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Trump twitter ban: Social media, public safety and free speech

Trump twitter ban: Social media, public safety and free speech

Twitter on Friday permanently banned Donald Trump, US President from its service “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” highlighting the tight rope technology companies walk in balancing public safety with the right of free speech.

Constitutional democracies guarantee free speech but this right is qualified. Inciting violence or insurrection or printing defamatory materials against a person or an institution attracts grave consequences.

This understanding informed rules drafted by social media companies for users of their platforms. They proscribe posts inciting violence or ones promoting the sexual abuse of minors. Considering their out-sized influence, the potential for harm is ineluctable. With over 2.7 billion users, Facebook has more users than twice the Africa population.

But Trump presented these social media companies with a different set of challenges. His predecessor treated the platform as a secondary means of pushing out his message, relying more on press secretaries, it was Trump’s preferred choice, unfettered by the niceties of good grammar or even propriety.

Soon, his preferred platform Twitter became the source of ‘Breaking News’ and where to get the president’s reaction on any given issue. His press secretaries increasingly saw their roles as walking back the president’s most bizarre claims or threading a semblance of reality into his falsehood.

So how do you enforce your rules against the leader of the world’s most powerful country? Most importantly, how do you shut him out when his most provocative remarks evoke raw passion helping to drive home revenue?

Twitter advertising revenue in 2020 from the United States alone was $1.2billion according to Statista, a leading global provider of market and consumer data.

Against flagrant abuse of their rules, the social media companies demurred. Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms said they were defenders of free speech and that posts of world leaders like Trump should be allowed because they were newsworthy.

However, the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday, generally seen as the temple of US democracy woke them up from inertia. Facebook banned Trump’s account for the remainder of his presidency, while Twitter placed a 12-hour ban and demanded he deleted controversial tweets.

On Thursday, his account on Twitter was restored but the US president resumed tweeting posts capable of inciting violence in a sign that he was never going to show contrition – he doesn’t even seem capable.

Twitter said in a blog post that Trump’s personal @realDonaldTrump account, with over 88 million followers, would be shut down immediately. The company said two tweets that Trump had posted on Friday — one calling his supporters “patriots” and another saying he would not go to the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 — violated its rules against glorifying violence.

According to Twitter, these posts were “highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” when mobs, encouraged by Trump, invaded the Capitol, destroying property and eventually leading to the death of five people.

Thought police?

Following this announcement, some fear that the era when big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google merely provided a platform for users to express their thought independently without fear of consequences, maybe over.

Mark Zuckerberg, had stated in a Facebook that Trump was being indefinitely suspended for using Facebook to incite a violent riot in Washington, D.C., a day before. The Facebook CEO described the events as “shocking” and a “violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.

Apart from Facebook and Twitter other platforms that have taken action against President Trump include Tiktok which flagged content violations and redirected hashtags like #stormthecapitol and #patriotparty to its community guidelines.

“Hateful behaviour and violence have no place on TikTok. Content or accounts that seek to incite, glorify, or promote violence violate our Community Guidelines and will be removed,” a spokesperson for TikTok said.

Snapchat also disabled Trump’s account on Wednesday because it believes the account promotes and spreads hate and incites violence.

Google-owned YouTube said it is accelerating enforcement of election misinformation and voter fraud claims against Trump and other channels. Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube.

Apple also threatened on Friday to remove right-wing friendly social media app Parler from its App Store if Parler does not lay out a plan to moderate its content.

While the US President Donald Trump may be at odds with the rest of a decent free speech society, but relying on big tech to police speech online raises many questions for many people.

Edward Israel-Ayide, a digital marketing expert agrees with the big techs’ decision to flag Trump’s accounts based on how he used his platform to incite his supporters to attack the US Capitol building which led to death and injuries.

“The risk anyone can see is that he is likely to continue using the platform to incite his followers, given the fact that Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs were discovered during the UC Capitol invasion, who knows what that increment may lead to,” Israel-Ayide said.

He also says Twitter has a moral prerogative to deny anyone the use of their platform to spread ideas which it considers dangerous to society.

“Even we report accounts that promote pedophilia, rape, and racism, are we then censoring those tweeting those ideas?” he asked.

But Emily Ratajkowski, an American actress and model disagree. For her, the move could potentially make Twitter, Facebook the most powerful entities since they have the power to censor anyone.

“This gives Facebook, tech, Zuck the most power. If he can shut the president up and off, he can shut any of us up and off,” she wrote on her Twitter timeline.

Republican party officials have condemned the ban calling for a revocation of legal protections for social media companies. Section 230 of the United States Communications Decency Act shields the companies from liability for what their users post online.

“It is now time for Congress to repeal Section 230 and put Big Tech on the same legal footing as every other company in America,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Friday according to reports by the New York Times.

What follows

The excision of an American president from his preferred social media platform by a US company will draw more than just scrutiny. It will usher in an era of pressure on the company to apply the same standards on anyone violating its policies, something it often fails to do.

A New York Times review of Trump’s139 Twitter posts from Sunday, May 24, to Saturday, May 30, 2020, found at least 26 contained clearly false claims, including five about mail-in voting that was not flagged, five promoting the false conspiracy theory about Mr. Scarborough and three about Twitter itself. Another 24 were misleading, lacked context, or traded in innuendo.

There are also fears that the role of thought police would further plunge Twitter into gray areas. For example, some will ask how the Hong Kong protesters who tried to breach the country’s parliament were any better than those who overran the US Capitol. Why should protesters seek to dethrone an African country’s unpopular government outside an election get to use the platform for mobilisation?

Already in some countries, speech online comes with grave consequences. Jack Ma, a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur felt the ire of the government after several critical comments against regulators were published online. Governments may take a cue from Twitter and ban some social media platforms altogether. Nigeria is considering a law to regulate social media activities.

Regardless of one’s view on the matter, social media platforms have become an integral part of our lives. This is because they easily adapt to different functions- politics, business, media, and entertainment. And there is only so much Twitter can do to police tweets considering that the platform has over 340million users posting some 500million tweets daily.




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7 practical things you must do to accomplish your 2021 financial goals

FINANCIAL GOALS

7 practical things you must do to accomplish your 2021 financial goals

The year 2020 was tough as the unexpected impact of COVID-19 hurt the financial goals of many people. As the economy struggled, individuals suffered from weak income following millions of job losses while consumer prices increased significantly (food, electricity and petrol prices rose).

With income and the buying power of money falling, many people had less money to save and some even had to take money out of their savings to support their livelihood in 2020. Early indications are that the impact of the pandemic would still be felt in 2021.

So how would you like your December 2021 to look like? We are only a week into the year and this is the time for goal setting. To support your journey, we at Money Africa take you through some practical steps to achieve your financial goals.

1. Write down your financial goals

A short pencil is better than a long mind. Write down your plans for the year, from the big to the negligible, it serves as a great reminder when you need to measure and track progress. Be very specific about these goals and how you want to achieve them. Doing so forces you to think through and be realistic.

2. Draw up a budget

Your budget is the estimate of your income and expenses for a period. Capture the sources of income available to you, but focus on those that are predictable. Salary from your employment is steady enough to be estimated, also income from your other investments.

Similarly, estimate your spending, with timelines for when they fall due so as to plan for them. For instance, house rent and school fees may need months of saving, meanwhile buying groceries might not.

It is always wise to keep spending below income, especially as you need to save for big expenses. emergencies and the future. A common formula is the 50:30:20 rule that advises allocating 50% of your after-tax income to necessities, 30% to wants and 20% to saving. This is not cast in stone, you can increase the share allocated to saving if you manage your expenses better. If your income is not enough to fund your expenses, think of ways to increase your income (by starting a side-hustle, for instance). When all other means have been exhausted, you can support spending through borrowing or taking money from your savings. Be flexible, in case there are needs for changes, say you lose a source of income or benefit from an increase in income.

