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‘$5b Mambilla Hydropower for Sale on Completion’

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  • ‘$5b Mambilla Hydropower for Sale on Completion’

The Federal Government may privatise the 3050 Megawatts (Mw) Mambilla Hydropower plant on completion, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.

Fashola, in an exclusive interview said the planned privatisation was in line with government’s policy of encouraging private generation capacity.

He said: “Ultimately we will involve the private sector in the construction and management of the facility because it is consistent with the policy of private generation capacity.

“But let me say that this is where the role of my Ministry becomes even most defined in terms of policy. Mambilla represents a policy, a policy of renewable energy using water, a policy of energy security for the country that gives us over 3,000Mw, so that we are no longer solely dependent on gas.”

In comparism, he said: “Look at the UK, they are building a nuclear power plant that they have privatised, but government is still actively involved because they see it as energy for the future. When Mambilla is fully developed and ready, we will hand it over to the private sector,” he stated, adding that Nigeria had to fall back on its sovereign credit rating to borrow the money and deliver the power and someone can come and manage it.

“If you look at Kainji, Jebba, Shiroro, they are big dams. It was government that built them, but they are now managed by private hands. So these are some of the things government must de-bottle in order for them to happen,” Fashola said, pointing out that if there is opportunity to do the same with solar, government will do it. If we had invested in solar 10 years ago, this is the right time to switch to solar as the rainy season is ending, where your hydro is not as prolific anymore and the sun is now prolific this is what you move to naturally.”

Fashola also said the government will wade into improving the capacity of the distribution companies (DisCos) as the power distributors currently are behind other segments in the supply value chain.

The minister said: “The problem with the DisCos is that they don’t have capacity to expand the way it is expected. Their challenges include exchange rate and liquidity, among others. The roll out of excellent services including metering that was expected has not happened in the way we expected it. Some have happened.

“Second problem is that most of the equipment they bought were old enough, nobody can dispute that. Those equipment must be changed. Some of those equipment had original manufacturers’ rating on the day they bought the equipment. For example, does your 10-year old car run at the same speed after 10 years? No, those are the realities. So those equipment have been de-rated. Even in transmission, sometimes all we need to do is add a new transformer to double the capacity. Those are the things they supposed to do.

“In the area where the equipment are not de-rated, the population has grown, more people have built houses. So they must expand, that is the problem. How do we solve the problem? We have asked the DisCos to give us the number of transformer they need and their ratings, give us the number of lines – how many kilometres, how many volts. They are doing that work now. How much does it cost? When it comes, we have to take it and ask how we fund it.

“These are companies where the government owns 40 per cent. We will be able to know what each DisCo needs and what it costs. When we dimension that, we must know who the suppliers are, because we are not awarding contract to anybody. However, I still have to get Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) approval on this and buy everybody’s idea. That is what we must do so the DisCos will inject the additional 2000Mw we are generating into the grid,” Fashola stated.

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.

Economy

Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

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Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.

NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.

The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.

“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.

The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.

It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.

But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.

NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.

The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).

The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.

“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.

The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.

“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.

NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

Nigeria is moving in the right direction economically but its movement is not fast, the United Nations stated on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said this during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.

She said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, its population large but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.

The UN scribe stated that after traveling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.

Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.

“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”

Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.

“And the challenges still remain with security, our social cohesion and social contract between government and the people. But I know that people are working on these issues.”

She said the UN recognised the reforms in Nigeria and other nations, adding that the common global agenda was the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mohammad commended Nigeria’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as she expressed hope that the arrival of vaccines would be the beginning of the end of COVID-19.

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, told his guest that the Federal Government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

Nigeria spent a total of N10.7tn on fuel subsidy in the last 10 years, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said.

Oyebanji, who was the guest speaker at the 18th Aret Adams Lecture on Thursday, said N750bn was spent on subsidy in 2019.

He highlighted the need for a transition to a market-driven environment through policy-backed legislative and commercial frameworks, enabling the sustainability of the downstream petroleum sector.

“Total deregulation is more than just the removal of price subsidies; it is aimed at improving business operations, increasing the investments in the oil and gas sector value chain, resulting in the growth in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector as a whole,” he said.

The managing director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc) said steps had been taken, “but larger and faster leaps are now required.”

According to him, deregulation requires the creation of a competitive market environment, and will guarantee the supply of products at commercial and market prices.

“It requires unrestricted and profitable investments in infrastructure, earning reasonable returns to investors. It requires a strong regulator to enable transparency and fair competition among players, and not to regulate prices,” Oyebanji said.

He noted that MOMAN had recently called for a national debate by stakeholders to share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on society – especially on the most vulnerable.

He said, “A shift from crude oil production to crude oil full value realisation through deliberate investment in domestic refining and refined products distribution, creates the opportunity to transform the dynamics of the downstream sector from one of ‘net importer’ to one of ‘net exporter’, spurring the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Effective reforms and regulations are key drivers for the growth within the refining sector. Non-functional refineries cost Nigeria over $13bn in 2019. If the NNPC refineries were operating at optimal capacity, Nigeria would have imported only 40 per cent of what it consumed in 2019.”

Full deregulation of the downstream sector remains the most glaring boost to potential investors in this space, according to Oyebanji.

He said, “As crude oil prices will fluctuate depending on the prevailing exchange rates, it will be astute to trade in naira to avoid inevitable price swings.

“There needs to be a balance between ensuring the sustainable growth of the crude oil value chain (upstream through downstream) and providing value for the Nigerian consumer and the Nigerian economy.”

He said the philosophy should be for the government to put the legislative and commercial framework in place and let the market develop by itself.

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