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Senate Will Pass New Electricity Law In August —Suswam

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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, has assured Nigerians that the problems associated with the quality of electricity supply in the country would soon be addressed with a legal framework.

He said the Senate was putting together, a comprehensive Electricity Act in collaboration with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to tackle the challenges facing the consumers, the suppliers and the regulators.

Suswam stated this when he led the Senate Committee on Power on oversight function to the NERC headquarters and other power installations in the Federal Capital Territory, on Monday.

He said, “The legal framework that we have in place which regulates the power sector, was set up in 2004, just to enable the government to privatize the sector.

“Now we’ve gone beyond privatisation, and there has to be an electricity act for the country.

“The Act, which should be ready in August, will set a legal framework that would touch on the issue of energy theft, and the sanctions against those who bypass meters.

” It will also give potential investors to come and invest in Nigeria knowing that the legal framework for the country’s power sector protects them.”

The Senator said the electricity distribution companies operating in the country had acceded to the appeal by the National Assembly to suspend their planned tariff hike, which should have started in August.

He said, “The Act that established the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission gave it the power to make sure it carries out tariff reviews.

“To a large extent they have done that but we now find ourselves in a difficult economic situation at the moment.

“By their own programme, the distribution companies are supposed to activate tariff increase by the first of July this year but the National Assembly appealed to them to tarry a while so that Nigerians could recover from the economic shock before they can activate the tariff.

“As difficult as it was, they were able to accede to our appeal and that is why the tariff increase activation has not kicked off.

“That is not to say that it will not be increased eventually because the only way the sector can become liquid is for the proper tariff to be charged and for all consumers to have meters.

“The DISCOs respected us because they know the burden that Nigerians are passing through.”

Senate Committee on Power on oversight function to the National Electricity Regulation Commission.

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NERC, Prof. James Momoh, said the electricity sector in Nigeria requires $2.1bn to provide additional infrastructure to boost supply, bring in investors and improve the quality of life.

He noted that the infrastructure in the sector had deteriorated with obsolete equipment capable of generating 13, 000 megawatts installed power capacity.

He lamented that only 5,000 mgw generated was available for distribution by the DISCOs.

He stressed the need for the country to invest in modern infrastructure to improve the supply because Nigeria would in 25 years, require 17, 703 mgw.

Momoh said, “We are putting strategies in place to service effective tariff to ensure that customers are not cheated in tariff increase.

“We are also going to ensure that the ease of doing business is emphasized and supported. We are also promoting local content to make sure that there is Metre for all electricity consumers in Nigeria.

“We are working with the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure that there is every home in the country.

“We are on the same page with the National Assembly on a regulation that would ensure transparency and effectiveness,” he added.

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Nigeria Set To Host AIO Confab, As Tope Smart Emerges President

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By Sola Alabadan

All arrangements have been concluded for the forthcoming 47th Conference and Annual General Assembly of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) holding in Lagos from September 4 to 8.
Chairman, Local Organising Committee Of AIO 2021, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu, who addressed journalists in Lagos on Tuesday, said since the conference could not hold last year due to the covid-19 pandemic, the AIO Secretariat LOC decided to hold it this year as a hybrid event to cater for those who will not be able to attend physically.
She emphasised that in planning the conference at this time, the organisers  have taken full cognizance of all the health protocols and restrictions on public gathering, hence the decision to make it a hybrid event.
To give further impetus to this decision, she pointed out that “we are limiting the number of physical attendees, while others are being encouraged to take advantage of the virtual conference to participate from their different locations. For physical attendees, all covid-19 protocols will be observed and implemented to the letter.”

She also commended the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Olorundare Thomas for working assiduously and liaising with the various ministries and agencies to ensure that the organisers get the full support from the government.
She equally informed that of the major highlights of the 47th Conference is that the immediate past chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association and Group Managing Director of NEM Insurance Plc, Mr. Tope Smart will assume office as the next president of the pan African organisation for the next one year.
As Covid-19 pandemic had left very debilitating effects on many economies and there are efforts at addressing these challenges, participants at the 47th AIO conference would be contributing to discussions around how insurance can contribute to ongoing efforts at rebuilding economies seriously impacted by the pandemic.
The theme of this year’s conference is: Rebuilding Africa’s Economy: An Insurance Perspective.

The four other subtopics to address other contemporary issues affecting the insurance industry are:
The new normal: How leaders can reset for growth beyond covid-19
Regulation, innovation and the future of insurance

Harnessing the potential for growth and development in the Nigerian insurance market

AfCFTA and the African Insurer: Prospects and Opportunities

She added that the AIO Secretariat has assembled a strong faculty to deliver the different papers.
The resource persons are: Mr. Jakkie Cilliers, Institute of Security Studies, South Africa, Mr. Belhassen Tanat of Munich re, Mr. Yinka Sanni of Standard Bank Group, Mr. Tawiah Ben- Ahmed of Metropolitan Life Insurance, Ghana.
The AIO conference will also include the Life Seminar and all related activities.
The LOC chairman further stated that hosting the conference is significant to Nigeria, as it will enable her to showcase hee rich culture and hospitality, as well as provide a great opportunity to correct some of the misconceptions about Nigeria and her people.

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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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