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DisCos Only Accessed N58bn CBN Loan From N1.8trn Power Sector Funding – ANED

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The power Distribution Companies (DisCos) has said that out of the N1.8 trillion so far injected into the power sector, they have only accessed N58 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N214bn loan facility, which is being repaid.

According to Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Barrister Sunday Odutan in a statement, the firms have never gotten any free money from the Federal Government.

He said this explanation is necessary to help in setting the records straight as there is a belief that power sector operators including the DisCos have been given N1.8trn free money by the Federal Government since the 2013 power sector privatisation.

At the opening session of a public hearing on “Power Sector Recovery Plan and the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic” by the Senate Committee on Power on Monday, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan in his address said, “Government should not be giving free money. 1.8 trillion naira has been given to DisCos maybe in their books. The actual money might have been given to the GenCos.

“Government cannot afford to just spend money that you hardly understand why it is given and I will advise the Executive that next time, to give such money, bring it to the national Assembly for approval,” Lawan had said.

But ANED in the statement said only about three percent of the N1.8 trillion funding for the power sector has gone to the DisCos.

The association said CBN in 2014 provided N214bn Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilization Fund (NEMSF) but that the DisCos were only able to access N58bn of that till date, “and that is on the DisCos’ account books as collateral for our Letters of Credit (LC) which DisCos are repaying every month.”

The N214bn fund was not only for the DisCos but to all players in the power sector, including the GenCos, ANED said.

It noted that the federal Government gave the Payment Assurance Guarantee of N701.9bn to the GenCos in 2017 through the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) to help the power stations meet their gas obligations to sustain power generation.

Another N600bn was approved for the GenCos in 2019 through NBET for similar purposes. “However, the DisCos have only partaken in the N213bn NEMSF facility which is being deducted every month at source by CBN with about 10 percent interest rate for 10 years.”

ANED also reminded the government that at privatization, the N100bn commitment that was made by the government to cushion low pre-existing tariffs before commencement of tariff setting, was not implemented.

“The CBN NEMSF 1 fund was not a subsidy but a loan to address legacy gas debts and tariff shortfalls. The NEMSF Loans currently hamper DisCos’ balance sheets, worsened by the difference in Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) loss as used in the Tariff Model in line with the reality.

“If the N100bn subsidy was given to DisCos, it would have reduced the liability of the DisCos for better services,” it noted.

The DisCos also decried cases of hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “As in other countries, recognition of hardship from COVID 19 should also be done by Nigeria. The Federal Government and its agents should embark on sensitization campaigns informing customers of the benefit of paying their bills and the need for cost reflective tariffs,” it advised.

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Petroleum: DPR Promise To Sustain Uninterrupted Product Supply 

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The Bauchi office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it will continue to ensure the availability of petroleum products across the 500 existing filling stations in the state.Malam Abdullahi Isyaku, the Operation’s Controller of the agency made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Monday.

Isyaku said the department would continue to closely monitor filling stations, especially on the implementation of safety measures by retail outlets.

He added that it would constantly ensure that outlets adhere to the official pump price of the commodity.

“We are determined and committed to sanctioning erring outlets found to be shortchanging consumers,’’ he said.

Isyaku said that the regulatory agency was fully committed to assisting interested marketers who want to venture into dealing with Liquefied Gas LPG in accordance with the Federal Government policy on Domestic Gas Utilisation.

According to him, the department has intensified efforts on routine surveillance of all existing retail outlets.

This is with a view to ensuring compliance with operational guidelines.

“We will not compromise standards,’’ He said.

The controller called on all registered marketers to key into the newly introduced operational monitoring tool called ‘Down Stream Remote Monitoring System’ (DRMS).

NAN reports that DRMS was recently launched by the national office of the department.

According to Isyaku, the device will assist DPR in online routine monitoring of stock positions of the products at both depots and retail outlets.

It will also help marketers to monitor activities in their filling stations.

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Leadway Assurance Charges Nigerians To Embrace Cyber Insurance

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Leadway Assurance Company Limited has charged corporate entities, institutions, religious organisations and individuals to embrace cyber insurance to protect their database and computer networks from attacks by hackers.