3. Build an emergency fund

Emergencies are unexpected events that happen to us. Most of the time, emergencies would require a financial outlay. Hence, it is important to set some money aside to meet these emergencies so that we don’t disrupt our broader financial goals. A situation where we have to liquidate our investments early, bearing costs in the process, to meet emergencies would be avoided. Invest in a way that you can quickly access your funds within hours or a few days at minimal cost.

The rule of thumb is that you should have at least six months of your monthly income in an emergency fund. This could increase but do not commit too much to this fund because you could reduce your opportunity for returns. You can save in dollars to meet emergencies outside the country.

4. Have a diversified investment portfolio

Your investment portfolio should have a long-term focus, seeing as your emergency fund is short-term. Start by determining the type of assets to invest in and how to manage the portfolio. The most common type of assets are fixed income securities (local bonds, treasury bills, Eurobond etc), equities and alternative assets (real estate, commodities, cryptocurrency, etc). As most of these securities have different risk profiles, invest in line with your risk tolerance. For instance, a retiree won’t invest a large share of their portfolio in stocks due to the high risk of losses. This would also mean that your potential returns might be lower because assets with higher risks often offer higher potential return.

In deciding how to invest, you can decide to handle this yourself or speak to investment managers. If you are new to investing, a mutual fund (equities, money market, bonds, balanced etc.) is a great place to start. It is relatively affordable so you don’t have to break the bank and you don’t have to bother yourself with the day to day management of the fund.

Ensure that your portfolio is diversified, meaning that it includes different classes of assets in a bid to manage risks while generating good returns. For instance, you can diversify from Nigeria’s risk by holding assets in dollars. Also, in a low yield environment where treasury bills offer below 1% return, you might want to consider riskier assets with high return potential.

5. Reinvest your returns

If you keep spending the returns on your investment, it’s like planting a seed and then digging the soil. The seed will not do very well. Compounding is a powerful principle.

6. Invest in personal development

Personal development is the biggest investment you can make. The returns are infinite. Take a course, read a book pertaining to your field. Watch a youtube video or listen to a podcast. Don’t end 2020 the same way you began. The better your skillset or knowledge base, the higher your potential earnings and ultimately the larger the amount of money you can save/invest over time.

7. Discipline through an accountability partner

Have you made previous resolutions and failed to keep them? One way to ensure better discipline is to have an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who holds you to account regarding your goals, and encourages you to stay on track.

An ideal partner should be someone who understands your goals and weaknesses. They should also have goals they are aiming for as well, so you are motivated too.

Oluwatosin Olaseinde is the founder of Money Africa, a financial literacy company and subscription-based financial edtech platform.

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Oil prices exceed $55, highest in 11 months

OIL PRICES

Oil prices exceed $55, highest in 11 months

Oil prices have exceeded $55 a barrel for the first time since February, equivalent to an 11-month high since the Covid 19 pandemic struck globally.

Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, hit an 11-month high of $55.41 per barrel as of 2:50pm Nigerian time on Friday, trading more than $15 higher than the Federal Government’s benchmark for the 2021 budget.

The 2021 budget, which was signed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on December 31, was based on an oil price benchmark of $40 per barrel and a production level of 1.86 million barrels per day.

The upturn in oil prices was supported by Saudi Arabia’s pledge to cut output and a global stocks rally as investors looked beyond rising coronavirus cases, according to Reuters.

The spreading coronavirus remains a near-term concern though. Accelerating cases across Europe prompted a call from the World Health Organization for stricter measures across the continent.

Also the U.K.’s latest restrictions are already compounding a plunge in fuel sales. China has locked down a city of 11 million near Beijing to contain an outbreak.

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Infidelity mess: Tunde, not FCMB Boss, fathered my kids – Moyo breaks silence

Infidelity mess: Tunde, not FCMB Boss, fathered my kids – Moyo breaks silence

Mrs Moyo Thomas, the lady at the centre of the infidelity and paternity allegation against Adam Nuru, the Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, who is now on leave, yesterday broke her silence, saying on no occasion did she tell her deceased husband, Tunde that he was not the father of her two children.

The scandal blew open when a group of people, who identified themselves as friends of the deceased alleged that Moyo informed her late husband that their two kids belonged to her boss, Nuru. They also claimed that the trauma led to the death of Tunde.

