- Raising Power Transmission Capacity
Documents obtained from the Transmission Company of Nigeria showed that the government-owned power company has within the last two years raised its transmission capacity by about 2,352.5 megawatts. Chineme Okafor, writes the implications of this feat to Nigeria’s power sector
Until recently, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was frequently ridiculed as the feeblest link in Nigeria’s privatised electricity market by key stakeholders in the market.
From the power generation companies (Gencos) who complained bitterly about reported inability of the TCN to take all the power they produced, to the electricity distribution companies (Discos) who pointed at the TCN for most things that go wrong with their delivery of electricity services to Nigerians, the TCN became a common whipping dog for the sector and needed to adjust its operations and services quickly.
However, with the expiration of the management contract, the government had with Canadian power firm – Manitoba Hydro International, and subsequent appointment of a new head for TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed, who was reportedly recruited from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the company somewhat turned the corners on its operation.
Although stakeholders doubted the claims of the TCN that it had begun to upgrade the national grid through a scheme – the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP) – initiated to help it expand its wheeling capacity to 20,000MW by 2021, using funds from the federal budget; donor and multilateral funding agencies, THISDAY however obtained from it documents which suggested it had upgraded and installed transmission equipment that have raised its capacity by 2,352.5MW between 2017 and early 2019.
Grid expansion efforts
From the documents, it was gathered that in 2017, the TCN added 80 mega volt amp (MVA) to its existing 180MVA high-end transmission substation located in Benin South, and from which 64MW of electricity was added to what it can deliver to the Benin; another 100MVA was added to its sub-station in Alimosho part of Lagos to upgrade it to 230MVA and add 80MW to what it can supply to Eko Disco; 60MVA was equally added an existing 160MVA substation in Ajah to upgrade its capacity to 220MVA and supply to Eko Disco by 48MW. Also, in Ejigbo, it said it would complete the addition of 100MVA to an 130MVA to raise the capacity of the substation to 230MVA and supply to Ikeja Disco by 32MW.
Going further, the documents disclosed that a 60MVA transformer capacity was added to an existing 37.5MVA capacity substation in Funtua to raise its overall capacity to 97.5MVA and supply to Kano Disco by 48MW; 40MVA added to a 100MVA substation in Zaria to raise capacity to 140MVA and supply to Kaduna Disco by 32MW; 60MVA to a 45MVA substation in Oji River to upgrade its capacity to 105MVA and supply to Enugu Disco by 48MW; 40MVA to a 28MVA substation in Mayo Belwa to raise its capacity to 68MVA and supply to Yola Disco by 32MW; as well as a new 120MVA installed at Kukwaba area of Abuja to add 96MW to the amount of electricity it can supply to Abuja Disco.
Also, in the Afam area of Rivers, it reportedly installed a 150MVA transformer to add 120MW of electricity to its volume to Port Harcourt Disco; 60MVA to upgrade Hadejia sub-station to 82.5MVA and supply to Kaduna Disco; 40MVA mobile transformer in Damboa part of Bornu; 60MVA to upgrade Keffi substation to 90MVA and improve supply to Abuja Disco by 48MW; 120MVA installed in Katampe part of Abuja to raise supply to the Disco by 80MW; 60MVA added to raise the capacity of Uyo substation to 180MVA as well as supplies to Port Harcourt Disco; 40MVA in Umuahia to raise existing capacity to 120MVA and supply by 96MW; 60MVA added to Aba to raise supply by 48MW; as well as 100MVA added to Apo in Abuja to raise supply to the Disco by 80MW.
Continuing in Gombe, the TCN also said it added 30MVA, as well as 60MVA in Bauchi. In Bida area of Niger, it said it added 60MVA to raise supply to Abuja Disco by 48MW; while in Suleja and Abeokuta, it added 120MVA and 60MVA to raise supply by 96MW respectively.
Again, it revealed that it upgraded the capacity of the Molai to 210MVA and supply to Yola Disco by 120MW; Illashe to 130MVA and 24MW; Awka to 60MVA and 16.5MW; while Mando to 690MVA and 552MW; just as a greenfield transmission substation was built at New Kano with a capacity of 420MVA and additional 336MW for Kano Disco to take to consumers under its network.
IMF Staff Completes Virtual Mission to Lesotho
Lesotho has been struggling with the fallout from the pandemic and a sharp decline in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU); The authorities and the mission team made significant progress in their discussions on policies that could be supported by the IMF under a financial arrangement.
A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mr. Aqib Aslam, conducted a series of virtual missions, most recently from September 7 to October 15, 2021, to discuss the authorities’ economic and financial program and their request for IMF financial support.
The authorities and the mission team had productive discussions on policies that could be supported by the IMF under a financial arrangement. The program under discussion would aim to support a durable post-pandemic recovery, restore fiscal sustainability, strengthen public financial management, and ensure the protection of the most vulnerable. Other key structural reforms to be implemented include strengthening governance and fostering private sector investment to spur inclusive growth and employment over the medium term.
