Car dealers importing drugs, NDLEA alleges - THE GUARDIAN
By Kingsley Jeremiah, Abuja
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), yesterday, in Abuja, confirmed growing use and importation of hard substances in Nigeria.
Addressing the maiden Auto CEO Forum, sponsored by GSCL Transport Media Group, NDLEA Chairman, Buba Marwa, said about one ton of Colorado had been discovered in the last three years.
He said the automotive sector remains a key focus in the war against drug abuse, adding that collaboration was needed to sanitise the sector.
Represented by a controller, Samuel Bashir Gadzama, the chairman observed that most of the drugs imported come via vehicles from Canada.
Noting that the trend, discovered in 2020 during the lockdown, is worrisome, Marwa said some players in the automotive industry were using the business as a cover to achieve their nefarious objectives.
His words: “We are focusing on them. We have had cases where we closed down some automotive shops. There are cases where we have to investigate some individuals.
“We are not after duty. We have two concerns. We are either looking for the drug or proceeds.”
Marwa said the agency had no direct business with the automotive sector apart from addressing drug-related issues, adding that “there is the need for the players to support the campaign against drug and understand related laws that may affect their operations.”
Speaking at the event, the representative of the organisers, Frank Kintum, admitted that Nigeria was going through a difficult phase economically, stating that the automotive industry is one of the worst hit.
“In the last few years, many auto assembly plants registered by the Federal Government to rejuvenate the nation’s economy a few years ago have closed down, while the few still struggling have been forced to downsize workers,” he said.
Airlines won’t survive continuous fuel price hike –COO, Ibom Air - PUNCH
The Chief Operating Officer of Ibom Air and former Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr Goerge Uriesi, discusses the prospects and challenges of the aviation industry, in this exclusive interview with Funmilayo Fabunmi
Some analysts have said that more airlines may suspend operations or go under if the current industry trend continues. Do you believe in this projection?
You know that things are very unusual now and everybody is struggling to stay on top of the game. Not that I expect that airlines will go down, but I will understand if any one goes down under the circumstances. This is because I know what we are grappling with here. It is hectic and almost ‘a touch and go’ situation because if the prices had risen to a particular level and we were grappling with managing that level, it would be a different game. But you wake up tomorrow morning, and they’ve added more money, meaning you don’t know how far it’s going to go. If you survive today, will you survive till tomorrow? So, eventually, at some point, our prayer is that, first of all, it stops rising so that we can say that this is the demon we are dealing with. However, if it keeps rising, there will be a breaking point for everybody. That’s the situation.
In your presentation at the just concluded League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) Conference, you said that the Nigerian system was set up to threaten airlines. Could you shed more light on that?
I didn’t mean ‘threaten airlines,’ I just said it threatens the ability of airlines to be productive because a lot of things, if done better, would allow airlines to have the availability of runways across the country as at when they want to use them. So, it’s not enough for an airport to say it has an instrument landing system, but is it working? If it is working, airlines can say they want to fly in and fly out. So, just saying that it is there does not make any difference because the bottomline is that the airlines can’t fly in when there’s a little bit of weather, and because of that, we’re unable to utilise our aircraft to the optimum. Therefore, we leave a lot of revenue on the table and that revenue for the airlines, if you look at it from the airlines perspective, is revenue for everybody because the airlines pay everybody from that revenue. It pays the airport, the ground handler, Air Traffic Control, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and everybody in that ecosystem. So, every time the opportunity for an airline to operate is not there when it could have been able to operate, it’s just a loss of opportunity in terms of revenue for the ecosystem. I gave numbers, very conservative numbers, to show what it means on an annual basis for an aircraft when we’re unable to utilise the planes because of one failure in the system or another.
That leads me to the next question. At the same conference, you did say in your paper that the country’s carriers were losing an average of N4 million naira per flight, N360 million in 90 flights and N4.3 billion annually on every flight to sunset airport operations. In light of this, do you think the sunset airport would save operators from losing this much money?
