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Power Generators Blackmailing Govt, Planning to Disrupt Supply – Fashola

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Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola
  • Power Generators Blackmailing Govt, Planning to Disrupt Supply – Fashola

Power generation companies are planning to disrupt the supply of electricity across the country, an intention that suggests blackmail against the Federal Government, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has alleged.

Reacting to reports that some of the firms had gone to court to file claims against the Federal Government, Fashola stated on Monday that the move was consistent with the rule of law but stressed that the power firms “must be ready to face scrutiny in the court of public opinion.”

Last week, the media 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.

But speaking at the 25th Monthly Power Sector Meeting in Uyo, Fashola said the Gencos must be ready to explain to power consumers that despite all they had benefitted from the Federal Government, they were still planning to hold the citizens hostage.

He stated, “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. I will implore those that are truly ready to run the business they have acquired voluntarily to continue to do so with the assurance of government support and partnership.

“As for those who entered the business without understanding it, please brace for hard work and help us rebuild this country. Those who choose to hide temporarily in the courts of law can do so, but the court of public opinion will scrutinise you and its verdict may be very scathing, unkind and enduring.”

Fashola added, “I say this because you may not have noticed that Nigerians are increasingly taking their destiny in their hands. This is the essence of privatisation. If you bother to look up and around you, you will see solar panels on rooftops. The mini grid regulations allow them to procure one megawatt without a licence.

“This is bigger than what many traditional generators supply. There is no law that compels them to take public power. I am not afraid of the law courts and will meet you there to vigorously defend our position.”

The minister stated that the Gencos must be ready to face the court of public opinion, which according to him, is a court of conscience and morality.

He noted that in the court of public opinion, the Gencos must be ready to tell the citizens how they felt when other groups went to court to stop the implementation of tariffs approved by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in 2016.

Fashola said the power firms must explain to the public court whether they went to court before the government approved a N701bn payment assurance guarantee to pay their monthly bills.

He added, “They must disclose to this court that they owed debts from the pre-Buhari era, because their income had reduced to less than 50 per cent. They must disclose to this court that they now receive about 80 per cent income and that this government is now paying them revenues collected from international customers from the Republics of Benin, Niger and Togo in dollars, as against the naira payment they used to receive.

“They must tell the court of public opinion that the reason for going to court is because the government is making 100 per cent payment to a new Genco, which has a different contract with a Partial Risk Guarantee, which they do not have. They must also disclose to the court that they held a meeting with the government and tabled their demands, which the government promised to look into one week before they went to court.”

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 long experience in the global financial market.

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COVID-19: World Bank to Support Nigerian Frontline Healthcare Workers With $114.28m

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world bank

World Bank Strengthens Nigerian Response to COVID-19

The World Bank has once again approved another $114.28 million financing for Nigeria to improve its COVID-19 response time and further curb the spread of the virus in Africa’s most populous nation.

The multilateral financial institution said the money will help Africa’s largest economy prevent, detect and respond to the threat of ravaging COVID-19 better.

In a statement titled “Nigeria to boost states capacity for COVID-19 response” and released on Friday, the lender said the fund includes $100 million credit facility from the International Development Association and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.

The statement reads, “Through the COVID-19 preparedness and response project (CoPREP), the government of Nigeria will provide grants to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.

The lender, however, stated that grants for states would be based on the adoption of COVID-19 measures and strategies. In particular, the strategies must be in line with the ones put in place by the Federal Government.

CoPREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the WHO guidelines in the strategic response plan,” it stated.

The bank added that it would help the Federal Government in such response capacity through the training of frontline healthcare workers and provision of the necessary equipment to aid their work, strengthen public healthcare network for emergencies and generally improve their response efficiency.

Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director, Nigeria said, “Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID -19 outbreak, but more needs to be done at the state level, which are at the frontline of the response.”

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Mismanagement of Public Funds and Resources Will Destroy Nigeria, Says Stakeholders

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Buhari in Port Harcourt

Some concerned stakeholders have said the broad-based financial misappropriation, abuse of public office by Public Officeholders and unchecked borrowing will destroy the nation’s present and future if not checked.

According to Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, CISLAC, who spoke at a stakeholders’ dialogue on ‘Policies, Gaps and Alternatives in Fiscal Transparency in Private Sector Governance,’ organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Transparency International (TI), with support from OXFAM’s country office in Nigeria, abuse of power and financial recklessness as been going on for far too long.

Musa said, “This has been going on for too long, and every singular effort from the citizens is termed as hate or unpatriotic. Meanwhile, the consequences of this anomaly are staring us in the face on a daily basis and are on the increase. Increased poverty; banditry allegedly occasioned by rising unemployment; and unpatriotic citizens trooping into leadership positions to perpetuate the looting and misappropriation due to no oversight and punitive sanctions, not to mention health, infrastructure and societal decay. The list is inexhaustible.

He also implored the Government that in order to reduce the excessive misuse of public resources, mismanagement of finances and strengthen the financial management system, the holes that encourage people to evade and undermine the collection of taxes must be bridged and in-depth economic improvement devised to close policy gaps.

There are many areas in which the government can increase its revenue drive. For instance, in the Oil and Gas sector, there are a lot of gaps as a result of lack of a clear legal framework through the PIB, which will enable the sector to be more efficient, transparent and competitive. Again, the oil theft needs to be blocked; other areas like maritime revenue can be harnessed in these sectors.

“Also, the government should block the areas where revenues are supposed to be collected and are not collected. For instance, the audit report clearly shows how the government is losing revenue.” he said.

The stakeholders urge policymakers to look for other sources of revenue that can guarantee development in Nigeria.

Also, speaking at the event was the Programme Manager, Tax, Justice, Environment and Conservation of Nature, CISLAC, Chinedu Bassey, who said one of the reasons to strengthen the Nigerian financial management system is to stop people from stealing and mismanaging resources meant for development.

Iheme Madukairo, the Manager, Large Tax Audit, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), advised Nigerians who evade taxes to stop such act that the law will take its course.

He said “Enforcement is out there, sleeves are rolled up to do the job that we are mandated to do by the act and sooner or later, we will catch up with them. The sanctions have also increased by virtue of the finance act. The penalty has been increased, once it is found out that it is a deliberate act to breach the law, the law will take its course.

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Lai Mohammed Says Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds

President Muhammadu Buhari government has recovered over N800 billion looted by corrupt Nigerians since the beginning of this administration in 2015.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference held in Abuja.

He said, “This administration’s fight against corruption is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim.

“This administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of N800bn, not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties.”

President Muhammadu Buhari has made recovery of Nigeria’s stolen assets one of his priorities since he became president in 2015.

Several of Nigeria’s untouchables have been convicted despite political experts and social commentators saying the war against corruption should not be only against opposition but also against those in the ruling party that seems to have been overlooked.

Still, the ruling party has insisted that members of the party have been convicted and one of such is Kalu.

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