With increased online and internet connectivity becoming part of our day to day business, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for protection against cyber attacks, Mr. Uzodinma Ibe of the Casualty & Liability Underwriting, General Insurance, said.

He spoke at a virtual training workshop on “Understanding Cyber Insurance” organised by Leadway Assurance for insurance journalists recently.

Ibe said a comprehensive report by a United Kingdom (UK) cybersecurity company, confirmed that there was high traffic when it comes to information, transactions and data emanating from Nigeria into digital space, adding that the survey noted that 36 percent of Nigerian organisations suffered cyber attacks in the last 12 months.

He also stated that 64 percent of cyber attacks in Nigeria exploited misconfigurations on the organisation servers, pointing out that Nigeria has the highest data leakage in the world.

On business activities, social networking and governmental activities, he said the report has also identified where Nigeria as a digital hub is and to what extent are their cyber exposures.

In order to avoid cyber attacks on our computer networks, which sometimes resulted into data and financial losses, there is a need for enterprises, individuals, corporate organisations, to see it as a serious business and take up some form of cyber mitigating efforts in this regard.

According to him, “Here in Leadway, through our research, we have been able to identify a particular area of cyber exposure where corporate entities can find themselves and see how we can do proper risk management and provide specific insurance product that can help them mitigate such exposures through Cyber Risk Management Insurance which in some quarters called Cyber Liability Insurance and in some, Cyber Risk Management Insurance.

“We have been able to highlight that technology, social media and transactions over the internet (cyber platforms) play a key role in how most organisations conduct business and reach out to prospective customers today. These vehicles have gateways – platforms, integrations that cyber attackers often use.

From Leadway point of view, our Cyber Enterprise Risk Management Insurance Policies try to help any organisation mitigate risk exposure for a certain cost expenses involve with recovery after a cyber-related security breach or similar event.

On who is being indemnified or who is being provided cover, he explained that Leadway Cyber Insurance provides first-party coverage and third-party liability risk covers against cyber-attacks for organisations.

“First party which is the policyholder, the individual or that corporate entity that buys the insurance, such policy caters for private investigation expenses where there is some form of data compromise or breach to reach out to different customers to inform them of the breach.

“Third-party liability coverage indemnify companies for losses to others caused, for example, by errors and omissions, failure to safeguard data, or defamation; and other benefits including regular security-audit, post-incident public relations and investigative expenses, and criminal reward funds.

“Risks of this nature are typically excluded from traditional commercial general liability policies or at least are not specifically defined in traditional insurance products. Most people believe that only large-scale industries, such as banks only need cyber security insurance. However, any electronic information such as your name, email, contact number, financial records, medical records, payment information, government documentation, etc., stored in your personal devices can be easily and quickly hacked by a genius hacker,” he explained.

“Cyber-insurance is a specialty lines insurance product intended to protect businesses, and individuals providing services for such businesses, from Internet-based risks, and more generally from risks relating to information technology infrastructure, information privacy, information governance liability, and activities related thereto,” he pointed out.

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PENGASSAN Suspends Strike Over Chevron’s Agbami Oilfield Dispute

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Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, General-Secretary of PENGASSAN made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Yenagoa.

Okugbawa told NAN that the strike had been put on hold following a truce with company’s management on April 15. According to him, the leadership of PENGASSAN and management of CNL reached an agreement over the matter, making the proposed strike unnecessary.

Okugbawa said that the mediatory meeting by Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum with the leadership of the union scheduled for April 15 could not also hold because a truce had reached.

PENGASSAN had threatened to down tools and shutdown Agbami Offshore Oilfield over moves by Chevron to cut its workforce by 25 per cent.

The plan to lay off 600 workers was announced, in a statement, on Oct. 2, 2020 by Mr Esimaje Brikinn, CNL’s General Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs.

Brikinn said the job cut was to reposition the oil firm for greater efficiency and competitiveness.

Agbami field, which has the capacity to produce 250,000 barrels per day (bpd), currently produces about 140,000 bpd according to industry data.

NAN

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