IN ITS bid to ensure effective metering of electricity in Nigeria, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has announced plans to issue a new standard code to regulate metering of electricity. The commission said that after meticulous public consultations, it has endorsed a metering code which would be presented to the public soon.
Sam Amadi, chief executive officer, NERC, said the commission would ensure adequate public enlightenment before enforcing the new metering code. “We are about to issue a new standard code to regulate metering, which will be in terms of features of metering capabilities in the industry. And as in our tradition, we will offer the public, stakeholders, as well as operators the opportunity to interact publicly and provide inputs,” he said.
According to him, there was a metering code panel that reviewed the process and gave to us to approve. However, before we issue it out, we have to get public consultation in a forum where not just the operators, but also consumers will come together and review the documents so that we can benefit from the inputs of everybody before the commission exercises its powers on the code with binding effects in the country. He noted that the cost of electricity meters would vary depending on the phases and the features of the individual meter.
One Industry Multiple Regulators
THE Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the Niger Delta Exploration and Production, NDEP, have regretted the rising cases of multiple regulations in the oil and gas industry. They said that the presence of multiple regulations indicates danger in the sector.
Osten Olorunsola, director, DPR, and Layi Fatona, managing director, NDEP, lamented that many government agencies had imposed regulatory oversight on the oil and gas industry under the guise of being environmental or maritime regulators, among others. This development, the two agencies warned, would not augur well for the industry even after the Petroleum Industry Bill had been passed.
Fatona feared that the PIB, when passed into law, would create an unprecedented number of regulatory authorities in the oil and gas industry. “But I want to sound a note of warning, we are seeing the creeping-in of micro regulators into the oil and gas industry and this will only lead to high cost of operations. This is not particularly good for the small indigenous operators in the country,” he said.
According to him, the activities of some federal and state ministries of environment, commerce, and the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, among others, amount to multiple regulation in the oil and gas industry.
Olorunisola, on his part noted that people had, over time, entered the oil and gas industry from the back door and disguising themselves as environmental or marine regulator. “It is a recipe for disaster to have too many regulators in any industry. It’s an area that still has to be looked into not just as it affects Nigeria but looking at the bench mark across the world. Apart from this, one thing that international investors look for is the robustness, simplicity and the transparency of your regulation and the National Assembly is aware of that and I think it will look into it. However, in looking at it, we also need to be mindful of our peculiarity as a nation. The mere fact that it is just only one operator elsewhere does not mean that we cannot have two or three in Nigeria. The only thing is that it has to work and it doesn’t have to become a bureaucracy,” he said.
Widening Cashless Net
WITH the next phase of cash-less policy set to begin in some states in July this year, the value of electronic funds transfer in the country is likely to hit N160 billion per day by the end of the year. The affected states include the Federal Capital Territory, Abia, Rivers, Anambra, Kano and Ogun states.
Onajite Regha, chief executive officer, Electronic Payment Providers’ Association of Nigeria, said the current value of electronic fund transfers would most likely double because there would be a lot of changes which would compel people to use e-fund transfer channels. “By the time we do six months into the new phase, the figure is likely going to rise by over 100 per cent. All these places we are going to are places where cash is moved heavily. We are looking at six additional commercial centres. We should, therefore, not forget that right now, it is only Lagos that is functional,” Regha said.
Tunde Lemo, deputy governor, operations, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said that both the value and volume of cash transactions executed through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS and the National Electronic Funds Transfer, NEFT had doubled when compared to the use of cheques. “We have forgotten that the cash-less also includes high volume payment transactions such as the NIBSS Instant Payment. The Instant Payment, NIP now moves between N20bn and N40bn worth of transactions daily. The cash-less Lagos also includes the NEFT. Through NEFT, we have tens of thousands of transactions valued at over N60bn daily. So, between NEFT and NIP, we have transactions now that have more than doubled the cheque transaction volume,” he said.
Recent CBN reports on electronic transfer revealed that the value of electronic fund transfers in the country was currently N80bn daily. The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System is handling transactions worth about N20bn daily, while the Nigeria Electronic Funds Transfer is conducting about N60bn worth of transactions daily.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— May 27, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT