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FG, US Firm Partner On Solar-Powered Farm

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The Federal Government is set to begin the installation of a 50MW solar power farm project in Kaduna State, Mrs. Bahijjatu Abubakar, the desk officer, Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Environment has said.

She told newsmen in Abuja on Monday that the 50MW solar power farm would be situated between the Nigerian Defence Academy and the international airport in Kaduna.

Abubakar said that Kaduna government was the first to respond to the call by the Federal Ministry of Environment to states to imbibe the use of solar energy.

She said that Kaduna State and the Synergent Powershare Group of investors from the United States of America had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the project.

She added that the solar power investors preferred the northern part of the country for solar power because of intense sun radiation in the area and wind energy in Enugu State, adding that they preferred to invest in energy generated by waves in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar.

The desk officer said that the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kaduna project had been slated for February 19.

According to her, the investors would execute the project without Federal Government’s financial assistance.

The Federal Government would provide incentives such as import duty rebate and power purchase agreement and reasonable feed in tariffs, she said.

“All the government needs to do is to give them the enabling environment and appropriate incentives such as the tax and import duty rebate, power purchase agreement and feedin-tariffs.

“The feed-in-tariffs are very important as they will give the investors the incentives to know how long it will take for them to recover their investment.”

Abubakar said: “This Synergent Group are investors. They do not want one kobo from the Nigerian government. All they want is to ensure that we give them the enabling environment to be able to invest and that is what we have done. That is the reason why we are getting a lot of investors coming into Nigeria in this sector.

“What had happened in the past is that a lot of people want government to put money into this venture and we are saying under this renewable energy programme that government has no business putting money into power generation in renewable energy.”

She added that the ministries of environment and that of power were collaborating to ensure the success of the project, adding that the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission had also set up a renewable energy desk to attend to investors on daily basis.

Abubakar said that the investors did not only make profits from their investment alone in developing countries, but that they also generated revenue, through carbon credit.

She advised states, local governments and big corporations to be mindful of the need to establish the viability of their projects before executing them.

She called on the states’ ministries of environment to set up renewable energy desks to benefit from the Carbon Credit project.

Carbon Credit is a leader in capturing the benefits of carbon finance to help deploy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emission and commercialise new clean technologies worldwide.

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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