- Weak Transmission Stalls Generation of 700MW at Egbin
The feeble transmission infrastructure wheeling generated power to the national grid has stalled the generation of 700 megawatts of power in the 1,320 megawatt-capacity Egbin Power Station in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Dallas Peavey, has said.
This is coming as an eight-member Congressional delegation from the United States has restated the country’s commitment to ‘Power Africa,’ a US initiative to add over 30,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity, and 60 million new homes and business connections in Africa.
Peavey spoke to journalists at the weekend after the plant’s tour by the Congressional delegation led by Senator Christopher Coons, who is a member of the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees.
Some of the other members of the delegation, who were also accompanied by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, include Senator Gary Peters of Michigan; Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado; Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware; Representative Terri Sewell of Alabama; Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania; Representative Barbara Lee of California; and Representative Frederica Wilson of Florida.
Peavey said 700 megawatts were stranded as a result of weak transmission infrastructure.
Peavey, who noted that gas was no longer an issue as the plant had more than enough gas to generate 1,320 MW, added that over 700 megawatts were stranded, while the plant generated only about 600MW.
During the visit by the US Congressmen, Egbin was generating 599MW against its 1,320MW generating capacity.
While Units 1 and 3 were generating zero megawatts, Unit 2 was generating 175MW; Unit 4 was generating 203MW; Units 5 and 6 were generating 110MW and 111 MW, respectively, against each unit’s capacity of 220MW.
Peavey attributed the poor generation to lack of transmission capacity to wheel the generated power to the national grid.
“We need to work together with the federal government to evacuate the power because we have over 700 megawatts stranded. We are working with the TCN to get that done; we are working with the United States; World Bank, IFC, Sahara Group and all the stakeholders to get the power out of the plant,” he explained.
According to him: “The challenge is this plant is 35 years old and the cost of replacement of those parts and doing the job has changed. You know that these parts were manufactured by the Japanese and to get those parts has become a challenge.
“So, we are working with the United States to find replaceable parts; we are looking to re-engineer some parts of the system to upgrade and improve it. So, we are working with the government of the United States and all the stakeholders to make it happen,” he explained.
Peavey added that gas was no longer a challenge, stressing that the plant had more than sufficient gas supplies to be able to generate power at the full capacity of the plant.
“The issue is the evacuation of the power and that is why we are working with the TCN to make that happen. We are working hand-in-hand with TCN; we have 700 megawatts of stranded capacity. We are generating almost 600MW right now, this minute but we have the capacity to generate 1,320MW,” he said.
Peavey told the US Congressmen that prior to the privatisation of the plant in November 2013, generation was below 240MW per hour due to the dismal operational state of the units, adding that at its lowest point, only two of the six units were partially operational.
He added that the total overhaul of Units 4, 5 and 1 by the new owners allowed each of these units to peak at its 220-MW original installed capacity, stressing that the plant had never undergone a major overhaul of this kind in its 35 years of operation.
Peavey also noted that the new investors successfully restored the operation of Unit 6, which had been out of operations for 10 years.
He also identified the other achievements of the new owners of Egbin Power Plc to include the upgrading of the Distributed Control System (DCS) to Units 4, 5 and 1 to the latest modern technology available; and the major overhauling of the demineralisation plant.
Other achievements include; restoration of the water treatment and waste treatment facility; replacement and installation of the Turbine Vibration Monitoring Systems, which assists in regulating the speed of the turbine in an event of excessive vibration to avoid a catastrophic failure as had previously occurred; and the repair and replacement of the entire facility Fire Protection System that had been out of service for almost 20 years.
Peavey added that with the completion of the remaining unit overhauls, Egbin would be operating at a minimum of 95 per cent of its installed capacity for Nigeria.
He, however, disclosed that the debt owed the plant by the federal government for power generated stood at N125 billion as at August 1, 2017.
On what informed the visit of the delegation from the United States to Egbin Power Plant, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Sahara Group, Mr. Tonye Cole, said Nigeria always needed to always showcase the fact that it was always moving forward and not stagnant.
He said: “The privatisation exercise happened three- and-a-half years ago and we have actually moved forward in the energy space completely.
So, one of the best ways to do it is not just to talk about it but for people to come and see it themselves. We can talk about what we have achieved but if they don’t see it, they won’t believe. One thing I can assure you is that the delegation that has come here and seen this will go back and they will be bigger advocates for Nigeria moving forward because they know that whatever they discuss about Power Africa and investment in the power sector that they have seen that there are people on ground, who are actually doing it. Our whole objective was to make sure that this was achieved and I think we have achieved that.”
In his brief remarks, Senator Coons said the visit was part of the efforts of the United States to ensure the success of ‘Power Africa,’ adding that the US recognised that power was a significant challenge in Africa, particularly Nigeria.
“We want to see what the US-Nigeria partnership has to offer,” Coons said.
US Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Package
US Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Package
President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan would have far-reaching effects on society as the country tries to turn the corner on a pandemic that has killed more than half a million people in the United States.
The mammoth bill approved by the Senate on Saturday would provide direct payments to Americans, extend jobless benefits and provide a huge financial infusion to states and local governments as well as to schools to help them reopen. It provides funding for priorities like coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution. And it amounts to an ambitious antipoverty program, offering significant benefits for low-income people.
Here’s a guide to what’s included in the plan, which is scheduled to go before the House for final approval on Tuesday and then would head to Mr. Biden for his signature.
The bill would give out $1,400 stimulus checks.
Individuals making under $75,000 and married couples making under $150,000 would receive direct payments of $1,400 per person. The bill would also provide $1,400 per dependent.
