THE federal government has awarded a N31.2 billion contract to Kashimbilla Dam in Taraba State, to evacuate 40 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. Mohammed Wakil, minister of state for power, said the project was awarded to SCC Nigeria Ltd with a completion period of 18 months.
“The federal executive council has awarded the contract to Kashimbila Dam, to improve the power segment to 40 megawatts. By the time we add 40 megawatts to the national grid, it is going to complement the existing power that we are generating in the country. Apart from the fact that we are also going to gain from the 40 megawatts, this will now lead to the creation of employment in that community. While we can have the formal and informal employment, engineers, artisans and others will benefit from this. Further to that, we will also have additional in terms of economic benefits, be it agriculture, irrigation and many others; by the time it is completed, it is going to help us a lot. And it is in line with the transformation agenda of Mr President to reform the sector,” he said.
According to Wakil, the contract approval followed a memo tabled before the council by Chinedu Nebo, minister of power. “The company had already installed the turbines in the course of the implementation of the project. But the infrastructure for evacuating power from Kashimbila Dam to various communities of the North East and, indeed, North Central had not been awarded. But as progress on the dam approaches completion toward the end of the year, the minister of power came to council with a memo proposing a contract for the evacuation of power from the dam.”
New Role for Nigerian Shippers’ Council
THE Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, has tasked the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, to uphold international best practices if the council must succeed in its new role as the economic regulator of the ports. Benjamin Ezra Dikki, director general, BPE, said the council has been mandated to urgently provide economic regulation of the ports to ensure that customers were fairly treated.
Dikki gave this challenge at a recently concluded Draft Regulation for Implementation by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as an economic regulator organised in collaboration with the federal ministry of justice, in Kaduna. According to him, “there is great need to improve efficiency, eliminate corruption and unnecessary bureaucracy which delayed cargo clearance.”
He enjoined the council to ensure a highly professionalised and motivated staff whose core values would be due process, transparency and accountability with credibility. “ A regulator’s credibility depends on professional neutrality and transparency. Economic regulation requires much more than just competent economic and financial analysis, but must also have the ability to manage complex interaction with regulated firms, consumers, politicians, court officials, the media and a range of other interests,” he said.
Dikki also tasked the Council to, as a matter of principle; ensure that its regulations sustained private investment in infrastructure development, which is one of the rationale for the concession of the ports. He contended that regulations should focus on market rules that encourage free entry and exit with entry rules, the right tariffs, quality of service, ensure access for the players, incentive regulations and conducive environment.
He noted that the market in the port sub-sector is very dynamic and requires that regulations should also align with the prevailing environment in terms of tariffs in a manner that it should not strangulate the service providers. He explained that the regulator needs to always strive to be ahead of the operators who are usually very smart in their thinking, more so as there are myriads of roles to be played at the same time.
Ibadan DISCO On Fixed Charge Removal
THE Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, is not comfortable with the plan by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, to remove fixed charges from customers’ bill. It said the plan would have a huge impact on its revenue. Fortunato Leynes, Managing Director, IBEDC, said the BPE should review the tariff structure before taking such a step.
Leynes, who spoke at an event held to mark the partnership initiative between IBEDC and the University of Ibadan on how to improve on service delivery, training of human resources and accommodation of students of the institution by the company for industrial training in Ibadan, said the company had written to the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, on the tariff issue and would meet with the relevant authorities to iron out areas of concern.
“We have sent our position to the NERC on the plan to remove the fixed charges on the bills of customers that are not getting electricity for up to 360 hours in a month. Unfortunately, we are at the tail end of the distribution chain. The fixed charge is included in tariff determination. Just removing it without proper review of the tariff structure will leave a great impact on our revenue. We do not totally agree with the concept of fixed charge removal,” he said.
On the partnership between his company and the UI, Leynes said it would provide an avenue for the IBEDC to test-drive its commitment to providing 24-hour electricity supply to customers. “We want to establish a partnership with the UI on human capital development and talent sourcing and development. We are looking up to it for some of our recruitments. The partnership will also represent a pilot project in providing 24-hour electric power. The partnership will be developed by the technical team we have chosen to work on this area. The result of this partnership will be determined by the complexity of the situation and assessment of the technical team from both parties. The institution is upgrading its electrical network, which is a bit complicated.”
Isaac Adewole Vice Chancellor, UI, said it was the first time the university had partnered with a major player in the nation’s economy, stressing that the union would result in gains for the parties. “We are looking forward to a 24-hour electricity supply. We want to showcase this to other sectors and show them that it can work. We are going to be testing the integrity of our network and assist the IBEDC in the training of its human resources. We will also send our students to the company for industrial training. We will assist the company on quality assurance and quality delivery. So, we are looking at a comprehensive model for public-private partnership. The cost of implementation will be determined by the technical committee, whose members are from the two parties,” he said.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Sep. 8, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT