- N1tn Debt’ll Cause Shutdown of Power Plants – Gencos
Electricity generation companies have said they are not planning to disrupt power supply in the country but that their inability to pay for gas due to the non-payment of the debt owed them will lead to the shutdown of power plants.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, alleged last week that the Gencos were planning to disrupt the supply of electricity across the country.
“Let me say very clearly to all operators that I get reports of many of the clandestine meetings that some of them (Gencos) are holding with a view to disrupting the supply for political capital,” he said at the 25th Monthly Power Sector Meeting in Uyo.
The Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr. Joy Ogaji, told our correspondent in a telephone interview on Monday, “We are in the business of power generation. So, don’t you think we cannot disrupt our business? We have not issued any such threat that we are going to shut down power.
“But it is natural that when we are not being paid, we don’t have money to buy gas to generate power and we cannot pay salaries. So, automatically, the power plants will shut down even without us wanting to shut them down. We have not issued any notice that we are shutting down, but the natural occurrence will happen.”
Asked when the “natural occurrence” could happen, she said, “It is completely out of our control.
“The Nigeria Gas Processing and Transportation Company Limited, which supplies gas to some power plants, has given ultimatum to all the generation companies that use gas, that if they don’t make their contracts effective by paying 100 per cent, they will stop giving us gas. So, if you ask me how soon, it is as soon as the NGPTC is ready to shut off gas to us.”
About 80 per cent of the electricity generated in the country is from gas-fired power plants, with hydro plants contributing the rest.
“We are owed about N1tn by the (electricity) market. About half of it is owed to gas companies, because it is as we are paid that we pay them (gas suppliers). And in some cases, we even took loans to pay some of them because if you don’t pay, you don’t get gas,” Ogaji added.
The government-owned Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc buys electricity in bulk from the Gencos and sell to the distribution companies, which then supply it to the consumers.
According to Ogaji, the NBET was established with the mandate that it would pay the Gencos 100 per cent.
She said, “But it has not paid the Gencos 100 per cent. What the NBET has kept telling us is that Discos are not paying, and Discos say that consumers are not paying.
“From the beginning in 2013 till now, Gencos have not pushed the government like this; we have been enduring, taking loans. But now, even the banks are not giving us loans to buy gas and generate. So, we are in a conundrum.”
She added that the association had already, through several letters, informed all the leaders of the sector, including the minister and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, about the challenges facing the Gencos.
The media had two weeks ago reported that some Gencos had dragged the government before the Federal High Court in Abuja over what they termed discriminatory practices against their interests and those of gas suppliers.
The firms also accused the Federal Government of conferring preferential treatment on Azura Power West Africa Limited and Accugas Limited at their own expense.
Egypt Leads Nigeria, South Africa in Foreign Direct Investment
The United Nations Trade Association has Nigeria recorded a total of $2.6 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020, below the $3.3 billion posted in the preceeding year.
South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised nation, reported $2.5 billion during the same year, slightly below Africa’s largest economy and 50 percent below the $4.6 billion attracted a year earlier.
The report also noted that Africa recorded a total of $38 billion FDI in the same year, representing a 18 percent decline from the $46 billion posted in the corresponding year of 2019.
However, Egypt led Nigeria and South Africa with $5.5 billion FDI, an increase of 38 percent from the preceeding year.
The report read in part, “FDI flows to Africa declined by 18% to an estimated $38 billion, from $46 billion in 2019. Greenfield project announcements, an indication of future FDI trends, fell 63% to $28 billion, from $77 billion in 2019. The pandemic’s negative impact on FDI was amplified by low prices of and low demand for commodities.”
UNCTAD also noted that global foreign direct investment declined by 42 percent to an estimated $859 billion, down from $1.5 trillion in 2019.
“The decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69 percent to an estimated $229 billion. Flows to Europe dried up completely to -4 billion (including large negative flows in several countries). A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49%) to $134 billion.”
FG to Partly Fund Six Rail Projects Connecting All Regions
The Federal Government will pay a total sum of N71 billion to partly fund six rail projects connecting all regions of the country.
In the report obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the six rail projects marked for development this year are Lagos-Kano rail line (ongoing), Calabar-Lagos (ongoing), and Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri).
Others are the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway, the new Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi line in Niger Republic and the Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja-Warri Port and refinery/Warri new harbour.
The Buhari administration will also spend N15.1 billion on the development of safety and security of critical projects, airport certification, runway construction, terminal building, among others in the aviation sector in 2021.
Last week, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said the Lagos-Kano line would be connected from the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and would cost $5.3 billion.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract,” the minister said.
He added, “The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC (China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation) to construct Ibadan-Kano, people assumed the money had come in; no.
“We have not got the money, which is a year after we applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”
FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience
In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.
The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.
The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.
Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.
Potential Travelers can book via three ways:
1. Mobile app
3. POS or Cash at the station
A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.
Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.
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