The payments would gradually decrease above those income levels and disappear entirely above an income cap: $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples.
Those caps were lowered from the thresholds in the House’s version of the stimulus plan, which set the cutoffs at $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for married couples.
The current $300-per-week boost to unemployment benefits would continue.
The Senate bill extends unemployment programs through early September, including the $300-per-week federal supplement provided in the last stimulus plan passed in December.
Mr. Biden had proposed bumping up that supplemental benefit to $400 per week, which the House agreed to, but the Senate kept it at $300 weekly.
The Senate bill also includes a provision intended to avert surprise tax bills for people who lost jobs, waiving federal income taxes for the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 for households earning under $150,000.
The child tax credit would become more generous, among other benefits.
For 2021, the bill would temporarily expand the child tax credit, which is currently worth up to $2,000 per child under 17. Under the legislation, the tax credit would be as much as $3,600 for children up to age 5 and as much as $3,000 for children 6 to 17.
The bill would make the full value of the credit available to low-income people who are currently ineligible or receive only a portion. And for the second half of this year, it would have the federal government send advance payments of the credit to Americans in periodic installments, akin to a guaranteed income for families with children.
The legislation would also expand the child and dependent care tax credit for 2021, and it would expand the earned-income tax credit for workers without children for this year as well. Through 2025, it would exempt student loan forgiveness from income taxes.
Money would go to fight the pandemic and to help states, local governments and schools.
The bill would provide funding for vaccine distribution as well as coronavirus testing, contact tracing and genomic sequencing. It would give money to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well.
It would provide $350 billion for states, local governments, territories and tribal governments, and it contains about $130 billion for schools. It also includes funding for colleges and universities, transit agencies, housing aid, child care providers and food assistance.
In addition, the bill contains funding to help businesses, including restaurants and live venues, and it includes a bailout for multiemployer pension plans that are financially troubled.
The Affordable Care Act would get a boost.
The bill would temporarily increase subsidies for people purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. It includes billions of dollars for public health programs and veterans’ health care.
It also seeks to help those who have lost jobs keep the health insurance coverage they had through their employer, covering the full cost of premiums through a federal program called COBRA through September.
One thing missing: a minimum wage hike.
As part of the stimulus plan, Mr. Biden wanted to raise the federal minimum wage, which is now $7.25 per hour, to $15 per hour.
The stimulus bill passed by the House would increase the wage to $15 per hour by 2025, but the Senate parliamentarian said the provision violated the strict rules that Senate Democrats had to follow to pass the bill through a special process that shielded it from a filibuster and allowed for its approval with only Democratic support. A vote in the Senate on Friday to add the wage increase back to the bill failed.
The Senate bill also dropped funding for a rail project in Silicon Valley in Northern California and a bridge between upstate New York and Canada, two provisions that were included in the House bill and drew criticism from Republicans.
Seplat Petroleum Pays US$564.165 Million to Federal Government in 2020
Seplat Petroleum, an indigenous Nigerian upstream exploration and production company, announced it paid a total sum of US$564.165 million to the Federal Government in 2020.
In the report on payments made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and seen by Investors King, Seplat Petroleum paid US$389.576 million to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as production entitlement in 2020.
Production entitlement is the government’s share of production in the period under review from projects operated by Seplat.
This comprises crude oil and gas attributable to the Nigerian government by virtue of its participation as an equity holder in projects within its sovereign jurisdiction (Nigeria).
Also, Seplat paid US$130.009 million to the Department of Petroleum Resources in 2020. A breakdown of the amount showed US$111.633 million was paid as royalties while US$18.376 million was paid as fees.
Similarly, US$579,361 was paid as a fee to the Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme.
The energy company made another payment of US$17.935 million in fee for 2020.
While the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board received US$4.826 million in fee from Seplat in 2020.
Seplat paid US$21.239 million in taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service in 2020.
Therefore, Seplat Petroleum paid a total sum of US$564.165 million to the Federal Government in the 2020 financial year. See the details below.
FIRS Sets N5.9 Trillion Revenue Target for 2021
FIRS to Generate N5.9 Trillion Revenue in 2021
Mohammed Nami, the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, on Friday said the agency is projecting total revenue of N5.9 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year.
Nami stated this while meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Finance led by Hon. James Falake on the Service’s 2021 budget defence of its proposed Revenue and Expenditure Estimates.
According to the Chairman, N4.26 trillion and N1.64 trillion were expected to come from non-oil and oil components, respectively.
However, Nami put the cost of collecting the projected revenue at N289.25 billion or 7 percent of the proposed total revenue for the year, higher than the N180.76 billion spent in 2020 to fund the three operational expenditure heads for the year.
He said: “Out of the proposed expenditure of N289.25 billion across the three expenditure heads, the sum of N147.08 billion and N94.97 billion are to be expended on Personnel and Overhead Costs against 2020 budgeted sum of N97.36 billion and N43.64 billion respectively. Also, the sum of N47.19 billion is estimated to be expended on capital items against the budgeted sum of N27.80 billion in 2020. The sum is to cater for on-going and new projects for effective revenue drive.”
Speaking on while the agency failed to meet its 2020 target, Nami said “There’s lockdown effect on businesses, implementation directive also for us to study, research best practices on tax administration which involves travelling to overseas and we also have to expand offices and create offices more at rural areas to get closer to the taxpayers, we pay rent for those offices and this could be the reason why all these things went up.
“And if you have more staff surely, their salary will go up, taxes that you’re going to pay on their behalf will go up, the National Housing Fund contribution, PENCOM contribution will go up. Those promoted you have to implement a new salary regime for them. There’s also the issue of inflation and exchange rate differential”, he said.
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