But In a statement titled, “Tunde is the Father of My Kids” and made available to THISDAY through her childhood friend, Moyo explained that she had decided to remain silent in the face of the heavy accusation of infidelity and alleged paternity scandal in order to preserve the memories of her late husband, who died on December 16, 2020.

“I have refrained from responding to this matter for various reasons, one of which is to preserve the memories of Tunde who departed to be with his maker on December 16, 2020. Memories, not only to me, but to his children, who are still young, and to everybody who had a relationship with him.”

According to her, “Just like any marriage, Tunde and I had a lot of differences in our marriage, some of which even led to police intervention. But I remain committed to keeping only positive memories of him.

“No one can ever understand what transpired between us or what each of us experienced in the marriage; like they say, it is he who wears the shoes that knows where it pinches. In all of it, I never for once wished him bad. His untimely and sudden death is still a shock to me as it is to many others,” Moyo stated.

Dismissing media reports on the alleged controversy over the paternity of her two children, Moyo said: “On no occasion did I ever tell him he was not the father of our two children. It is therefore deliberate falsehood and certainly malicious to allege and insinuate that I informed him that the children are not his.

“The children still bear his name. Only God knows why he died in an untimely period. It is not in my place, or any one’s place to play God and talk with certainty as to the cause of his death, without proven medical facts.

“Despite our separation, we never allowed our differences affect the relationships we respectively have with the children. He still had conversations with the children like any father will, up until his sudden and unfortunate death. It is quite sad and disheartening to see the pictures of these innocent children splashed all over the internet with very disparaging and weird comments.

“I do wish his family and friends the fortitude to bear the unfortunate loss and I ask that we all be allowed to grieve his loss in peace.”

Moyo, pleaded that the family be spared of further media exposure as they mourn the departed husband, ”He has now been laid to rest and we implore all a sundry to please respect our privacy and allow those grieving his loss, including the children and I, to do so in peace.”

The spotlight was beamed on Nuru after supposed friends of Tunde Thomas petitioned the Central Bank of Nigeria and the bank’s board to sanction the FCMB chief for infidelity.

The petition had claimed that Thomas died of depression after discovering that his two children with Moyo, his ex-wife and former employee of the bank, belong to Nuru.

Last week, the management of the bank announced the appointment of Yemisi Edun as its acting managing director after Nuru volunteered to proceed on leave to enable the bank investigate allegations against him.

Thisday




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FCMB paternity saga: Corporate governance and crisis communication web

FCMB

FCMB paternity saga: Corporate governance and crisis communication web

By Chido Nwakanma

Two matters stand out in the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) paternity saga. One is the issue of ethics and corporate governance. The other is the collateral damage to the bank’s corporate reputation and image.

Memes and videos are mocking the institution. Others have spoofs of their pay-off, turning it from “FCMB, My Bank and I”, to “FCMB, Your Wife and I.”

There is also the matter of the integrity of the trending narrative. What happened really? Persons claiming affinity to the parties involved say the blow out happened five years ago. At issue now is the power of the internet and social media in constructing narratives.

Someone or a group of persons used the unfortunate demise of Mr Tunde Thomas as the peg for spinning a salacious web that ropes in the bank through its primus inter pares. It is a deft and calculated sting filled from poisonous darts.

Mr Adam Nuru, the Managing Director/CEO of the bank and his friends finally stepped out to debunk aspects of the story. They stated that Nuru is not the father of Moyo’s two children; Nuru was friends with the late Thomas; the story is a fabrication made for social age; the alleged petition is anonymous. Note that none of the statements denied the alleged dalliance.

Nevertheless, the following stand out.
1. The narrative has provided room for sundry operatives to sully the image of the bank.

2. FCMB has issued a holding statement, acknowledging the issue, and assuring stakeholders that the bank is on top of the situation.

3. There are issues of corporate governance, ethics, HR management and corporate reputation.

4. Discussions of the matter must go beyond the sensual to examining issues of professional and ethical conduct.

5. The FCMB Relationship Scandal straddles corporate reputation and HR management. It is not “a personal matter” of the MD, as the bank wrongly stated. Both parties were in the employ of the bank, and the relationship played out therein.

