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BEDC Continues House Metering Across Four Coverage States

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In line with Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)’s directive, Benin Eletricity Distribution Company (BEDC) PLC, Saturday, December 7th, continued it metering of houses at Aiguobasimwin Crescent and its environs, GRA, Benin City and other three coverage states of the company

The event which kick started across the four BEDC coverage states two weeks ago, is aimed at putting an end to estimated bill.

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BEDC members of staff attending to customers on metering in Benin City on Saturday

Speaking to Info Daily on behalf of the Head, Corporate Affairs Unit of the BEDC, Mrs. Gloria Mbagwu, said after the metering of houses at the area, any house whose owner fails or refuses to come for enumeration and metering in the area would be disconnected.

“Before we came here, we made an announcement via Radio and Television stations,, including distribution of fliers to create awareness about this programme, so, we are here for business. I want to assure you that any house that fails to come for enumeration and there after metering will be disconnected. We are not coming back here. So, we will not hesitate to disconnect any building that refuses to comply”, she added.

Asaba: BEDC members of staff attending to customers who came for metering in Asaba, Delta State.

Mbagwu, however, noted that a desk has been created at the GRA customer care office to cater for complaints arising from the metering.

Responding to question on how long it takes to be metered, Mbagwu noted that it only takes 48 hours for a customer to be given a meter after passing through all the required processes.

Giving further enlightenment on simplicity of the process, she said “all what a customer needs to do is to come for registration and enumeration after which what is regarded clean up (Network clean up) will follow.

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Akure: Metering in Akure

She added that clean-up is followed by registration and filling of MAP application form, there after debt reconcilation/rescheduling. She noted that the debt reconcilation stage was necessary so as to settle all discrepancies arising from underestimated or overestimated bill.

She explained that after a customer must have gone through the previous processes, members of staff of the BEDC would go to such customer’s premises for inspection and in readiness for metering.

According to her, after payment, the proper metering would take place.

Ado Ekiti: Members of BEDC staff attending to customers in Ado Ekiti.

Speaking to Info Daily shortly after being registered, a customer who wants his name not mentioned expressed satisfaction in the whole process.

He said though there was something BEDC has been doing to him in the past, has he came for the metering, personnels have been sent to his house and his complaint has been attended to without delay.

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“I don’t want to be quoted in the media but I want to say so far so good, what I saw over there has been satisfactory to me. The people I met in the process are very polite and willing to listen to any of your complaint and attend to such.

“There has been something that I have been expressing displeasure over in my house regarding electricity, but as I came here and lodged the complaint, they have sent their electricians to my house and resolved it, so I am absolutely satisfied”, he added

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Group Knocks CBN Over New Withdrawal Limits, Says New Policy Can’t Work

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Wednesday, criticised the Central Bank of Nigeria over its weekly cash withdrawal limits, saying the measure cannot help the worsening depreciation of the naira.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele is chasing shadows having crippled Nigeria’s economy with poor fiscal policies in his about 10-year regime at the apex bank.

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The group said rather than coming up with experimental and needless policies like the redesigning of the naira, cash withdrawal limits, amongst others, the apex bank and the Federal Government should cut down foreign loans and reduce Nigeria’s worsening external debt burden which has been said by experts to be the dominant cause of naira depreciation against the United States dollar.

HURIWA further said the daily maximum withdrawals via point of sale (PoS) terminal of N20,000 will force thousands of Nigerians who are PoS operators out of jobs, when the policy takes effect nationwide from January 9, 2023.

The group faulted the policy as bad for a country with 21.09% inflation rate, 133 million people in multidimensional poverty, and unemployment rate of over 33% meaning over 23 million employable Nigerians are jobless.

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READ ALSO: Naira Redesign: CBN Issues New Cash Withdrawal Policy

The CBN on Tuesday directed Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions to ensure that weekly over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500,000, respectively. The apex bank also pegged the maximum cash withdrawal per day via PoS terminals and Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) at N20,000, saying that only the N200 denomination will be loaded into the ATMs.

The CBN noted that the new policy is sequel to the launch of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 23, 2022.

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Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The CBN under its current governor, Godwin Emefiele has gone bananas. The apex bank can’t boost the value of the naira, it can’t remit over $550m trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines, forcing many of them to stop flight operations to the country. Manufacturers are also groaning and many dying or relocating from Nigeria because of inaccessibility to forex.

“It banned the supply of forex to Bureau de Change, among others and now, it has introduced limits for withdrawals that makes Nigeria look like a communist economy. Yet, the naira continues to plunge unprecedently against the dollar. Emefiele should be dismissed, he has exhausted his shallow experimental yet resultless policies.

“It is on record that the value of naira to dollar fell from N196.92 in June 2015 to N414.72 in June 2022, worsening Nigeria’s foreign debt burden. Under President Buhari and Emefiele, the naira depreciated by 52.52 per cent against the US dollar, even as the country’s total external debt rose from $10.32bn as of June 30, 2015, to $40.06bn as of June 30, 2022, a whopping increase of 288.18 per cent in seven years!

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READ ALSO: Peter Obi Loses Top Presidential Campaign Council Member To Death

“The next CBN governor after Emefiele’s sack should borrow the wisdom of the World Bank which advised that to achieve price stabilisation of the naira, the local currency should be allowed to respond to real pressures, and not be bottled up by the CBN.

“Emefiele’s successor should also advise the Federal Government to heed experts’ advice to move away from reliance on foreign assistance to finance developmental projects in the region as means to strengthen the naira.”

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Naira Redesign: CBN Issues New Cash Withdrawal Policy

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has issued a revised cash withdrawal policy, stating that cash withdrawals above N100,000 and N500,000 will henceforth attract 5 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, as a measure towards implementing the naira redesign policy.

