PDP Rejects New Year Hike In Electricity Tariff

 

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the New Year ‘gift’ of hike in electricity tariff as approved by the Federal Government and urge President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately rescind the increase.

The party in a communique on Tuesday described the 100 per cent hike in electricity tariff from N2 to N4 per kWhr, as announced by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), as insensitive, anti-people, and will worsen the economic hardship being faced by Nigerians at this time.

The party contends that the reasons adduced by NERC are not enough to warrant such an increase in electricity tariff, especially at the time Nigerians are looking up to the government for economic recovery programmes and packages.

READ ALSO: Gov Wike Says Ogoni Clean Up Is Deceptive, Politically Motivated

The PDP urged the APC and the Buhari-led government to note that such an electricity tariff hike, at this critical time, will bear more pressure on homes and businesses, impact negatively on our national productivity and make life more unbearable, particularly at this period of insufferable economic recession.

“What our nation needs at this point are positive policies that will encourage Nigerians in their productive endeavours and cushion the hardship they face on a daily basis instead of wicked policies that will only worsen their situation.

“It is imperative for the Federal Government to note that Nigerians are already weighed down by high costs and weak purchasing powers and as such should not be further burdened with high electricity costs,” the PDP statement reads in part.

The party asked President Buhari to immediately review the hike and make further consultations on more affordable ways to meet the power needs of the nation instead of resorting to a tariff hike.

Electricity Consumers To Pay More As NERC Adjusts Tariff

A file photo of a transformer. Inset: NERC logo.

 

Consumers in the country will begin to pay more for electricity following an adjustment of tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The approval was given in a Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) signed by the new NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, and obtained by Channels Television on Tuesday.

In the document dated December 31, 2020, the agency stated that the order was effective from January 1, 2021.

The new rate is payable by electricity customers of the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) spread across the country.

The new increment order was issued barely two months after the implementation of the controversial increase proposed in 2020.

Part of the document reads,

This order supersedes ORDER/NERC/202B/2020 and shall take effect from 1 January 2021 and shall cease to have effect on the issuance of a new Minor Review Order or an Extraordinary Tariff Order by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (“NERC” or the “Commission”).

The commission, pursuant to sections 32 and 76 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (“EPSRA”), issued the Revised MYTO – 2020 Tariff Order within an effective date of 1 November 2020 to address, amongst other objectives, the transition to cost-reflective tariffs (CRT) and introduction of Service-Based Tariffs (SBT) regime with a view to improving customer service experience as well as ensuring financial sustainability of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (“NESI”).

In line with the Regulations on Procedure for Electricity Tariff Review in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry and MYTO Methodology (Amended), this Minor Review of the Revised MYTO – 2020 Order considered the impact of inflation rates (Nigeria and USA), foreign exchange rate (NGN/USD), gas prices, available generation capacity and material variances to the accompanying CAPEX and OPEX required for the evacuation and distribution of available generation capacity.

Accordingly, the Order is issued to reflect the impact of changes in the Minor Review variables as indicated in section 7 of this Order and used relevant projections based on best available information in the determination of cost-reflective tariffs (CRT) and relevant tariff shortfalls for the year 2021.

The Order also determines the minimum remittances payable by IBEDC in meeting its market obligations based on the allowed end-user tariffs.

 

NERC Denies ’50 Per Cent’ Tariff Increase

Five days after the order was issued, there was an outcry over the adjustment by NERC following reports that consumers would pay about 100 per cent more.

In a swift reaction, the regulatory body denied the reports and accused the media outfits that published same of misinforming the public.

NERC, in a series of tweets, insisted that tariff for customers being served less than an average of 12 hours of supply per day over a period of one month would remain frozen and subsidised, in line with the policy direction of the Federal Government.

It, however, admitted that the rates for service bands A, B, C, D, and E have been “adjusted” by N2 to N4 per kilowatt-hour (KWH).

Noting that the adjustment was in compliance with the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform (ESPR) Act and Nigeria’s tariff methodology for biannual minor review, the agency explained that it was aimed at reflecting the partial impact of inflation and movement in forex.

