Press spotlights drop in Nigeria’s external reserves, others

The report of the drop in Nigeria's external reserves by $3.43bn in 2022 to $37 billion and the crash in…

The report of the drop in Nigeria’s external reserves by $3.43bn in 2022 to $37 billion and the crash in power generation from 6,336.52mw recorded in 2021 to 5,346.82MW last year are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.The Punch reports that Nigeria’s external reserves fell by $3.43bn in 2022, according to figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The CBN disclosed in its movement on external reserves figures that the reserves which stood at $40.52bn as of the end of December 31, 2021, ended December 29, 2022 at $37.09bn.

At the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting of the CBN in November, the Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said, “The committee observed the decline in the external reserves position, as gross external reserves decreased by 1.34 per cent at end-October 2022 to $36.87bn, from $37.39bn at end-September 2022.

“With indications of lower crude oil prices in the futures market, members urged the Bank to sustain its current policies to boost non-oil exports in order to shore up the external reserves.”

A member of the MPC, Robert Asogwa, said, “The recent drop in external reserves is, however, linked to the decline in oil exports even at a time of higher oil prices.

“Interestingly, the publicised reduction in oil thefts across the Niger delta and the rising prospects of increased overseas remittances would likely boost the gross external reserves to a large extent in early 2023.”

The newspaper says that the available generation capacity in Nigeria’s power sector dropped again in 2022, as it crashed from the 6,336.52 megawatts recorded in 2021 to 5,346.82MW last year, latest data on electricity generation trend seen in Abuja on Monday, showed.

It was also observed that the annual capacity payment loss to power generation companies had increased to N1.8tn, as data from the document further showed a decrease in the average utilised power in 2022.

Figures obtained from power generation companies indicated that while the average quantum of electricity utilised in 2021 was 4,118.98MW, it dropped to 3,940.54MW in 2022.

The document on Power Generation Trend (2013 – 2022), showed that Nigeria’s average available generation capacity fluctuated between 4,000MW and 7,700MW since the sector was privatised in 2013.

 Also, the average utilised generation hovered between 3,000MW and 4,000MW during the nine-year review period, while unutilised generation revolved around 1,000MW and 3,700MW.

Figures from the document showed that Nigeria’s average available power generation capacity in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were 4,214.32MW; 6,154.05MW; 6,616.28MW; and 7,039.96MW respectively.

In 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, the average available generation capacity figures were 6,871.26MW; 7,506.23MW; 7,381.67MW; and 7,792.51MW respectively.

Since 2018, the figures kept dropping, as those of 2021 and 2022 were 6,336.52MW and 5,346.82MW respectively.

For average utilised generation, the Gencos’ report stated that in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, the quantum of electricity utilised was 3,183.51MW; 3,419.1MW; 3,606.05MW; and 3,212.02MW respectively.

The average utilised power in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 were put at 3,599.33MW; 3,807.22MW; 3,782MW; and 4,050.07MW respectively.

For 2021 and 2022, the average quantum of utilised electricity were 4,118.98MW and 3,940.54MW respectively, according to the figures from the power generation companies.

The Gencos also stated in the document that the total capacity payment loss to power producers from 2015 to 2022 had increased to N1.8tn.

The Guardian reports that underage persons, who attempt to vote during this year’s general elections and their parents are to be arrested, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned.

The Commission also declared that politicians buying Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and harvesting Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) to rig the poll would fail.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated this yesterday during a live programme. He said the action of those purchasing PVCs would only oppress voters and prevent them from exercising their rights on Election Day.

According to him, data of every registered voter had been domiciled in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and not in the PVCs. His words: “Those who are harvesting VINs of registered voters are doing that in futility. Why are they harvesting and buying off VINs when those VINs were published in our local government areas and in our registration areas when we displayed the voter register for claims and objections. Those VINs are there.

“We have made it very clear that this Commission will deploy BVAS for voter’s identification and authentication and the data of every registered voter in Nigeria per polling unit are domiciled in BVAS and not in the PVCs. The only thing the Presiding Officer (PO) will do on Election Day is to look at the last six digits of your PVC and use it to bring out your VIN for the purpose of calling up your data from the BVAS. Those buying PVCs and harvesting VINs can only engage in voter oppression. They can only prevent the voter from going to the polling unit on election day but in terms of carrying the PVC of someone else to give another person for voting, I can assure you that it is next to impossible.”

Okoye disclosed that about 1.4 million ad hoc staff, made up of National Youth Service Corps members and students of tertiary institutions in their final year, would be engaged for the elections.

“You will know that it is next to impossible for INEC to have over 1.4 million staff members on its pay roll. The strength staff of the Commission is around 16,000 and so when we devolve the collection to the various registration areas, we are going to engage the services of corps members to assist the Commission in terms of giving out these PVCs,” he added. Okoye said in an effort to address issues around underage registration, INEC had summoned all its officers in areas where the anomaly took place.

The newspaper says that the Presidency, yesterday, came down hard on former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing him as a frustrated and jealous leader on a mission to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari’s record on national development and other sundry achievements.

In a scathing statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency was reacting to Obasanjo’s letter wherein he described the seven years of the Buhari administration as hell, saying: “The last seven and a half years have no doubt been eventful and stressful years for many Nigerians. We have moved from frying pan to fire and from mountain top to the valley.”

The statement reads in part: “Former President Obasanjo is so well known to all that no one needs to describe who he is. “He will not stop attacking President Muhammadu Buhari because the former President won’t stop being jealous of anyone who beats him to a new record in the nation’s development process.

“President Buhari is ahead of Chief Obasanjo in all fields of national development. And to do that is cardinal sin to Obasanjo whose hallucinations tell him that he is the best ever to lead Nigeria and there will never be another one better than him.

“President Buhari just completed the world-class edifice that is the Second Niger Bridge after three decades of failed promises. It is now awaiting commissioning. Obasanjo laid the sod for the bridge in his first term as elected President and work never started.

“When he sought re-election for his second term in office, he returned to the site to turn the sod for the bridge the second time. When the Obi of Onitsha, forthright and scholarly, reminded him that he had done this in the past, Obasanjo told the foremost southeast traditional ruler that he was a liar, in the full presence of the chiefs and oracles in his palace.

“Obasanjo lied to the southeast to get their votes. President Buhari didn’t get their votes but built the bridge because he believed it is the right thing to do.

“President Buhari had been bagging awards and encomiums for trying to do that which the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says a leader should do: serve one, or a maximum of two terms and go.

“President Buhari has been stating and restating that he will supervise a better election than the one that brought him to office and leave as and when due.”

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