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Blackouts over gas shortage spark fresh concerns in Nigeria’s failing power sector

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Electricity shortages in various parts of Nigeria, stemming from a deficiency in gas supply to power generation plants, have reignited concerns about persistent challenges in the country’s power sector. Recent reports from DAILY POST revealed that both the Nigerian Federal Government and the Transmission Company of Nigeria attributed the decline in electricity supply to gas limitations.

The government had previously pointed to gas shortages as the cause of reduced electricity supply by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) to distribution companies. Nigeria relies on 26 hydro and gas-fired power plants for its electricity, with a generation capacity fluctuating between 3,000MW and 5,000MW since the sector’s privatization in 2013, despite a population exceeding 200 million.A decade after privatization, the power sector’s performance remains stagnant, despite a substantial investment of N3.348 trillion in electricity subsidies, as reported by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. Despite planning to allocate an additional N1.6 trillion to electricity subsidies in 2024, the sector faces persistent issues such as inadequate investment, regulatory uncertainties, transmission constraints, and planning shortfalls.The National Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (NERC) third-quarter report for 2023 emphasized the ongoing challenge of gas constraints in the national grid, despite Nigeria having 208.83 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, a third of Africa’s total. The Chief Executive Officer of NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, highlighted this discrepancy.The power industry in Nigeria encounters various obstacles hindering its growth, including a lack of investment, policy enforcement, regulatory uncertainties, gas supply issues, and planning deficiencies. Bolaji Tunji, the special adviser for strategic communication and media relations to the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, assured that the government is actively addressing the gas constraint challenge for Generation Companies (GenCos). This includes engaging stakeholders and settling outstanding debts owed to GenCos.However, Joy Ogaji, Managing Director and Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), was unaware of the government’s engagement with GenCos but suggested that steps may have been taken to address the gas shortage affecting the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). She emphasized the importance of a solid contractual regime with bankable guarantees and full payment from off-takers to resolve challenges in the power sector.On the other hand, Kunle Olubiyo, President of the Nigerian Consumer Protection Network, disputed the government’s explanation for the recent electricity supply drop, attributing it to a liquidity crisis rather than a gas shortage. He advocated for stopping electricity subsidies to achieve efficiency, asserting that subsidies are paid for services not provided to Nigerians by GenCos and Electricity Distribution Companies.

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BVN, NIN requirement: CBN keeps mum as deadline expires

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept mum as the deadline for banks to restrict customers’ accounts without a Bank Verification Number or National Identity Number has expired.

DAILY POST recalls that CBN, in a notice on December 1 last year, signed by the Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi and Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, asked banks to restrict tier-1 accounts or wallets without NIN or BVN.

“For all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.

“Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’, and no further transactions will be permitted. The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024”, the statement partly reads.

However, CBN acting spokesperson, Hakama Sidi has yet to respond to calls from DAILY POST on Friday over the fate of banks’ customers without NIN or BVN.

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with DAILY POST, the President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka, appealed to CBN for a deadline extension.

According to him, though many accounts have NIN or BVN, there are still many without the requirement.

“At this point, the best thing for CBN to do is extend the deadline for bank customers to have their NIN or BVN”, he told DAILY POST.

A source who preferred anonymity in a tier-1 bank told DAILY POST that no customer account had been restricted owing to the NIN or BVN requirement.

“At the moment, no customers’ accounts have been restricted. Customers in the last three days have trooped in to update their account”, he said.

DAILY POST reported that bank customers were in a last-minute rush to meet the NIN and BVN requirement deadlines as they besieged their respective banks.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Gov Mbah signs New Enugu City, ENSIEC bills into law

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On Friday, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State officially approved the New Enugu City Development Agency Bill, the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Bill, and the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIC) Amendment Bill, turning them into law. The signing ceremony, witnessed by Enugu State House of Assembly Speaker Uchenna Ugwu at the Government House in Enugu, marked significant steps in the state’s governance.

Governor Mbah clarified the purposes of these laws during the signing event. He highlighted that the New Enugu City Development Agency Law grants administrative authority to oversee the development of a new city master plan, aimed at accommodating both present and future generations. The Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Law, on the other hand, focuses on automating and digitizing processes for service delivery, beginning with land-related matters.

Regarding the ENSIEC Amendment Law, Governor Mbah noted its alignment with constitutional amendments concerning electoral bodies, ensuring compliance with the evolving legal framework.

Explaining the rationale behind the New Enugu City Development Agency, Mbah emphasized the government’s forward-thinking approach to governance, addressing the need for urban expansion to accommodate the growing population. He underscored the significance of having a master plan for future generations to prevent urban congestion.

Furthermore, Mbah elaborated on the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service, emphasizing its role in fulfilling the administration’s promise to streamline land administration processes and provide efficient services. He highlighted the agency’s mandate to manage property information systems and facilitate digital platforms for accessing services and making payments.

Governor Mbah expressed gratitude to the State House of Assembly for their support and swift passage of these executive bills, acknowledging the importance of collaboration in driving the state’s development agenda forward. He emphasized that progress and success hinge on the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including the legislature.

In conclusion, Governor Mbah affirmed his administration’s commitment to fulfilling its promises and leveraging legislative support to enhance governance and service delivery in Enugu State.

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Tinubu’s presidency not by chance – Shettima

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Vice President Kashim Shettima asserts that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s rise to the presidency is not coincidental but a divine blessing due to the sincerity of his character. Shettima made these remarks during a courtesy visit by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.

“The path leading to Tinubu’s presidency wasn’t accidental. He is known for his consistent sacrifices for the nation’s welfare. His success is viewed as a divine reward for his genuine intentions,” Shettima stated.

He stressed the importance of leaders fostering unity, highlighting Tinubu’s significant role in offering an alternative political platform within Nigeria’s system.

“Tinubu has made sacrifices and facilitated unity. He provided a haven for those facing political persecution and offered an alternative platform when others struggled for recognition,” Shettima elaborated.

Shettima urged Nigerians to be patient with Tinubu’s leadership, emphasizing that his presidency is not a coincidence but a deliberate journey towards national success.

He also charged the newly appointed NCPC Board to demonstrate unwavering commitment to their duties and reminded them of the importance of religious dedication in addressing national challenges.

“All of you were selected based on your religious commitment. We cannot overlook the issues within our system. It’s essential for all of us to strive for positive change to achieve the Nigeria we envision,” he concluded.

Previously, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the Executive Secretary of NCPC, expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for the opportunity to serve on the board and praised Vice President Shettima’s outstanding leadership, citing his support for the Church and peace efforts in Borno State.

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