Read the statement issued by NERC below:

PUBLIC NOTICE ON PURPORTED 50% INCREASE IN ELECTRICITY TARIFFS

The attention of the Commission has been drawn to publications in the print and electronic media misinforming electricity consumers that the Commission has approved a 50% increase in electricity tariffs.

The Commission hereby states unequivocally that NO approval has been granted for a 50% tariff increase in the Tariff Order for electricity distribution companies which took effect on January 1, 2021.

On the contrary, the tariff for customers on service bands D & E (customers being served less than an average of 12hrs of supply per day over a period of one month) remains frozen and subsidised in line with the policy direction of the FG.

In compliance with the provisions of the EPSR Act and the nation’s tariff methodology for biannual minor review, the rates for service bands A, B, C, D and E have been adjusted by NGN2.00 to NGN4.00 per kWhr to reflect the partial impact of inflation & movement in forex.

In the light of strong public interest on this matter, the media is hereby requested to retract their earlier publications misinforming electricity consumers nationwide about a purported 50% increase in electricity tariffs.

The Commission remains committed to protecting electricity consumers from failure to deliver on committed service levels under the service-based tariff regime.

Any customer that has been impacted by any rate increases beyond the above provision of the tariff Order should report to the Commission at [email protected]

FG, Labour Leaders Resume Talks Over Increased Petrol Price, Electricity Tariff

A fuel station in Lagos sells petrol at N162 per litre.

 

The Federal Government has reconvened the meeting with the organised labour to continue dialogue on the recent increase in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.

At the last meeting which held two weeks ago, the dialogue was suspended to enable the government do further consultations as the labour leaders insisted on the reversal of the new prices of petrol and electricity tariff.

In his opening remarks at the resumed negotiation on Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment,  Chris Ngige, noted that much of the consultations have been made since the last meeting.

He also informed the labour leaders that a lot of work has been done by the Federal Government team on the issue of palliatives.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, on his part, stated that the interests of the country and its citizens have continued to drive the discussions so far and the various positions taken.

FG Set To Demolish Structures Around High Tension Cables
A file photo of an electricity pole.

 

He maintained that the government has never seen the organised labour as a nuisance, rather it considered it as a critical partner.

According to the SGF, the organised labour has constantly drawn the attention of the government to the need to improve the welfare of the Nigerian people.

The labour leaders were led to the meeting by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, informed the government team that the labour leaders expected that progress should be made, especially on how to reach some of the milestones set during all previous meetings.

For the TUC President, Peter Esele, the meeting would be a successful one as he would be discussing with peace of mind.

FG Meets With NLC, TUC Over Hike In Electricity, Fuel Tariff

 

The Federal Government on Tuesday met with the organised Labour over the hike in electricity and fuel tariffs.

The meeting called by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Labour Congress in attendance held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Channels Television learned that the meeting which is at the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari is to discuss solutions to the recurring labour issues with a view to finding an end to incessant industrial actions.

In attendance at the meeting is the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

This comes as the labour unions are threatening to down tool over the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.

They are also complaining of non-implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage, alleged corruption in government agencies, loss of jobs across the industries, high cost of living and, businesses not booming in the light of the effects of COVID-19.

The labour unions and their civil society allies are meant to commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday, September 23.

READ ALSO: Mali Crisis: Osinbajo Attends ECOWAS Summit in Ghana

On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum said all is not well with the economy, calling for cooperation to fix the economy

While making a presentation on the topic, “Understanding the importance of fuel subsidy on the Nigerian Economy and the gains of deregulation,” Sylva noted that subsidy payment is a major source of corruption.

According to the minister, oil prices are low, adding that there is also a cut in production to about 1.412 million barrels per day.

Sylva who stressed that the nation’s major source of income which is oil, reduced by over 50 per cent, maintained that Nigeria was losing about N1billion daily to subsidy between 2016-2019.

Prior to this time, the country was losing about 3.7 billion naira daily.

Speaking further, he explained that despite the deregulation, fuel price in the country is the cheapest in the West African region.

He added that subsidy cost the government N2trillion in 2011 and N1.3trillion in 2013.

Five Million Households To Get Solar Home Systems In One Year – FG

A photo of assembled solar panels.

 

The Federal Government has concluded plans to provide solar home systems to no fewer than five million households in the next one year.

