RELEVANT agencies are working assiduously to make gas available to operators in the power sector with a view to achieving improvement in electricity supply throughout the country. Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, said this was in keeping with the promise made to consumers of the product in the country.
The minister, who disclosed this while on an over-sight visit to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC’s headquarters, was optimistic of his ministry’s readiness to actualise improved electricity nationwide by next month as directed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Nebo said he has got a firm commitment from Diezani Allison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, of availability of gas for that purpose. He assured Nigerians that no one would be left in darkness because the ministry was determined to deliver on President Jonathan’s directive of appreciable improvement in electricity supply nationwide by June.
The minister said that the NERC as a flagship in the new electricity regime, must provide the lead in revamping the Rural Electrification policy framework that would allow the private sector to participate rural electrification. He challenged the NERC to devise a mechanism that would open-up communities that are far flung from the grid system through rural electrification means that would include renewable energy sources.
“The June deadline is by the corner; Mr. President’s word is a bond. We must generate more power; we are prepared to assist all our agencies in making sure that the ball keeps rolling. We can’t afford to fail in our duties. I have a firm commitment from my colleague, the minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, that gas would be available. We must ensure synergy in all our operations; all the three electricity value-chain must be happy including our esteemed customers. She has even given an assurance on gas for power that if need be, she will order that gas meant for export is diverted to power,” he said.
Sam Amadi, chairman NERC, commended the minister for his focused leadership in piloting the affairs of the sector. He pledged NERC’s support for the new initiatives in the area of rural electrification. “NERC must key into the directives of the minister,” he said. On the issue of gas, Amadi assured Nigerians that much work had been done to make gas available to our power plants. He said, “In a few weeks’ time, the major pipelines will be able to make enough gas available for use by our plants.”
Eleme Petrochemical’s Investment Plan
INDORAMA Eleme Petrochemical Limited, IEPL, is planning to invest $4.4bn in its operations by 2019. The investment will make it to become the largest petrochemical company in Africa. Manish Mundra, managing director, IEPL, disclosed this while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, led by Olugbenga Obadara. The committee members were at the plant recently in continuation of their oversight visit to privatised enterprises in Rivers State.
Mundra said $575million had already been injected into the company after its privatization and that N33.9 billion had been paid as dividend to the federal and Rivers State governments since its acquisition from the federal government in 2006. He gave the breakdown of the N33.9 billion dividend paid as N8.71billion to Rivers State and N25.2 billion to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Mundra disclosed further that the company also paid about N15.61 billion in taxes to the federal and state governments. These include value added tax, VAT, customs duty, withholding taxes and Pay-As-You-Earn, PAYE. He explained that the company which is currently the largest integrated olefins producer in West Africa, has a work force of 1585, most of who are Nigerians. He added that production had increased from four percent pre-privatisation to 77 percent and that the company planned to increase its production to 325,000 metric tons per annum in 2014.
Manitoba to Face Senate Committee
THE Senate Committee on Privatisation has summoned Manitoba, the Canadian company managing the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, to appear before it on Tuesday, May 27 or Wednesday, May 28, to explain the reasons for the poor electricity transmission in the country.
Olugbenga Obadara, chairman of the committee, during a meeting between the lawmakers and the management members of the Lagos region of the TCN, expressed disappointment over the company’s low capacity and poor performance in the region. “The Gencos and Discos complain about transmission, and in fairness to them, the transmission infrastructure is weak. We have seen that. That is the essence of the oversight visit. If we are not here, we won’t know. That is why we are calling on Manitoba that is contractually in charge of transmission to tell us what the problem really is,” he said.
Obadara said the committee would request for the contract the federal government signed with Manitoba, peruse it and take the company up on the contract when the firm appeared before it. The transmission infrastructure has been described as the weakest link in the country’s electricity supply chain, with lines that are failing, dilapidated and in need of replacement.
In spite of the private sector players’ incursion into the industry, inadequate transmission infrastructure is one of the challenges, that is hindering efficient transmission of power to consumers. The transmission network currently has the capability to evacuate less than 3,000MW of electricity and covers less than 40 percent of the country’s land area.
To solve the problem, the government had handed over the TCN to the Canadian company under a three-year management contract worth $24m. The senator, however, said it was important for the federal government to provide adequate funding for the transmission company insisting that the committee would look into the agreement the government signed with Manitoba.
Compiled By Anayo Ezugwu
— Jun. 2, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT