- Power Grid Suffers Total Collapse, TCN May Expel Discos
The nation’s power grid recorded its eighth total collapse this year on Sunday, plunging consumers across the country into blackout for some hours.
The government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, which manages the grid, blamed electricity distribution companies for the system failure, which it said occurred at 9.10 am.
Total generation stood at 3,825 megawatts as of 6.00 am on Sunday, compared to 3,260.9MW on Saturday, the data obtained from the Nigeria Electricity System Operator, an arm of the TCN, showed.
The grid suffered four total collapses in January and one each in February, April and May, according to the system operator.
Enugu Electricity Distribution Plc had announced on its Twitter handle on Sunday afternoon that “the present loss of supply in the entire South-East is as a result of a system collapse which occurred at 09.21 am of today, 30th June, 2019.”
“This is as a result of a fire outbreak on Benin 330KV transmission line reactor. As a result of this unfortunate development, there is zero supply to all customers in our franchise areas as all our injection substations are affected,” it added.
Another Disco, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Plc, also informed its customers about the system failure from the national grid.
“We are currently experiencing a system collapse from the national grid, hence the power outage in our franchise states. Normal supply to our customers will resume as soon as the national grid is back up and stable,” it said on Twitter.
The TCN, in a statement made available to our correspondent around 6.28 pm, said the national grid experienced a system collapse today at 9.10 am due to high voltage following a massive drop of load by the electricity distribution companies.
It said the high voltage also caused a fire incident in the 75MX reactor in the Benin Substation, Sapele Road in Benin City, Edo State.
“The massive load drop led to high voltage in the system, which shattered the lightning arrester in close proximity to the 75MX reactor in Benin Substation. The shattered lightning arrester porcelain hit the reactor bushing, causing a further explosion on the reactor and resulting in a fire outbreak.”
The TCN said the restoration of the grid commenced immediately and as of 1.30pm, bulk power supply to most parts of the nation had been restored.
The company said it had commenced the movement of another reactor to Benin City to replace the burnt reactor and ensure voltage stability in the city as well as prevent a re-occurrence.
It said, “Management would also ensure a review of the entire protection and earthing system nationwide. This is done in addition to the overall upgrading of the system through the TREP programme being financed by multi-lateral donors.
“The installation of three reactors on the Ikot-Ekpene-Ugwuaji–Jos line has reached an advance stage. It is expected that once these three reactors are installed and inaugurated, the grid would be further stabilised. TCN management wishes to assure Nigerians that it is doing everything possible to modernise, upgrade and stabilise the national grid.”
Meanwhile, the TCN has said it may expel some Discos from the market as a result of their inability to provide their security cover.
Last week, the Market Operator, an arm of the TCN, ordered the suspension of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company and Eko Electricity Distribution Company from the MO-administered markets for failing to renew their security cover.
According to the TCN, security cover when so required of an amount established by Market Operator to serve as a form of guarantee of payment for all amounts due from the participant to the MO.
The Managing Director, TCN, Mr Usman Mohammed, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday, said Enugu Disco was given a disconnection notice while Ikeja and Eko Discos only got a notice of suspension from the market.
He said if they don’t make good within a certain period of time, the next thing that will happen is that they will be expelled, and when they are expelled, it means that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission will be notified that those people are incapable of meeting their responsibilities in the market, so NERC should invoke its business continuity regulation to ensure that they are replaced.
“We did not disconnect Eko and Ikeja Discos because the gravity of their offence did not warrant that. But in Enugu, we disconnected some lines. When they (Enugu Disco) make good, they will be restored to the market. But if they don’t, they will go to the next level, which is expulsion.”
India, Spain, the Netherlands, USA, Nigeria’s Major Export Markets -NBS
India, Spain and the Netherland top Nigeria’s export markets in the final quarter of 2020, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade Q4 2020 report showed that the United States and China trailed the three.
However, the NBS revealed Nigeria exports mainly crude oil and natural gas during the period under review.
It, “The major export and import market of Nigeria in Q4 2020 were India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China.
“The major export to these countries were crude petroleum and natural gas. The major imports from the countries were motor spirits, used vehicles, motorcycles and antibiotics.”
The bureau stated that the all-commodity group import index increased by 0.13 per cent between October and December 2020.
“This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of base metals and articles of base metals (one per cent), boilers, machinery and appliances; parts thereof (1.03 per cent), and products of the chemical and allied industries (0.75 per cent),” it stated.
The NBS, however, noted that the index was negatively affected by animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage products.
Onyeama: Qatar To Invest $5bn In Nigeria’s Economy
The oil-rich state of Qatar is to invest a total of $5 billion in Nigeria’s economy, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Godfrey Onyeama, has disclosed.
Onyeama, who spoke Sunday at a send forth dinner in honour of Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to the State of Qatar, who is also the outgoing Director of Protocol (DOP) at the State House, Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed, also stated that recent career ambassadorial appointments made by the gederal government was based on merit, experience and professionalism.
The minister further said there had been discussions with Qatar on partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), for significant investments in the region of $5 billion in the Nigerian economy.
According to him, ‘‘Qatar is a weighty and strategic country and very strategic in that part of the world and we are putting our best feet forward to advance the interest of our country economically and in other areas.”
He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the State of Qatar in 2016 and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, reciprocated with a State visit in 2019.
Onyeama also explained that only trusted hands with a track record of diligence, experience and professionalism in the Foreign Service were recently appointed career ambassadors by the federal government.
The minister said the appointment of Ahmed and other career ambassadors were predicated on posting dedicated and keen Foreign Service practitioners to serve as image makers of the country.
He said: ‘‘Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed is a dedicated professional with a penchant for rigour and detail. He is very capable and one of the best in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is personable, affable, extremely friendly, dispassionate and objective.
‘‘He is going to head a very important mission, a very important country, reckoned to be one of the richest countries in the world, per capita, and there’s a lot we will be doing with the State of Qatar.”
Also speaking, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Adeola Rahman Ipaye, described the honoree as a ‘‘perfect gentleman, very even-natured and always well turned out’’.
Ipaye said he had no doubt that the newly appointed ambassador would serve the country well in Qatar, adding that: ‘‘We are further encouraged that when he completes this assignment, he would return to serve Nigeria in a higher capacity.’’
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, while congratulating the outgoing DOP on his appointment, lauded Ahmed for excellent service to the State House and the nation.
‘‘He served this institution and the nation with the deepest sense of responsibility and it is very important that we establish a tradition where the system appreciates those who have served it well and those who will continue to serve it well,’’ he said.
Umar urged the new envoy to keep very fond memories of his time at the Presidential Villa, assuring him of the prayers and goodwill of all the staff.
Responding, Ahmed thanked President Buhari for the great honour and privilege of making him his principal representative in Doha, Qatar.
The Ambassador-designate pledged to deplore his energy and skill to the promotion of the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Qatar, particularly in the areas of economic, political, cultural and consular affairs as well as other key areas.
Ahmed, who joined Nigeria’s Foreign Service in 1993, said during his years in public service he had learnt that ‘‘patriotism, selfless service, diligence, determination and perseverance will always result in the achievement of the desired objective’’.
According to him, these virtues would be his ‘‘watchword’’ in the pursuit of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives and the attainment of national interests.
The Ambassador-designate singled out for appreciation the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the state Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, saying he had learnt a lot working under their mentorship.
He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary, State House for giving him the opportunity of a memorable work experience in the State House.
France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership
France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.
Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.
A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.
“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”
It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.
It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.
It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.
It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”
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