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Lawan Urges FG To Reverse Privatisation Of Power Sector

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to review or reverse the privatisation of the nation’s power sector.

Lawan made the call while contributing to a motion on the “Power Sector Recovery Plan and the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic” sponsored by Senator Gabriel Suswam (Benue North East)

Lawan said: “We gave them our common patrimony and they still come back as DisCos and GenCos to look for money from the public.

“The time has come to review and probably reverse this privatisation, if we leave them for the next 10 years there would be no power in Nigeria.

“Like I said before this motion was taken, the privatisation has so far not been successful.

“We expected efficiency, effectiveness in power supplies but probably on both sides, maybe the purchase agreements were not adhered to on both sides.

“What is obvious is that the DisCos particularly have no capacity at the moment to supply us power.

“The GenCos have challenges too. It is not good that we give them money we sold – these are businesses.

“If there are areas we must intervene as a government must be seriously justified.

“The way it is I think there is need to review this privatisation to see what has happened. Something is certainly not right.

“In the event that this thing does not work properly, there will be need for the government to look into it.”

Meanwhile the Senate after its debate on the motion resolved to “Commend the Federal Government for the proactive initiative to establish the N1.7 trillion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund to cater for issues that are critical to effective management of the Pandemic and to stimulate gradual return to normal socio-economic activities in the country.

“Urge the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance to include the Nigerian Electric Power Sector in the disbursement of the proposed N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

“This was in order to ameliorate the financial hazards and operational challenges such as the enumeration of metering of actual consumers and recent problem arising from the pandemic.

“Urge the Federal Government to suspend the planned tariff increase which is scheduled to take effect from 1st of July, 2020 bearing in mind the increased hardship resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Mandate the Senate Committee on Power to investigate all Federal Government interventions in the power sector since the privatization of the sector to date with a view to ascertaining the adequacy of such interventions and other desired impact, and to report back within four weeks.

“Mandate the Senate Committee on Power to investigate all market participants in the power value chain and ascertain the level of corporate governance compliance in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and to report back within four weeks.

“Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow operators in the power sector access to foreign exchange for procurement and materials like what is done in the aviation and oil industry.

“Urge the Federal Government to consider additional tariff support to cushion the effect of rate shock over a fixed period to allow time required for TCN and DisCos to access funds and implement performance improvements investments that will support increased tariffs to certain classes of customers especially during the pandemic.”

Senator Suswam in his lead debate said that the Senate is aware that at the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, “the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance intimated the leadership of the National Assembly of plans to establish a N1.7 trillion COVID-19 crisis intervention fund to be utilized to upgrade healthcare facilities across the country, stimulate agriculture, solid materials, power sector and also execute social intervention programmes that will benefit the masses.”

He noted that while the appropriate executive bill that will articulate the actual use of the fund is yet to be presented to the Senate for consideration, “the devastating impact of the pandemic on the power sector has necessitated the need for the Senate to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the need to include the sector in the disbursement of the proposed fund.”

He said that this is in view of “the vital role of stable electricity supply to current efforts towards jumpstarting the economy which is till groaning under the impact of the pandemic.”

Suswam added: “The stable and uninterrupted power supply is also a critical factor in the management of COVID-19 patients as well as in the implementation of the proposed upgrade of healthcare facilities across the country after the pandemic.

“Aware that prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) was already facing teething operational constraints including the absence of cost-reflective tariffs, inadequate enumeration and metering of consumers, limited access to funds for investment, poor revenue generation and high levels of aggregate technical, commercial and collection (ATC&C) losses.

“Generation Companies (GenCos) were owed 72 per cent of their revenue in 2019 while the Distribution Electricity Companies (DisCos) reported average ATC&C losses of about 41 per cent in the same year.

“All these constraints prevented the NESI from performing optimally across the power value chain.

“Alarmed that the COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted negatively on NESI as the DisCos reported a 50% loss of their average monthly revenue collection for the months of March and April 2020 respectively even as the Federal Government continues to harp on the need for a stable electricity supply.”

Lawmakers in their contributions supported the motion.

Senator Francis Fadahunsi in his contribution lamented that even though the Federal Government spent huge sums of money between 2006 till date, it has only been able to generate 6000 megawatts of power.

On his part, Senator Abubakar Kyari said: “I am not comfortable with the term cost effective tariff when no one has been able to say how much is spent in producing a megawatt so as to determine how much to charge. Everything is based on assumptions and something must be done about it.”

“The data that is being used to take decisions in the sector are incorrect, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said.

Senator Uche Ekwunife noted that “There is no difference between NEPA and DisCos as power is hardly available in the rural areas.”

“I commend the initiative of the Federal Government for a stimulus package of N1.7 trillion in the COVID-19 intervention fund,” Senator Adamu Aliero said.

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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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