President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this on Monday at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The President, who was represented at the event by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said, “In addressing the power problems, we must not forget that most Nigerians are not even connected to electricity at all.”

“So, as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), we are providing solar home systems to five million Nigerian households (impacting up to 25 million individual Nigerians) in the next 12 months,” he added.

A Path To Full Electrification

According to the President, the government has already begun the process of providing financing support for manufacturers and retailers of Off-Grid Solar Home Systems and Mini-Grids, who are to provide the systems, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He believes the five million systems under the ESP’s Solar Power Strategy will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation.

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Buhari explained that this would translate into more Nigerians having access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.

He stated that the support to solar home system manufacturers and the bulk procurement of local meters would create over 300,000 local jobs while setting Nigeria on a path to full electrification.

“We are also executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in the transmission and distribution of a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023,” the President said.

He noted that the government has developed N2.3 trillion ESP (which consists of fiscal, monetary, and sectoral measures to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs, and provide succour to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable) as part of its response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

TCN Transmits 5,420 MW Of Power, Nigeria’s Highest-Ever

A file photo of a powerline.
A file photo of a powerline.

 

The Transmission Company of Nigeria has said that a total of 5,420.30 megawatts of power was transmitted through the national grid as of August 19, 2020, as the country currently seeks to overhaul its power industry.

A statement by the power firm stated that the figure is the highest ever recorded in the nation’s power sector, surpassing the 5,377.80 megawatts peak reached on August 1.

It attributed the newest feat to the keen interest of the federal government and the several programmes and projects aimed at growing the power sector.

The TCN maintained that it is working to stabilise, rehabilitate and expand the country’s grid, while urging Nigerians to support the efforts of the government by ensuring that electricity installations nationwide are secure.

Meanwhile, the power deal between the Federal Government, its German counterpart, and Siemens AG, will see to the upgrading of 105 power substations, the construction of 70 new ones, the manufacture of 3,765 new power transformers.

The deal under the Presidential Power Initiative has been endorsed by the Federal Executive Council and will see to the upgrade from the current transmission to 7,000mw, 11,000mw and 25,000mw before 2023, with another scale-up tp 25,000mw.

Why Nigeria Exports Electricity To Benin, Togo – Presidency

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu
A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

 

The Presidency on Tuesday said Nigeria exports power to neighbouring countries in order to prevent the damming of water that feeds the nation’s major power plants.

On Monday, a Nigerian newspaper, Punch, had published a report describing how Nigeria has continued to export electricity to other countries on credit while blackouts persist within its borders.

As a response to the report, the Presidency, via a statement signed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu, described the report as “hyperbolic and terribly misleading.”

The Presidency said the newspaper’s credit figures were “far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality.”

It also added that over 90 percent of the electricity generated in the country was distributed and consumed by Nigerians.

The Presidency revealed that as of the last review in 2019, the amount of credit extended to Niger, Benin, and Togo stood at $69 million.

According to it, Niger owes $16 million and Benin, $4 million as of today, adding up to the naira equivalent of about N1.2 billion.

Read the full statement below:

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

PUNCH’S INACCURATE REPORTING ON THE SALE OF POWER TO NEIGHBORING NATIONS NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED

It is most disappointing that sensationalism has dominated the thinking and ethos of institutions that citizens look up to with trust, confidence and reliability. Monday edition of the Punch checks all the boxes in terms of an abject failure to honour these time-tested traditions with its news piece: “NIGERIA EXPORTS USD81.48bn ELECTRICITY ON CREDIT AS COUNTRY’S BLACKOUT PERSISTS,” is, to say the least, hyperbolic and terribly misleading.

Apart from the fact that the figure quoted is far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality, the overall cost of power generated and sold by Nigeria in the period covered by the report is not anywhere close to what was mentioned by the paper.

The actual cost of electricity generated within the said timeframe (2018-2019) by all the electricity generation companies in Nigeria was about N1.2 trillion ($4 billion).

Over 90% of the electricity generated was distributed and consumed by consumers across the 11 electricity distribution companies in the country.

Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.

As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET. Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.

As of today, Niger owes only USD 16 million and Benin, USD 4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2bn.