At the end of the visit, Mr. Aslam issued the following statement:
“Lesotho has been experiencing twin economic shocks resulting from the pandemic and a decline in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) that have proved to be highly volatile. Public expenditures have been increasing while SACU revenues were buoyant but have not adapted to their decline and the limited growth in other revenue sources. At the same time, the economy has been in recession since 2017. The resulting fiscal and external imbalances, if left unaddressed, would continue to put pressure on international reserves and lead to government payment arrears.
“Discussions emphasized the need to support a robust and inclusive post-pandemic recovery. To this end, the mission discussed with the authorities a number of options for containing the fiscal deficit to a level that is sustainable and can be fully financed. The team noted that the adjustment should be focused on expenditure measures while boosting poverty-reducing social spending to protect the most vulnerable. Complementary actions include efforts to broaden financial access and inclusion; strengthen financial supervision; modernize the legal frameworks for bank lending, business rescue, and restructuring, and digitalize payment systems.
“On the fiscal front, efforts should focus on addressing the public sector wage bill, which is one of the largest in the world compared to the size of the economy; saving on public sector and official allowances; better targeting education loans; streamlining the capital budget and initiating gender-responsive budgeting. Discussions also considered measures to modernize tax policy and improve domestic revenue mobilization. The mission noted the need to address long-standing PFM issues to ensure the provision of reliable fiscal data, the integrity of government systems, and the sound use of public resources.
“Significant progress was made during the visit, and discussions will continue in the coming weeks. If agreement is reached on policy measures in support of the reform program, an arrangement to support Lesotho’s economic program would be proposed for the IMF Executive Board’s consideration.
“The IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and constructive discussions.”
The IMF mission met with Prime Minister Majoro, Minister of Finance Sophonea, Central Bank Governor Matlanyane, and other senior government officials. The team also met with representatives of the diplomatic community, private sector, civil society, and multilateral development partners.
Nigeria’s Inflation: Prices Increase at Slower Pace in September 2021
Prices of goods and services moderated further in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria in the month of September 2021, the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed.
Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate, grew at 16.63 percent year-on-year in September, slower than the 17.01 percent rate achieved in the month of August.
On a monthly basis, inflation rose by 1.15 percent in September 2021, representing an increase of 0.13 percent from 1.02 percent filed in August 2021.
Food Index that gauges price of food items grew at 19.57 percent rate in the month, below the 20.30 percent rate recorded in August 2021.
The increase in the food index was caused by increases in prices of oils and fats, bread and cereals, food product N.E.C., fish, coffee, tea and cocoa, potatoes, yam and other tuber and milk, cheese and egg.
However, on a monthly basis, the price of food index rose by 0.20 percent from 1.06 percent filed in August 2021 to 1.26 percent in September 2021.
The more stable twelve months average ending in September 2021 revealed that prices of food items grew by 0.21 percent from 20.50 percent in August to 20.71 percent in September.
Prices of goods and services have been on the decline in Nigeria in recent months, according to the NBS. However. on masses are complaining of the persistent rise in prices of goods and services across the nation.
Some experts attributed the increase to Nigeria’s weak foreign exchange rate given it is largely an import-dependent economy.
Global Debt Rises by $27 Trillion to $226 Trillion in 2020 – IMF
The pandemic has led to an unprecedented increase in debt—issued by governments, nonfinancial corporations, and households the IMF estimated in the latest Fiscal Monitor report. In 2020 global debt reached $226 trillion and increased by $27 trillion, the IMF estimated Wednesday (October 13) in Washington, DC.
High and growing levels of public and private debt are associated with risks to financial stability and public finances, said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.
“According to preliminary estimates from the Global Debt Database, global debt by governments, households, and non-financial corporations reached $226 trillion. That represents an increase of $27 trillion relative to 2019. Both the level and the pace of increase are record highs. We know that high and rising debts increase risks to financial stability and public finances,” Gaspar said ahead of the Fiscal Monitor release.
Gaspar emphasized that countries with a high credibility fiscal framework benefit from better bond market access. They also experience lower interest rates on sovereign bonds.
“A strong message from the fiscal monitor is that fiscal credibility pays off. Countries that have credible fiscal frameworks benefit from better and cheaper access to bond markets. That’s a precious asset to have in an uncertain and difficult times like COVID 19. Fiscal credibility pays off!,” added Gaspar.
He also recognized that while the international community has provided critical support to alleviate fiscal vulnerabilities in low-income countries, still more is needed.
“In 2020, the IMF’s rapid financing and the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative contribute to make resources available to the countries that need it the most. But more is needed. With a general allocation of SDRs of $650 billion, liquidity has been provided, but much more could be achieved if rich countries would make part of their resources available to the developing world. By doing so, donors would be contributing to fighting the pandemic and to the achievement of sustainable and inclusive growth,” said Gaspar
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