Federal Government has earmarked $2.3 billion for the first phase of projects under the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) aimed at increasing the nation’s power transmission capacity to 7,000MW.
Minister of State for Power, Goddy Agba, disclosed this during the Nigerian Energy Forum (NEF 2020) webinar in Lagos, tagged “Energy Solution for Sustainable Recovery.”
He said the various interventions were grouped into three various phases with the near term objective being to increase the transmission capacity from the current level of just over 5,000MW to 7,000MW.
“The project to be executed at the cost of $2.3 billion forms the phase one of the PPI and is funded by a loan from a consortium of German banks for 85 per cent of the contract sum; while 15 per cent counterpart funding is provided by the Federal Government.
“A special purpose vehicle (SPV) called FGN Powerco is in the process of being set up, following Mr. President’s approval. The SPV will warehouse the project’s contingent liability for accountability.
“We have also constituted the Nigerian Project Management Office (PMO) with the sole responsibility of providing project management of the project on behalf of the government,” he said.
Agba said government was also implementing the transmission enhancement programme with key development partners to improve the sector.
“The World Bank, AfDB, JICA have raised $1.6 billion for Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP), which is ongoing now with major projects as follows: “The Alaoji-Onitsha, Delta Power Station-Benin and Kaduna-Kano at $410 million and $29 million is intended to build a 330kV Double Circuit 62KM line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba.
“The Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project (JICA) with $200 million, Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme (AFD)- $170 million and Northern Corridor Transmission Project (AFD & EU) with $274 million,” he said.
Dr. John Momoh, chief executive officer, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said the new tariff put in place would address the challenge from stakeholders in power sector.
He said with the presidential intervention in metering, meters would be provided for enumerated customers in a year or two.
In a related development, government has inaugurated two schemes to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to cushion the effects of COVID-19 and save over 100,000 small businesses.
The two schemes, National Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus Schemes, were under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum, Chairperson of the Steering Committee, who inaugurated the schemes at a World Press Conference, said that over 1.7 million Nigerians would be impacted.
According to the minister, part of the terms of reference of the NESP include, the support of MSMEs and the creation of jobs, hence the inauguration.
Going by recent statistics released by SMEDAN and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) over 95 per cent of the 41 million MSMEs in Nigeria are micro businesses. Consequently the nation could not afford to neglect this huge segment of its economic landscape.
“It is in view of the foregoing that the NESP has given high priority to the implementation of the MSMEs Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Schemes.
“The survival fund scheme is expected to commence immediately while the GOS will follow as soon as the modalities are put in place properly to meet current realities.
“The survival fund is a conditional grant to support vulnerable Micro and Small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in MSMEs from the shock of the COVID- 19 pandemic.
“The scheme is estimated to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country, while targeting an average of 35,000 individuals per state,” she said.
She explained that there were two categories of beneficiaries: Employees of MSMEs and self employed individuals. Prerequisites for qualification include that the employees’ company be registered, employee must have a BVN, the company must have a staff strength of not less than three and must be owned by a Nigerian.
Military’ll sustain onslaught against economic sabotage
The Defence Headquarters said military has intensified the fight against crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering in the South South zone with significant successes.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, who said this while giving the weekly updates on military operations across the country on Thursday in Abuja, said the efforts would be sustained.
Enenche said that between September 2 and September 9, the military in its ongoing onslaught against sabotage of the nation’s economy arrested smugglers and destroyed several illegal refineries.
“Within the period under review, Nigerian Navy Ship VICTORY patrol team intercepted and arrested a wooden boat with four Nigerian suspects, laden with 1,482 bags of foreign parboiled rice.
“They were arrested around Tom Shot Island Breakwaters by Agbana-West along Calabar Channel.
“The bags of rice were smuggled from Dimbola Fishing Port in Limbe in the Republic of Cameroun and destined for Oron in Akwa Ibom, ” he said
He said that Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA patrol team also located a dugout pit with about 1,257.96 barrels of product suspected to be stolen crude oil at Ogbodede Creek in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta.
“Also, the team discovered an oven laden with about 18.86 barrels of crude and 5,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. The dugout pit and oven with the products were dismantled.