No, let me correct that, I didn’t say airlines lost that money, I said that it is the potential revenue that airlines could not get because they were unable to maximise the use of their airplanes. It is not that they are losing it. If the aircrafts were utilised in line with the rest of the world, that’s the potential additional revenue they would have had and that would have made the system much more viable. So, it’s not losses, it’s not like you’ve made money and then you lost it. It’s just that you’re unable to pursue that potential revenue because of that and I did not say it was as a result of sunset airports. The theme of the conference was ‘Sunset Airports’ but the topic of my presentation was ‘Runway Availability’. So, they are two different things. I was saying that even in the day time when the runway ought to be available, when there’s small weather, it’s not available because the navigational aids that will help you land in lower visibility are not there. So, the airport might as well have been closed from a used perspective because it’s daytime, but because there’s fog and it’s harmattan, you can’t fly in. But if the navigational aids were working, you would be able to fly in and because you can’t fly in on that airplane, you wait and wait. Let’s say you have a morning flight and you’ve ‘rostered’ that airplane to do an 8 O’clock into Calabar and back, and after that you do somewhere else and and back. If at 8 O’clock, the weather is bad in Calabar and the aircraft is waiting, it can then become 9, 10, 11 O’clock. It will impact on the whole schedule for the whole day and then the sunset will then meet you at the end of it. So, you will now have to cut your flights because many airports will not allow you to come into the night to catch up on all those flights. So, it’s all a mixture of sunset, runway availability and all of those things I quantified by saying that the lost opportunity is this N4.3 billion per aircraft per year.
In view of this, what do you think the government needs to do ameliorate the challenges facing local carriers?
I said in the presentation that we should make sure that each airport has the right navigational aids for the weather pattern of that airport. Some airports need category one instrument landing and some need category two. It’s not just to install them as we normally do in Nigeria and then say it has been installed in the airport. Is it working? Those things need to be maintained; they need to ensure that they are working so that the airlines can rely on them and operate their flights on schedule. I gave the good example of Calabar. During the harmattan, Calabar is one of the worst-hit airport because every morning is foggy, but we operate normally in Uyo. If we fix the navigational aids, it’ll be very easy to fly into Calabar and out. You wouldn’t need to sit for more than the minimum. These are the simple issues. If we have the navigational aids working, then the runways are available all the time, especially during harmattan when our aircraft visualisation is forced to go down 50 to 60 per cent. We lose forty per cent when we are unable to fly into airports that do not have navigational aids to operate even in low visibility, which is something that is almost standard all over the world. So, those are the things that add up to preventing us from chasing those revenues I was talking about.
Why are foreign airlines not signing agreements with local carriers for the distribution of their passengers within Nigeria?
I don’t know for sure, but what I can tell you is that an airline will enter into an interlining agreement with another as long as that airline can relatively guarantee its schedules. So, you have to have a high level of schedule reliability, a high level of on-time performance so that when, say British Airways, wants to fly from London to Abuja and arrive at 5am, if they’re going to have an interline agreement with somebody to fly their passengers to Enugu and Uyo and all those places, they need to be sure that every time they book and deliver that passenger in Abuja ,you will catch the flight. But when they can’t guarantee that an airline will give them that kind of schedule reliability and on-time performance, then, they won’t take the risk of signing on with them. So, the onus is on our local airlines to establish a level of operational efficiency that others can rely on because interlining requires a level of predictability. I know that British Airways has a flight out of Lagos every midnight. If they enter into an agreement with me, can I deliver my passengers at 8pm. That, in a nutshell, is the difficulty of international airlines having local partners. On the other hand, the local partners are stifled from developing that level of efficiency because there are so many conditions locally that just make it so difficult to achieve the level of operational efficiency that an airline should have. So, effectively, an airline operating with operational efficiency is doing it against the tide. You have to run against the tide, you have very few things helping you, all the time you’re always surmounting obstacles. It’s almost like an obstacle to have schedule reliability and on-time performance. You have to negotiate an obstacle course because everything is an obstacle to that, whereas everywhere else those things just work like clockwork. We need to start removing all the obstacles to efficient operations, some of which I have told you already and there are others too.
In what way is the closure of the domestic runway affecting airlines. As a former FAAN MD, do you think the total closure approach was wrong?
