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Solar, Not Major Source of Power – Minister

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Laner Babalola, Minister of Power has revealed that the government was not seriously looking at solar as a major source of power supply; “solar provides an insignificant portion of the power needs of countries and would not be explored as a major power option in Nigeria”, Babalola said. According to the minister, the landmass required for solar power generation, the cost involved and the quality of light produced are major challenges.

Solar panels are best for the few houses surrounding each, solar light is not as efficient as other sources of light, solar is not very bright for mass use. Moreover, the equipment needed to trap the light are not everlasting. In the places where we have seen solar in use across the world, they are not a major solution to power supply”, he stated. In this place, he continued solar provides an insignificant one percent of total power requirement. To generate 2000MW of electricity from solar, you need a landmass of about 65 square kilometers, twice the size of Abuja to install panels, landmass is a major issue in solar power generation.

The minister was speaking while being conducted round the facilities of the Guregu power plant, Kogi State.

The Guregu power plant, Kogi State is plagued with gas supply crisis which could further undermine the government’s 600mw power generation target.

The government, according to the minister has given the managers of the stations up to this year end to solve its gas supply issue once and for all, stressing that government would no longer sit back and allow its power plants rot away because of gas supply crisis.

The minister advised that they should start looking at the gas issue from a different perspective, adding that the target should aim at sorting out the gas issue and get the plant to perform to full capacity. “If you don’t have a good framework in place, Geregu would just be a wasting asset. Get this done between now and December, if there is anything that we in Abuja need to do, please let us know quickly”, he remarked.

It would be recalled that the construction of Geregu 414mw gas turbine plants comprising a total of 3X 138mw simple cycle siemens V94.2 gas turbine units was completed in 2006, commissioned in February 2007 and went into operation in June 2007.

Gas has remained an issue with the station, which has hardly produced above 100mw since inception.

According to Mr. Monima Stanley-Idum, Head of Station at Geregu power station, all the three units are available but due mainly to gas supply constraints present generation is limited to serving an Island part of Kogi, Ondo, Delta and Edo States for one unit with a maximum load of 100MW, utilising an average of 25 million standard cubic feet per day. The gas supply for the 114mw capacity of the plant is put at 105 million standard cubic feet per day. He assured however, that the three units will contribute a minimum of 350mw towards the 6000mw target in December, were we are tied to the national grid. The challenges we face in spite of our 100 per cent availability are the issues of grid stability, commensurate with the design of the plant to utilise the maximum capacity of the plant and shortage in gas supply coupled with inadequate staff housing. Another issue plaguing the plant, it was gathered is the inability of government to upgrade the 30MVA transmission station at Ajaokuta to 60MVA to aid transmission of power generation from the plant.

 On the current power generation, Babalola stressed that 3500mw was currently being generated, transmitted and distributed. He assured that the system would ensure that 6000MW of electricity exist and is available by the end of December 2009.

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CBN Assures On Depositors’ Fund Safety 

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reassured the banking public of the safety of their deposits and the banking system’s resilience.
CBN’s Acting Director of  Corporate Communications Department, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the assurance in a statement on  Monday in Abuja.
The statement, a response to concerns raised about the stability of some Nigerian banks in the wake of Heritage Bank Plc’s license revocation, faulted claims that the CBN was considering revoking the operating licences of Fidelity, Polaris, Wema, and Unity Banks.
It also clarified that a circular issued by the Bank on January 10, 2024, notifying the public about the dissolution of the Boards of Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks, was currently being circulated as though it was freshly issued.
According to the Director, Heritage Bank’s case was isolated.
“Allegations of further revocation of licences prior to the completion of CBN’s recapitalisation exercise are mere fabrications aimed at creating panic within the system”, Sidi-Ali said.
She stated that bank customers, particularly those of Heritage Bank, need not worry about the safety of their deposits, adding that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had commenced payment to the bank’s insured depositors.
The spokesperson urged members of the public to continue their regular banking activities without fear, dismissing any false reports regarding the health of specific Deposit Money Banks.
“The CBN, with its robust regulatory framework, is proactively ensuring the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, thereby guaranteeing the safety of depositors’ funds in all Nigerian financial institutions”, she said.
Sidi-Ali reiterated the assurances of the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, that the recapitalisation of banks in Nigeria was intended to bolster the banking system and safeguard the sector against risks.

