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Electricity tariff hike: Don’t breach agreement, Labour tells FG

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Ayuba Wabba

The Organised Labour has urged the Federal Government not to flout the agreement entered with the FGN-Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff to freeze further increase of electricity tariff.

The President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning in a statement on Friday, in Abuja

Wabba said that the organised labour was committed to the freezing of further increase in electricity tariff.

According to him, the attention of the NLC has been drawn to a report in one of the dailies on September 21 that the electricity tariff would rise by over a hundred per cent from January 2022.

“The story was purportedly distilled from the remarks of the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure at the stakeholders’ engagement of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) held in Lagos on September17.

“To be charitable, Congress had received a refutation of the newspaper report from the Special Adviser and Secretary of the FGN-Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff earlier on September 21.

“He also apprised Congress leadership that he had been contacted by some other newspapers between September 8 and September 20 for confirmation of the story and that he categorically debunked the basis and essence of the attributed statement.

“To quote the Special Adviser, ‘the press article and statements ascribed to me did not emanate from me or my office,” he said.

Wabba said that the Special Adviser ended with the commitment to “engagements with our Labour colleagues in furtherance of joint goals to improve the power sector and the Nigerian economy.”

The NLC president noted that fortunately, the rebuttal by the Special Adviser came before the newspaper was supplied to Congress National Secretariat.

He added that since the Special Adviser had pre-emptively reached out to Congress leadership beforehand, it was reasonable to treat the newspaper report with caution and give the Special Adviser the benefit of the doubt.

“We, however, note that the relevant part of the newspaper report revolves around the point that “the Federal Government is ending N300 billion subsidy by January 2022.

“In essence, Congress hopes that the newspaper report was an overly extended interpretation of the ostensible plan to end the subsidy of the electricity sector.

“It is rather significant to state that the existence of a subsidy or lack of it in the electricity sector is one of the contentious matters the FG-Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff was mandated to handle,” he said.

Wabba, however, reiterated that one of the agreements with the Federal Government on September 28, 2020, included freezing further increases in electricity tariff.

“This is until the FGN-Labour Committee on Electricity Tariff concludes its work and its report is submitted and adopted by the Principals in the broad FG-Labour platform, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Presidents of NLC and TUC, respectively.

”This pact to freeze electricity tariff increase entered into by the Principals last year September remains sacrosanct to Congress and would not admit flouting by any form of subterfuge.

“Despite the suppositions, fibs and fabrications, possible prevarications, Congress is inclined to dismiss the probable increase in electricity tariff as a mere conjecture.

“We would, however, be mindful to carefully track the various rumours, decoys and perhaps, arrant mischief concerning the management of electricity tariff,” he said.

He also said that accordingly, congress would indeed keep a monitoring tab on the work of the committee.

He said that congress urges the committee to hasten its work and present a report to the Principals in the shortest time.

“Finally, congress reaffirms its notice to the Federal Government issued on Aug. 30.

“That should the government make true the swirling speculations by approving an increase in electricity tariff, organised labour would be left with no option than to deploy the industrial mechanisms granted in our laws for the defence of workers’ rights,” he said.

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FG begins review of power sector licences amid poor supply

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The Federal Government is reviewing the operational licences of electricity generation and distribution companies following poor service delivery in the sector, Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu.

The minister gave the indication in a statement obtained on Thursday, which was issued in Abuja to mark his 50 days in the office, noting that the FG was aware of the challenges facing the sector and was working to tackle them.

Specifically, the minister said, “We shall be taking a careful and detailed look at issues of policy, capacity and the technical requirement, amongst other things.

“One very critical concern that we must address in this performance monitoring process is to find out if the terms for granting of licenses were onerous.”

Aliyu also said the FG was “working tirelessly as we explore opportunities that will, in the short term, deliver the much-desired quick wins whilst still focusing on the long-term objectives of increasing the available power, improving the quality of services, attracting the much-needed investment, promoting efficiency, competition and growth and lastly ensuring transparency and accountability in the value chain of the power sector.

“The ministry is intensifying performance monitoring of the licensees and the licensing regime, especially their revised Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) to have a better understanding of why some critical stakeholders are performing below expectation.”

The minister said, “Specific areas of conflict and tensions within the power industry value chain are being harmonized for greater synergy which will bring about a wholesome alignment of responsibilities within the governance system of the power sector. It is this new mindset of cooperation for optimal performance that we are bringing on board”.

According to him, the ministry will be focusing on improving liquidity in the sector; improving services in terms of hours of supply; billing transparency and accuracy, and wider access to electricity; bringing consumer, operator and investor confidence back to the sector to attract foreign and local investment into the sector, create jobs, and promote competition and bring in more participants in the Nigerian Electricity Market.

