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Why we suspended electricity tariff hike, FG explains

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Why we suspended electricity tariff hike, FG explains

The Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman has explained that the suspension of the take-off of the new electricity tariff hike till next three months was in line with President’ Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement of March 29 granting a moratorium for certain Federal Government’s funded facilities to the Nigerian public.

Mamman, who stated this in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, explained further that the decision was one of several critical actions the administration was taking to ensure citizens had power supply in this difficult time.

Recall that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, apparently bowing to pressure, had earlier in the day, announced the suspension of electricity tariff hike expected to have commenced today to June 30, 2020.

The minister said:

“The 3-month delay in the implementation of tariff measures is consistent with His Excellency the President’s announcement on March 29th granting a moratorium for certain Federal Government funded facilities to the Nigerian public.

“I will also commend players in the NESI that have made commitments to ensuring stable power supply in this period.

“We must work together. I must specifically commend the Distribution Companies that have a direct interface with the citizens. Many of the Distribution Companies have announced that they will take measures to maintain the power supply to citizens in this difficult time.

“I would like to implore that the DISCOs uphold these commitments. Key Emergency measures being taken to support the NESI (Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry) are as follows.

“Delay in tariff actions for 3-months to limit economic hardship on Nigerians in this difficult time. Ongoing engagements with key players involved in the NESI to ensure sustainable power supply.

“We are working with the CBN to ensure payments to the generators and gas suppliers through the Payment Assurance Facility (PAF) are expedited to support power supply.

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“TCN is creating emergency measures to ensure staff will be available to monitor the grid and perform technical interventions.

“Based on the feedback of Nigerians through the Public Hearings on Tariffs, the Ministry acknowledges the sentiment from consumers.

“Nigerians are willing to pay for services rendered by the DISCOs, but this willingness is conditioned on definite improvement in the quality of supply and adequate metering.

“The Ministry is supportive of measures taken by NERC to transition to a “service reflective” tariff system in the NESI. The Ministry is engaging with NERC to ensure:

“The “service reflective” tariff is implemented with equity, DISCOs must present plans for improving service across their entire network.

“The enforcement of Order NERC/197/2020 regulating the Estimated Billing Methodology. This is to ensure that metering is accelerated, and customers protected from arbitrary billing.

“We agree with NERC that this approach is more equitable and will encourage investment in the sector.

“This will also transition the NESI to a contract based market with appropriate regulatory oversight as envisaged by the EPSRA (Electric Power Sector Reform Act).

“The Ministry also has a number of initiatives to support electricity access to the rural and underserved communities through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) focusing on Solar Home Systems and Solar Mini-Grids.

“REA has support from the World Bank, African Development Bank, USAID, DFID and other key development partners to help accelerate power access. The Ministry is in discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria on measures to help accelerate access to Solar Home Systems and Solar Mini-Grids.

“The Ministry will continue driving infrastructure investments with the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) and the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Program (TREP) to support increased power supply.

“Metering is critical to ensuring sustainable and transparent revenue collection in the NESI. The Ministry is working with NERC to review the MAP (Meter Asset Provider) regulation to ensure it is fit for purpose with our evolving global factors.

“We are also working with the Ministry of Finance and Customs to ensure we have a regime for duties that aligns to our need for accelerated deployment of electricity components and tools.

“The sector must be sustainably managed without an endless intervention of funds by the Government. The Power Sector Recovery (PSRP) Financing Plan is being updated. The updates include an alignment of available resources and setting of a firm timeline for the Government to exit its tariff support.

“The Financing Plan will be followed rigorously, especially at this time with tightening fiscal resources for the Government.

“We are continuing discussions with the World Bank on financing for the sector in alignment with the PSRP Financing Plan and hope to conclude the discussions soon.

“The Ministry will continue to engage with key NESI players in this difficult time to ensure the sustainability of supply and improved outcomes for the Nigerian public.

