The Chief Executive Officer of All On, one of the leading companies in the global energy market, Dr Wiebe Boer has revealed that 120million Nigerians live without electricity supply.
Boer further stated that millions of Nigerians do not get up to four hours of power supply daily, and added that it was to bridge this yawning gap that All On decided to invest in the energy sector to bring uninterrupted electricity supply to millions of underserved and unserved people in the Niger Delta in particular and Nigeria in general.
Boer made the statement, last Friday, in Port Harcourt, during a press briefing organized by the off-grid investment company, to announce the closing of financial deals with three firms to provide accelerated access to affordable, durable and sustainable energy sources to millions of people without access to electricity supply in the Niger Delta region.
He added that the energy investment company was partnering with solar home system leader, Lumos Global BV; leading mini-grid player, Green Village Electricity; and solar-powered marketplace cold storage business driver, ColdHubs; to rollout and expand much needed energy supply to grossly underserved people of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria in the coming months.
According to him, “These developments are coming barely three months after All-On announced its first set of transactions in Nigeria’s off-grid market, and two months after the firm and U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) announced a $3million partnership to expand access to energy for underserved and unserved markets in Nigeria.
“These investments made in these energy solution providers further demonstrate our firm belief that off-grid energy is indispensable in the improvement of Nigeria’s energy narrative. It, therefore, deserves adequate attention and financial backing from both the public and private sectors”, Boer added.
In his remarks, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, GVE Projects Limited, Ifeanyi Orajaka, said “We at GVE are excited about this relationship with All On”, adding that “An investment from a world-class organisation such as All On further validates our position as one of the leading and most innovative indigenous clean energy solutions providers in Sub-Saharan Africa.”.
Chief Executive Officer, ColdHubs, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu described the investment as a demonstration of All On’s commitment beyond simply addressing the access to energy gap, to harnessing innovative renewable energy solutions for the preservation of perishable foods in Nigeria.
“This support will enable ColdHubs to further refine its business model to help improve the livelihoods of people and enhance food security in the Niger Delta region”, Ikegwuonu said, adding that it was now set to provide farmers, retailers and wholesalers necessary equipment to enable them preserve their perishable food stocks for as long as 21 days or more before their wears get to end-users.
Also speaking, Lumos’ Chief Executive Officer, Davidi Vortman said, “This debt facility from All On both cements the strategic relationship between our two companies and goes a long way towards significantly accelerating the speed of penetration of Lumos Solar Home Systems in the Niger Delta region.”
Represented by Vice President, Marketing, Ashida Olufemi, Vortman said Lumos was “excited to work with All On to enhance energy access for Nigerians in the Niger Delta and across the country,” and promised to focus on providing access to electricity to underserved and unserved communities in the Niger Delta to accelerate their economic growth and development while also helping to reduce poverty, crime and unemployment.
All On Investment Manager, Florence Okoli said “We have three deals that we signed here today in Port Harcourt, and all of them are helping find solutions to the energy access problems in Nigeria,” and commended the three companies for the successes recorded through the initial pilot projects in the region.
She expressed optimism that the collaboration would go a long way in addressing the energy needs of the people in the Niger Delta.
The Tide investigations revealed that in addition to the 120million without access to electricity, an estimated 20million do not have more than four hours of power supply daily.
Also, only about 10million Nigerians get between eight and 16 hours of electricity supply daily just as around 30million privately generate their own electricity.
N25.7trn Debt: Experts Oppose IMF’s Call For Tax Hike
Finance experts have disagreed with the International Monetary Fund’s latest recommendation to the Federal Government to raise its tax rate in order to meet Nigeria’s huge amount spent on debt servicing and developmental projects.
The Federal Government spends an average of N2tn annually servicing its debt obligation to local and foreign creditors.
About $3 trillion is reportedly needed in the next 30 years to address the country’s infrastructure deficit.
But the IMF last Wednesday called for an effective debt management strategy that would ensure that the amount borrowed posed limited risk and the funds deployed for developmental purposes.
The global body said that with Nigeria having one of the lowest tax revenue in the world, it would be challenging to service its debt obligations without broadening the fiscal space.
The nation’s total public debt rose by N3.32 trillion in one year to N25.7 trillion as at the end of June 2019, the Debt Management Office said last Tuesday.
The Federal Government owed N20.42 trillion as of June 30, 2019 while the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory had a total debt portfolio of N5.28 trillion.
Shedding more light on how the Federal Government could boost revenue, Cathy said the priority was how to increase non-oil tax revenue.