The essence of said bilateral agreements, by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

In the future, we advise the newspaper to seek clarity from the market operator which is the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. This process of fact-checking only improves your standing in the public arena.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

July 28, 2020

PHOTOS: Electricity Workers Decry Corruption, Demand Review Of Privatisation Process

Some electricity workers holding placards with various inscriptions to protest against the corruption in the sector at a press conference in Abuja on May 11, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

A coalition of unions of electricity workers in Abuja has called for the immediate review of the privatisation process of the sector.

The group comprises members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies in the nation’s capital.

At a news conference on Monday in Abuja, the workers insisted that the privatisation process was fraudulent.

According to them, this resulted in the poor quality of service experienced in the electricity sector since its privatisation.

The unions decried that contracts within the sector were being awarded to unqualified individuals, without recourse to in-house capacity to address some of the challenges facing the sector.

They, therefore, called on the new management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to block all the loopholes aiding corruption in the sector.

See more photos below:

A picture of the logo of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) taken in Abuja on May 11, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Lockdown: PDP Asks FG To Suspend ATM, Electricity Charges

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to open an arrangement with commercial banks for the suspension of charges for use of ATM cards.

It also called for the suspension of charges for low amount mobile fund transfers, as part of measures to ease the burden of poor Nigerians during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

In a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP noted that the lockdown has subjected majority of Nigerians to extensive use of ATM and mobile transfers for survival, making the suspension of charges on minimal transactions within this period of restriction highly imperative.

READ ALSO: Borno, Akwa Ibom Record First COVID-19 Deaths As More Patients Recover

“The party notes that the lifting of the charges within the period of this pandemic will ease the burden on cash withdrawals by our vulnerable citizens, as well as encourage more Nigerians to support one another at this critical time.

“The PDP demands the CBN to immediately liaise with commercial banks and stimulate a special social sustenance modality to defray the cost of such charges, particularly to cover minimal transactions in favour of vulnerable Nigerians,” the statement said.

 

Crippled By COVID-19 Lockdown

The party also urged the Federal Government to activate similar social sustenance scheme to cover electricity tariff, particularly in areas populated by low income and vulnerable Nigerians across the country within the period of the lockdown.

It asked the government to show compassion on suffering Nigerians whose means of subsistence has been crippled by the lockdown and provide funds to electricity distribution companies to activate the tariff suspension within the period.

The PDP advised the government to commence the collation of data from trade unions and corporative societies covering low-income groups such as market women, motorcycle riders, artisans, cab drivers, and labourers among others, for possible economic recovery funds and loans to sustain their businesses at the end of the lockdown.

“Our citizens are passing through very difficult and harrowing experiences and our party is worried that the Federal Government has so far failed to reach most vulnerable Nigerians, whose survival directly depends on daily income in the markets, shops and streets, have been crippled by the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Consequently, the PDP restates its call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately extend similar financial intervention that was released to Lagos State to all other states of the federation,” the statement added.

According to the party, the President should take immediate steps to end the alleged corruption in his administration’s social intervention scheme, through which palliatives funds meant for Nigerians were purportedly squandered by officials.

It said such funds should be channelled to states for disbursement through the machinery of local governments, traditional institutions, and community leadership to ensure that they reached the target vulnerable groups.

“Moreover, our party charges the Federal Government to open up on the billions of naira so far donated by private individuals, firms, as well as donor agencies and immediately constitute an Eminent Nigerian Group drawn from the private sector to manage the fund to eliminate corruption, bureaucratic and political bottlenecks.

“Our primary focus as a party remains the welfare of our citizens as we stand with them in this battle to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in our country,” it stated.

No Decision Has Been Reached To Provide Free Electricity – Power Ministry

 

The Federal Ministry of Power has said no decision has been reached by the Federal Government to provide free electricity for Nigerians for two months.

In a tweet on its official handle, Friday, the Ministry said that if the decision is taken, it will be announced officially.

“Please Note: NO DECISION has been taken by the Federal Government to provide Nigerians with FREE ELECTRICITY for 2 months. If and when that becomes a reality, it shall be announced officially,” the tweet read.