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Akande emerges Chairman of Ibadan LG Properties Company

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Mr. Kehinde Akande, the Caretaker Chairman, Ibadan South-West Local Government has emerged as the new chairman of Ibadan Local Government Properties Company.

He emerged winner of an election conducted at a meeting of Caretaker Chairmen for local governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Ibadanland on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ibadan Property Company is a business entity of all local governments and LCDAs in Ibadanland.

Akande defeated his co-contender, Mr. Hameed Adekunle, the Chairman, Akinyele South LCDA with 16 votes to one.
Mr. Ibrahim Akintayo, the Caretaker Chairman, Ibadan North-East Local Government, told newsmen after the meeting that 16 of the 17 chairmen present voted for Akande.

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Akintayo said that the company was set up with the objective of trading in real estate businesses, while local government chairmen in Ibadaland are members of its board.

Akande, in his acceptance speech, appreciated Gov. Seyi Makinde for his forthrightness and commitment to see that Ibadan and the entire Oyo State was developed.

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He commended the governor for proving his democratic credentials by directing the local government chairmen to pick the chairman of the company through democratic means.

“As the newly elected chairman of Ibadan Local Governments Properties Company, I am using this opportunity to thank Gov. Seyi Makinde for his forthrightness to see that Ibadan and Oyo State is developed.

“This is one of the developments our able governor is bringing to the state by asking all the chairmen to elect their chairman through democratic means,” he said.

Akande said that his vision was to start doing things the right way and put Ibadan in good standing in terms of development.

“Ours is going to be visionary and sustainable development for Ibadan, and I promise to entrench transparency which is the watchword of our able governor.

“Everything we do must be transparent and I promise everyone that we are going to be accountable in everything we will be doing,” he said.

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Labour, Civil Society flays deduction of salaries of workers, pensioners by Kaduna Govt, other States

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The Labour Civil Society Situation Room on COVID-19 has criticised the arbitrary deduction in the salaries and pension of workers and pensioners by the Kaduna State Government and other States.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Chairman of the Labour Civil Society Situation Room, said this in a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting on Thursday in Abuja.

The meeting was held to review the recent developments pertaining to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the economic front.

Wabba said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room reviewed the decision by the Kaduna state government and a few other states to deduct the salaries of workers in their states, including healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 challenge.

“Even worse is the threat by Gov. Nasir El-Rufai to sack affected workers if they go on strike.

”This anti-worker practice championed by the Kaduna State government violates the fundamental principles and rights at work.

“These principles and rights are key components of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) global labour standards and are also codified in our laws.

”The infringement of these rights is a crude abuse of power and akin to modern-day slavery.

“Wages are binding contracts which cannot be unilaterally or arbitrarily reviewed. It is unfortunate that while some states are giving incentives to workers at this time of grave health emergency, in line with the global trend.

“The Kaduna State Government is taking away from workers and pensioners. This is nothing but a full-blown industrial tyranny,” he said.

Wabba said the situation room was behind the ultimatum by workers in the affected states for a reversal of the unjust decision, adding it fully stands by workers’ resolve to embark on strike, if their demands were not met.

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He said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room demanded that the state governments must reciprocate Federal Government’s gesture in granting a moratorium on repayment of budget support palliatives by paying workers and pensioners their full entitlements.

“We also renew our calls for investigation on how states used the palliatives and Paris Club refunds.

“We demand that private-sector employers should stop the retrenchment of workers in the guise of COVID-19 as such moves would only impair efforts geared at economic revitalisation,” he said.

Wabba said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room applauded the Federal Government for reversing the directive by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to place workers on half salaries based on the claims of the shortfall in revenue owing to COVID-19.

“This is the way to go for all employers in the public and private sectors in order to protect the livelihood and dignity of workers.

“The continued incidence of job losses, income deprivation and denial of the means of livelihood for workers by some employers in Nigeria on the excuse of COVID-19 is a source of worry to us,” he said.

The NLC president, therefore, said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room recommended that for the immediate term, governments should adopt a measured approach to the fallout of COVID-19.