I don’t want to pass a judgment. We have already mitigated that and discussed, so I think it’s in the past now. Our misgivings were expressed. I praise FAAN for responding to the airlines. We reached some good agreements. The consequences of it, though, is rather than just taxi to the domestic runway and depart or land and taxi back into the terminal, you now have to taxi all the way to the International runway and all the way back to domestic in the midst of massive increases in fuel. Of course, in addition to that, the longer taxing burns finish your wheels and your brakes faster than normal because you’re now doing long taxing and up and down, consuming more fuel. The fact that there’s only one runway now in Lagos means that sometimes when it is peak, you have to hold a little longer in order for you to land. So, as you’re waiting, your flights are longer and you’re burning more fuel. At the same time, sometimes when you’re departing, because all the traffic is on one runway, sometimes you wait for 15 minutes, holding for the runway to be available because so many aircrafts are coming. So, all those things have added significantly to the cost of operating out of Lagos, but that’s where we are. Having said all of that, I must praise FAAN for equipping fixing airfield lighting to the domestic runway, which is the best thing to happen to that runway in a really long time. It is a huge benefit to airlines into the future.
Buhari: Foreign Elements Responsible for Some Security Challenges Confronting Nigeria - THISDAY
*Declares his government doing all it can to eliminate or apprehend the criminals
President Muhammadu Buhari says his government has recognised that some of the security challenges confronting Nigeria were imported by foreign elements and has accordingly adopted bilateral and multilateral arrangements to tackle the problem. Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, stated this yesterday at the graduation of Course 30 of the National Defence College (NDC) in Abuja.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that the government is doing all it can to eliminate or apprehend the criminals or bandits, wherever they are,” he said. The President said Nigeria and indeed the African region had been facing difficult times with terrorism, adding that the military and other security agencies had been given directives to decisively deal with them.
He said: “Government is also deeply concerned about the activities of bandits and criminals who have reared their ugly heads in some parts of the country. “This is because the number of violent unprovoked attacks on citizens appear to be on the increase. This is unacceptable. “Accordingly, we have given strong directive to the military and other security agencies to deal decisively with terrorists, bandits and other enemies of the country.”
Buhari commended the nation’s apex defence institution for its continuous effort towards raising a disciplined, professional and strategic leaders for the armed forces, security agencies as well as Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). He said the college had since its establishment 30 years ago, continued to fulfil its mandate and had grown to be at par with similar colleges across the world
He charged the participants to deploy the knowledge they had acquired in making useful suggestions toward addressing the challenges in their areas of responsibility.
The president assured that the government would remain committed providing needed resources for the security agencies to carry out their assigned tasks. The Commandant of NDC, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, said the college had 102 participants drawn from the military, paramilitary, security and intelligence agencies as well as selected MDAs and participants from 16 allied countries.
Bashir said the participants comprised of 28 from Nigerian Army; 20 from Nigerian Navy; five from Nigerian Air Force; 29 from strategic institutions/MDAs and 20 international participants.
He said the college had trained the finest from the military, security agencies and MDAs both from within and outside the country since inception in 1992, adding that some had distinguished themselves in their careers.
According to him, the mission of NDC is to develop future strategic leaders who are sufficiently equipped with knowledge and skills. “For participants of course 30, this mission was achieved through the pathway of study in nine modules comprising research methodology and strategic writing, state and social political environments, economy and finance, science and technology, international affairs and regional studies.
“Others are policy strategy and national security, military history and conflict studies, peace supports operations and higher defense management. “The module were delivered through lectures, seminars, study tours, research papers and studies under a broad theme, ‘A Whole of Society Approach to Enhancing Human Security in Nigeria.’
“The course also involved exercises that stimulated real life scenarios and the review of the National Defence and Security Policies,” he sid. Bashir stated that the mission of NDC was to develop future strategic leaders who are sufficiently equipped with knowledge and skills. On the challenges confronting the institution, he lamented the inability of the institution to relocate to its permanent site in Piwoyi in Abuja to which the president assured that the matter would be dealt with.
A foreign participant, Commodore Ashwsni Tikoo of Indian Navy, thanked Nigerian government and the armed forces for giving them the opportunity to be a part of the course and learning experience of a lifetime. Tikoo said the course had also afforded him the opportunity to make new friends that would help to shape his military career. He said the scope of the curriculum was vast including economic development, social security, internal security, geostrategic issues among others. “It has been a great learning experience and particularly for me I would say that my knowledge about the African continent has increased very considerably.
“And obviously, when you get to know so much about this continent, which has 54 countries, rich in resources and beautiful people, it is a great experience. “I am sure that when I go back to my country with this kind of learning and experience, it is definitely going to enable me to bring in certain changes in my own country with the perspectives and the learnings that I have had here,” Tikoo said.
