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FG to resolve liabilities relating to tariff shortfalls in power sector

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) disclosed in his remarks delivered virtually on Friday at the inauguration of a board for the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) that  the Federal Government has started making moves to resolve tariff shortfalls in the power sector.

In the VP’s opinion, NELMCO will enhance ongoing efforts to resolve liabilities relating to tariff shortfalls for distribution companies, among other challenges plaguing Nigeria’s power sector.

The company has been running without a duly constituted board since the first one was inaugurated in 2013 and dissolved shortly after.

According to the Vice President, “today’s inauguration marks an important milestone in the bid to resolve the liabilities relating to tariff shortfalls in the power sector (specifically for Distribution Companies), and to provide a veritable mechanism for managing the very dynamic nature of the liquidity challenges of the power sector in Nigeria.”

Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said, “this ceremony formally brings on board the invaluable skills and experience of notable and highly respected personalities as members of the Board of NELMCO.”

On the expectations for the new board, the Vice President told the members that, “as a board, you are expected to make conscious and deliberate efforts to develop appropriate strategies to facilitate the successful conclusion of the outstanding pre-privatisation issues of the defunct PHCN, and ensure an effective implementation of NELMCO’s additional mandate to resolve the tariff shortfall problems of the Electricity Distribution Companies.”

“In view of the challenges ahead, you are expected to draw extensively on our experience over the years, to continue to give credence to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s economic development programme in a transparent, sustainable, credible and acceptable manner.

“The Board is required to take appropriate steps to also ensure that the interests of the various segments of our society, particularly the ordinary citizens, are protected in the implementation of NELMCO’s mandate,” the VP added.

On the board’s mandate, Prof. Osinbajo charged members “to diligently carry out the responsibilities assigned to the board in accordance with the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association (MEMART) of the Company.”

Some of the provisions of the MEMART of the Company include:

To assume and administer the stranded debts of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Plc pursuant to the provisions of Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.

To manage post-privatisation liabilities in the power sector as may be directed by the National Council on Privatisation, or any authorized agency of the Federal Government from time to time in line with the power sector reform act 2005.

Responding on behalf of the members, the Board Chairperson and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. (Dr.) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, assured the Vice President of the board’s preparedness to ensure quick resolution of tariff shortfalls and related issues in the power sector in the most efficient manner.

Other members of the board include the: Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, Director General of Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, Director General of Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha

Managing Director of NELMCO, Mr. Bayo Fagbemi, Mr. Muhammad Aliyu Jumma’a, Mr. Olufunso Olutola Olukoga, Dr. Chinedum Orisakwe, Mojoyinoluwa Dekalu-Thomas and Dr. Nurain Hassan Ibrahim.

In a related development, the BPE Director General, Mr. Alex Okoh, has said the take-over of 4 electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) namely; Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan and Port Harcourt DISCOs has been concluded successfully.

Mr. Okoh, who disclosed this in a presentation made at a virtual meeting of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) held earlier last week Tuesday, added that the challenge in the takeover of the Benin DISCO is being addressed.

The NCP is chaired by the Vice President who was represented at the meeting by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who is the Vice Chair of Council.

In his report to the Council, the BPE DG also made a presentation on the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant, inviting NCP to note steps taken by the Bureau to fast track the process.

Mr. Okoh then presented for approval a proposal to amend the Procedures Manual of the BPE, especially in the areas of legal framework; reform activities; pre-transaction activities; project advisory and delivery team; receipt of technical and financial transaction strategies, and opening and evaluation of technical proposals, among others.

Energy

Kyari emphasises role of gas in driving economic growth, industrial development

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The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) Mr. Mele Kyari, has reiterated the crucial role of natural gas in fueling economic growth and industrial development in Nigeria.

Kyari spoke at the public presentation of the book “The Rise of Gas: From Gaslink to the Decade of Gas” authored by Engr. Charles A. Osezua, which highlighted gas’ global acceptance as a crucial energy source that sustains economic growth and drives industrial activities.

Represented by NNPC Ltd.’s Head of Relationship and Stakeholder Management, Mrs. Oluwakemi Olumuyiwa, the GCEO also emphasised the importance of documenting Nigeria’s gas sector.

The GCEO underscored the significance of prioritising natural gas production and supply, particularly in the context of geopolitical dynamics and energy security in the global economy.

With Nigeria boasting substantial gas reserves exceeding 200 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and the potential to reach 600 Tcf, the GCEO said it is pertinent that Nigeria leverages the gas resource for sustainable development, energy security, and job creation.

He noted that the book aligns with the Federal Government’s “Decade of Gas” initiative, aimed at optimising Nigeria’s abundant gas reserves for both domestic consumption and international export.

Kyari added that, as a key stakeholder, NNPC Ltd. has played a leading role in advancing the “Decade of Gas” agenda through strategic investments in critical gas infrastructure such as pipelines and processing facilities.

