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We will compel Togo, others to pay electricity debts – TCN

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The Republics of Togo, Benin and Niger will be compelled to pay the outstanding debts owed to Nigeria for electricity supplied to them, the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Mr Usman Mohammed, has said.

The PUNCH had reported on March 17, 2020, that the countries owed Nigeria a total of N29.97bn for the electricity supplied to them from January to September 2019, citing data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Mohammed, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said the debts owed by the countries dropped significantly last year following the disconnection of power supply to Benin and Togo in October.

He said, “The Transmission Company of Nigeria is no longer buying and selling electricity. We held a meeting with Benin and Togo in early 2019 and we discussed the outstanding debts.

“So, when it reached a point that they were defaulting around October last year, we disconnected them. On the basis of that, they paid. We are going to compel them to pay us what is remaining.”

According to him, the amount of electricity being sold to international customers is around 300 megawatts.

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The average energy sent out on March 24, 2020, in the country fell by 642.8MW to 3,345MWh/hour, the Advisory Power Team in the office of the Vice President said.

It said a total of 5,128.2MW was not generated due to lack of gas (3,934.5MW) and high frequency occasioned by the unavailability of distribution infrastructure (1,193.7MW).

“We have excess generation of more than 2,000MW that is not being taken by the distribution companies. From time to time, we have some other challenges, for example, gas supply challenge.” Mohammed said.

He said the gas supply challenge was usually caused by the delay in payments to gas suppliers.

“The intention is to ensure that we expand our network, serve Nigeria and at the same time sell as many megawatts of electricity as possible to the neighbouring countries because it is business. It is actually a means of diversifying Nigerian economy,” he added.

According to the TCN boss, Togo is being supplied electricity by Calabar Power Plant; Benin by Paras Energy & Natural Resources Development Limited; and Niger by Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited.

“So, it is their duty to collect the money including the service charge of the TCN. It is no more government to government; it is now private sector. This is consistent with the ECOWAS electricity market that was launched in 2018,” he said.

Mohammed said the agreement to sell electricity to Niger was reached to prevent the country from damming the River Niger, from which two of Nigeria’s hydropower plants get water supply.

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Kainji and Jebba power stations, which were acquired by Mainstream Energy Solutions during the privatisation of the power sector in 2013, draw water from the River Niger to generate electricity.

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Computer Village: Community seeks LASG intervention over looming crisis

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The Ogunbiyi Community Development Association (CDA) in the Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State has urged the state government to intervene over alleged constant harassment by hoodlums at the Ikeja Computer Village market.

Mr. Timi Davies, Vice Chairman, Ogunbiyi CDA, who also doubled as the chairman of a coalition of associations in Computer Village, told newsmen on Wednesday that his people were tired of constant harassment on residents by thugs.

Reports have it that the trader’s shutdown the biggest ICT market on Saturday in protest against the constant assault on the people by some hoodlums.

Trouble started on Saturday when the CDA erected a gate at Idowu Lane in the market which was allegedly removed and carted away on the order of the Iyaloja who also ordered the arrest of t two men, including the CDA Chairman.

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Davis urged the state government to come to its aid and intervene before the matter degenerated into a major crisis in the community.

He said, “This is an ICT business hub, this is not a market where they sell pepper and tomatoes, therefore, installing Babaloja and Iyaloja here is a misnomer. Computer Village does not belong to the market women association for Christ’s sake.

“We have made our position clear that we do not want these people, they do not represent us because we have our own different associations to which we belong.

“Moreover, they have continued to harass and assault people here to the extent that customers are already running away from the business environment for fear of being harassed.

“What happened Saturday is that the CDA erected a gate at Idowu lane to protect the market from burglars which were witnessed during the lockdown.

“We approached the local government, being our supervising body, and we were given the approval, but in the evening, Iyaloja sent hoodlums to remove the gate while she also ordered the arrest of the CDA chairman and others.

“Their offense for being arrested was that they didn’t take permission from Iyaloja and Babaloja before erecting the gate to protect their goods from being stolen.”

Davis said that the traditional title of Iyaloja or Babaloja did not give them permission to govern the community which was under the CDA created by the law of the state.

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He called on the state government to intervene to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the area.

Reacting, the Iyaoloja of Computer Village market, Mrs. Abimbola Azeez-Isokpehi said “the Idowu Lane where the gate was erected had always been part of Computer Village.”

Azeez-Isokpehi said there was arch built by TECNO mobile with signboards of Iyaloja which was erected at all the entrances of Computer Village.

“Suddenly, some people just thought they can cordon off Idowu Lane, claiming it is not part of Computer Village and they want to be alone.

“These unscrupulous elements wanted to try my authority by removing Idowu Lane as part of Computer Village.

“That was why they went to erect the gate there without my knowledge and I cannot be looking for people who hold the keys to the market when I am in charge,” she said.

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Lockdown: Abubakar Rimi Market, Kano. loses over N15m revenue

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The management of the Abubakar Rimi Market, Kano, says it has lost over N15 million in revenue since the lockdown of the state aimed at curbing COVID-19 spread.

Mr. Muhammad Bashir, the market’s Director of Administration and General Services, gave the figure while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Kano.

“As a result of this loss, we cannot even pay our staff salaries; we pay our staff from the revenue we generate.

“Every month, we generate over N12 million out of which we normally spend over N8 million as workers’ salaries,” he said.

Bashir said that huge business activities in the market were making social distancing difficult.

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The director said that the management of the market had, however, received over 20,000 face masks from the Kano State Government for distribution to traders and customers to reduce COVID-19 spread.

Bashir appealed to the state government to assist the management with funds to enable it to pay workers’ salaries.

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The director said that payment of workers’ salaries would reduce hardship induced by the 45-day-old lockdown.

He hailed the state government’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tanzanian gov’t to crack down on hiking of sugar price

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Tanzanian Authorities said on Wednesday it will launch a crackdown on sugar traders who have been hiking the price.

Japhet Hasunga, the Minister for Agriculture, said the crackdown followed complaints from the public that traders sold the commodity higher than the indicative price set by the government.

“The crackdown will target one shop after another and traders, who are found for hiking price of sugar, will face the full force of the law,’’ said Hasunga.

“If there are traders who think the crackdown is a joke, let them continue selling the commodity at a high price.

“They should not blame anyone when they face the music,’’ added the minister.

On April 24, the government announced an indicative price of the commodity, which is 2,600 Tanzanian shillings (about $1.12) a kilogram, after sugar price had gone up.

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The rise in sugar price was allegedly attributed to traders, who had hoarded the commodity in warehouses, to create an artificial shortage.

Hasunga said Tanzania’s sugar demand stood at 470,000 tons a year, while the country’s five sugar processing factories had the capacity of producing 378,000 tons in 2019.

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