She urged all stakeholders to cooperate in ensuring the success of the process, which she said would be for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing recapitalisation process, I want to restate that the Nigerian banking industry remains resilient. Key financial soundness indicators remain within current regulatory thresholds.

“Customers are, therefore, encouraged to proceed with their transactions as usual, as the CBN is committed to ensuring the safety of the banking system”, she said

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NERC Approves New Tariff Hike For Port Harcourt DisCo

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In spire of calls that the recently hiked “Band A” tariff be reversed, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved a new tariff hike for the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (DisCo).
NERC permitted the PHED to raise tariffs for Band A customers categorised as Maximum Demand 2 Special (A – MD2 Special).
MD customers are customers that have a load of 45kVA and above. They also operate and maintain their dedicated transformers.
From N206 per kilowatt-hour, this category of customers within the Port Harcourt franchise will now pay N225/KWh.
In a regulatory instrument tagged June 2024 Supplementary Order to the Multi-Year Tariff Order – 2024 (“June 2024 Supplementary Order”) for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, the NERC said the tariff approval was under the Tariff Review Application by PHED.
“Further to Section 23 of the MYTO-2024, this Supplementary Order seeks to reflect the changes in the pass-through indices outside the control of licensees including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rate, available generation capacity and gas price for the determination of Cost-Reflective Tariffs”, NERC stated.
The electricity regilator emphasised the basis for the review, saying the Naira to the US Dollar exchange rate of N1,469.06 per dollar has been adopted for June to December 2024. It said this has been determined by adding a 1 per cent transaction cost to the average foreign exchange rate of N1,454.52 during the period May 1 to 24, 2024 as obtained from the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It also added that the Nigerian inflation rate of 33.69 per cent for April 2024 as published by the National Bureau of Statistics was applied to revise the Nigerian inflation rate projection for 2024.
“Under Section 116 of the Electricity Act and extant regulations, the commission has considered and approved for PHED, the tariffs (in Table 2) effective 1st June 2024. The approved tariffs shall remain in force subject to monthly adjustments of pass-through indices including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rates and gas-to-power prices.
“In line with the policy direction of the Federal Government of Nigeria on electricity subsidy, the allowed tariffs for Bands B – E customer categories shall remain frozen at the rates payable since December 2022 subject to further policy direction by the government.
“With this policy, the estimated subsidy benefit for customers under the PHED franchise in 2024 is approximately N11.49bn monthly”, the NERC stated.
In April, the NERC announced a new tariff for customers in Band A, from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.
It later reduced the tariff to N206.80/KWh based on the rebound of the naira.
Meanwhile, organised labour and manufacturers have kicked against the Band A tariff.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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AMJON Partners School To Train Journalists On Maritime Operations 

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The Association of Maritime journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) has gone into a mutually beneficial collaboration with School of Eloquence to strengthen the capacity and reporting skills of Maritime journalists.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chairman, AMJON Organising Committee, Mr. Segun Oladipupo and made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Monday.
According to the statement, “This year’s edition, tagged “Special Edition”, is a collaborative effort between the foremost Public Speaking training School,  School of Eloquence and AMJON”.
Oladipupo said the training is slated to hold on Friday at the School of Eloquence premises at Osborne Road, Ikoyi.
“Experts from the Nigeria Customs Service, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and School of Eloquence have been lined up to train journalists on the rudiments of their own operations”, according to the statement.
Speaking, the President of AMJON, Paul Ogbuokiri, said journalism required constant training to be in tune with evolving trends in the industry.
According to him, journalism has taken a leap from what it used to be and journalists need to equip themselves with modern journalism tools that will help them to catch up with the trends.
“We need constant training and restraining to be relevant in this age of journalism. If we fail to update ourselves, we will soon fizzle out,
“This partnership with the School of Eloquence is a right step in the right direction. It will no doubt, energise our knowledge of reportage”, he stated.
On his part, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Segun Oladipupo, said the event would afford members the opportunity to take their reporting to enviable height
He, therefore, enjoined participants to seize the opportunity to learn new trends in journalism and also learn the business side of the job.
He thanked the School of Eloquence for providing a platform for Nigerian journalists to take a flight in their daily assignment.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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