The graduands cut across the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance, Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA). Others include the Army, Navy, Air Force, DSS, JAMB, FIRS, NEMA, FRSC, NSCDS, Customs, EFCC, ONSA among others. The countries that participated in the course include Bangladesh, Congo Brazzaville, Benin Republic, Chad, India, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Cote d’ivoire, Mali, Ghana among others.
High debt hurting investment in infrastructure –DMO - PUNCH
The Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, has said that high debt levels lead to high debt services and affect investment in infrastructure.
This is according to a document by her, which was presented during a workshop for civil society organisations organised by the SFTAS programme coordination unit held in Abuja on July 15, 2022.
It was entitled, ‘Why Debt Sustainability Is Important at the Subnational Level in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects’ and a copy of it was obtained by our correspondent.
According to the DMO DG, “High debt levels lead to heavy debt service which reduces resources available for investment in infrastructure and key sectors of the economy.”
In the document, she stressed the need for debt sustainability, which she defined as the ability to service all current and future obligations, while maintaining capacity to finance policy objectives without resort to unduly large adjustments or exceptional financing such as arrears accumulation, debt restructuring, which could otherwise compromise its stability.
She added that, “A country’s public debt is considered sustainable if the government is able to meet all its current and future payment obligations without recourse to exceptional financial assistance or going into default.”
However, despite the high debt service, the DMO has constantly insisted on the sustainability of Nigeria’s rising debt, using the debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio as justification.
The International Monetary Fund had earlier warned that debt servicing might gulp 100 per cent of the Federal Government’s revenue by 2026 if the government failed to implement adequate measures to improve revenue generation.
According to the IMF’s Resident Representative for Nigeria, Ari Aisen, based on a macro-fiscal stress test that was conducted on Nigeria, interest payments on debts might wipe up the country’s entire earnings in the next four years.
Aisen said, “The biggest critical aspect for Nigeria is that we have done a macro-fiscal stress test, and what you observe is the interest payments as a share of revenue and as you see us in terms of the baseline from the federal government of Nigeria, the revenue of almost 100 per cent is projected by 2026 to be taken by debt service.
“So, the fiscal space or the amount of revenues that will be needed and this without considering any shock is that most of the revenues of the federal government are now, in fact, 89 per cent and it will continue if nothing is done to be taken by debt service.”
However, The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, recently disclosed that Nigeria’s debt service cost surpassed its revenue in the first four months of this year.
Debt service gulped N1.94tn between January and April 2022, against a retained revenue of N1.63tn.
According to a recent PUNCH report, the Federal Government exceeded its debt service allocation by N1.15tn for the period between January and November 2021.
A copy of the public presentation of the 2022 approved budget by the finance minister showed that the Federal Government allocated N3.32tn for debt servicing in 2021.
However, the minister’s presentation document showed that a total of N4.2tn was spent on debt servicing in 11 months, indicating a difference of N1.15tn or 37.9 per cent of the money allocated for debt servicing for the period.
The PUNCH also reported that Nigeria’s debt servicing bill increased by 109 per cent from N429bn in December 2021 to N896bn in March 2022.
In October last year, the finance minister, during an interview with Bloomberg TV, said, “Our debt service to overall revenue is high because we have a very large expenditure base. We have a large proportion of our budget dedicated to payroll, and Mr President had decided from the beginning of his administration that we were not going to disengage staff.
“So, you have to pay salaries, you have to pay pensions. And also, we have to fund the other arms of government, which are the judiciary and the legislature.”
CBN urges operators to repatriate earnings to ease pressure on forex - THE GUARDIAN
By Sulaimon Salau
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised members of the organised private sector (OPS) to always ensure that they repatriate foreign exchange (FX) proceeds to the apex bank in order to ease FX pressure in the country.
Deputy Director, Banking Services, CBN, Egboagwu Ezulu, at a national stakeholders’ conference of the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) in Lagos, advised OPS to take advantage of the various intervention schemes of the CBN through the Bank of Industry, the Development Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks, to boost their output.
He said: “We are taking FX out of this country and dumping offshore when we were told to bring them back. If Nigerians are bringing back FX, we would not be talking about challenges of FX. There is a challenge for individuals and businesses to do the right thing.
