The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are currently negotiating new financial stimulus worth N180 billion to support electricity operators in Nigeria’s power sector.
The paper gathered from an exclusive interview with the acting Managing Director of NBET, Mr. Waziri Bintube, at the weekend in Abuja that negotiations on the new package had advanced with the CBN favourably disposed to it.
NBET is a government agency responsible for the bulk purchase of electricity from generation companies (Gencos) for resell to distribution companies (Discos). It acts as a financial stabiliser in power trades between the Gencos and Discos.
Bintube, however, said the CBN had in addition to the N213 billion it approved in its Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) for disbursement to operators at a concessionary term, agreed to put another N180 billion into the facility.
He also said NBET had not touched its capitalisation fund, and that while the CBN expects to wrap up its first N213 billion to the market, the new N180 billion would immediately kick in.
“The NBET has a working capital, up to $350 million was given to us under the Euro bond facility and we have that amount in our kitty which we can deploy in exceptional situations. In addition, the government has given us N50 billion from its privatisation proceed on Egbin, and which we have put in our escrow account, the purpose of that is to breach the time difference when the Gencos want their money and when they can be paid.
“In addition, there are some off-the-line supports like the Central Bank’s Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation fund that was granted by the CBN to cover obligations in the market from the date of privatisation. That was another form of support to the market.
“We are currently negotiating with the CBN again to come in with a second tranche. They have some amount that they are yet to disburse but even after that, we are looking at getting the board to approve another second tranche on top of the N213 billion that has already been approved. We are looking at about N180 billion,” said Bintube.
Asked if the negotiations have largely being positive, he said: “Yes, we have the assurance of the CBN governor. He is very dedicated to resolving the logjam and ensuring that all the key pillars of the economy work because they are interrelated.”
He added: “If the power plants work, the manufacturers will have lesser problems, the banks will get paid for their products and then there will be less need for foreign products to come in and that reduces the request for foreign exchange. Just imagine that if our refineries are working, we will not need to depend on importation which takes away a lot from us including profits and jobs.”
Bintube also disclosed that NBET in conjunction with United States’ President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, recently trained key government agencies and officials involved in evaluating, reviewing and regulating power projects in the country on understanding Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and Put Call Options Agreements (PCOAs).
He said the training was done to help the agencies and its officials understand the contents and significance of the PPAs and PCOAs considering that they would always have to come across it for review and approvals for investors who are interested in building power plants in Nigeria.
According to him, the ministries of power, finance, justice and Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), as well as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were some of the agencies that were trained on the use of the industry documents.
“Over the past several months, NBET has been negotiating PPAs and PCOAs with numerous gas and solar independent power project developers who are actively developing utility scale projects which will create circa 5,000 megawatts of new generation capacity for the country.
“The NBET PPA-PCOA training was designed to familiarise key government officials with the PPA and PCOA documents which will then be submitted to their respective offices for approval,” Bintube added.
Lawmakers Tensed Over Possible Boko Haram Attack On National Assembly
Lawmakers have been notified of a possible attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the National Assembly complex and other public buildings in Abuja, The media gathered.
Several members of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, confirmed to Punch correspondent that they had been notified of the imminent attack by the terrorist group.
One of them, who is from a state in the South-West, said his presence would henceforth be limited on the premises.
“That is the security alert I saw today. I’m already moving out of here. I’ll only be around when there is a major reason to do so. Nowhere is safe in the country anymore,” he said.
Already the notice of the impending attack has been made available to the lawmakers.
The notice, a copy of which our correspondent obtained, was sent to the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, other principal officers and all members of the House.
The ‘security alert’, dated May 4, 2021, was issued by the Chairman of the House Committee on Internal Security, National Assembly, Mr. Usman Shiddi.
It was titled ‘Re: planned insurgent attacks on VIP locations, government facilities and assets in Abuja.’
The alert read, “I refer to the above subject of which a copy of the intelligence report from the Force Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force in the National Assembly Complex has been made available to my office.
“The report indicates planned insurgent attacks by some elements of Boko Haram on some VIP locations, government facilities and assets in Abuja, including the National Assembly complex.
“In view of the above intelligence, I have considered it paramount to advise that all members should, henceforth, use the presidential gate for ingress and egress.
