NERC: We Have Not Approved New Electricity Tariff 

A file photo of a powerline.
A file photo of a powerline.

 

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says the agency has not approved a hike in electricity tariff. 

NERC Chairman Garba Sanusi said this while speaking to journalists in Abuja on Friday.  According to him, reports suggesting a hike in electricity tariff are untrue.  He said there was no new rise in the electricity tariff as the reports suggested.

“I want to, on behalf of the management of NERC, clearly state that as of today (Friday), we have not approved any rate review and there is no indication that any electricity distribution company is increasing its tariff,” he said.

“If you notice that the rate you buy electricity has changed within the last one to three weeks, we want evidence.”

He explained the information on the NERC website indicated that the last tariff review was in December 2021.

“Our function is to approve applications for tariffs for the distribution companies, and we have not received any,” the NERC boss added.

His comment followed the agency’s publication of a review (on Thursday) of tariffs for six distribution companies with effect from December 2021.

PDP Rejects New Year Hike In Electricity Tariff

 

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the New Year ‘gift’ of hike in electricity tariff as approved by the Federal Government and urge President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately rescind the increase.

The party in a communique on Tuesday described the 100 per cent hike in electricity tariff from N2 to N4 per kWhr, as announced by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), as insensitive, anti-people, and will worsen the economic hardship being faced by Nigerians at this time.

The party contends that the reasons adduced by NERC are not enough to warrant such an increase in electricity tariff, especially at the time Nigerians are looking up to the government for economic recovery programmes and packages.

READ ALSO: Gov Wike Says Ogoni Clean Up Is Deceptive, Politically Motivated

The PDP urged the APC and the Buhari-led government to note that such an electricity tariff hike, at this critical time, will bear more pressure on homes and businesses, impact negatively on our national productivity and make life more unbearable, particularly at this period of insufferable economic recession.

“What our nation needs at this point are positive policies that will encourage Nigerians in their productive endeavours and cushion the hardship they face on a daily basis instead of wicked policies that will only worsen their situation.

“It is imperative for the Federal Government to note that Nigerians are already weighed down by high costs and weak purchasing powers and as such should not be further burdened with high electricity costs,” the PDP statement reads in part.

The party asked President Buhari to immediately review the hike and make further consultations on more affordable ways to meet the power needs of the nation instead of resorting to a tariff hike.

Strike: Give Us More Time To Negotiate, Gbajabiamila Pleads With NLC

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Sunday implored the Nigerian Labour Congress, and the Trade Union Congress to give room for enough time for negotiations with the executive arm of government over the proposed industrial action initially scheduled to commence on Monday.

The Speaker made the appeal while meeting with the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and the President of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye, in his office on Sunday.

He expressed concerns over the consequences of a shutdown of the nation’s socio-economic activities on Nigerians, while disclosing his intentions to interface with the executive for a possible amicable resolution of the demands of the Labour unions.

The labour unions had threatened to embark on industrial action from Monday if their demands for the reversal of the increase in electricity tariff and Premium Motor Split (PMS) were not met.

But the Speaker said it is incumbent upon the House as elected representatives to see how they can intervene and perhaps a third voice, would be able to broker some kind of amicable solution to the ongoing impasse while citing instances where the House had successfully intervened.

He later met with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, to deliberate on the outcome of his meeting with the labour leaders.

 

Monday Mass Protest: Gbajabiamila Meets With NLC

 

 

The labour leaders later on, went into a meeting with the Federal Government which commenced at 7:00 pm and continued till late into the night.

The outcome of the meeting will determine whether or not the strike will hold.

Trump Threatens To Impose Tariffs Against EU, China

 U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bill singing ceremony with his economic team in the Rose Garden at the White House June 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing ceremony with his economic team in the Rose Garden at the White House on June 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

 

President Donald Trump threatened Friday to impose tariffs against the European Union and China in retaliation for duties imposed on imports of US lobster.

At a meeting with fisheries representatives in Bangor, Maine, Trump instructed his hawkish trade advisor Peter Navarro to look into punitive tariffs on EU cars and on unspecified Chinese products.

The Republican leader told lobster industry representatives that the EU has to drop its tariffs “immediately.”

“If they don’t change, we’re going to put a tariff on their cars and they’ll change right away,” he said, calling Brussels “almost as bad over the years as China in terms of trade.”

He said the tariff would be “equivalent-plus.”

Trump also told Navarro to look at China and find “something they sell that’s very precious to them” which could then be counter-tariffed.

