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Four Discos Grow Revenue by N49.6bn as USAID Intervenes

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power
  • Four Discos Grow Revenue by N49.6bn as USAID Intervenes

Four power distribution companies in the country grew their revenue by $162m (N49.57bn at the official exchange rate of N306 to a dollar) after the intervention of the United States Agency for International Development through the Power Africa Transactions and Reform Project.

It was gathered that the United States agency’s support to the four Discos boosted their revenue protection and collection mechanisms, although the agency did not disclose the names of the power firms.

In an email to our correspondent in Abuja, the Deputy Director for USAID/Nigeria’s Economic Growth and Environment Office, David Rogers, described Nigeria, being Africa’s largest oil exporter with a population of 193 million people, as a focus country for Power Africa and one of Power Africa’s largest investments.

He said Nigeria’s diversified economy could grow faster and create more opportunities if the structural problems affecting its various sectors were surmounted, adding that among these problems was the country’s electricity shortage and instability.

Rogers, who doubles as the Power Africa coordinator for Nigeria, said, “The good news is that despite all your (Nigeria’s) challenges, improvements can be made. Building on the success of Power Africa’s earlier investments through the Power Africa Transactions and Reform Project, a larger, more focused Nigeria Power Sector Project has started and will run through 2023.

“PATRP provided technical assistance and capacity building to four distribution companies and delivered $162m worth of increased revenue through improved revenue protection and collection mechanisms; facilitated over 500,000 new connections; reduced aggregate technical, commercial and collections losses between six and 13 per cent per distribution company; introduced new Disco operational efficiencies that improved customer service and timely revenue management; and trained in various disciplines over 4,000 Disco employees over a two year period.”

Rogers said in the new phase of Power Africa support to the Nigerian electricity supply industry, the NPSP was supporting the entire Nigerian power sector value chain beyond Discos, focusing on coordination between the various stakeholders and donor coordination to maximise support and available funding across all the links of the chain.

He stated that NPSP’s support to the Discos would be extensive, adding that the project would support performance improvement plan development for selected Discos.

Rogers said, “Performance improvement plans are a pivotal planning tool to assist the Nigerian power sector to improve, and Power Africa is providing assistance in PIP development.

“NPSP will provide technical assistance to support effective operations, improve the accuracy, quality, and integrity of industry data, and enable selected Discos to achieve targets included in their privatisation agreements.”

He said the project would provide capacity building across all Discos to

strengthen billing and collections and technical service capabilities; implement targeted community and gender engagement campaigns; and build the capabilities of the Discos’ finance and accounting departments.

“Finally, NPSP will promote effective cooperation between Discos and other power sector stakeholders in addressing long-term sector problems such as integrated planning, private sector participation, electrification, and improved sector efficiency,” he said.

Rogers stated that Power Africa was a USAID-led partnership between development partners, the private sector, and African governments that aims to add 30,000 megawatts of new and cleaner power generation to the continent and 60 million new electricity connections to homes and businesses.

According to him, Power Africa started in 2013, and thus far over 10,000MW of generation projects had reached financial close, and nearly 15 million new connections had been realised.

He noted that despite the diverse economic sectors in Nigeria, lack of access to reliable electricity was consistently cited as a constraint on Nigeria’s economic growth.

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.

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Amazon To Open African Headquarters In South Africa

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US retail giant, Amazon has announced that it would be opening its first African office in South Africa with a real estate investment of over R4 billion. This announcement is coming a week after Twitter choose to open its first African office in Ghana.

Authorities in Cape Town noted that Amazon would be occupying a new development in River Club, a prime section of the city. This new development will create 5,239 jobs in the construction phase alone. Along with 19,000 indirect and induced jobs.

The 15-hectare parcel of land will cost R4 billion and include two precincts. Authorities said the first precinct of 60,000sqm would occupy different layers of development, while the second section of 70,000 will hold Amazon headquarters in Africa.

“US retail giant, Amazon, will be the anchor tenant, opening a base of operations on the African continent. The development is envisaged to take place in phases, with construction set to take place over three to five years.

It is clear that this development offers many economic, social, and environmental benefits for the area. We are committed to driving investment to revitalize the economy, which is slowly recovering following the impact of Covid-19.” This was affirmed by Cape town city officials.

Earlier last week, Techcrunch had reported that Amazon announced the opening of Amazon Salon, the retailer’s first hair salon and a place where Amazon aims to test new technologies with the general public.

Amazon has had its web engineering giant AWS in South Africa for years, but its main e-commerce services have not been available anywhere on the continent.