6. The MD is the Chief Reputation Officer of every institution. He cannot effectively carry the corporate banner if his banner has horrible stains.

7. The reputation of the bank is critical. They should work to ensure no one besmirches it further.

Adam Nuru and his paramour contravened the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018. Section 4.6 of the Code demands the following of the MD: “4.3 The MD/CEO should establish a culture of integrity, conformance and performance, which should be assimilated by personnel at all levels of the Company”.
It further states:

4.6 The MD/CEO should declare any conflict of interest on appointment and annually thereafter. In the event that he becomes aware of any potential conflict of interest at any other point, he should disclose this to the Board at the first possible opportunity. Actions following disclosure should be subject to the Company’s Conflict of Interest Policy.

The relationship of the Managing Director with a subordinate female staff presented a clear case of conflict of interest. Most organisations frown at superior-subordinate relationships across gender. The parties engaged in a relationship has a potentially harmful effect on the boss’s ability to supervise the subordinate. It would also make it difficult for harmonious relationships at various levels of management. Her mates or superiors would find it difficult to relate with or censure her where necessary.

In claiming the issue, the bank stated:
“We are aware of several stories circulating across several media platforms about our bank’s Managing Director Adam Nuru, a former employee Ms Moyo Thomas and her deceased ex-husband, Mr Tunde Thomas.

“While this is a personal matter, the tragedy of the death of Mr Tunde Thomas and the allegations of unethical conduct, require the Board to conduct a review of what transpired, any violations of our Code of ethics and the adequacy of these Code of conduct ethics. This will be done immediately.

“We enjoin all our stakeholders to bear with us as we conduct this review and to please respect the various families involved.”

FCMB confirms in the statement that there was an affair. FCMB wonders if such a relationship amounted to “violations of our Code of ethics” and if the Code is adequate to tackle emerging issues.

Many other issues arise from the FCMB saga. They are branding, reputation management, the strength of the personal versus corporate brand, ethics and corporate governance. There is also HR management.

The bank needs to look beyond its Code and reference the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018. The Securities and Exchange Commission also has a Code for quoted firms.

The MD should step aside. The claim of an investigation is not credible while the MD sits unless the investigators report directly to the Board or the Chairman.

Before this saga, the MD of FCMB was one of the silent ones in media exposure. He had a very insignificant Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA) among bank CEOs. His affair is the excuse for “enemies”, mischief-makers or fun-seekers to attack the corporate brand. What a way to trend!

The challenge, therefore, is ensuring minimal damage to the corporate brand.

FCMB should issue a second statement no later than 8 January 2021 or the end of the first business week of the year.
They should assure customers of the safety of their funds and other stakeholders of the bank’s health.

They should commission a dipstick of stakeholders’ perception and a Perception Audit in the next three months to check any lingering negatives. It is an opportunity to do this audit that most firms fail to do in Nigeria. For instance, the dipstick will tell if this is a mere storm in a teacup or has a deeper reach and potentially more significance.

Monitor. Monitor. Monitor. Media and non-media.

FCMB should change the agenda as soon as possible. They could announce a major initiative that engages customers, primarily, or what their dipstick reveals.

Create new and engaging content. Word of mouth is critical.

Members of NIPR Lagos had a mini-workshop on this matter on Sunday, 3 January through 4 January. Engaging and highly professional. Thanks to Toni Kan, Jide Benson, Nkechi Alli-Balogun, Emeka Maduegbuna, Olutayo Irantiola, Dotun Adekanmbi, Temitope Oguntokun, Eniola Mayowa, Taiwo Tunkarimu and Blessing Nwobodo-Itua.
The ball is in the court of FCMB. Massive fires spring from little triggers.

Call 0803 239 3958 for free financial consulting advice for your businesses. Attend our bi-monthly Peachtree Sage 50 accounting and reporting seminar.
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Nigeria to stagger with 1.1% economic growth in 2021 — World Bank

economic growth

Nigeria to stagger with 1.1% economic growth in 2021 — World Bank

The World Bank has predicted a staggering economic growth of 1.1% for Nigeria in 2021 after suffering a contraction of 4.1 per cent in 2020 which led it to a recession.

It also said the global economy would expand by 4% in the same period.

The World Bank disclosed this in its January 2021 Global Economic Prospects report titled ‘Global economy to expand by four per cent in 2021; vaccine deployment and investment key to sustaining the recovery’.

The report said, “Growth in Nigeria is expected to resume at 1.1 per cent in 2021.

“Activity is nevertheless anticipated to be dampened by low oil prices, OPEC quotas, falling public investment due to weak government revenues, constrained private investment due to firm failures, and subdued foreign investor confidence.”

According to the report, output in the Sub-Saharan Africa region contracted by an estimated 3.7% in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns disrupted economic activity, shrinking per capita income by 6.1% in 2020, setting average living standards back by at least a decade in a quarter of Sub-Saharan African.

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NSE index plummets by 1.83%, market cap drops by N393bn

stock investors

NSE index plummets by 1.83%, market cap drops by N393bn

The Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) market closed on a negative note on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 declining by 1.83 per cent as profit-taking hit the market following investors’ moves to increase capital gains.

The NSE All-Share Index plummeted by 751.25 basis points or 1.83 per cent from 41,147.39bps the previous day to 40,396.14bps while the market capitalisation of equities dropped by N393bn to close at N21.12tn from N21.52tn.

On the activity chart, the premium sub-sector dominated in volume terms with 106.03 million shares exchanged in 2,123 deals. The subsector was enhanced by the activities in the shares of Access Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

The insurance subsector was boosted by the activities on the shares of Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc and Lasaco Assurance Plc, with 68.22 million units traded in 403 deals.

In all, investors exchanged a total of 465.68 million shares in 7,576 deals.

Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that BOC Gases Plc led the gainers chart with 9.72 per cent to close at N10.50 per share.

NEM Insurance Plc followed with 9.50 per cent to close at N1.96 per share while Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc appreciated by 8.82 per cent to close at 74 kobo per share.

On the other hand, Oando Plc led the losers’ chart with a drop of 10 per cent to close at N3,33 per share.

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N75bn stimulus package: Nigeria urges more small businesses to apply

SMALL BUSINESSES

N75bn stimulus package: Nigeria urges more small businesses to apply

Nigerian Government has urged more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in its N75bn economic recovery and stimulus programme in order to grow their respective businesses.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, on Monday appealed to MSMEs to take advantage of the programme, which he said was geared at cushioning the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses nationwide.

Adebayo outlined the economic stimulus programme to include the N15bn Guaranteed Offtake Scheme, N50bn MSME Survival Fund and N10bn MSME Survival Fund for transport workers.

The minister, who disclosed this in Ekiti State through his aide, Idowu Adeniyi, specifically urged small business owners in the state to take advantage of the programme.

Although he noted that many people in the state had keyed into the programmes, Adebayo called on others to also participate in order to improve their economic wellbeing.

Call 0803 239 3958 for free financial consulting advice for your businesses. Attend our bi-monthly Peachtree Sage 50 accounting and reporting seminar.
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overy
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JUST IN: Nigeria hikes electricity tariff again

FREE ELECTRICITY

JUST IN: Nigeria hikes electricity tariff again

Nigeria has again hiked the electricity tariff payable by power consumers across the country.

Approval for the hike in tariff was given by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, as the increase which varies, based on different consumer classes, took effect from January 1, 2020.

The NERC announced the tariff hike in its December 2020 minor review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order and Minimum Remittance Order obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday.

The tariff increase is taking effect just two months after the government through NERC implemented a hike in November 2020, which saw widespread opposition.

The MYTO order containing the latest tariff hike, Order NERC/225/2020, was signed by the new Chairman of NERC, Sanusi Garba, and it supersedes the previous Order NERC/2028/2020.

Providing reasons for the latest tariff hike, the commission said it considered the 14.9 per cent inflation rate rise in November 2020 and foreign exchange of N379.4/$1 as of December 29, 2020.




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