She said this was vital based on the fact that the country’s interest payments as a share of tax were very high.
She added: “On Nigeria, the priority is a comprehensive reform to increase non-oil tax and there are a number of reasons this will contribute to creating space for important spending in infrastructure and human development spending.
“For Nigeria, this is very important for a number of reasons. One, because right now, interests payment as share of tax are very high around a third of overall and two-thirds for the Federal Government.”
Responding, a Professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Sheriffdeen Tella, said the advice to raise tax had to be analysed to determine whether the IMF was asking Nigeria to increase tax or widen the tax net to accommodate those that are not currently captured.
He said: “If they are advising that we should keep increasing tax, that will not be proper. The economy of Nigeria is currently weak and tax is a function of the income of the people. Increasing tax will be putting too much pressure on income.
“We should rather talk of reschedule the existing loan to enable us to have a longer time to pay or pay less. In addition to this, we need to widen the tax net.”
On his part, the Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Muda Yusuf, pointed out that economic growth through reforms would happen if there was greater commitment to creating an enabling environment for investors.
He said the tax paying segment of the economy had been victim of regulatory and policy shocks in recent years.
”Monetary policy is tight enough in my view. Calling for more tightening will be overkill. Lending rates are high and government borrowing continues to have a crowding out effect on the private sector. We need to push back on portfolio flows as the pillar for stabilising the forex market. I subscribe to the demand for the rationalisation of the multiple forex windows and rates, he said.”
A former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr Sam Nzekwe, noted that many Nigerian businessmen were not paying taxes except workers, whose taxes were being deducted from their salary.
He said: “They should be proactive, go to the people and widen the tax net, they should bring those who are not paying tax into the tax net.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Stockbrokers, Mr Rotimi Fakayejo, said the advice given by the IMF to Nigeria was not progressive because it would impair productivity of businesses.
No Immediate Plan To Remove Fuel Subsidy – Minister
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Silva, has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government has no immediate plan to remove fuel subsidy.
Silva disclosed this while fielding questions from legislators at a joint session of the National Assembly Committees overseeing the oil sector, yesterday.
He said: “This government is not about to remove subsidy because it is difficult; we believe as a government that our people are going through a lot.
“We cannot as a responsible government hip another issue of petroleum price hike or removal of subsidy on Nigerians.
“It is not on the cards at all, we are just looking at how we can manage it.
Silver said that the official daily consumption rate of petrol in Nigeria does not reflect the actual consumption rate.
He maintained that the government does not believe that Nigerians consume over 60 million litres of fuel daily.
According to him, there is a lot of smuggling and lots of our neighbours are taking advantage of the cheaper price in Nigeria.
He added that Nigeria was subsidising for almost half of Africa which was very difficult to manage.
The minister also said that the government was working to close up such leakages and when achieved, the cost of subsidy would be bearable.
FG To Establish Oil And Gas Parks In A’Ibom, Bayelsa
The Federal Government has approved the establishment of oil and gas parks in Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, last Wednesday.
He said the parks, which would cost over N3 billion, were for the production of oil and gas tools.
“Today, in council, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources presented two memos for the establishment of oil and gas parks.
“ Council approved the oil and gas council, one for Akwa Ibom and the other in Bayelsa.
“The oil and gas parks are to support the development and manufacture of oil and gas tools; as some of you know, in some countries, the service sector of the oil industry is sometimes even bigger than the oil industry itself.
“Unfortunately, in Nigeria, that sector has not grown so much; this administration is really committed to developing the service sector and that is why the oil and gas parks are being built,’’ he said.
Sylva said that the parks would create up to 1000 additional jobs as well as improve the security of the Niger Delta.
On her part, the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, said that FEC also approved the purchase and installation of 300 buoys on the River Niger for the inland waterways.
She said that the approval, which was in the tune of N581 million was a repeat procurement because the first one was done in 2017/2018.
Saraki said that the first approval was from Baru to Onitsha while the latest was from Onitsha to Lokoja.
“It is large; this much more; this is 300 bouys; that was 200 bouys; it is to ensure that our waterways are navigable for all the vessels to go through.
“It was important Council appreciated the importance of safety of lives and property.
“It is going to be a six-month contract that will generate approximately between 100 and 120 direct new jobs and various indirect jobs because you know these buoys float.
“They have to actually cast and have concrete base that they sit on top of; so that is the aspect that is going to generate the new direct employment.
“Obviously, it opens up the area; it is part of the programme of the President to have the infrastructure system in Nigeria improved and strengthened because that is how to generate wealth for everybody,’’ she said.
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