The power sector was partially privatised in November 2013 with the government handing over the ownership of the DisCos and a large number of GenCos to the private sector. But experts note that the power supply remains poor with the government having to bail out the sector with almost N2 trillion due to poor financial state.

 

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ICPC: Corrupt persons using real estate for money laundering

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Corrupt persons are now using real estate as an avenue to launder illicit funds, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has said.

Chairman of the ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, stated this on Thursday when he spoke to the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee investigating the activities of estate developers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to him, the commission carried out a study between 2010 and 2011 that revealed the sharp practices in the sector including massive corruption and injection of illicit funds.

Owasanoye alleged that estate developers had formed the habit of selling allocated lands for mass housing in piecemeal to the highest bidders.

The ICPC chairman said where the houses were built, they were allegedly sold to the rich.

He added that the commission had in the process of its investigations and prosecution recovered 241 houses and 60 buildings from corrupt public officers.

Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mohammed Bawa, who was represented by a director at the agency, Daniel Esei, also said developers were not complying with extant laws which aggravated the sharp practices in the sector.

According to him, developers break the laws by allowing third parties to make payments or buy houses, shortchanging the real subscribers.

He also said there was a need for more stringent laws to allow the application of sanctions on developers who go against the law.

Responding, President of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Aliyu Wamakko, said although what ICPC alleged might be happening, the developers involved were not members of the association.

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FULL LIST: FEC approves NNPC’s request to fix 21 federal roads at N621bn

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Babatunde Fashola

The federal executive council (FEC) has approved N621.2 billion for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) to take over the reconstruction of 21 federal roads across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, disclosed after the FEC meeting presided by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday.

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) had decried the loss of its members and properties to dilapidated roads — but NNPC appealed to the union to shelve the planned strike and accepted to rebuild some roads. 

The approval, according to Fashola, was in line with Executive Order No. 007 of 2019 cited as the companies income tax (Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme) Order, 2019 (“EO7 of 2019” or “the Scheme”), signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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He explained that the selected 21 roads are 1804.6 kilometres, and it was a strategic intervention under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure and Refreshment Tax Credit Scheme.

The minister further explained that Executive Order 7 allows the private sector to deploy in advance the taxes they would pay for infrastructure development.

He said nine of the selected projects are in North Central, three in North East, two in North West, two in South East, three in South-South, and two in South West.

FULL LIST:

NORTH CENTRAL:

  1. Dualization of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa/ Bokani Junction road Section 1: Illorin-Jebba, Kwara State C/NO. 6468. 110.8km
  2. Dualization of Ilorin, Jebba-Mokwa/Bokani junction Road Section II: Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani junction in Kwara and Niger states. C/NO.6469. 46 km
  3. Dualization of Suleja-Minna road, Niger state. C/O. 6077. 40km
  4. Dualization of Suleja-Minna Road, Niger State PhaseII (Km 40+000-101+000) C/NO.6267. 61km
  5. Reconstruction of Bida-Lambata Road, Niger state C/NO.6372. 125km
  6. Agaie-Katcha-Baro Road, Niger State 52.3km
  7. Emergency repairs of failed section of Mokwa-Makera-Tagina-Kaduna state border in Niger state. 164km
  8. Minna-Zungeru minna-Zungeru-Tagina road, Niger state. 90km
  9. Bida-Minna road, Niger state. 791.1km

NORTHEAST:

  1. Rehabilitation of Cham-Numan section of Gombe-Yola road in Adamawa state. 46.35km
  2. Construction of Bali-Serti road in Taraba state. 110km
  3. Rehabilitation of Gombe-Biu road in Gombe/Borno state. 117km

NORTHWEST:

  1. Rehabilitation of outstanding sections of Gada-Zaima-Zuru-Gamji road Phase II in Kebbi State 62km.
  2. Rehabilitation of Zaria-Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto-Birnin Kebbi. 221.5km

SOUTH EAST:

  1. Dualization of Aba-Ikot Ekpene road in Abia/Akwa Ibom states. 73km
  2. Rehabilitation of Umuahia (Ikwuano)-Ikot Ekpene road: Umuahia-Umudike in Abia state. 49km

SOUTH SOUTH:

  1. Rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road in Cross River state Section I: Odukpani-Itu Bridge Head in Cross River/Akwa Ibom states. 21.9km
  2. Dualization of outstanding portion of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene: lot 2. 32km
  3. Dualization of Oku-Iboku Power Plant Section of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene road in Cross River/Akwa Ibom state. 28km

SOUTH WEST:

  1. Rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction-Nigeria/Benin border) in Lagos State. 62km
  2. Dualization of Ibadan-Ilorin road (Route A2) Section II in Oyo State (Oyo-Ogbomosho). 52km

The Cable

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