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NBET to Get Second Batch of N701bn Lifeline

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  • NBET to Get Second Batch of N701bn Lifeline

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said the Federal Government would soon release a second batch of the N701bn intervention fund to the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc.

He said the fresh lifeline was meant to boost the power sector value chain.

Osinbajo disclosed this at the inaugural Nigeria Renewable Energy Roundtable organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Heinrich Boll Stiftung, Nigeria, at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the government was committed to further restructuring the power sector.

According to the acting President, the release of the fresh fund will free up the value chain, which has created several problems.

“We hope that this injection (of the fund) will help. We are also looking at several other reforms in the sector, hoping that the market can become self-sustaining, independent and runs on its own and frees up all of the private sector energy that is waiting to come into the market,” he said.

Osinbajo stated that the government would work with the private sector and create the framework for business cases by developing standardised technology packages.

He said, “We also need to explore the opportunities for revolving funds for solar PV/wind projects as well as opportunities for other investment remuneration mechanisms.

“It is also very important that we break the deadlock of the electricity market structures by exploring the options to transform the competition for markets’ approach, continue to embark on a broader restructuring of the electricity sector and strive to achieve a more systematic development of the power market design, especially for renewable energy.

“To do that, we need a framework that brings and keeps all stakeholders together towards ensuring that renewable energy becomes an engine of growth for Nigeria’s economy.”

Osinbajo added that the administration’s plan was to expand the Solar Home System programme to one million households, creating a few more million jobs.

He added that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was interested in lighting up more rural communities like Wuna, an agrarian village in the Gwagalada Local Government Council of the Federal Capital Territory, which until two years ago was not on the national grid and had no other source of power.

He said in collaboration with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, the government was able to provide a sustainable renewable solar energy solution through end-to-end solution, including a pay-as-you-go system.

Osinbajo added, “I was in Wuna to see it for myself. For the first time in its existence, the village now has solar-powered running water. The school has power and the school hall is now used as a community hall in the evenings. Each home has four points of light.

“Children can now stay up and do some studying at night. Many of Wuna’s women can now process their millet and yams at night. New jobs have been created, solar installers, maintenance, payment systems and so on.

“One guy has lost his business in Wuna. The phone charger. Every household can now charge their phones. But he now charges phones of residents of other villages. We are doing 20,000 more homes in this first phase of this exercise and a pay-as-you-go system to 20,000 households to provide access to lighting and electric power for small devices.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Dangote Cement Refutes Claim it Sells Cement High in Nigeria

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Dangote Cement Plc has refuted the widely propagated story that the company sells cement at a significantly higher price in Nigeria compared to other African nations like Zambia and Ghana.

The management of the leading manufacturing company said it sells a bag at N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko, and N2,510 in Ibese, the amounts stated include VAT.

Devakumar Edwin, Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, who spoke with journalists in Lagos, said the company sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes.

Devakumar, therefore, described the allegation as false, misleading, and unfounded, and challenged the media to conduct independent investigation into the price of cement in some other African countries, including Cameroun, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia.

To ensure that we meet local demand, we had to suspend exports from our recently commissioned export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings.

“We also had to reactivate our 4.5m ton capacity Gboko Plant which was closed 4 years ago and run it at a higher cost all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demand and keep the price of Cement within control in the country.”

“Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly. About 50% of our costs are linked to USD so the cost of critical components like: gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; has increased significantly due to devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase.

“Despite this, DCP has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly.

“We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher costs of diesel, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement. Still, we charge our customers only N300 – 350 per bag for deliveries within a 1,200km radius.

“We have been responsible enough not to even attempt to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices so far,” Devakumar said.

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Samsung, Vision Care Begin Fresh CSR Activities, Earmark 12,000 Masks for Nigeria

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Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Limited (SHIN) and Vision Care, an international relief organization dedicated to the prevention of blindness, have launched fresh Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to help Nigeria mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Vision Care is a member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and participant of ‘VISION 2020’, a global initiative of the IAPB and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Vision Care has since conducted more than 25 Vision Eye Camps yearly and has grown into an international non-profit organisation serving 38 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Central-South America.

Since 2015, SHIN has worked with Vision Care in the yearly Eye Camp as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to provide free cataract surgeries to Nigerians who cannot afford the payment. SHIN has been sponsoring the eye surgeries of Nigerians on a yearly basis.

In 2019, SHIN sponsored the eye surgeries of at least 115 Nigerian patients and 224 outward patients as part of its CSR in Nigeria.

Since it started the programme, SHIN has sponsored the eye surgeries of 572 Nigerian patients, 1,593 outward patients and has also donated glasses to 99 patients.

Due to outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the yearly Eye Camp for 2021 had been called off to adhere to Federal Government’s measures in response to the virus.

Consequently, SHIN and Vision Care came up with a fresh CSR initiative this year to donate 496 bags of rice (25kg) and 12,000 reusable face masks to three states in the country to fulfill their commitment of contributing to the society.

The items will be delivered later this month.

The three states that will benefit from the donation are Lagos, Kano and Bayelsa states.

Out of the 496 bags of rice, and 12,000 facemasks, Lagos will receive 96 bags of rice and 200 masks.

SHIN also stated that Kano State will receive 200 bags of rice and 5,000 masks, while Bayelsa State will get 200 bags and 5,000 masks.

“This is an additional CSR activity from SHI in addition to SHIN’s donation of 5,000 COVID-19 test kits from Korea. The washable masks that the head office has purchased from Korea are certified to retain its effectiveness against COVID-19 transmission for up to 50 washes,” SHIN said in a statement.

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Senate Summons NICON, AIICO, Others Over N17.4bn Pension Remittances

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The Senate Public Accounts Committee has summoned the management of the NICON Insurance Plc, AIICO Insurance and other insurance companies over their alleged failure to remit N17.4bn pension fund to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.

The Senate hinged the summon on the 2016 report of the Auditor-General for the Federation which unraveled the alleged non-remittance of N17.4bn pension fund to PTAD.

Appearing before the panel on Monday, the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, informed the lawmakers that PTAD took over the assets and liabilities of the defunct pension offices without a formal handing over.

She said, “On taking over, the directorate wrote all underwriters to make returns and remit whatever amount that was in their custody into a CBN dedicated account.

“Some of the underwriters responded to the request while some did not.

“The bank certificate of balances, accounting statements, three years financial statements and policy files requested by the federal auditor were not handed over to PTAD at the time of consolidation.

“It is worthy to note that we discovered that N17.4bn which comprised of cash, securities and properties from the nine insurance underwriters was unremitted as a result of the letter PTAD sent to them.

“These figures represent the claims by the underwriters with regards to their indebtedness.

“In order to ascertain the true position of legacy funds in custody of underwriters, the directorate appointed a consultant in 2018 who carried out forensic audit of nine out the 12 insurance underwriters and produced a final report on the recovery of the legacy funds and assets for PTAD.”

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