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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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South-East Traders Petition CBN Over Illegal Bank Deductions 

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The South-East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association has frowned against what it called “multiple and indiscriminate charges and deductions on customers” by commercial banks.
The association, in an open letter to the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, complained about the bank charges.
The letter was signed by the association’s President-General, Chief Gozie Akudolu, and Secretary-General, Mr Alex Okwudiri.
The letter read in part, “Part of the major responsibilities of the commercial banks, we know, is to accept money deposits from customers and keep safe custody of the same, and perform such other transactions for and as directed by the customer through various bank instruments.
“Most of the transactions, we also know, are the social responsibility of the banks. But today, the banks make deductions and charges for virtually every transaction ranging from deposits to even confirmation of signature”.
The association particularly decried indiscriminate charges and deductions in online transactions, calling on the CBN to put a stop to it.
According to it, ”When a customer makes an online transfer of funds, the transfer is charged a certain amount of money deducted from his/her account and the recipient’s account is also charged and deductions made for receiving the money.
“In addition, charges and deductions are also made for SMS, which most of the time were not received. Finally, at intervals, charges and deductions will be made on the same account as service charge”.
The association said its members had individually approached the banks to complain but without success.
It, therefore, appealed to the CBN governor to prevail on the banks to stop “the indiscriminate charges and deductions and, if possible, refund all the deductions”.
The association, however, noted that the cashless economy policy of the CBN had been of immense benefits to its members, especially as it curtailed to the barest minimum armed robbery attacks on them.

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Rising Food Prices Fuelling Inflation In Nigeria, Others  – IMF 

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says rising food prices is the major factor fuelling inflation in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries.
IMF made this known in a blogpost on Monday, saying inflation is rising around the world, but because food accounts for about 40 per cent of the SSA’s consumption basket, it plays a major determining role in inflation.
According to the body, “Food inflation increased throughout 2019, on average, across 25 countries in the region where monthly food price data are available.
“After remaining stable around seven to eight per cent (year over year) since the beginning of the pandemic, food inflation started to rise again from April this year to some 10 per cent in October. The chart shows how food inflation is outpacing and contributing to the pick-up in overall consumer price inflation in sub-Saharan Africa, which rose to about eight per cent in October, up from around five per cent in 2019”.
The global body attributed the recent increase in food inflation to rising oil prices (which raise fertilizer prices and transportation costs), droughts and export restrictions imposed by some major food exporters, and stockpiling in some countries.
It said, “In addition, pandemic containment measures disrupted production and imports of seeds and fertilisers and caused labour shortages during planting seasons.
“Importantly, there is diversity across the region—food inflation in Chad is near zero but around 30 per cent in Angola. This suggests that domestic factors such as weather and exchange rates are important contributors to food inflation in sub-Saharan African countries”.
IMF added that food inflation and consumer price index inflation could moderate if commodity prices eased and pandemic-induced global supply chain disruptions were solved.
The international fund body said on the average, inflation would continue to rise in 2021 before dropping in 2022 depending on commodity prices and the resolution of supply-demand mismatches.
It said higher food inflation would worsen the situation for countries already facing food insecurity and shortages, and largely impact poor households.
“The number of undernourished persons in the region is projected to have increased by 20 per cent in 2020, encompassing 264 million people.
“Fighting food insecurity through targeted social assistance and insurance can help populations cope. Avoiding trade barriers and improving access to finance, seed stocks, insecticide, fertilizer, anti-erosion measures, and irrigation are also important”, IMF said.

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Nigeria Records N8.9trn Trade Deficit In Nine Months

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Nigeria recorded a negative trade balance of N8.9 trillion, between January and September, 2021, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have shown.
Within this period, total foreign trade stood at N35.09 trillion, comprising N22 trillion imports and N13.1 trillion exports, leading to N8.9 trillion trade deficit.
A breakdown of the trade data by quarters shows that Nigeria’s total merchandise trade stood at N9.76 trillion in the first quarter of the year representing 6.99 per cent increase over the value recorded in Q4 2020.
The export component of this trade stood at N2.91 trillion, representing 29.79 per cent of the total trade in Q1 while import was valued at N6.85 trillion representing 70.21 per cent.
The higher level of imports over exports resulted in a trade deficit (in goods) of N3.94 trillion in Q1 2021.
The value of crude oil export stood at N1.93 trillion representing 66.38 per cent of the total export recorded in Q1, 2021, while non-crude oil export accounted for 33.62 per cent of the total export.
The data also showed that majority of the goods imported during this period originated from China, valued at N2 trillion, followed by the Netherlands (N726.09 billion), the United States (N608.12 billion), India (N589.1 billion) and Belgium (N238.5 billion).
Similarly, Nigeria’s top export trade partners in Q1 were India (N488.1billion), Spain (N287.2 billion), China (N190.1 billion), the Netherlands (N160.billion) and France (N133 billion).
However, in the second quarter of the year, Nigeria’s trade deficit fell to N1.87 trillion as exports jumped to N5.08 tillion against imports of N6.95 tillion.
The value of imports and exports in Q2 brought total merchandise trade to N12.03 trillion, representing a 23.28 per cent increase from the N9.7 trillion recorded in Q1.
The NBS said crude oil, the major component of export trade, stood at N4.08 trillion (80.29 per cent) of total export.
It further said crude oil value had a sharp increase of 111.32 per cent in Q2 compared to the N1.93 trillion recorded in Q1 2021, while the non-crude oil goods recorded N1 trillion (19.71 per cent) of total export trade during Q2 2021.
Further analysis of data from the bureau shows that the majority of imported goods in Q2 2021 originated from China with a value of N2.08 trillion, followed by India with N570.01 billion, Netherlands (N557.15 billion), United States (N526.92 billion), and Russia (N284.36 billion).
Meanwhile, most goods were exported to India (949.05 billion), Spain (N524.49 billion), Canada (N355.60bn), Netherlands (N298.29 billion), and the United States (N256.63 billion).
The NBS on Monday revealed that Nigeria’s trade deficit rose to N3.03 trillion in the third quarter of the year.
According to the Statistician General of the Federation, Simon Harry, who disclosed this in a press briefing held in Abuja, total trade in the review period rose to N13.3 trillion, comprising N8.2 trillion imports and N5.1 trillion exports.
The NBS noted that the rise in imports was driven majorly by increase in the importation of commodities such as motor spirits (N1.1 trillion), Gas Oil (N225.6bn), imported motorcycles and cycles and CKD valued at N116.3 billion from N94.7 billion respectively.

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