“That is why the CBN introduced the RT200 to encourage you to bring back the dollar you are saying is scarce, but in the books of the banks we see billions of dollars that have been exported out of the country and the OPS are not bringing it back, so how do we finance FX demand?”
On how OPS could get funding for output, he said: “When you talk about financing small businesses, the CBN has done a lot of funding to the sector alluding to trillions of naira and has established two entities for this purpose. Has the manufacturing sector approached the entities for the funds available rather than emphasising on the commercial banks?
“The manufacturing sector should put pressure on the Bank of Industry and Development Bank of Nigeria to source funds, and when we see a lot of pressure from those two entities, the CBN instead of going through commercial banks would push those funds to those two entities rather than going to the commercial banks who would give double-digit loans.
“I want to appeal that industrialists, as well as small businesses should approach those two entities to get funding.”
African Airlines Record 103.6% Rise In Passenger Traffic - THISDAY
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday released its passenger data for June 2022 showing a strong recovery in air travel across all regions.
The association, representing 290 airlines, however, noted that it has returned to year-on-year traffic comparisons, instead of comparisons with the 2019 period, unless otherwise noted.
Owing to the low traffic base in 2021, some markets will show very high year-on-year growth rates, even if the size of these markets is still significantly smaller than they were in 2019, it said.
According to the data, total traffic in June 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 76.2% compared to June 2021, primarily propelled by the ongoing strong recovery in international traffic. Globally, traffic is now at 70.8% of pre-crisis levels.
Domestic traffic for June 2022 was up 5.2% compared to the year-ago period.
Strong improvements in most markets, combined with the easing of some Omicron-related lockdown restrictions in the Chinese domestic market, contributed to the result.
Total June 2022 domestic traffic was at 81.4% of the June 2019 level.
All regions including Africa recorded a rise in traffic.
African airlines had a 103.6% rise in June RPKs versus a year ago. June 2022 capacity was up 61.9% and load factor climbed 15.2 percentage points to 74.2%, the lowest among regions.
International traffic between Africa and neighbouring regions is close to pre-pandemic levels, the data revealed.
International traffic also rose 229.5% versus June 2021, IATA observed, saying, “The lifting of travel restrictions in most parts of Asia-Pacific is contributing to the recovery. June 2022 international RPKs reached 65.0% of June 2019 levels.
“Demand for air travel remains strong. After two years of lockdowns and border restrictions people are taking advantage of the freedom to travel wherever they can,” said IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh.
Toronto, Vancouver housing markets face deepest decline in 50 years, says RBC - FINANCIAL POST
The toll that rising interest rates are taking across Canada’s housing markets became even more apparent this past week as reports from local real estate boards revealed the downturn was deepening from coast to coast.
“Prices are sliding fast, and the exuberance that permeated these markets earlier this year is being replaced by fear,” wrote RBC assistant chief economist Robert Hogue in a recent note.
“In the Toronto and Vancouver areas, the decline in activity is quickly becoming one of the deepest of the past half a century.”
Apart from the dive housing took in the early COVID-19 lockdown, home sales in Toronto have fallen to the slowest pace in 13 years, Hogue said.
Meanwhile, inventories are climbing quickly, up 58% from a year ago, and buyers are now managing to get “meaningful price concessions” from sellers, he said.
Since March the composite MLS Home Price Index has shed $178,000, or 13%, falling to $1.16 million. In July alone prices declined 3.9% or $47,000.
Toronto is not a buyer’s market yet, according to the sales to new listings ratio, but RBC expects home hunters in the GTA to continue to find better deals, especially in the 905 areas outside of the core where prices soared during the pandemic.
Vancouver, where home sales are down 40% over the past four months, is also experiencing a big chill. July saw an estimated 9% decline.
Home prices have fallen 4.5% since April, or more than $57,000, but RBC thinks the correction here is still in its early stages.
It expects prices to fall more rapidly in coming months, especially in the detached home sector.
The heavy hit to Canada’s two most expensive cities was predictable, but signs of the correction are now cropping up in more affordable cities as well.
“The downturn may be more contained in other markets but unmistaken nonetheless,” wrote Hogue.
Home sales in Montreal this year have been slowing gradually and by July had declined to 17% below pre-pandemic levels. That and a rise in inventories have returned the market to balance, said Hogue.
