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Abuja Disco to Install 900,000 Free Meters at a Cost of N23bn

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Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has perfected plans to install 900,000 meters in the next eighteen months.

The power distributing company said the Federal Government who owned 40 percent of the company has provided enough funds for the installation of meters for customers under its franchisee.

According to the Managing Director of AEDC, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya, AEDC will commence the installation with 101,000 free meters to customers between now and December 2021.

Mupwaya said “The significance of this program is that it has been designed with sufficient resources to meter all customers.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria who has 40% shareholding, have sourced sufficient funding to support discos through a low interest shareholder loan that will make it possible for DISCOs to receive sufficient meters to close the metering gap for good.”

He recalled that “Over the years, the company has embarked on various metering initiatives such as CAPMI and MAP. These programs have achieved some successes that resulted in metering of over 300,000 customers.

“Currently, with the flag-off of this National Free Mass Program, AEDC will receive a total of 900,000 meters, at the cost of 23 billion which will be sufficient to meter all customers including replacement of defective meters.

“Between now and December 2021 AEDC has planned to install over 101,000 meters at a cost of N 6bn without charging customers. The rest of the meters will be installed 18 months after, through a comprehensive role out program that will result in simultaneous installations in all three states of Niger, Kogi and Nassarawa in addition to FCT.

“The metering of customers have a huge positive implication not only to the electricity industry but to the entire economy in a number of ways.”

“Firstly, massive metering will create jobs through installation and inspections of meters after installations.

“Secondly, other jobs will be created in meter manufacturing, logistics and supply chains associated with making meters available in Nigeria. Thirdly, massive metering will improve the transparency in electricity transaction which will result in increased revenues that can be channelled into service improvement.

“Improved Services will support improved economic activities that will impact both informal and formal sectors. This will lead to electricity industry transformation along with numerous spillover effect to the economy.

“On this note, I wish to appeal to customers to accept the meters and resist any attempt by unscrupulous people who may approach them, with an offer to compromise the meters.

“The regulator NERC has put in place punitive penalties for those caught bypassing the meter to the extent that the fines override the perceived benefit apart from damaging the good working relationship with the discos.

“Energy theft also diverts resources which are meant to improve the service being provided. We believe that we can work together in ensuring that the metering challenge is brought to permanent end as we face a new dawn.

“However I want to acknowledge that the majority of our customers are law abiding citizens and they have been supporting us through the difficulties associated with transactions through estimated billing.

“I pay tribute to our customers as we cut the corner and face a new dawn in electricity transformation.”

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

France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership

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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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Economy

COVID-19: USAID to Provide $3m Grant, Technical Assistance to Combat Food Insecurity in Nigeria

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing financial grant and technical assistance worth $3 million to combat food insecurity in Nigeria compounded by COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement by the agency on Monday said: “On April 12, 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria launched a COVID-19 Food Security Challenge that will provide $3 million in grant funding and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies working in food value chains in Nigeria.”

The statement lamented that Nigeria is experiencing food insecurity compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects on the food value chain in the country.

It stated that the pandemic has disrupted the already fragile agricultural value chains, especially smallholder farmers’ ability to produce, process and distribute food, which has disrupted agricultural productivity and markets, and negatively impacted livelihoods, especially among vulnerable households, women and youth.

The USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson, said: “We are launching the COVID-19 Food Security Challenge to help innovative Nigerians alleviate food insecurity.

“This assistance encourages private sector-led solutions to boost food production, processing and create market linkage along the agriculture value chain in a sustainable way across Nigeria.”

The statement revealed that in launching the challenge, USAID seeks commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies already working in food production, processing, and distribution, noting that successful applicants will present ideas that demonstrably help farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain increase, agricultural productivity and food security within the next six months.

According to the statement, the challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and award 10 to 15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each.

Winners will receive funding and technical assistance to rapidly expand their activities to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food value chain and improve the resilience of vulnerable households to the negative impacts of the pandemic.

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Economy

FG Plans to Deliver Solar Energy to 25M Nigerians

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The Nigerian federal government has commenced its plan to deliver electricity through solar energy to Nigerians whose communities are off the national power grid.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke during an event to mark the programme in Jangefe, Roni Local Government Area of Jigawa State, restated the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to give more Nigerians access to cheap and environmentally friendly renewable power.

Osinbajo said the Solar Power Naija programme would continue across the six geopolitical zones in six states, namely, Edo, Lagos, Adamawa, Anambra, Kebbi and Plateau, in the first phase, and then move to the entire 36 states and the nation’s capital, thus, covering 25 million Nigerians at completion.

Jangefe community got 1,000 solar home system connections for its about 5,000 population, as part of a 100,000 scheme, with a local solar power company implementing aspects of the scheme.

According to Osinbajo, the president had emphasised that Nigeria could no longer rely solely on the grid if government is to electrify the whole country, which meant that an effective strategy had to be developed for decentralising power supply.

The Solar Power Naija programme, which is designed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), is an ambitious initiative that aims to create five million connections through a N140 billion financing programme that will support private developers to provide power for five million households, which means providing electricity for up to 25 million Nigerians.

The vice president disclosed that the programme was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement supported by concessionary lending via the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks. He emphasised that structures had been put in place to make the cost of the connections affordable for the target communities.

In addition to the concessionary lending rates, Osinbajo explained that the government had provided subsidies and rebates for private developers to the tune of over $200 million under the REA and World Bank Nigeria electrification programme.

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