In his remarks, the author, Engr. Charles Osezua, who described the unveiling of “The Rise of Gas” as his contribution to Nigeria’s energy literature, expressed gratitude to the NNPC Ltd. for its support towards the book launch.

Osezua said NNPC Ltd.’s participation at the occasion underscores the company’s commitment to fostering knowledge sharing and innovation within the gas industry.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Impact Investors Foundation and former Group Executive Director of NNPC, Engr. Afolabi Oladele, lauded the book for its comprehensive insights into the gas value chain, saying it will be relevant to policymakers amid the global energy transition.

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Energy

Low crude production responsible for revenue loss —PETAN

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The Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria has claimed that the country is losing a lot of revenue daily due to its inability to ramp up crude oil production.

The Chairman of PETAN, Wole Ogunsanya, stated this in Lagos recently when the representatives of the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria, led by its Chairman, Ugo Amadi, paid a courtesy visit to PETAN.

He reiterated the association’s resolve to support the efforts of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration toward increasing Nigeria’s oil and gas production for maximum value.

He said the vision of PETAN was to support the authorities to ensure that all the values existing in the oil industry stay in Nigeria.

According to Ogunsanya, if Nigeria could retain between 60 and 70 percent of the oil and gas value chain in the country, it stands a better chance of being among the top 20 economies in the world.

He expressed concerns that Nigeria was losing a lot due to its inability to produce up to its oil production capacity.

He pointed out that the country was underproducing to the tune of at least 500,000 barrels per day, which he said was a huge loss to the country.

The PETAN leader maintained that such losses would not have been possible if there had been full in-country retention of values and beneficiation across all the chains of the industry.

He explained, “Essentially, if Nigerian organisations are involved in taking that oil out, taking it to a refinery owned by Nigerians and refining it, if we have petrochemicals refining the gas and the product, we are taking that gas; processing it in power plants; and running pipelines to connect all those power plants. This country will be among the top 20 economies in the world.

“And we believe very strongly that there is no better prescription for Nigeria’s economic solution than that.”

Reiterating PETAN’s commitment to support the retention of those values, he acknowledged the Presidency’s high interest in increasing production.

He pointed out that the Presidency had given the directives and formulated a lot of gazettes, stating that PETAN aligned with those initiatives.

Ogunsanya further said, “Our intention is to support this government, and this country to increase the production of oil and gas. I presented this vision to the whole house of PETAN exactly a week ago and the vision is very clear. PETAN wants to support Nigeria through innovative means to increase the production of oil and gas in this country.”

He acknowledged the challenges facing the industry in Nigeria, including funding, logistics and others.

He noted that his association cannot make progress with some of its plans without collaborating with energy correspondents.

“We cannot do without you. Our message cannot resonate and cannot get across without your partnership with us.

“Essentially, we both need each other. PETAN needs you to tell that story, to sell what our vision is to help the situation we find ourselves in. We are going to support you as PETAN, as we have done in the past. I give you that assurance, we will work with you immediately,” he told the NAEC representatives.

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Energy

High tariff will lead to electricity theft — FCT residents tell FG

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Some electricity consumers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have appealed to the Federal Government to review the new tariff  downwards to avoid electricity theft.

Some of the consumers who are mainly business owners  told journalists on Wednesday that if the cost of electricity remained high some of them consumers might bye-passing their meters.

Recall the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had announced an increase in electricity tariff paid by Band A customers from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.

Band A customers are those who enjoy electricity supply for at least 20 hours per day.

The consumers, mainly printers, who do operate mainly at UTC and Murg Plaza in Area 10, FCT said that they use heavy equipment in doing their jobs hence their electricity consumption is high.

According to them, if they have to pay N225/KWh this will greatly affect their jobs making it difficult for them to cope with the present economic situation in the country.

Mr Amos Okolo, a printer, said that it was good that the government plans to give them 20 hours of electricity in the new tariff but the cost is too high for any business person.

Okolo said that by the time he purchases electricity with the huge money, nothing would be left in his business to cater for his family.

“I am appealing to the government to review the tariff downward as such increase can lead to some consumers bye-passing their meters and this is not good for Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC),”he said.

On his part, Mr Samuel Kolawole, also a printer, said that the cost indicated in the new tariff was so high that it could negatively impact businesses.

He said that the government should try and reduce the tariff so that it can benefit the rich and the poor people.

According to him, 20 hours of electricity is good for business owners as this will reduce the cost of buying fuel or diesel for generators but the pricing should be business friendly.

“We are appealing to the government to reduce the tariff to what we can afford so as to benefit everyone,” he said.

Also speaking on the issue, Mr Abel Ajibola, also a graphic designer at Murg Plaza said that the government means well for the people but the new tariff is outrageous, especially for small business owners.

Ajibola said that he would be glad if the government could review the tariff so that electricity consumers would not be tempted to start stealing electricity.

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