“Pick a product, a corresponding-plus if they don’t drop the tariff for Maine lobster going into China.”

“It’s very simple,” he said. “All you do is say, that’s OK, keep charging us: we’re going to charge you a corresponding.”

“Peter Navarro is going to be the lobster king now,” he joked.

At the same meeting, Trump signed an order instantly removing fishing restrictions imposed under President Barack Obama on 5,000 square miles (12,949 square km) of ocean off the coast of Maine.

The northeastern state is a small but important part of the mosaic of electoral college votes that Trump hopes to construct to secure a second term against Democratic challenger Joe Biden. He narrowly lost the state in 2016.

Electricity Tariff Should Be Increased After Criminalising Estimated Billing, Says Gbajabiamila

A file photo of Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has rejected the proposed increment of electricity tariff in the country.

His reaction came one week after Channels Television reported that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved the immediate review of electricity tariffs across the country.

In a series of tweets on Friday, Gbajabiamila believes the right time to increase electricity rates is when the proposed amendment to the act criminalising estimated billing is signed into law.

He promised to meet with the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, as well as other stakeholders to ensure the proposed increase was made on a practical basis.


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The Speaker said, “There is no guarantee that after any electricity tariff hike the DISCOs will not continue with the nefarious practice of bills estimation or provide uninterrupted power supply.

“I believe the National Assembly should ensure that any increase in electricity tariff if at all, should be cost-reflective and not just a whimsical increase with no empirical basis.”

“Also, any such increase should only be made after the proposed amendment to the law criminalising estimated billing is signed into law.

“I intend to meet and discuss this sequence and other conditions with the Attorney General of the Federation and other relevant authorities,” he added.

In a series of documents dated December 31, 2019, NERC had announced the plan to increase electricity tariff effective January 1, 2020.

A review of the new amount to be paid by various categories of electricity consumers shows an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent.

Consumers classified as residential (R1) were, however, excluded from the review as the N4 per kWh they pay was left unchanged.

The development affected customers captured in the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) spread across the country such as Abuja DISCO, Benin DISCO, Enugu DISCO, and Eko DISCO.

Others are Ibadan DISCO, Ikeja DISCO, Jos DISCO, Kaduna DISCO, Kano DISCO, Port Harcourt DISCO, and Yola DISCO.

The decision, however, sparked an outcry in the country, forcing the electricity regulatory body to shift the implementation of the review until April.

NERC Chairman, Professor James Momoh, told reporters on Monday that the commission would engage the public on the planned review in the next three months, before deciding on any implementation.

He also said NERC would begin the regulation of estimated billing by electricity distribution companies who fail to provide meters for their customers.

US Pledges To Halt Rising Tariffs On Chinese Imports

This photo was taken on August 7, 2018, shows workers unloading bags of chemicals at a port in Zhangjiagang in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. Johannes Eisele / AFP

The end of the pager era is nigh in Japan after five decades as the country’s last provider announced on Monday it would be scrapping its service next year.

Tokyo Telemessage, the only pager service provider left standing, said it had decided to terminate its service to Tokyo and three neighboring regions in September 2019 — describing the development as “very regrettable”.

“Pagers were once a huge hit… but the number of users is now down to 1,500,” the company said in a statement, adding it had stopped manufacturing the hardware device 20 years ago.

Pagers — known as “poke-Beru” (pocket bell) in Japan — became very popular in the 1990s especially among high school girls obsessed by their primitive text messaging functions.

At break time, long queues of high school girls would form outside public phones as they frantically punched in numbers which were then converted into short messages to classmates and boyfriends.

At the 1996 peak for the technology, the number of users reached more than 10 million, according to government data.

But mobile phones quickly consigned pagers to the technology dustbin.

Major telecoms company NTT, which introduced pagers back in 1968, stopped its service in 2007.

Visitors to Japan are often surprised at the contrasting use of technology in Japan.

On the one hand, Japan is a land of high-tech and futuristic gadgets but can also sometimes be bizarrely old school — for example, faxes are still routinely used as a method of communication.

When the last North Korean missile flew over Japan, one of the more surreal moments was TV footage showing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe learning about the emergency — on his flip-phone.

And the Japanese minister in charge of cyber security recently made international headlines when he admitted that he delegated computer work to others.

Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, who is also in charge of the 2020 Olympics, also appeared confused by the concept of a USB drive.

AFP

 

Trump’s Tariffs On $200 Bn of Chinese Imports Kicks In

 FILE photo of US President Donald Trump 

 

Donald Trump’s tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese imports took effect Monday, with Beijing accusing Washington of “economic intimidation” as the standoff between the world’s top two economies clouds the global outlook.

