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Don’t pay for electricity after 2 weeks of outage – NERC announces new regulations

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has asked Nigerians not to pay for meter service charge and the electricity bill if there is outage for more than two weeks.

NERC said that the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulation has stopped the electricity Distribution Companies from collecting energy and service charges after two weeks of power outage.

Its chairman, Prof. James Momoh, broke the news at the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) launch of the MAP in Abuja on Friday.

The General Manager, Finance and Management Services, Abudukadir Shetima, who represented the Chairman, said that with the MAP regulation, the meters must be installed not later than 10 days after payment.

According to him, should the DisCo refuse to replace a malfunctioning meter after two days, the customer is not expected to make any payment.

He said that NERC, DisCos and the customers have their deadline to provide the meters to the customers at the required time.

He said the regulation was designed in a manner that regards the consumer as the king in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) value chain.

The customer, he said, is expected to have the best services.

He added, “Deadlines were provided in the regulation for the DisCos, even the commission so that we don’t delay so that the customers get the service at the time that it is required.

“For instance, if a meter is about to be installed, it must be installed within 10 days of making payment. There will be sanctions if that deadline is not met.

“Number two, to ensure there will be sanction, the MAP has been asked to provide a bank performance guarantee that will be called upon. So they will lose money if they delay in providing the meters even by one day.

“Number two, if the meters get bad, they will be replaced by the MAP without any payment for the entire ten years period.

“If the meters don’t work they must be replaced within two days, if they are not replaced within two days, the customer will not make the monthly customers service charge payment. That payment will be seized.

“Another part of the regulation is that if there is a prolonged outage and they are out of electricity for months, in addition to other measure that the commission is taking to address those kind of scenarios, the customer will not pay for the meter service charge and will not even pay for the electricity if there is outage for more than two weeks.”

Listing the objective of the regulation, Momoh said the first important objective is the removal of estimated billing in order to remove the controversies around it.

He added: “The customers are happy to make the payment. The second issue is revenue assurance, happy customers will be willing to pay.

“Nigerians are willing to pay for the services they can get so that there will be revenue assurance and that will impact on the industry as a whole. Currently, the revenues in the industry are nit sufficient to enable investments and better services. So, it is like a vicious circle and this this metering is intended to correct that problem.”

Speaking, the AEDC Managing Director, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya, revealed that altogether the company has planned to meter the customers in its franchise areas with 900,000 meters.

He said that bearing in mind that the customers would increase, the meter vendors would also cater for their metering.

He said: “In all, 900,000 customs have been scheduled for metering in AEDC franchise area in the first instance. Being a moving target, we are aware that the number may increase and as it does, the vendors will take them along.”

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Ex-CBN director reacts to FG’s plan to charge VAT on online transactions

Dr Titus Okunronmu, a former Director, Budgetary Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, has commended the Federal Government over its plan to charge Value Added Taxes (VAT) on online Business Transactions.

Okunronmu gave the commendation in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota, Ogun, on Monday.

He spoke against the backdrop of the disclosure by Mr Tunde Fowler, the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services, in London on Friday that the Federal Government would soon start collecting VAT on online business transactions.

The former CBN director noted that the decision was a right step in the right direction as it would help to generate additional revenue for the country.

‘‘For the fact that people do manual online transactions does not mean they should not pay VAT to the Federal Government,’’ he said.

He however called on the Federal Government to ensure that the VAT should not be more than five per cent.

Okunronmu also advised the Federal Government to look for other means of generating additional revenues to boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

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FIRS to impose VAT on online transactions, gives reason

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it will soon begin collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on online transactions.
The Chairman of the agency, Mr Babatunde Fowler, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Saturday.

Fowler said: “soon, we will ask banks to impose VAT on online transactions for purchases of goods and services.

“Not that it is something new; it actually should be in existence.

“We will certainly follow up to make sure that every VAT that is due to be collected is collected.”

He explained that the move was part of measures by FIRS to meet its N8 trillion revenue target for 2019.

Fowler said the agency had started taking action against companies and businesses that refused to embrace the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme.

According to him, FIRS hopes to generate between N750 billion and N1 trillion from the clampdown, which includes closure of defaulters’ bank accounts.

“We are going after everybody. I am sure you have heard that we have placed lien on some accounts of defaulters that have a billion naira turnover annually.