Also, the apex bank disclosed that Automated Teller Machines, ATM will dispense N200 and below denominations only from now on.

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DAILY POST learnt this in a letter signed by CBN’s director of banking supervision, Haruna Mustafa, to all Deposit Money Banks, other financial institutions, primary mortgage banks and microfinance banks on Monday.

According to the letter referenced with the BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/015/069, a third-party cheque above N50,000 will not be eligible for payment Over the counter, OTC, and maximum ATM withdrawal shall be N20,000 per day.

It added that the maximum cash withdrawal via the point of sale (PoS) terminal should be N20,000.

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“The maximum cash withdrawal over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organizations per week shall henceforth be N100,000 and N500,000, respectively.

“Withdrawals above these limits shall attract processing fees of 5% and 10%, respectively; third-party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques still subsist; the maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) shall be N100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day; Only denominations of N200 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs; The maximum cash withdrawal via point of sale (PoS) terminal shall be N20,000 daily and in compelling circumstances, not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawals above the prescribed limits are required for legitimate purposes, such cash withdrawals shall not exceed N5,000,000 and 10,000,000 for individuals and corporate organizations,” the letter stated.

READ ALSO: Naira Redesign: Buhari, Emefiele Played Nigerians, Only Changed Dye Of Currency – Sowore

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The CBN had on October 26 made known its plan to redesign 200, 500 and 1000 naira denominations. It gave December 15, 2022, as the date to start circulating the new notes, while it plans to stop the usage of old naira notes from January 31, 2023.

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Finance Minister Clears Air On N424bn Budget Padding

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has cleared the air over the N424bn that was said to have been padded by the minister into the 2023 Appropriation Bill.

Ahmed has been accused by the Humanitarian, Health, Power and Education to have inserted, N206bn, N8.6bn, N195.468bn, and N2.250bn respectively.

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The Finance Minister, however, got a clean slate before the senate when she appeared to defend herself over cases of puddings in the proposed N20.51 trillion 2023 budget from the Senate Committee on Appropriation when she made clarifications on them.

She explained to the committee that the various sums were sent to the ministries for perusal before approval by the Federal Executive Council, before the budget presentation itself by the President, Major General, Muhammadu Buhari, ( Retd.) on Friday, October 7, 2022.

READ ALSO: 2023: Finally, Tinubu Opens Up On Age, Chicago University Certificate, Work History

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She stated, “This project in question under the Humanitarian Affairs ministry is a project that was called National Social Safety Net project.

“This is a total sum of $473.5m which translates to N296bn. This project was correctly described by the IR departments that collated the report but in the –process of collating the at the budget office, the wrong code was selected. This code that was selected resulted in the description showing as purchase and security weapons.

“The same project was correctly captured in the MTEF because it was also presented in the MTEF.

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“She noted that the amount was correct and “it is correctly provided for in the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs disaster management, and social development because they are the agency implementing this national social safety net scale-up the programme.”

She added, “This project is also described as refurbishment and procurement of Harris RF 578 100 military communications equipment in the sum of N8.6 billion.

“The Honourable Minister of Defence wrote to his Excellency Mr President, requesting the immediate release of $1.36 3m, and N158.92 8m for the implementation of phase one of this project.

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“The Honourable Minister of Defence also requested the sum of $2.27 8m and N11.9 4 billion to implement phases two and three of the project, all of which Mr President graciously approved and was conveyed to us.”

Ahmed added, “All the proposed budgetary sums like the N206 billion in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the N8.6billion in the Ministry of Defence, N195.468 billion in the estimates for the Ministry of Power, etc, were all captured before the presentation by Mr President.

“Most of these sums are bilateral or multilateral loans captured in the budget of agencies selected for project execution for the sole purpose of transparency.

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“The totality of such loans captured in the proposed budget of the relevant agencies is N1.771 trillion.

“Had heads of the affected MDAs carried out thorough scrutinisation of their approved budgetary proposals, the issue of insertion or budget padding wouldn’t have arisen at all, a realisation of which made the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi apologise after feigning ignorance of N8.6 billion in his Ministry’s budget during an interface with Senate Committee on Defence,” she said.

Ahmed noted that it was evident that there were internal coordination issues between the project of implementation units in some ministries, departments and agencies, with their CEOs and their accounting officers of the implementing ministry.

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She stressed, “And also there’s also a gap of coordination even with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning. We will be taking necessary measures to make sure that going forward these gaps are addressed on our site and also work with the ministers to make sure that the gaps that they have between the Project Implementation units on the CEOs are also bridged.

“Specifically for multilateral bilateral funded projects, the PIUs are domiciled in the designated implementing MDS and the lenders will not deal with any other agency but that beneficiary agency including the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on procurements and as well as on several other aspects of the project implementation.”

Satisfied by her submission, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North), said the clarifications made by the Minister were well understood by all the committee members and commended her for ensuring transparency with capturing of such loans or grants in the budget.

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Earlier at an interface with the Senate Ad-hoc committee on uneven disbursement of a N500 billion Development fund by the Development Bank of Nigeria, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, failed to supply the committee with verifiable evidence of beneficiaries.

She said about 9.8 million pupils nationwide are already benefiting from the school feeding programme at the rate of N100 per meal, aside from beneficiaries of other clusters of the programme.

READ ALSO: 2023 Election: Buhari Issues Directives To Nigerian Army

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But the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sani Musa and other members like Ayo Akinyekure, Uche Ekwunife, Mathew Urhoghide, etc, told the Minister that her presentation and that of the Coordinator of the program, Dr Umar Bindir, were beautiful on paper but lacked substance.

The implementation of the program according to them is a nullity.

Consequently, the Committee directed her to furnish it with the names of beneficiaries of different clusters of the program, their contact address, and telephone numbers on the basis of states, local governments and wards within the week.
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