The latest volley against Beijing brings the number of goods hit by duties to more than $250 billion, roughly half China’s US exports, with American consumers set to increasingly feel the pain.

Trump has hit 12 percent of total US imports this year alone.

Defiant in the face of increasing fears about the impact to the US economy, Trump has threatened to hit all imports from China if it refuses to change policies he says harm US industry, particularly the theft of American technology.

“These practices plainly constitute a grave threat to the long-term health and prosperity of the United States economy,” he said in announcing the tariffs last week.

Beijing fired back Monday, accusing the US of making “false accusations” and using “increasing tariffs and other means of economic intimidation in an attempt to force its own interests on China by way of extreme pressure”.

The charges came in a white paper published by China’s cabinet, the State Council, and claimed the US had turned toward “unilateralism, protectionism and economic hegemonism” as Trump pursues his “America First” agenda.

Talks canceled

“We are going to win it,” Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the trade war on “Fox News Sunday”.

“We’re going to get an outcome which forces China to behave in a way that if you want to be a power — a global power — transparency, rule of law, you don’t steal intellectual property.”

Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion in American goods were set to go into effect soon after the US action, the finance ministry announced last week.

China targeted 5,200 US goods with five to 10 percent tariffs, including big-ticket items such as liquefied natural gas, lumber and electronics, as well as peppermint oil, pig hides and condoms.

It leaves Beijing hitting $110 billion worth of US goods, nearly everything China buys from the United States.

But Trump warned he could ramp up to “phase three”, with tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports, or all the goods the US buys from China.

Hopes for talks to resolve the issue appeared to have been dealt a blow with a hit as The Wall Street Journal reported Beijing canceled the visit of a negotiating team expected September 27-28 in Washington.

Previous talks in late August saw little progress.

The International Monetary Fund has warned about the potential for “significant economic costs”, including slower growth, while Fitch Ratings has cut its growth estimates for China and the world for 2019.

“Protectionist US trade policies have now reached the point where they are materially affecting what remains a strong global growth outlook,” the agency said in a report Friday.

The latest batch of Chinese imports will face 10 percent tariffs through the end of the year, and then the rate will jump to 25 percent.

A swath of products are on the hit list, including Chinese-made voice data receivers, computer memory modules, automatic data processors, and accessories for office equipment such as copiers and banknote dispensers — instantly making widely used goods more expensive.

 Beijing strikes back

However, following complaints from thousands of US firms — including powerhouses like Apple and Walmart — 300 product lines were dropped from the target list.

The products spared also include smartwatches and Bluetooth devices like the iPhone and Fitbit, child safety products such as high chairs, car seats, and playpens, and certain health-and-safety products such as bicycle helmets, US officials said.

Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, also warned of the “detrimental impact” to consumers if tariffs were imposed on a number of products, but many of those, like handbags, suitcases, dog food, and dog leashes, remained on the final list.

China outlined a matching bump in tariff rates for its targeted $60 billion of US goods, but it is running out of options to even the score on Trump’s threatened third wave of tariffs.

After accusing the US of launching the “largest trade war in economic history”, analysts worry Beijing could shift to threatened “qualitative” retaliatory measures, such as damaging US firms in China or restricting the export of crucial items.

The spiraling trade fight adds to the growing areas of friction between the rival powers.

This week the US sanctioned a Chinese military procurement organization, drawing a sharp protest from Beijing and a decision to postpone planned military talks.

The two are also at odds over Beijing’s wooing of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, treatment of religious groups and claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea.

 

AFP

Trump Ignites Trade War With China, Triggering Swift Retaliation

Trump Says High Oil Prices 'Will Not Be Accepted'
US President Donald Trump. Mandel NGAN / AF

 

United States President Donald Trump on Friday ignited his trade war with China, slapping tariffs on tens of billions in Chinese imports and sparking immediate retaliation from Beijing.

The moves brought the world’s two largest economies to the verge of an all-out confrontation long feared by markets and industry.

And the China trade offensive is only one side of Trump’s multi-front battle with all major US economic partners.

The announcement also caps months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy in which Chinese offers to purchase more American goods failed to assuage Trump’s grievances over the soaring trade imbalance and China’s aggressive industrial development policies.

And as Trump warned of “additional tariffs” should Beijing hit back with tit-for-tat duties on American goods, China unveiled 25 percent duties on $50 billion in US imports.

“The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices,” Trump said.

“These tariffs are essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs.”