“So certainly, we are not leaving anyone out of the tax net,” he said.

Officially known as the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, the tax amnesty programme was launched in 2017.

It gave tax defaulters a one-year period of grace to declare and settle their unpaid taxes.

There have been complaints by some taxpayers of being wrongly targeted by FIRS in the clampdown.

Asked to comment on that, Fowler admitted, as he blamed it on “administrative error,” arising from the huge number of accounts involved.

“Well, there is certainly one or two instances where we made administrative error, but when you are looking at over 50,000 accounts, there is a tendency that sometimes an error might be made.
“For those that we made errors on, I wrote them personally apologising and of course we lifted the lien on their accounts.”
On plans by the Joint Tax Board to raise the country’s tax population to 45 million, Fowler said the agency was relying on multiple information sources.
These, according to him, include the country’s Bank Verification Number database and sister agencies with relevant information.

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‘We’re Not Indebted To UBA’ — Sahara Energy Responds To UBA’s Winding-Up Petition


Sahara Energy Resource Limited (SERL) says it is not indebted to the United Bank for Africa (UBA) neither did it grant a direct guarantee to UBA on any loan transaction that the bank could unilaterally enforce or sue on.

Sahara Energy stated this on Saturday in its response to UBA’s filing of a winding up petition against it at a Federal High Court in Lagos.

UBA had said the petition was based on a N15 billion indebtedness of KEPCO Energy Resources Limited (KEPCO), which Sahara Energy had stood for as guarantor.

But, in its response, SERL denied the accusations and promised to legally pursue the matter to its very end.

“The attention of Sahara Energy Resource Limited (Nigeria) (‘SERL’) and the entire Sahara Group has been drawn to a publication in the Guardian Newspaper of 11th April 2019 made by United Bank for Africa Plc (‘UBA’) and their counsel pursuant to the ex parte order made by the Honorable Mr. Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, in Suit No. FHC/L/CP/387/19 pursuant to a winding up petition in Suit No. FHC/L/CP/387/19,” read an official stated on its website.

“Sahara has reviewed the publication and wish to comment as follows:

“SERL is not indebted to UBA, has no outstanding facilities with UBA nor did it borrow any money from UBA in any loan transaction that is the subject matter of either the civil petition (FHC/L/CP/387/19) or the civil summons (FHC/L/CS/387/19 as advertised) that formed the subject of the ex parte order;

“SERL did not grant a direct guarantee to UBA on any loan transaction that UBA could unilaterally enforce or sue on;

“SERL and one of its affiliate companies, NG Power-HPS Limited sued UBA in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/236/19 at the Federal High Court, Lagos, on 13th February 2019, claiming a number of declarative and injunctive remedies relating to unorthodox methods employed by UBA in relation to its dealings with the Plaintiffs.

“UBA, on 12th March 2019 sued New Electricity Distribution Company Limited and SERL along with two other institutions, First Trustees Limited and Ecobank Capital Limited in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/382/2019, by way of Originating Summons, claiming certain declarations and injunctions to which SERL has filed full and comprehensive response.

“The two suits in paragraphs 3 and 4 have been set down for hearing before the Federal High Court in Lagos on 30th May 2019.

“While the above two suits are pending and have been set down for hearing, UBA commenced a third suit on the 13th of March, and applied ex parte, (and without putting SERL on notice before serving the petition) obtained an order ex parte to advertise the petition.

“The petition was only served on SERL at about 12.25 p.m. on 11th April 2019 after it has been advertised as aforesaid.”

Sahara Energy added that its lawyers had been duly instructed and had taken all necessary steps to ensure that the order is discharged or set aside as soon as practicable.

“SERL and the entire Sahara Group will vigorously pursue and defend UBA’s petition to its logical conclusion with a view to dismissing the petition,” it said.

“We assure our esteemed clients, bankers, suppliers, stakeholders and the general public that SERL and its legal team are taking all lawful steps to ensure that SERL interest is vigorously defended and SERL has implicit confidence in the Nigerian judiciary to resolve the matter and dispense justice between the parties.

“SERL will provide periodic updates to its esteemed clients, suppliers and bankers as may be necessary, of steps being taken in connection with the suits and the results of effort to set aside the order and strike out the suit.”

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