READ ALSO: DisCos Ready To Give Nigerians Two-Month Free Electricity

The tweet added: “Be rest assured that FG is exploring ways to ameliorate any hardship on Nigerians.”

On Wednesday, Electricity distribution companies announced that they have aligned with the proposal by the National Assembly and the Federal Government to give Nigerians two months free electricity.

“In fulfillment of our commitments to the nation, we hereby align ourselves with the efforts of the National Assembly and the Federal Executive to mitigate the hardships that are currently being borne by our customers and other citizens all over the country,” the Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan said.

COVID-19: Reps Seek Two-Month Free Power Supply To Nigerians

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary at the House of Representatives chamber in Abuja .

 

Members of the House of Representatives are set to consider a fresh Stimulus Bill that will ensure that Nigerians get free electricity supply for two months to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, in a statement issued on Saturday, noted that the proposed Bill will help in boosting the economy through the informal sector as the country prepares for the aftermath of the coronavirus.

According to him, the Bill which will be the second Stimulus Bill by the Green Chamber will be considered immediately the House reconvenes from its ongoing break, declared due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly leadership says the resumption date which had initially been slated for April 7, will be extended by one week in compliance with the government’s two-week stay-at-home policy.

Gbajabiamila disclosed this during a meeting between the National Assembly leadership and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmad, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, among others.

Read Also: COVID-19 Lockdown: Gbajabiamila Meets NERC, Others Over Power Supply

Giving his opening remarks, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan noted that the meeting, the second in about 10 days, was a testimony of the commitment of both arms of government at addressing the issues holistically.

He assured Nigerians that the parliament would perform its constitutional roles towards ensuring that all can benefit from the efforts aimed at mitigating the effects of the disease.

While noting that Nigerians must be assisted to weather the storm of the virus, Lawan added that critical decisions need to be taken but must be legal, which makes it important that the legislature is part of the entire process.

On his part, Gbajabiamila said the country could not afford to be unprepared for the effects of the COVID-19 on the economy.

Explaining the necessity for the proposed stimulus bill for the electricity sector, the Speaker said electricity, being a commodity consumed by every household, has a greater effect on the people and that since more Nigerians are in the informal sector, the effects would be more felt by the economy.

“The issue of electricity, you’ll agree, because the Minister did say that she has been inundated by the public, just as we are, on several suggestions and ideas and I am almost a hundred percent sure that, from those ideas will be the issue of some kind of shelter, as far as electricity is concerned.

“It is one thing that will touch every household. As I said earlier, when we engaged, I discussed with the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) that packaged whatever they would require, if the government can give them, for us to allow for two months free electricity for Nigerians, they would be able to guarantee it.

“We have the figures. I think we should look very seriously into that as part of our package for economic stimulus, because stimulus means something that will stimulate the economy. When you are stimulating the economy, most of it will come from the informal sector.

“When you are saving people their electricity and the fact that they now have stable electricity for two months, you are also saving the monies that would go into the payment of those bills at least for two months.”

On the need by the Executive arm to source for funds in the fight against coronavirus and its socio-economic effects, the Speaker restated the determination of the National Assembly to partner the Executive in efforts aimed at mitigating the effects of the disease on Nigerians and the economy.

He, however, noted that all government funds and private donations must be transparently accounted for.

He said: “Definitely, you will be taking loans from the Special Accounts, and as the Senate President said, it has to be backed by law, which again emphasizes the need to collaborate as earlier stated by the Minister.

“There has to be a collaboration. It cannot be a unilateral decision from the National Assembly; it can’t be a unilateral decision from the Executive; there has to be a collaboration. I’m glad that we are on that trajectory.

“I’m glad that my earlier discussion with the Honourable Minister on food and other items seized by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has been taken care of, as stated by the Minister.

“We need to, as soon as possible, and let the public know. On the issue of Presidential Task Force (PTF), none of us here, I don’t think any legislator can point to, who exactly is in charge. Where does the buck stop?

“Who is in charge of the disbursement? Who is in charge of the distribution of cash? Who decides what money goes where?

“Now, it is incumbent on the National Assembly to follow the money. Constitutionally, any money that comes into Nigeria, there has to be oversight.