But at least initially, Trump’s new China tariffs will not cover the full $50 billion that Trump announced Friday.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the punitive duties will apply on 818 Chinese products valued at $34 billion starting July 6, with a second list of $14 billion to be considered under a new review process — bringing the total possible affected import volume to $50 billion.

But it is likely companies will seek more exemptions so the final total could fall short of that amount.

Beijing’s countermeasures closely mirrored Washington’s, with 545 American exports, also valued at $34 billion, facing punitive duties as of July 6, including agricultural products and vehicles, according to the official news agency Xinhua.

The State Council said another 114 items will be subject to tariffs at a later date, the news agency said.

US farmers are especially concerned about the impact of a trade war, since they are sure to feel the hit.

Traders and financial professionals work ahead of the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), June 15, 2018. in New York City. With trade war fears looming again, the Dow fell more than 280 points in the morning but bounced back to finish the day down 85 points. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

Stinging reprisals as vote looms

China’s Ministry of Commerce said the decision to impose tariffs meant “all previously agreed trade negotiation results are no longer valid.”

“It is deeply regrettable that in disregard of the consensus between the two sides, the US has demonstrated flip-flops and ignited a trade war,” the ministry said.

It also called on other countries to “take collective action” against this “outdated and backward behaviour.”

But the White House maintains that any Chinese countermeasures would be unjust and could be met with further US sanctions.

“We have taken essentially a defensive action,” a senior US official told reporters, adding that “further threats that are going to hurt other industries …would be a mistake.”

The official, who asked not to be identified, declined to say whether Trump would make good on a March threat to hit another $100 billion in Chinese goods with tariffs in response to Beijing’s retaliation.

China in April already put punitive duties on 128 US goods, including pork, wine, and certain pipes in response to global US tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed by Trump the month before.

Trump outraged Canadian, Mexican and European leaders last month by imposing the steel and aluminum tariffs to protect American producers from allegedly unfair competition.

Brussels, Ottawa, Beijing and Mexico City already have shown they intend to inflict damage on export industries in politically-sensitive voting districts — something which could prove damaging to Republicans already facing a loss of power in November’s mid-term elections.

On Capitol Hill, influential Texas Republican lawmaker Kevin Brady, chairman of a House tax legislation committee, said he was “alarmed” by the tariffs which he said exposed US industries to “devastating retaliation.”

“I am concerned that these new tariffs will hurt American manufacturers, farmers, workers, and consumers,” he said.

And the powerful US Chamber of Commerce warned that hundreds of thousands of Americans could lose their jobs if the trade war escalated and included the auto import tariffs that Trump has threatened.

“If these actions continue, our businesses will lose customers, workers will lose jobs, and American consumers will lose family income through higher taxes and higher prices,” Chamber President Thomas Donahue said.

He also noted that the metals tariffs have pushed steel prices 40 percent higher since January.

Trump’s tariff announcement knocked Wall Street lower, closing down 0.4 percent. The selloff in New York followed an earlier plunge in Shanghai, where stocks fell to two-year lows.

AFP

Timeline Of Escalating United States-China Trade Tensions

China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump. Photo: Nicolas ASFOURI / POOL / AFP

 

Trade tensions between the United States and China have been escalating over the past month, following President Donald Trump’s decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Here are the main dates in the conflict between the world’s two largest economic powers:

March 8 

US President Donald Trump signs the order to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum citing national security concerns.

The goal was to address China’s overproduction, but the measures also would hit allies, prompting the European Union to threaten retaliation. The administration later exempted the EU, Canada, Mexico and four other economies from the duties.

March 22 

The Trump administration announces punitive tariffs on about $50 billion in Chinese goods in retaliation for what it says has been the massive theft of intellectual property from American companies.

Trump gives US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer 15 days to draw up a list of products to target, which Lighthizer said would be drawn from the goods Beijing has said it wants to dominate.

March 23 

In retaliation for the US tariffs on steel and aluminum, Beijing hits back with a list of 128 products which will face duties of 15-25 percent in the event negotiations with Washington fail to resolve the dispute.

Among them are fresh fruit, pork and recycled aluminum, which accounted for $3 billion of US exports last year. Economists say this response was measured since it does not affect the main Chinese imports from the US.

March 26 

Chinese authorities urge the United States to stop its “economic intimidation” and threatens further retaliation.

April 2 

China‘s rolls out punitive measures against the 128 US products in response to steel and aluminum duties. Fruit, pork and California wine are on the hit list.

