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Cooperate With Intended Meter Providers, Association Urges DISCOs

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The Electricity Meters Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (EMMAN) has appealed to the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to cooperate with the intended Meter Assets Providers (MAP) to bridge the wide metering gaps in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of EMMAN, Mr Muideen Ibrahim, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Lagos recently, against the backdrop of metering challenges in the country.
“ I appeal to Discos to cooperate with the intended meter providers, because the only language electricity consumers understand currently is metering of their premises which Discos have not been doing.
“ Now that MAPs has come up, it is another scheme that can be explored so that consumers will be metered as and when due,” he said.
The source reports that the implementation of MAP regulation recently introduced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC), takes off on April 3, 2018.
MAP was introduced in a renewed bid toward ensuring that electricity customers only pay for what they actually consumed.
The regulation provides for the supply, installation and maintenance of end-user meters by other parties approved by the commission.
Ibrahim said that the appeal became necessary as some new meter providers would be given licences to commence massive installation of meters to electricity consumers to fast-track closure of metering gaps.
The EMMAN scribe said that the new regulation on metering would stand as a relief for electricity consumers which would enable them to get meters as quickly as possible.
He said that the new arrangement was aimed at eliminating the estimated billing practice; attracting private investment into the provision of metering services; and closing the metering gap through accelerated meter rollout in power sector.
According to him, the new metering regulation initiated by NERC was commendable, which I described as a step in the right direction.
Ibrahim also expressed the association’s profound gratitude to Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, for his concern and commitment toward addressing the metering gap in the sector.
“We need major financial institutions like Central Bank of Nigeria, World Bank, African Development Bank and others to come into that investment profile to guarantee long-term stability.
“The most important is that we must have sufficient head room in terms of asset base or credit worthiness of each of us that wants to apply as a MAP and be able to enjoy long-term credit line from such financial institutions.
“I know that this is possible. However, the good thing about this MAP policy is that, there are two ways to go about it.
“Consumers can as well pay for the prepaid meter willingly, and as well, they can opt not to pay, but spread the payment over a period of time.
“The fact that there is liberty for consumers to pay and install them with prepaid meter instantly will provide liberation for consumers from depending on estimated billing.
“This will be a great achievement for the government and the consumers,’’ Ibrahim added.
It would be recalled recalls that on March 28, Dr Usman Arabi, the Head, Public Affairs Department of NERC, said that the regulation was expected to fast-track the closure of the metering gap and encourage the development of independent and competitive meter services in the sector.
Arabi said that the MAP (Regulation No. NERC/R/112), which would become effective on April 3, 2018, introduces meter asset providers as a new set of service providers in Nigeria electricity supply industry.
According to him, as assets with a technically useful life of 10-15 years, the regulation provides for the third-party financing of meters, under a permit issued by the commission, and amortisation over a period of 10 years.
“The electricity distribution companies, in line with their licencing terms and conditions, are obliged to achieve their metering targets as set by the commission under the new regulation.
“The contracting of MAP shall be through an open, transparent and competitive bid process, thus ensuring that meters are provided at a least cost to electricity customers,’’ he said.

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CAC Registers 245,000  SMEs Free Of Charge

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises  free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar,  said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal  Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.

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IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal

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The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN),  Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are  experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of  non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the  system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss,  expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an  all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is  barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.

By:King Onunwor

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1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta

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No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.

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