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.
NAICOM Licences Seven New Insurance Firms
By Sola Alabadan
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) issued operational licences to seven insurance companies in Abuja today, in line with Market Conduct & Business Practice Guidelines.
The new insurance firms are Heirs Insurance Limited (General), Heirs Life Assurance Limited, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited (life), Enterprise Life Assurance Company, FBS Reinsurance Limited, Salam Takaful and Cornerstone Takaful Insurance Company Limited.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, who gave the operational licences to the five firms at NAICOM Head Office, said the Commission has issued operational licences to the firms to operate insurance business.
According to him: “The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) received applications from the under listed companies for registration as Insurance and reinsurance Companies to transact insurance and reinsurance business in Nigeria.
“In fulfillment of the statutory provisions of extant laws for the registration/licensing of insurance Companies, the general public is hereby informed that the Commission has commenced the process of registering the companies.
Consequently:” Heir Insurance Limited (General) has picked, Olaniyi Stephen Onifade as its Managing Director, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited, picked, Akinjide Orimolade as Managing Director; Heirs Life Assurance Limited picked Abah Okoriko and Enterprise Life Assurance Company Nigeria Limited picked Fumilayo Abimbola Omo.
“FBS Reinsurance Limited is led by the former Commissioner of Insurance, Fola Daniel. FBS is bringing together professionals with proven experience from the brokerage and underwriting units of the industry including Bala Zakariyau, the former managing director of Niger Insurance who currently plays in a support unit of the Nigerian aviation industry, Ahmed Olaniyi Salawu of the Standard Insurance Consultants, and Wole Oshin Bankole of the Custodian Investment Plc that has just taken a plunge into the property sector by taking a large chunk of the United Property Development Company, a subsidiary of the UACN Plc.
“These crops of professionals represent those with firm beliefs that there is a big insurance potential in Nigeria and indeed, the African continent. Others are Ebele Ofunneamaka Okeke, from Nnewi North, Anambra who rose to the position of the Head of Nigerian Civil Service before her retirement, and also, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, a lawyer, and an accomplished administrator and businessman with vast experience at the senior executive level in power and communication sectors.
“The reinsurance firm is required to pay the new N20 billion capitalisation stipulated by the commission under the reform exercise for it to start a business in the industry.”
Power: FG Ready To Support DisCos’ Initiatives – Minister
Mr Saleh Mamman, Minister of Power, says the Federal Government is ready to support any initiative by electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) aimed at addressing the challenges facing the power sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mamman spoke at the inauguration of Eko Electric Distribution Company’s (EKEDC) Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) System on Thursday in Lagos.
Mamman said : “I felicitate with and commend the EKEDC’s Board of Directors and management for this milestone.
“SCADA is one of the most advanced technologies in the power distribution business globally and I am optimistic that this event will translate to improved service delivery within EKEDC’s network.
“The inauguration of this SCADA system will help EKEDC monitor and respond quicker to faults and reduce the outage durations which would improve quality of service delivery to customers.”
According to him, the SCADA project will help the DisCo meet its set objectives under the recently executed Service Level Agreements with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
He said the project would provide access to real time data that enables distribution system operators to make informed decisions that improve reliability and availability, consistent with the targets of the Service Based Tariff (SBT) regime.
Mamman said the FG was working assiduously to address the challenges of the power sector through initiatives such as the National Mass Metering Programme, the Siemens AG Power Project and upgrade of power infrastructure across the country.
Earlier, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, Managing Director, EKEDC, thanked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its support to the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry which paved way for the SCADA project.
Fadeyibi said : “SCADA is a centralised computer system which represents the evolution of our network operations from the present physical monitoring, remote coverage and relay of network information.
“By contrast, SCADA innovatively gathers real time information, identifies loopholes or breaches in the network and transfers this data back to a central site where the necessary analysis and control is carried out.
“The result of this analysis is then displayed in a logical and organised fashion. The project involves monitoring, control, fault tracking, data analysis and operations optimisation of our high-tension network.
“As part of Eko DisCo’s effort to improve operational efficiency, revenue generation and reduction of our Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection Losses, we have implemented the SCADA project to automate our electric power distribution network across our franchise coverage area.”
He said the achievement by the DisCo showed that the FG’s Power Sector privatisation programme was a laudable decision, as it had completely transformed the sector and the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
Emirates Offers Travellers $500,000 Multi-risk Travel Cover
Emirates airlines has announced that it will provide travellers a multi- risk travel cover worth $ 500 , 000 on top of its current COVID-19 cover.
The airline stated that the new multi- risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover will automatically apply to all Emirates tickets purchased from December 1 , and extend to Emirates codeshare flights operated by partner airlines , as long as the ticket number starts with 176.
Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive , Ahmed bin Al Maktoum was quoted as saying , “ Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID -19 cover for travellers back in July , and the response from our customers has been tremendously encouraging.
“ We have not rested on our laurels and instead continued to look at how we can offer our customers an even better proposition. We are very pleased to be able to now provide this new multi- risk travel insurance and COVID – 19 cover , which is another industry first, to all our customers.”
He added, “ We aim to give our customers even more confidence in making their travel plans this winter and moving into 2021 by the launch of this feature .”
Highlights of the coverage include out -of – country emergency medical expenses and evacuation up to $ 500 ,000 , valid for COVID -19 ( contracted during the trip ) and other medical emergencies while travelling abroad.
It also involves trip cancellation up to $ 7 ,500 for non- refundable costs if the traveller or a relative ( as defined in the policy ) is unable to travel because they are diagnosed with COVID- 19 before the scheduled trip departure date , or for other named reasons – similar to other comprehensive travel cover products.