April 3 

In response to the March 22 presidential order, USTR publishes the provisional list of imports that would be subject to new duties in retaliation for “the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.”

This list, which targets imports representing approximately $50 billion, targets products from various sectors including aeronautics, information and communication technologies, and robotics and machinery.

April 4 

A few hours after the publication of the US target list, Beijing responds with a list of $50 billion of US goods that will be hit with retaliation, this time including key exports: aircraft, auto and soybeans.

Trump responded in a tweet, saying, “We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the US.”

The trade deficit with China rose to $337 billion in 2017, but Trump likes to ignore the dominant US services sector and focus only on the deficit in goods alone, which was $375 billion last year although he uses a higher figure.

“Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!”

He concluded the tweet storm saying, “When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN, you can’t lose!”

AFP

World Bank Warns Trump To Be ‘Careful’ On Tariffs

US President Donald Trump speaks at the White House Opioid Summit in the East Room of the White House on March 1, 2018, in Washington, DC.
MANDEL NGAN / AFPTRUMP

 

The Chief Executive of the World Bank urged US President Donald Trump on Thursday to be “careful” before imposing controversial steel and aluminium tariffs, warning that they could affect global trade.

Kristalina Georgieva said Trump should “assess the implications” before going ahead with a plan that has sparked fears of a trade war with China and Europe and spooked world markets.

The Bulgarian former EU commissioner said that her message to Trump, who is expected to sign off on the tariffs later Wednesday, was to make a “careful assessment before taking any further step”.

“If you take a step for a reason then you need to project on a couple of steps for the implications,” Georgieva told a small group of media outlets including AFP in Brussels. “Assess what are the implications and then advise about these implications.”

The EU has vowed to retaliate against the tariffs with its own measures targeting not only US steel but also products such as bourbon whiskey, jeans, motorcycles, orange juice and cranberries.

Georgieva, whose organisation specialises in lending money to poor countries, added that Trump should take a “carefully calibrated approach to what happens in world trade”.

“When trade shrinks it has implications for the poorest populations in rich countries. The goods are more expensive and poor people spend more of their money buying these goods,” she said.

Trump himself appeared to hint at carve-outs on Thursday, vowing that the tariffs which he says are aimed at saving the US steel industry and cutting its deficit would show “great flexibility” to “real friends.”

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said during the same interview that Trump’s actions risked causing a shock to the global economy.

“There are no winners in this trade war,” he said.

“The rest of the world must adapt to the situation and try to influence the US administration’s behaviour.”

AFP

‘Trump’s Tariffs Expected Next Week With No Exemptions’

Trump Says 'No Collusion' After Russians Indicted For Election Meddling
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, October 16, 2017. SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

United States President Donald Trump appears intent on moving forward next week on US steel and aluminium tariffs with no exemptions for allies, the US commerce secretary said Sunday, minimising the threat of retaliation as “pretty trivial.”

“I know he’s had conversations with a number of the world leaders,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The decision, obviously, is his. But as of the moment, as far as I know, he’s talking about a fairly broad brush.”

Trump ignited fears of a trade war and an outcry from US trading partners this week when he abruptly announced blanket 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

This file photo taken on February 26, 2018, shows Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks during the 2018 White House business session with governors in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC.  MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she raised her “deep concern” over the tariffs in a phone call with Trump on Sunday, her office said.

The European Union has said it is drawing up measures against leading US brands like Harley-Davidson and Levi’s jeans, while China warned it “won’t sit idly by” if its interests are hurt.

Canada, which has the most to lose as the top source of US steel and aluminium imports, has called the tariffs “unacceptable.”

Ross, who said he expected them to go into effect in the coming week, played down the impact on the US economy of retaliatory measures.

He said $9 billion in US tariffs would be a fraction of one percent of the US economy.

“So, the notion that it would destroy a lot of jobs, raise prices, disrupt things, is wrong,” he said.

“As to the idea of retaliation, sure there may well be some sort of retaliation, but the amounts that they’re talking about are also pretty trivial.

“It’s some $3 billion of goods that the Europeans have threatened to put something on. Well, in our sized economy, that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of one percent.”

“So while it might affect an individual producer for a little while, overall it’s not going to be much more than a rounding error,” he said.

The move has been highly controversial among Republicans and within the administration, but Trump on Friday tweeted that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”

Peter Navarro, a top White House trade advisor, said the administration would consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis but “no country exclusions.”

“As soon as you start exempting countries you have to raise the tariffs on everybody else. As soon as you exempt one country, then you have to exempt another country and so it’s a slippery slope,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

AFP