“That is why, we in the House have directed our Committees on Health, Disaster Management and Preparedness and Donor Agencies to talk to the PTF, talk to the Minister of Health and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“I wrote letters to all these people, but I wasn’t sure where exactly the buck stops. We need to clearly define exactly who is handling the money, who is handling what”.

Gbajabiamila also urged the Finance Minister and her team to consider all options put forward by experts on preparation against the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier, the Minister for Finance, said among other measures, the establishment of a N500bn Covid-19 Crisis Intervention Fund is on the table.

She said the money is expected to be raised from various Special Funds and Accounts in consultation with and with the approval of the National Assembly.

The intervention fund will be utilised to finance the Federal Government’s support to state in improving their healthcare facilities and also finance the creation of a Special Public Works Programme.

She also explained the need to revisit the 2020 national budget has become imperative, saying, “It has been established that Nigeria is currently facing significant fiscal risks due to the worsening global economic outlook.

“Specifically, Nigeria is highly vulnerable to the current global economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis; and exposed to the risks of both a pronounced decline in oil prices and spikes in risk aversion in the global capital markets.”

COVID-19 Lockdown: Gbajabiamila Meets NERC, Others Over Power Supply

 

As Nigerians continue to clamour for better power supply especially following the stay-at-home order by the Federal government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has met with the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman and the management of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The meeting which held on Wednesday sought to address some of the issues regarding electricity, as well as a viral video by Nollywood actress, Ada Ameh.
In the video, Ameh lamented over the poor electricity supply to Nigerians during the ongoing lockdown in major parts of the country.

While giving his opening remark, Gbajabiamila expressed dismay over the barrage of calls and messages from many Nigerians through his social media account, reacting to the protest video and therefore, called for prompt action.

“It has become imperative that I urgently call for this meeting to find a solution to the poor supply of electricity during this lockdown period. If we ask people to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, at least we have to make their homes comfortable for them to stay.

“The complaints have just been too much in the last 24 hours. There are people also in the hospital now without electricity; we need to brainstorm over an urgent solution,” he said.

On his part, the Minister of Power, Mamman, highlighted the challenges encountered by power generating companies (GENCOs) and the possible intervention of the leadership of the House of Representatives.

“We are aware of the challenges faced by Nigerians, so we have started talking to GENCOs because they have been complaining that Discos are not paying and only about 20% of their dues are remitted.

“So, the GENCOs are facing technical and revenue shortfall. Consequently, they can’t as well meet their financial obligations to gas companies. The Discos also pay less of their generated revenue to GENCOs, because they complain about power theft by consumers, high technical costs, etc.

“The sum of N130 billion is what the government gives GENCOs to augment the shortfall of payments not fulfilled by Discos. We still have about N1.2 trillion payment shortfall in all. I have been begging the gas suppliers to please, in the interest of Nigerians, release gas to the GENCOs. The shortfalls are accruals from the problem of estimated billing, non-payment of bills by estimated customers, etc.

“What the NASS can do is to plead with CBN to help with funds to enable the Federal Government to augment the revenue shortfall to enable government pay gas companies and thereafter bring all the critical stakeholders to a table,”, the power minister said.

In his contribution, the NERC Commissioner on Compliance, Mr. Akpaneye, assured the Speaker and the leadership of the House that the commission is committing the Discos to a new guideline that shows empathy with Nigerians during this COVID-19 lockdown.

“All NERC Commissioners are in the Situation Room in our office monitoring GENCOs and Discos activities. We know the demand for this power during this lockdown is for residential, since most industries are on lockdown, so we are going to release a new guideline and sanction electricity companies that can’t show empathy during this period.”

Also speaking, the GMD of NNPC, Kyari hinted that the problem with the Trans Vocados gas line was resolved Wednesday morning and therefore, gave an assurance of supply of gas to enable GENCOs to generate power.

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, on their part, gave accounts of complications arising from the non-fulfilment of financial obligations by the electricity stakeholders but assured of interventions in the interest of Nigerians who are observing the lockdown order.

At the end of the meeting, all the critical stakeholders assured the Speaker and the leadership of the House of their commitment to ensuring power supply.

They, however, agreed to reconvene in the next few days to find lasting solutions to the challenges in the sector beyond the lockdown period.