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Nigeria To Benefit From World Bank’s $22.5m Electricity Grant 

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Nigeria is one of the countries to benefit from a $22.5 million World Bank funding for the regional off-grid electricity access project (ROGEAP) in West and Central Africa.

In a statement released on Friday in Washington DC, US, the World Bank said the intervention is in form of grants from the International Development Association (IDA) and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).

The World Bank said the project is designed for Nigeria and 18 other countries in West and Central Africa, 15 of which are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Mali.

The others are Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad and Mauritania.

“The project will support activities to accelerate the deployment of stand-alone solar products, in a sub-region where 50 percent of the population does not have access to electricity and where less than 3 percent of the population uses such innovative technologies,” the World Bank said.

“It seeks to harmonise policies and standards and business procedures to develop a regional market of stand-alone solar products, support entrepreneurs in business acceleration activities and provide credits and grants for the deployment of stand-alone solar home systems.”

The bank said the project is expected to contribute to human capital development by electrifying public health centers and schools.

“For instance, it will apply in farming communities which can use solar water pumps for irrigation, solar milling equipment for product transformation and solar refrigerators to bring products to market,” the World Bank said.

“The project will support the small and innovative business enterprises through solar home systems and will make an impact in economic recovery, following the coronavirus pandemic.”

The World Bank had, in June 2020, approved a $750 million loan through the IDA to improve the reliability of electricity supply in Nigeria.

In February, the bank also approved $500 million to support Nigeria in improving operations of electricity distribution companies (DisCos).

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Banks’ CEOs Hold Emergency Meeting Over BDCs’ Forex Ban 

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Bank Chief Executive Officers on Thursday, held an emergency meeting on how to ensure compliance with the new forex directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

After the meeting, they spoke during a webinar organised to give an update on the banks’ preparedness to be the main channel of forex distribution, following the recent discontinuity of forex supply to the BDC operators by the CBN.

The executives assured the public that banks would make forex available to customers in accordance with the CBN’s directives.

After the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had ordered all Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX request for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

Speaking at the webinar, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said, “The banking industry as a whole was willing and ready to carry out this function. The banks have very strict compliance measures, in terms of verification and making sure that people who do apply are eligible.

“All Nigerian banks will be able to meet these requirements. If you look at all the branches nationwide, you will know that the banks have more than enough capacity to do this.”

He said if the banks saw any compliance issues, or people attempting to do things cunning, they would be reported to the CBN because the banks would ensure full compliance with the order.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, while speaking on the capacity of the banks to meet the customers demand, said, “It is not only the CBN that has the ability to fund the market; the banks also have the resources to meet the demand, and we have agreed collectively that it will start immediately.”

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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Labour Warns FG Against Electricity Tariff Hike 

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The Nigeria Labour Congress faulted plans to allegedly sell the Transmission Company of Nigeria, saying it will lead to an increase in electricity tariff.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said this in a statement titled, “This Kite will not Fly’’ on Friday.

Wabba explained that instead of allegedly planning to sell the transmission company, FG should focus on improving the electricity supply.

He described the attempt to hand over the TCN to a few ‘privileged’ Nigerians as self-serving, obtuse, odious, morally reprehensible and criminal.

The NLC president said, “The TCN is a strategic economic asset of immense national security implications. This is because the TCN traverses all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

“It will be wrong that our country will be deliberately exposed to an avoidable vulnerability and thus, provide an opportunity to others to restrain the Nigerian state.

“We apprehend that the planned sale of the TCN is only an attempt to further confound the people and concurrently raise electricity tariff. Unfortunately, this time around, Nigerians have had enough.

“The government cannot promise improved power supply to consumers by the planned sale of TCN. The under-the-table scheming as transparent privatisation cannot pass muster.

“It is an unsavoury narrative for our country, that even the privatised assets, which have survived the rapacity of the new owners, have been turned into unrealisable collaterals for unpayable loans.

“This constitutes a bone stuck in the throat of financial institutions and sundry creditors.”

Wabba explained that the plan would “fundamentally weaken the security of the nation and above all, deprive the people of their age-old investments in the commanding heights of the Nigerian economy”.

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