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Wabba said the government should not cut down on budgetary allocations to education, health, agriculture and infrastructure as these sectors were critical for the needed economic rebound and growth.

He also said the government should unfreeze the embargo on public sector jobs, adding that hike in user access charges on public utilities should be shelved for the next six months.

“Given the abuse of security votes by many political officeholders. we call for the scrapping of security votes from public budgeting in Nigeria.

“We call on political office holders to reduce their salaries and allowances in order to free up finances for other areas of national developmental needs.

“We also call for an end to medical and education tourism for elected public officials and their families.

“We call for an immediate stop to the practice of borrowing to finance consumption.

“We call for foreign loans where necessary to be tied exclusively to capital projects with feasible income and debt repayment potentials cum projections,” he said.

Wabba also called for accelerated disbursement of palliatives and loans to workers in the informal sector.

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He said that this should be transparent, inclusive and monitored by mass-based groups, adding that the conditions for access to the loans should be minimal to deepen access.

Wabba said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room also recommended that the budgetary and planning process in Nigeria should be overhauled to become more socially inclusive, citizens-centred, value objective and reflective of real national developmental needs.

“We call on the National Assembly to set in motion legislative processes to deliver the promises of Chapter Two of Nigeria’s Constitution.

“On the budget process, we must cut our cloth according to our materials. We must discard the use of assumptive and deficit budgets that cannot be funded by available resources and heavily dependent on local and foreign loans, especially for recurrent expenditure.

“We call for the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex, proper governance for our solid minerals sector, the revival of moribund textile factories and other manufacturing concerns as a demonstration of our commitment to economic diversification,” he said.

Wabba said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room reiterates its commitment to defend jobs, wages and livelihoods.

He added that all interventions in this crisis must be geared at enhancing productivity, stimulating economic growth, promoting diversification of the economy and mobilising and empowering national productive forces.

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Gov. Ugwuanyi inaugurates 13-kilometre road in Enugu East council

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Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Thursday inaugurated a 13-kilometer road that linked Abakpa Nike Lake Junction to Orie Emene to ease traffic flow in the Enugu East Local Government Area.

Inaugurating the road in Enugu on Thursday, Ugwuanyi said the project was conceived by his administration as the first bypass to ease the traffic flow in Enugu East local government.

He said that it would serve as a diversion for interstate vehicular movements as recommended by the Enugu State Urban Renewal Committee.

According to him, the bypass opens up development at the Harmony Estate in Amorji Nike, Adoration Pilgrimage Centre, and also provides access to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu currently undergoing massive rehabilitation.

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The governor also said that the completion of the entire road project was consistent with his administration’s procurement policy of starting and completion of projects.

He said the stretch from Airport roundabout to Eke Obinagu in Emene had been duly completed and inaugurated by his administration.

”It has elevated the status of Emene and its environs from a semi-urban city to an urban city within Enugu Capital Territory.

Ugwuanyi pointed out that the project would help to reflate the local economy of concerned communities and open a new economic corridor through stimulation of commerce, creation of employment, and job opportunities for the teeming youths.

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In appreciation, the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the road project as unprecedented and a miracle taking off in the state.

Mbaka disclosed that the area of the ultra-modern road built by Ugwuanyi before now was a thick forest.
The cleric said that he had dreamt of the road, envisioned it while the governor actualized it.

”May God be glorified and may the governor of Enugu State be blessed in Jesus’ Name, Amen, ” he prayed.

A road was constructed with drainage channels across five rivers including culverts and Bridges that linked a busy and thickly populated Abakpa Nike with Emene satellite town.

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Personalities at the event included Speaker of the Enugu House of Assembly, Chief Edward Ubosi, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Ngozi Emehelu.

Others were, the member representing Enugu East and Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Mr. Cornelius Nnaji, the PDP State Chairman, Mr. Augustine Nnamani, the Enugu East Council Chairman, Mr. Alex Ugwu, among others

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