuals, which amounts to N10,000 and above, shall be denoted by payment of N50 per receipt to the service.”

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The FIRS circular also stated that stamp duties will be paid on “POS receipts, fiscalised device receipts, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) print-outs.”

(READ MORE:Nigerians react as FIRS Chairman asks companies to pay tax before due date)

The circular went further to categorically state that all receipts, either printed or electronically generated, or any form of electronic acknowledgement of money transactions, will attract the stamp duty of N50.

The agency also clarified that it is the only body authorised to collect such duties because “the Federal Inland Revenue Service is the only competent authority to impose, charge, and collect duties upon instruments specified in the schedule to this act if such instrument relates to matters executed between a company and an individual, group or body of individuals.”

The instruments subject to charge, as listed in the circular, include; fixed duty instruments such as Power of Attorney, Certificate of Attorney, Proxy forms, Appointment of receivers, Memorandum of Understanding, Joint Venture Agreements, Guarantors form, Ordinary agreements and Receipts; and Ad-valorem instruments such as Tenancy or lease agreements, legal mortgage or debentures, Sales agreements and Deed of assignments.

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Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

Flight attendants would be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 test every fortnight, at the expense of their employers.

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Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

Flight crew members will now be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and observe Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures for the duration of their flights.

They would also be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 test every fortnight, at the expense of their employers.

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This is part of the mandatory COVID-19 protocols approved by the Federal Ministry of Health for the aviation industry, as the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) prepares to gradually ease the lockdown on its operations on June 7.

NCAA Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, stated this at a virtual event organised by the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ART) titled COVID-19: The Challenges and Opportunity for Nigeria’s Aviation Value Chain, During and Post.

According to Nuhu who sent letters to airline operators, airports, and other service providers, these new protocols override existing practices where the international flight crew members are quarantined for 14 days upon their return to Nigeria.

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(READ MORE: COVID -19: Nigerian companies have records of innovation to turn pandemic challenge to gold)

In addition, the airlines must also conduct orientation and sensitisation of their crew on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, in addition to having adequate stock of PPE, minimum 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and Universal Precaution Kits (UPK) on board every aircraft.

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The letter reads; “Onboard the flight crew will request passengers wash their hands after using the lavatory, apply disinfectant spray in lavatory every 60 minutes during the flight and maintain a safe distance between passengers and themselves; avoid direct physical contact and serve only pre-packed meals to passengers.

“Flight deck crew must wear non-medical face masks and gloves but can remove face masks when the cockpit door is closed. They must also ensure safe removal of gloves after performing specific tasks and avoid touching their face and eyes with unclean hands.” 

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The new protocols according to Nuhu, are a result of a proposal earlier sent by the NCAA to the Ministry of Aviation for approval.

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Recall that on March 13, President Muhammadu Buhari had announced a shutdown of airport operations for one month. The shutdown was initially extended by two weeks and then later extended by four weeks; all part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to commence flights at the airports on June 7, according to the NCAA, is to avoid chocking the “system”.

(READ MORE: Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala)

The airports where operations will commence are the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja; Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt Airport, Choba, Rivers State.

“We may resume domestic operations with four or five airports and we hope to expand as we get better. We don’t want to rush everything at the same time and get it choked up,” he said.

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Airlines want more women stakeholders in aviation sectors , Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

On the issue of physical distancing…

The issue of a 2 metre physical distance has, however, not been concluded in the newly approved protocols, as the NCAA has stated that airlines may not be able to adhere to it.

“Every money is important and we cannot achieve the two-meter physical distance. We are hopeful in the next few days we can resolve those issues and allow the airlines to commence operations,” he said.

In his presentation, Air Peace Chairman, Mr Allen Onyema, also disagreed with plans to leave the middle seats of aircraft free as that could further affect  the revenue of the airlines.

He suggested instead that the government provide intervention for local carriers to enable them retain their workers as the pandemic has bored a deep hole in their pockets.

“We should be asking the government for specific things that would help retain jobs. Job retention should be first and foremost. These people’s livelihood are endangered and we must do everything possible to keep  their jobs.”

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Job listings spike up by 183% in April –Jobberman

Jobberman released figures showing a 183% increase in job listings on its platform in April 2020, thanks to its #UnityInAdversity campaign.

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Job listings spike up by 183% in April – Jobberman

Notable job placement website, Jobberman, has released figures showing that there was a 183% increase in job listings on its platform in the month of April 2020.

This increase, according to Jobberman, is a result of the #UnityInAdversity campaign which allowed companies to post job listings and access Jobberman’s database of over 2.2 million professionals across Nigeria for free, rather than paying the usual fees. This was the company’s way of showing support to businesses and individuals, amid the economic challenges which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to the release from Jobberman, this campaign came at a cost to the company since it was trading off its revenue by offering for free, the same services which formed its major source of income.

“At the beginning of March, Jobberman Nigeria saw a 70 percent decrease in job listings due to the reduced economic activity caused by the enforced lockdown and many companies shutting down recruitment budgets to cut costs. Jobseeker sign-ups also decreased by 17 percent. Jobberman took the bold step to put employers’ and job seekers’ needs first” the statement read.

(READ MORE: Merger, Tax incentive boosts BUA Cement FY 2019 result)

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The campaign, which is billed to run till June 30, has paid off greatly as data for April’s job listings alone was more than that of the entire Q1 2020 period. See a breakdown of the job listings below:

  • Almost a fifth of the positions (18.79%) were listed in the tech sector
  • Banking, finance, and insurance accounted for 9.27%
  • Education and training had 6.78 percent
  • IT & Software positions accounted for 11.69%
  • Sales had 13.32%.

Note that with the increase in job listings, job seeker sign-ups also increased by 39% in April alone.

Job listings spike up by 183% in April – Jobberman

Speaking about the campaign, the CEO of Jobberman Nigeria, Hilda Kragha said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made the process of connecting talent to opportunities more complicated and we are fully aware of the strain businesses and individuals in Nigeria are facing. We plan to be here for the next 10 years so making this small sacrifice to help our users navigate these difficult times is something that we think is definitely worth doing”.

Kragha also noted that the campaign has encouraged healthy competition as candidates strive to show themselves qualified for the position.

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“We have found that soft skills such as emotional intelligence, business etiquette, time management, which are often overlooked and underestimated in Nigeria, can make a big difference. We know the power of soft skills and we are committed to empowering individuals with the training and soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace” she explained further.

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(READ MORE: Partnerships Beyond The Partners… Another Lesson From Interswitch)

Sequel to this, the company also launched a free soft skills training programme to help job seekers (between age 18 and 30 years) acquire the needed soft skills and better their chances of gaining employment.

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