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Press zooms in on poor state of Nigerian power sector, others

The report that in the past eight years, Nigerians have spent about N5.7 trillion on the supply of darkness as…

The report that in the past eight years, Nigerians have spent about N5.7 trillion on the supply of darkness as electricity supply averages 4,000 megawatts, about the same level it was eight years ago is one of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Guardian reports that in what most industry players and consumer right groups, yesterday, described as payment for darkness, Nigerians, in the past eight years, have spent about N5.7 trillion on the supply of electricity as supply averages 4,000 megawatts, about the same level it was eight years ago.

Statistics from Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc had shown that an average of N720 billion worth of electricity bill is processed yearly in the country, bringing the cost to about N5.7 trillion in the last eight years. These bills are settled by electricity users in Nigeria with measurable subsidy from the Federal Government.

While the practice of load shedding and electricity rationing is currently ongoing across the distribution companies (DisCos) serving the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), intense concerns are mounting over the worsening state of power supply in the country.

Recall that the Federal Government had privatised the power sector on November 1, 2013, with expectations that supply to homes and industries would by now exceed 40,000MW megawatts, but data obtained yesterday by The Guardian from the Osogbo-based Nigerian Electricity System Operator showed that available electricity in the country was a meagre 4224.9MW.

Although the data showed that grid generation installed capacity stands at 13,014.14MW, actual generation capacity was put at 7,652.6MW, while transmission wheeling capacity hovers at 8,100MW. Transmission and distribution bottlenecks compound realities as the country only improved supply to consumers by a mere 400MW since privatisation.

According to operators, electricity on the grid on November 1, 2013 when the sector was privatised was around 3,400MW, meaning that the sector had been struggling with power generation and supply in the past eight years.

The newspaper says that the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has called on West African countries to collaborate against money laundering and terrorism financing currently posing both political and economic challenges to the sub-region.

He made the call in his keynote address at the fourth yearly public awareness lecture series on Anti-money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) that held yesterday at the Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja.

He described money laundering and corruption as being among the greatest challenges facing the sub-region, adding that the failure of governance in West Africa was traceable to the activities of money launders and terrorism financiers.

The lecture was organised by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) to sensitise members of the academic community on the phenomena.

Similarly, the Federal Government has said thenceforth, all paramilitary agencies and other security stakeholders would synergise with the Nigerian Financial Investigation Unit (NFIU) in combating both economic evils.

The Punch reports that the Debt Management Office says it is set to issue another sovereign sukuk this year for an expected amount of N200bn to N250bn to finance critical road projects across the country.

It disclosed this in a statement on its website on Tuesday with the title ‘Towards financing infrastructure: Debt Management Office to issue another sovereign sukuk.’

The DMO said it had already appointed transaction parties through the open competitive bidding process for the issuance of this fourth sovereign sukuk. The DMO stated that it commenced the issuance of sukuk in September 2017 as a strategic initiative to support the development of infrastructure, promote financial inclusion and deepen the domestic securities market.

Subsequent to the debut sovereign sukuk in 2017 in which N100bn was raised to finance the rehabilitation and construction of 25 road projects across the six geopolitical zones, the DMO stated that it issued a sukuk for N100bn in 2018 and another for N162.557bn in 2020.

It said the proceeds of these two sukuk issuances were also deployed to 28 and 44 road projects, also in the six geopolitical zones.

The Sun says that the Nigerian Investments Promotion Commission (NIPC) has reported US$8.99 billion as investment announcements for the Q3 of 2021, 130% more than the value in the corresponding period in 2020 (US$3.95 billion).

At a Media Parley, the director Strategic Services of NIPC, Abubakar Yerima, revealed that a total of 33 projects were tracked across 8 States during the period- the month of August been the most active during the quarter, accounting for 64% of the total announcements.

According to him, the top 10 announcements accounted for 96% of the volume tracked, compared to Q3 2020, saying that there was an improvement in the level of confidence in the investing community post COVID-19.

“In the period covered by the Report, Lagos State received the largest share of the announcements with 20 projects accounting for 81% (US$7.29 billion) of the total in manufacturing, information and communications, finance and insurance, human health and social services, and electricity.

Rivers State recorded US$300 million worth of announcements in manufacturing and transportation, while Oyo State had US231 million announced in electricity and trade (e-commerce). The four (4) States accounted for 87% of the total investments.

The newspaper reports that the total amount of money owed to the Chinese government by the Federal Government as at March last year rose to $3. 121 billion (N1,126.68 trillion at USD/N361).

The amount represents only 3.94 per cent of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.21 billion as at September 2021.

Similarly, in terms of external sources of funds, loans from China accounted for 11.28 per cent of the External Debt Stock of USD27.67 billion as at the same date.

According to document from World Bank, the total borrowing from China of USD3.121 billion as at March 31, 2020, are concessional loans with interest rates of 2.50 per cent per annum with a tenor of 20 years and grace period (moratorium) of seven years.

“These terms are compliant with the provisions of Section 41 (1a) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. In addition, the low interest rate reduces the interest cost to government while the long tenor enables the repayment of the principal sum of the loans over many years.

These two benefits, make the provisions for debt service in the annual budget lower than they would otherwise have been if the loans were on commercial terms” the document, said.

ThisDay says that President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that Nigeria aimed to achieve net-zero emission by 2060 through its Energy Transition Plan, as against the 2050 deadline set by the United Nations (UN).

Buhari said this at the high-level segment for Heads of State and Government at the on-going 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow, Scotland.

This is just as American billionaire and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has commended Buhari’s leadership role in restoring degraded lands in the country.

President Buhari’s speech highlighted Nigeria’s key priorities and actions to tackle climate change as well as progress on the country’s transition to low carbon economy, consistent with achieving the Paris Climate Agreement. He said, “Nigeria is committed to net zero by 2060.”

Buhari stated that $1.5 trillion would be required by Nigeria over a 10-year period to achieve an appreciable level of the national infrastructure stock.

He told the audience of world leaders that Nigeria was more of a gas than an oil producing country. He said the country would need financial help to facilitate the transition to clean energy.

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