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NBA Calls For Abolition Of Fuel Sibsidy, Fixed Charge

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The Nigerian Bar Asso
ciation (NBA) has lent its voice to the call for abolition of fixed charge being charged consumers by Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in Nigeria, saying it is illegal.
The association said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (NERC’s) policy on maintenance fees charged on meters amount to oppressive multiple taxation and should therefore be discontinued.
It also called for abolition of oil subsidy policy in view of the huge corruption in the process and suggested transparent harnessing and deployment of the nation’s resources.
In a communiqué issued Friday at the end of NBA’s 55th annual conference in Abuja, the body promised to partner with the government in the fight against corruption for national development.
“Critical to national development is the removal of fuel subsidy as it is one of the aggravating factors in corruption in that sector apart from the potential for national development thus afforded,  if funds thus freed up are duly harnessed”, it said.
The communiqué further called for prompt passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in view of its critical importance for nation’s development and stressed the need for major review to include the removal of clauses that tend to delimit the rights of the access to the courts by citizens who are negatively affected by petroleum operations, reduce the wide and overriding powers of the minister.
It stated that, “oil companies causing environmental degradation shall in addition to fines imposed by government pay a fair, full and adequate compensation to any persons aggrieved as determined by a judge sitting in the jurisdiction of injury whether state or federal, provided that the sum payable shall be as determined by an advisory adhoc  multi-disciplinary college of referees appointed by the judge comprising toxicologists, surveyors and valuers whose fees shall be charged to the polluters.”

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Group Lauds FG Over Planned Repositioning Of NDDC

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A group known as Patriotic Forum of Niger Delta (PAFOND) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his plans to reposition the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to live up to its statutory mandate of developing the Niger Delta region.
The commendation was part of a communiqué issued at the End of Year general meetings of the forum in Port Harcourt, and made available to The Tide.
The communiqué which was signed by the National chairman of the forum, comrade Owo Udoh, and the National Secretary, Comrade Daniel Wilson, stated that the Niger Delta had continued to suffer development neglect despite its huge to the Nigeria economy.
The forum urged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to commence the construction of roads in the Niger Delta and embark on other projects that will create meaningful impact on the lives of the people.
The group also called on other Niger Delta indigenes serving in the Buhari government,, particularly the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, to attract development projects to the Niger Delta.
The forum called on the governors of the Niger Delta states to channel the resources of the states for proper economic development of the region.
The group which expressed regrets over the, “infrastructural decay” in the Niger Delta, said development potentials in the oil rich region can be properly harnessed if the budgetary allocations for the development of the region are not diverted into personal coffers.

 

Taneh Beemene

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Oil & Energy

Expert Tasks Oil Firms On MoUs Implementation

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The brewing conflicts between oil companies and their host communities in the Niger Delta over a breach of agreements signed by the corporate partners have generated concerns among stakeholders.
Worried by the increasing spate of disagreement between oil firms and their host communities, an expert in the oil and gas sector, Dr Eddie Wikina, has called on all multinationals and corporate organisations operating in the Niger Delta to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed with their host communities.
Wikina who spoke with The Tide in an exclusive interview recently, said the flouting of MoUs and the absence of sustainable  community development policies among various oil firms and corporate organisations were the root causes of underdevelopment and conflicts in the Niger Delta.
He pointed out that; “modern industry practices require that both the oil firms and the host communities operate in mutual agreement and synergy through a well community engagement model that would be subject to upward reviews to suit evolving developments to avert crisis.”
He noted that oil related conflict has been a predominant feature of the Niger Delta over the years and urged prospecting oil firms and other corporate organisations in the region to learn from the experiences of the past and improve their host community relations by contributing meaningfully to the  development of their host communities.
The expert in Petroleum Engineering said  host communities were major stakeholders in the oil and gas business, noting that their active participation in the sector was an elixir to smooth business operation According to him, “it’s certain that that business activities can’t strive in an environment where there is mutual disagreement and incessant conflicts; global standards in oil and gas business require that host communities be given their due sense of belonging to promote peace and development.
The business concern must be accommodative of the development interest of the host communities, any company that glosses over the interest of its host communities is bound to face challenges.”
Wikina cautioned against the influx of substandard oil firms in the Niger Delta and called on the Federal Government to enact laws that will compel multinationals to implement all agreements signed with their host communities.
“Not all companies that prospect for oil in the Niger Delta has the capacity for effective business operation, some of them don’t have the industry experience and lack the potency to make the right impact”, he said.
He said the implantation of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would address the inherent challenges in the oil and gas sector, especially in the development of oil and gas producing communities.

 

Taneh Beemene

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DisCos Studying Modalities Of NERC’s Directive On Cashless Payment –ANED

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The Association of Nigeria Energy Distributors (ANED) says distribution companies are studying the modalities of the directive issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on cashless payment by customers.
Chairman, ANED, Mr Sunday Oduntan stated this on Friday in Lagos.
NERC had on December 31, 2019 directed the 11 DisCos to transit to cashless settlement platforms for the billing/collection of industrial and commercial customers by Jan. 31, 2020.
It also directed the Discos to transit to cashless settlement platforms for the billing/collection of the R3 class of residential customers by March 31.
The NERC said that Discos should leverage available banking channels approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria in complying with the directive.
It said that failure by DisCos to comply with the order would be treated as a breach of the terms and conditions of the distribution licence.
The commission said the move was expected to reduce the collection leakages being experienced in the sector.
Oduntan said that ANED was in support of any idea that would improve services between the layers in the power sector, noting that there was, however, need to examine the modalities concerning its implementation.
“We are studying the modalities of the directive. In principle, we support any idea that will reduce cash transactions; so, to us it is a good idea, especially for security purposes.
“But we also have to look at our customers across the country, especially those in the rural areas. Some of them don’t have bank accounts, don’t do internet banking and some even have cooperatives who collect these cash from them to help them make payments.
“So, we have to look at how we can factor them in and that is why we are yet to come out with our position.”
Oduntan said ANED had channels of communication with NERC and would not hesitate to sit down with the regulatory agency to sort out the grey areas.

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