- FG Gets Task Force to Prosecute Electricity Thieves
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has approved a special task force for the investigation and prosecution of electricity theft cases under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
The task force was inaugurated by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Umar, during a joint conference organised by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company and the DPPF’s office at the Federal Ministry of Justice on Tuesday.
Members of the task force were drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the DPPF’s office, and were charged to commence work immediately by arresting and prosecuting electricity thieves across the country.
Umar said the task force was a product of the collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Justice, AEDC, NPF and NSCDC, adding that the AGF had approved the team.
“I want to express my sincere appropriation to the AGF and minister of justice for giving the approval to set up this all important task force to deal with the menace of electricity theft, which has silently contributed immensely to the economic challenges that the Nigerian power sector has faced over time,” he said.
Umar told members of the team to “bear in mind that the overall objective of your mandate is to prevent electricity theft cases and recover lost revenue. As part of your mandate, you are to carry out intensive campaigns to create public awareness on the adverse effect of electricity theft on the Nigerian economy.”
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AEDC, Mr. Ernest Mupwaya, said the losses caused by electricity theft related offences had resulted in distortions of significant magnitude, such that power distribution companies were not able to properly account for the energy allocated to them.
“This speaks to the insufficient payments being received by (power) generators, Transmission Company of Nigeria, gas suppliers and other members of the electricity value chain. If this is not comprehensively addressed, it will continually pose significant threats to the transformation of the electricity industry in Nigeria,” he added.
…prepares road map for economic recovery plan
The Federal Government has commenced the preparation of the implementation strategies for the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening session of a stakeholders’ engagement on the ERGP implementation road map.
The event was attended by renowned economists, representatives of international financial institutions as well as the country’s development partners.
The ERGP, which was launched last month by President Muhammadu Buhari, has three broad objectives with five key execution priorities.
The objectives are restoring the economy to a positive and sustained path, investing in the Nigerian people to improve their living standards, and building an economy that is globally competitive.
Udoma said while the plan had been well crafted in line with the economic priorities of the government, there was no way the country could enjoy its full benefit unless it was effectively and faithfully implemented.
The minister admitted that in the past, the implementation of government programmes had not been too encouraging owing to lack of effective implementation strategies.
He added that the current administration was determined to reverse this trend.
Explaining how the plan would be implemented, Udoma said the first step was for the government to focus on its priorities, adding that this would be followed by the establishment of clear accountability and development of detailed action plans.
Brent Crude Oil Extends Gain to $86.66 a Barrel Amid Tight Supply
Tight global oil supply pushed Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, to a multi-year high of $86.66 per barrel on Monday at 3:30 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price was lifted by rising fuel demand in the United States and tight global supply as economies recover from pandemic-induced slumps.
“The global energy supply crunch continues to show its teeth, as oil prices extend their upward march this week, a result of traders pricing in the ongoing rise in fuel demand – which amid limited supply response is depleting global stockpiles,” said Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.
Goldman Sachs on the other hand is predicting a further increase in Brent crude oil to $90 a barrel, citing a strong rebound in global oil demand due to switching from gas to oil. This the bank estimated may contribute about 1 million barrels per day to global oil demand.
The investment bank said it expects oil demand to reach around 100 million barrels per day as consumption in Asia increases after the devastating effect of COVID-19.
“While not our base-case, such persistence would pose upside risk to our $90/bbl year-end Brent price forecast,” Goldman said in a research note dated Oct. 24.
Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, known as OPEC+ agreed to continue increasing oil supply by 400,000 bpd a month until April 2022 despite calls for an increase in global oil supplies.
The decision bolstered the price of Brent crude oil above $84 per barrel and expected to push the price even further to $90 a barrel. Low global oil supply amid rising demand for crude oil will continue to support oil prices in the near term.
“Despite the recent power cuts and impacts to industrial activity in China, oil demand is likely instead supported by switching to diesel powered generators and diesel engines in LNG trucks, as well as by a ramp up in coal production,” Goldman Sachs stated.
U.S. and Ghana Inaugurate New $64.7 Million Energy Infrastructure Investment at Pokuase
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie Sullivan joined the President of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo and other Ghana government officials to formally inaugurate the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point (BSP) in Accra today. The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funded the $64.7 million (GH₵ 391.9 million) electrical infrastructure project under the Ghana Power Compact.
“The Pokuase Bulk Supply Point represents sustainable infrastructure investment by the United States with Ghana that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians now and into the future,” remarked Ambassador Sullivan at the inaugural event. “It will help deliver more reliable power to the people, places, and businesses of Accra that drive increased economic activity benefitting families, businesses, and communities.”
This represents a flagship investment under the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Ghana Power Compact. The Pokuase BSP will reduce outages in the power system, help stabilize voltages, and improve the quality and reliability of power supplied to the northern parts of the capital city of Accra. It will also reduce technical losses in the power transmission and distribution system, contributing to the financial viability of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in the long term. The Pokuase BSP is now the largest-capacity BSP in Ghana at 580 megavolt amperes (MVA) and will directly benefit 350,000 utility customers.
The Government of Ghana implemented the project through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). MiDA formally handed over the new power substation to ECG and GRIDCo in today’s ceremony.
The Pokuase BSP is the first major construction project to be completed under the Ghana Power Compact. The $316 million compact is helping the Government of Ghana improve the power sector through investments that will provide more reliable and affordable electricity to Ghana’s businesses and households. The compact is also funding a BSP at Kasoa and two primary substations at Kanda and Legon, in addition to other power sector investments, energy efficiency programs, and women’s empowerment programs within the power sector. The compact program will officially close on June 6, 2022.
Oil Falls Slightly as China Steps in to Curb Rising Coal Prices
Global oil prices moderated slightly on Wednesday following the Chinese government’s decision to curb high coal prices and ensure coal mines function at maximum capacity.
Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped to $83.98 per barrel at 11:00 am Nigerian time. While the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 80 cents or 1 percent to $81.20 a barrel.
“China is planning to take steps to combat the steep rises in the domestic coal market … which could put considerable pressure on the coal price there and reverse the fuel switch to oil,” Commerzbank said.
Prices for Chinese coal and other commodities slumped in early trade, which in turn pulled oil down from an uptick earlier in the day.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission said on Tuesday it would bring coal prices back to a reasonable range and crack down on any irregularities that disturb market order or malicious speculation on thermal coal futures. read more
Oil markets in general remain supported on the back of a global coal and gas crunch, which has driven a switch to diesel and fuel oil for power generation.
But the market on Wednesday was also pressured by data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group which showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.3 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 15, according to market sources.
That was well above nine analysts’ forecasts for a rise of 1.9 million barrels in crude stocks, in a Reuters poll.
However, U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, fell much more than analysts had expected, pointing to strong demand.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later on Wednesday.
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