This announcement came a week after Twitter announced the decision to set up its first African office and headquarters in Accra Ghana. Twitter claimed that Ghana’s democratic and economic strides made the West African country a highly competitive destination over Nigeria and other countries.

It was unclear whether Amazon considered Nigeria and similar parameters as Twitter while deciding its African base.

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Dangote Commits $700M To Sugar Production In Support of Backward Integration Policy

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc

The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has said it is committing over $700m to its sugar projects to support the Backward Integration Policy of the Federal Government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by Dangote Industries Limited, the company disclosed this to visiting members of the Nasarawa House of Assembly on Friday.

The company noted that Nigeria was one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest importers of sugar, second only to South Africa with an annual import of over $337m.

The Dangote Sugar management however assured the lawmakers that with the completion of its sugar projects in Nasarawa and Adamawa under the BIP, the nation would be saved more than half of the forex expended on sugar imports annually.

It added that the investment would also lift its people as other people-oriented infrastructures would come with the sugar projects.

The state lawmakers commended the Dangote Group for the choice of the state for the project and the accelerated pace with which the project was being executed, despite occasional delays arising from communal disagreements.

General Manager for the BIP, Dangote Sugar, John Beverley said when the factory was fully operational, it would have the capacity to crush 12,000 tons of cane per day, while 90MW power would be generated for both the company’s use and host communities.

He also disclosed that some 500km roads in all would be constructed to ease transportation within the vicinity. He solicited the support of the lawmakers in controlling the menace of land encroachment by settlers and itinerant farmers.

The Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Abdullah, and his team members, who were conducted around the company’s 78,000 hectares BIP in Tunga Awe Local Government Area commended the company for the project.

Abdullah noted that it would not only open up opportunities in the state but in Africa as a whole, and said the lawmakers were ready to partner and support the company towards the realisation of the sugar project through the relevant legislation.

When phase II of the project is completed, according to the company, it will make it the largest sugar refining plant in Africa.

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French Trade Advisors pledge Massive Investment In Lagos Free Zone

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The Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur (French Foreign Trade Advisors) has expressed readiness to invest massively in the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) being developed by the Tolaram Group as they endorsed the zone as the ideal industrial destination for French businesses in Nigeria.

This was made known on Thursday, April 15, 2021, during a visit to the Lagos Free Zone. The delegation led by the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier accompanied by his Economic Advisor, the Consulate General of France in Lagos and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur comprising of CEOs of several French businesses in Nigeria.

Speaking during the visit, the Ambassador of France in Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier explained that the aim of the visit of the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur to Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) was to discover the opportunities in the Lagos Free Zone and the Lekki Port project, which is expected to have a huge positive impact on businesses in Nigeria.

Pasquier commended Tolaram Group, the promoter of the zone, for the foresight of integration of Lekki Port into the master plan of the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), which would serve as the gateway for import and export from the zone thereby giving businesses in the zone a competitive edge.

The Ambassador also commended the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) for its Master Plan for the zone which includes world-class infrastructure that is in line with its vision to be the preferred industrial hub and investment destination in West Africa.

“I am impressed by the huge size of the Lagos Free Zone project. We are very happy that the French companies will be deeply involved in this Lagos Free Zone project. It is really impressive to see how ambitious this project is. The French Minister was in Nigeria yesterday and I explained to him that Nigeria is a country where we can have big projects. For us, this project means big opportunities and that explains why we need to be here. We are happy to be here and work with Tolaram Group”, he added.

It is noteworthy to mention that the first French company to be established in the Lagos Free Zone is the terminal operations arm of CMA – CGM which has established a subsidiary within the Lagos Free Zone and is the appointed operator for the container terminal operations scheduled to commence at Lekki Port next year.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), Mr. Dinesh Rathi assured the Ambassador of France and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur that the zone remains the best destination for investment in Nigeria and the West African sub-region given the seamless integration with Lekki Port and the world-class infrastructure provided by Lagos Free Zone.

Explaining the configuration of the zone, Rathi disclosed that the clustering is planned in line with the international best practices of Work, Live, and Play. He stated that the land-use plan of the Lagos Free Zone allocates 70 percent area towards industrial developments, 20 percent towards logistics and support services while the real estate will cover the remaining 10 percent.

He also stated that Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) has simplified the process of business entry and operation in the zone in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business policy.

“We have made it very easy for the business to berth and take off at zone by making our process less cumbersome and friendly, we are open for business 24/7 and willing to help investors to settle in very fast,” he said.

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