Previously this had just slowed the growth in prices, but July could be a turning point, with both single-family homes and condo prices actually declining.
“This development took place across the region, suggesting a board-based price correction may be underway,” said Hogue.
Even in Calgary, this year’s real estate star, there are signs the market is softening. Home sales remain at historically high levels, but have calmed since the buying frenzy seen at the beginning of the year.
Higher interest rates are pushing buyers to more affordable options, like condos, and demand for more expensive detached homes is down.
Calgary’s composite MLS HPI peaked in May and has slipped lower since, he said.
A speedy rise to interest rates are the reason for the cross-country correction and with rates expected to go even higher (RBC forecasts another 75 basis by the fall) it will only get worse.
“We expect the downturn to intensify and spread further as buyers take a wait-and-see approach while ascertaining the impact of higher lending rates,” said Hogue.
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THE TEAM BEHIND THE ‘NUMBER’ Canadians are in a historic, inflationary moment — the likes of which some have never seen in their lifetime. The drumbeat of grim, inflation statistics has been steadily pounding for over a year now, pushing the consumer price index to a high of 8.1% in June. But have you ever wondered who calculates “the number” and how they do it? The Financial Post’s Joe O’Connor goes behind the scenes at Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Division and meets economists like Andrew Barclay, above, to get the scoop on the price “nerds.” Photo by Statistics Canada
Criminals Using Abuja Forests As Hideouts - Fcta Taskforce - LEADERSHIP
By Igho Oyoyo
Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has said that forests in the territory serve as a security threat to residents because criminal elements use them as hideouts to perpetrate evil.
The FCT Joint Taskforce involved in the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in Kuje Area Council who made this known said the forests has become a setback to the efforts in the fight against insecurity.
The senior special assistant on monitoring, inspection, and enforcement to the minister of FCT, Ikharo Attah, during a dialogue meeting with the strategic stakeholders at the weekend, told Kuje community leaders that the administration was not against people owning economic trees, but frowns at anything that breaches security.
Attah said that the discovery startled security agencies' component of the task force and that they have complained of the risk it portends to residents of Kuje.
"We saw cashew forest thicker than Amazon forest, where security operatives raised the alarm that during operation nobody can see through the forest, even in the afternoon", Attah noted.
He warned that during the one-week-long exercise at Kuje, every illegality that constitutes a threat to national security would be addressed by the Urban and Regional Planning laws of FCTA.
While urging all stakeholders, including community, political, religious, and traditional leaders in Kuje to continue to support the government's policies, he allayed the growing fears that FCTA initiated a clean-up exercise to take over indigenous people's land.
"The FCTA is not coming to take any land from anyone in Kuje, the one FCTA will reclaim is the rail corridor which belongs to everyone, we don't have any other land we are claiming. The land that belongs to the people should be left for the council to develop for the people.
"Let all of us join hands together and ensure the development of Kuje.
We are not coming to hurt you, we just want you to do the needful. And the beauty is that everyone has a place," he said.
The Gomo of Kuje, HRH Haruna Jibrin while speaking, pledged to continue to support every legitimate operation that will provide security and restore order in the town.
The traditional ruler who was represented at the meeting by the palace secretary, Bokos Usman, said that he will also remain committed to the implementation of all government policies that promote peaceful coexistence.
London to Be Hit With Hosepipe Ban as Heat Wave Nears - BLOO,MBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Londoners have been told to prepare for a hosepipe ban as the city faces another heat wave.
Thames Water, the utility that serves London, said it could not confirm exactly when the ban would kick in but urged families to use as little water as they need to get by.
“Given the long-term forecast of dry weather and another forecast of very hot temperatures coming this week we are planning to announce a temporary use ban in the coming weeks,” a spokesperson for Thames Water said.
The UK’s Health Security Agency has issued a heat-health alert for all regions from midday today to 11 p.m. on Aug. 14, while the Met Office has warned of extreme heat particularly in London and southeast England. England registered its driest July in almost 90 years.
South East Water Ltd. is set to impose a hosepipe and sprinkler ban on customers in Kent and Sussex from Aug. 12 until further notice, the company said last week. The restrictions on hosepipes to water gardens, clean cars and fill swimming pools follow similar moves from Southern Water in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight.
