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Nigerian Banks Frustrate Solar Energy Expansion – Expert

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A solar energy expert and Chairman of AO Demarg, General Ademola Fadunsi (rtd) has blamed banks for the slow pace of solar energy investments in Nigeria, saying the inability of banks to grant loans to investors in the sector had made investment difficult.
This was even as he hailed the Federal Government for releasing N2 billion through the Bank of Industry (BoI), for investors in the industry to access.
The retired military General, speaking in Abuja, regretted that local banks were not willing to assist solar energy investors to develop the country’s solar energy sub-sector even when according to him, many people were now embracing solar power as alternative and reliable source of energy.
Fadunsi hailed the Federal Government’s intervention through the BoI by releasing the N2 billion for solar power development in the country. He said:”Let me say here that we in the business need long-term financial backup from financial institutions but unfortunately, in Nigeria today, local banks are not giving out loans to anybody”.
He added that with the interest government was putting in the solar energy business, 2018 would be promising. Hear him: “Government is now putting more interest in the solar energy business, they have through the Bank of Industry, released about N2 billion solar fund for individuals and investors to access for the purpose of solar power. I think it’s a good start and in a right direction.
“With what the government is doing in the area of mini grid, 2018 seems promising especially by its ongoing partnership with the World Bank in this area. We see a better future next year.” He particularly lauded the government for providing a level playing ground for all players in the solar industry, saying the development had encouraged local investors not to look back in their efforts to develop the sector.
“The government is giving everybody a level playing ground depending on your capability or technical knowhow and financial backup because even though they are giving out funds too, you as an investor or vendor, must contribute some certain percentage to keep the commitment so that you won’t see the money given to you as free money, “ he said.
Fadunsi also commended the government for its initiative to focus more on connecting rural, especially remote communities with solar mini grid, saying the development will go a long way in addressing energy needs of the people besides reducing undue pressure on the national grid. “Government is already in solar mini grid, it’s a good step to power the rural areas and a good step to give light and life to rural communities”, he noted.

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Nigerians Spent N2.37trn On Petrol In 13 Months – NNPC

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that, in 13 months, Nigerians spent N2.37 trillion on petrol imported into the country.
According to the data released by the corporation last Wednesday, its total revenue generated from the sales of white products for the period May 2019 to May 2020 stood at N2.39 trillion.
It disclosed that petrol contributed about 98.84 per cent of the total sales with a value of N2.37tn.
The corporation said it made N92.58bn through the sale of petrol in May 2020.
It said the revenue from petrol sale was generated through its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, as the oil firm also announced a 43 per cent decrease in oil pipeline vandalism in May.
NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Kennie Obateru, explained that these were contained in the May 2020 version of the corporation’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report.
The report stated that the N92.58bn was made on the sale of white products (only petrol this time) by PPMC during the review period.
The oil firm said 950.67 million litres of white products were sold and distributed by the corporation’s downstream subsidiary, PPMC.
This comprised 950.67 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, only, with no Automotive Gas Oil or Dual Purpose Kerosene.
There was also no sale of special product in the month.

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NCC Revises USSD Pricing, As 20 Seconds Cost N1.63

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, has revised the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data pricing to allow mobile network operators and financial institutions negotiate mutually beneficial rates.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the commission amended the determination earlier issued in July 2019 by removing the price floor and the cap.
According to him, each USSD session is 20 seconds and costs N1.63 per session on the MNO network.
He said the cost should form the basis of negotiations between MNOs and other related service providers using USSD channels.
The amendment was carried out after a dispute between MNOs and financial institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.
The NCC, in the amended determination which took effect from August 1, said that if MNOs and financial service providers were unable to agree on rates, it would intervene and the commission’s decision would be final and binding.
The telecoms regulators said refusal to pay for services provided or to negotiate in good faith would lead to discontinuation of provision of the service, the possible withdrawal of the USSD short code and/ or imposition of regulatory sanctions.

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NIESV Laments Dilapidation Of RSHA Quarters

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The Nigerian Institution for Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has described the Rivers State House of Assembly Quarters as being in bad shape and no longer befitting as a dwelling place for the legislators.
The president of the institution, Mr. Emma Okahs-Wike lamented that the Assembly Quarters could not have dilapidated to the extent of being marked for demolition if the property was maintained.
He noted that a facility of such nature should not have been left in the hands of the occupants, adding that the Rivers State government ought to have employed facility managers to take care of the quarters, noting that facility managers be engaged when the new proposed assembly quarters are completed.
According to him, if we had professionals who are managing the place, I can tell you that it would not have dilapidated to the point we are.
“I want to advise that the Speaker or the house officers should appoint facility managers that would be able to manage those properties. Now that the government is thinking about reconstructing, they should be able to bring out professionals, seek professional advice so that at the end of the day when they finish this kind of structure it would be properly cared for,” he continued.
Okahs-Wike reasoned that professional facility managers would be able to care for and maintain the facility, “let them not just leave it in the hands of the occupants, they should be able to have one stop facility manager that would look after the environment and make sure that the property is well maintained and well structured”.
While enjoining the state government to have the project reevaluated and get the public notified on the reason for demolition and rebuilding of the assembly quarters, the NIESV’s president pointed out that it would cost more to renovate the facility.
He explained: “the buildings, some of them are dilapidated. What I will advise the government to do is to carry out feasibility and viability study of that project. The feasibility is that demolishing and reconstructing, ‘which one would be better for us?’ Then you go to viability, which one would be more costly, which one would be more beneficial to the people? If the viability study says it’s good to renovate, you renovate, if they say no, you reconstruct. Now if the government has done that and they have found out that it would be more cost effective to reconstruct, it’s a better deal… and bring in current and modern building materials”.

 

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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