$2.86 Billion for Transmission Expansion

THE federal government is set to spend $2.86bn (N457.6bn) between now and 2017 in order to give the nation a power transmission infrastructure that can carry 16,000 megawatts of electricity. Labaran Maku, minister of information, said a transmission expansion blue print prepared by the presidential action committee on power had committed the government to a transmission capacity of 16,000 megawatts.

He said the government was committed to funding the programme, which will cost $2.86bn, listing the sources of funding as the African Development Bank, $150m; World Bank, $290m; and Eurobond of $150m. Other funding sources are a $500m loan from the China Export-Import Bank; proceeds from the sale of the National Integrated Power Plants, $1.6bn; and budgetary appropriation, $170m.

Announcing that the end of darkness was near in Nigeria, Maku said different steps taken by the government would soon begin to yield results, but pleaded with the citizens to exercise some patience as time was still needed to usher in a new era. “The distribution companies are going to ensure that there are meters and the meters will be prepaid so that nobody will come and charge you for darkness, which was the case in the past. You buy your credit and when it finishes, your light goes off. You don’t need anybody to come and disconnect you. You can be sure now that you will pay for every light you use. People will ensure that they put off light that they don’t need. The importance of this is that the power you don’t use will go to the industry. When you waste electricity, it is a national waste, not just to the person that is paying for it. If you save it, it goes into production.

“Government will subsidise power for the poor people. The rural dwellers and the poor urban dwellers there is a subsidy for you.  In the course of the new tariff, which will come in the beginning of the market, the tariff will not take electricity beyond the capacity of the poor people. It is the bridge to ensure that everybody has access to electricity,” he said.

Toward 2020 Oil Reserve Target

THE Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, NAPE, says the country has the capacity to meet the 40 billion barrels oil reserves as projected by the federal government. George Osahon, president of the association, said the federal government had targeted 40 billion barrels reserves and four million barrels per day production by the year 2020.

According to him, the Nigerian oil and gas industry is currently experiencing declining reserves owing to reduced exploration, a situation that has caused much concern. He said that successful exploration and development of new oil fields would require the use of novel integrated technologies.

Osahon
Osahon

Osahon, who is also the director, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, said the association would at its 31st annual international conference and exhibition, examine critically the Nigerian oil and gas industry. He noted that the government was committed in meeting the 40 billion barrels oil reserve target, but decried the rate of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the country.

He said as a country, it was in the best interest of the government to increase production. “It is for all of us as stakeholders to work together, minimise the distraction and face the business of boosting the reserves production to 40 billion barrels.” Osahon said that exploration successes in other African countries had put pressure on Nigeria as a competing destination for oil and gas investments.

He stressed the urgent need to examine the effectiveness of existing policies to drive growth in the oil and gas industry as well as the development of road maps and new policy initiatives. Osahon said the association was committed to providing other learning opportunities, including short courses and field trips to the carbonate sedimentation areas in the Eastern Dahomey Basin in South West Nigeria.

On the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, the DPR director said the association would continue to advise government on the need to pass the bill into law. “Stakeholders believe that as exploration and production experts in the oil and gas industry, NAPE should have made greater impact to ensure the passage of the bill into law. The only thing the body can do is to advise and cannot force the government to do what it has to do,” he said.

Osahon, however, said that what stakeholders should do was to make representations to the National Assembly in form of memoranda on the bill, adding that the association had already done so.

Maritime Academy in Need of Investors

THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has called on maritime stakeholders in the private sector to partner with government towards the development of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, in Oron, Akwa Ibom State. Zikaede Akpobolokemi, director general, NIMASA, said there was need for the private sector to key into the development of MAN since the government cannot make all the provisions need by the Academy.

“We enjoin the private sector to come into MAN, Oron, to complement the efforts of the Federal Government because government cannot do it all alone. We need someone from the private sector to come and build classrooms, buy training vessels for the academy and invest in the needed equipment by the academy” he said.

Akpobolokemi
Akpobolokemi

Akpobolokemi said that building capacity is one of the core mandates of the agency and reiterated that the agency was not losing sight of this function. According to him, “the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, NSDP, is a laudable initiative of the agency in closing up the existing lacuna in the demand for qualified seamen in Nigeria, occasioned by the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL.

He complained over the non–participation of many of the state governments who are yet to key into the programme. He revealed that only 12 states have so far demonstrated faith in the programme even though it is a 60-40 arrangement in the payment structure. He also, lamented the absence of adequate funds from the banks to support capital projects.

This according to the DG, is as a result of the lack of proper understanding of the maritime sector by the banks which has discouraged them from releasing long term loans. “NIMASA will embark on a stakeholders sensitisation in order to let the banks know what it entails in the maritime sector. As a country, Nigeria has infrastructural and human capacity gaps in its maritime sector. Being a developing country, industrialisation is yet at its infancy such that building ships is not an area of strength for the country. Acquiring same also involves huge financial resources with the nation’s banking system seemingly adamant or unable to grant long term loans that are required to make purchases. For this reason, building capacity is therefore a more realistic option for immediate action.”

Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu 

— Nov. 4, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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