Read More: Searing Temperatures Across Europe Trigger Weather Warnings
Temperatures are expected to reach mid-30 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) on Friday across South East England, London, the South West, and the East and West Midlands, the UK health agency said. Intense heat in the UK last month sparked fires near London, triggered warnings that railway lines could buckle and forced power stations to operate at low levels to prevent overheating.
(Corrects date in fourth paragraph)
UK Braces for Blackouts, Gas Cuts in January in Emergency Plan - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- The UK is planning for several days over the winter when cold weather may combine with gas shortages, leading to organized blackouts for industry and even households.
Under the government’s latest “reasonable worst-case scenario,” Britain could face an electricity capacity shortfall totaling about a sixth of peak demand, even after emergency coal plants have been fired up, according to people familiar with the government’s planning. Under that outlook, below-average temperatures and reduced electricity imports from Norway and France could expose four days in January when the UK may need to trigger emergency measures to conserve gas, they said.
The scenario is “not something we expect to happen,” the government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in a statement. “Households, businesses and industry can be confident they will get the electricity and gas they need.”
While the UK doesn’t envisage such shortfalls under its base case, the analysis lays bare the difficult winter potentially in store for Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak when they succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister next month. If they materialize, the power cuts would come even as Britons face up to average annual energy bills possibly rising above £4,200 ($5,086) in January from just under £2,000 currently, stoking already soaring inflation.
If the winter is particularly cold, Britain may have to rely increasingly on pipeline shipments of gas from mainland Europe -- where supplies are already thin as Moscow curbs flows. That presents a dilemma for the UK, which has very little domestic storage capacity. The nation has been shipping record amounts of gas to the continent and will want the favor returned when temperatures plunge.
The pound hit its weakest in two weeks against the euro following the report. It erased earlier gains against the US dollar to trade around $1.2080.
BEIS in its statement said that the UK isn’t dependent on Russian energy imports, has its own North Sea gas reserves and “steady imports from reliable partners.” It also pointed to the UK hosting the second largest LNG port infrastructure in Europe and “a gas supply underpinned by robust legal contracts.”
The UK’s main fall-back option was to restore Britain’s biggest natural gas storage site, Rough. Owner Centrica Plc says its initial return to service this winter would equate to 10 LNG cargoes, not really enough to make a significant difference. The nation will also face stiff international competition for cargoes of liquefied natural gas.
The first stage of the UK’s emergency plan involves the network operator directing flows of gas on the system, temporarily overriding commercial agreements, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The second stage involves halting supplies to gas-fired power stations, triggering planned power cuts for industry and domestic users.
Life could get more difficult for Britain if supply of electricity is curtailed along huge cables connecting to France, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands. Norway said on Monday it’s looking at ways to limit power exports in winter to prevent domestic shortages.
The UK has higher power prices than Norway and relies on imports, so any limitations would raise costs further and may force National Grid to utilize its strategic reserve of coal, Aurora Energy Research said.
Truss, Sunak Pledges
There is also a looming threat from the unavailability of Electricite de France SA’s nuclear fleet, National Grid said. Usually a power exporter, less than half of France’s reactors are running now with maintenance and repairs taking longer than expected.
National Grid has warned of sky-rocketing prices this winter putting even more strain on consumer bills. There’s mounting pressure on the government to do more beyond the £400 discount on household tariffs already announced earlier this year by Sunak when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Johnson’s spokesman said this week that any further help for ordinary Britons would be for his successor to decide. The prime minister on Tuesday told guests at a Downing Street reception that he was “absolutely certain” whoever succeeds him will want to announce further assistance for householders, and that Britain has the “fiscal firepower” to do so, according to a readout from his office.
Truss, the front-runner in the leadership contest, has promised immediate tax cuts and the removal of the green levy from energy bills, saving households £153 a year. Sunak has said he’d build on the existing government package once the level of a new price cap on energy bills is known.
At a leadership hustings in Darlington on Tuesday evening, Sunak suggested that if he becomes prime minister he would focus additional support on the poorest households. Truss refused to be drawn out on whether she would offer new handouts.
That’s due to be announced by the regulator, Ofgem, at the end of August, and effect in October. Thereafter, the regulator will adjust the cap quarterly rather than half-yearly, meaning bills are likely to rise again in January.
(Updates with Tuesday evening leadership hustings in 16th paragraph.)