“This is to avoid the unforeseen congestions that are sometimes encountered at the main gates since such congestions could easily be the targets for these insurgent elements.
“Security agencies are, however, actively on top of the issue to unravel and to contain the intended menace. Accept the assurances of my highest regards, please.”
Security has been beefed up in and around the complex since Thursday last week.
For the first time, security operatives on that day checked vehicles entering the premises, causing traffic congestion especially at the third (and last) gate, a process that has continued to date.
Before now, the security operatives were only after the identities of drivers and passengers to confirm that they were staff members, legislative aides, journalists, or persons working in private businesses in the complex.
The media correspondent observed that soldiers joined the regular sergeants-at-arms and men of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps that manned the gates.
Recall that the Governor of Niger State, Sani Bello, had on April 26, 2021, raised the alarm over Boko Haram terrorists taking over a part of the state, hoisting their flag in Kaure village from where they had made incursions into more than 50 villages.
Bello said Abuja was not safe, with Boko Haram’s presence in Kaure – a two-hour journey from the Federal Capital Territory.
He said, “I am confirming that there are Boko Haram elements here in Niger State. Here in Kaure, I am confirming that they have hoisted their flags here.”
The same day, Gbajabiamila had met with the President, Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in company with the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.
On the next day, the House held a long executive (closed-door) session to discuss the rising spate of insecurity across Nigeria, calling on Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security.
At the secret session that lasted over three hours, the lawmakers unanimously adopted a series of resolutions, one of which was that “the Federal Government should ensure the protection of national infrastructure and assets, particularly the Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State.”
Lagos State Plans To Launch 500 Small New Buses Next Week
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised to introduce 500 small new buses to the state by next week Thursday in a bid to provide alternatives to local motorcycles.
The Governor said this in a speech on Wednesday to mark the opening ceremony of the Lagos Architect Forum. The forum themed, ‘The City of Lagos: The Next Twenty Five Years’ was organised by the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos chapter, at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island.
The 4-day forum which will run till Saturday had in attendance other dignitaries including the Oniru of Iru Land, HRM Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal; the Lagos State Chairman of the NIA, Arc. David Majekodunmi; SA to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye; and the President-elect of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh.
In his speech, the governor noted the progress made in the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda and his vision for the Lagos master plan to ensure that Lagos becomes ‘Africa’s model megacity’ by 2050. Acknowledging the challenges in the transport sector, the Governor gave assurances on improving the various modes of transport including the roads, waterways and rail lines.
“For the waterways, we’re currently building 16 jetties and terminals. About seven of them should be ready before the end of the year; we have some that are already currently being used.
“All of them will not look as nice as the one at Falomo, but we want all of them to be comfortable. We have a fleet of almost 20 boats now each carrying 50, 60, 40 passengers. We want people to use the waterways which is why we’re investing in them,” Sanwo-Olu said.
On road and rail transport, Sanwo-Olu said the state would soon begin to operate 100 new high-capacity buses, with plans to launch 500 LASTMA small buses by next week Wednesday or Thursday as alternatives to okadas that don’t have enough passenger space. He also promised that one of either the blue or red rail lines will become operational by next year.
Presidency Warns Over Alleged Plot To Overthrow Buhari’s Administration Through Vote of No Confidence
The Presidency on Tuesday claimed it has evidence that reveals that certain “disruptive elements” are recruiting ethnic groups and politicians with the motive of convening conferences where a vote of no confidence will be passed on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
It said the purpose of the move was to further throw the country into turmoil.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled ‘Our response to DSS alert, by Presidency.’
Adesina was giving further insights into a recent claim by the Department of State Services that some people were planning to undermine the government and the nation’s sovereignty.
The presidential spokesman however said the present regime would keep the country together, even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process.
He claimed that some disgruntled religious and past political leaders are behind the plans.
The statement read, “The Department of State Services on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.
“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.
“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians around the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.
“The caterwauling, in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country.
“The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections.
“Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only acceptable way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.
“These discredited individuals and groups are also in cahoots with external forces to cause maximum damage in their own country. But the Presidency, already vested with mandate and authority by Nigerians till 2023, pledges to keep the country together, even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process.”
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