As part of measures to promote reading culture in the society, an educationist, Mr Austine Nwaeze has called on International Oil Companies (IOCS) and other multinationals operating in the Niger Delta to play active roles.
Nwaeze, who is the founder of the Garden City Library disclosed this while speaking in an interview with The Tide at the weekend.
He said the decline in the reading culture among the youth was as a result of non involvement of critical stakeholders in the provision of educational aids and development of libraries. He called on the IOCs to invest in library development in Rivers State and Niger Delta as part of their corporate social responsibilities.
“It is regrettable that reading culture is on a fast lane of decline; most public libraries today are empty. This is a disincentive to the reading culture. The issue is, however, pathetic because without proper acquisition of knowledge through reading, the future of our youth is compromised”.
He said the vision of the Garden City Library is to groom children to embrace the reading culture noting that it is easier to capture the interest of children than that of adults who are already distracted by social exigencies.
He solicited support from the government of Rivers State, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other corporate organisations in the provision of vehicles and other logistics to carry out mobile library activities to the rural areas of the state.
SERAP Seeks Review Of Power Sector Privatisation
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called for an urgent review of the privatisation of the power sector, to find a lasting solution to Nigeria’s energy crisis.
SERAP’s Executive Director, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, made the call yesterday, in Lagos.
Mumuni said epileptic power supply across the country was partly to blame for the rate of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria.
He said that the task before the Gov. Nasir El-Rufai Committee on Power Sector Reform was to look into how the privatisation of the sector, which led to the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), was conducted.
“It seems like we pretended to commercialise and privatise, which to me has not really been done, because successive governments have been pumping in money into the sector.
“The government should leave the electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) and the Generation Companies (Gencos) to sort themselves’ out.
“Government should allow the owners run them with the best business practices, so that Nigerians will have better services.”
He said the success of the privatisation of the telecommunications sector was an indication that the power sector could achieve the same feat, if the right thing is done.
“I believe that the government should investigate the process by which they came in, and make it clear to Nigerians.
“This government claims to have spent N1. 7 trillion on the power sector, but our question is why is government pumping money into a largely privatised sector?
“So, the commercial papers that were signed should be reviewed urgently, to ensure that it is beneficial to Nigerians and not just a few individuals,” Mumuni said.
The SERAP executive director also maintained that the rights group was against any increment in electricity tariffs, as it would further impoverish Nigerians.
He said: “Any increase in charges and fees is not of benefit to ordinary Nigerians.
“What the government needs to do is to increase the wealth and opportunities of Nigerians, and not to burden them with more charges.
Expert Canvasses Liberalisation Of Oil, Gas Sector
In a bid to enhance development in the oil and gas industry and promote justice in the Nigerian state, a renowned environmentalist and public affairs analyst, Engr Olu Andah Wai-Ogosu, has called for the liberalization of the oil and gas sector to accommodate the interest of key stakeholders and promote maximal development in the economy.
Wai-Ogosu who spoke with The Tide in an interview in his office in Port Harcourt at the weekend, faulted the monopolization of activities in the oil and gas industry by the Federal Government, stating that such approach has stunted the development of the sector.
According to the environmentalist, “placing oil and gas in the exclusive operation of the Federal Government was a means of deliberately sidelining the people of the Niger Delta that produces the oil deposits. Such policies are premised on the foundation of injustice, and must be reviewed to respond to the imperatives of justice. The oil bearing communities that mostly suffer the hazards of oil and gas pollution are perhaps the least beneficiaries of the oil and gas economy.”
He expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in the implementation of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), particularly the aspect that had to do with the host communities involvement, and noted that the delay was a direct affront to the Niger Delta communities that were supposed to benefit from the policies.
The expert who advocated for a total overhaul of the oil and gas industry said the prospect of development of the oil and gas industry, and other sectors of the economy depended on proper implementation of, “community driven policies in which the local communities are properly mobilised to play active roles in pipelines surveillance, application of bye products in the oil and gas industry and direct participation in other related activities.”
DisCos, TCN Demand Another Tariff Hike
Power distribution companies and the Transmission Company of Nigeria Plc have applied to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for a review of their tariffs.
NERC, in a document seen by our correspondent, said the request for rate review was premised on the need to incorporate changes in macroeconomic parameters and other factors affecting the operational efficiency of Discos and TCN.
The commission, in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020 for the 11 Discos, had said on January 4 that consumers would start to pay more for electricity from April 1, 2020.
Following the public outcry that greeted the announcement, the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to suspend the planned upward review of electricity tariff.
NERC said in the document that the extraordinary tariff review filed by the 11 successor electricity distribution licensees and the TCN “seeks to ensure that the utilities recover their full efficient costs with reasonable return on the assets invested in the business.”
It said the review was also aimed at ensuring the recovery of the Discos’ revenue requirement through rates that are fair.
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