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Renewable Energy: Why Africa Must Improve Transmission Grid –Fashola

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The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has said  Africa must intensify efforts  at  improving transmission grid for renewable energy to be effectively developed on the continent.
The Minister spoke last Monday at the opening of a two- day Conference on Renewable Energy Development organised by the Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law (CEPEEL ) of the  University of Ibadan.
The theme of the conference is “ Developing Renewable Energy in Africa; The interplay of  Technology, Economics and Law.’’
Represented by the  Director of  Renewable and Rural Power Access Department in the ministry, Farouk Yusuf, the minister said Nigeria as a committed member of both the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS   has adopted several international treaties and policies  which  promote the use of renewable energy.
This,  he said, was in line with the national vision to provide incremental power,  and then steady  and uninterrupted power.
The minister said that the Federal Government recently approved an integrated energy MIX targets under Electricity Vision 30:30:30 which targets generation of 30 GW in  year 2030,  with 30 per cent from renewable energy sources.
“Africa has trillions standard cubic feet of natural gas reserves, billions of barrels of crude oil reserves and billions of tonnes of coal.
“But Africa has even greater abundance of renewable energy resources. Unfortunately, of the nearly 1.5 billion people estimated to lack electricity supply world over, half live in Africa.
“ Nigeria alone is estimated to have over 90 million people living without electricity supply,  according to the World Bank,’’ he said.
The minister, who  also  said  that power generation capacity in the country currently is about 7000 MW,  added  that government was  making efforts to  complete and  inaugurate  some renewable energy projects.
He listed the projects  to include the  10 MW Katsina wind farm, 30 MW Gurara Hydro Power, 29 MW Dadin Kowa Hydro Power and 40 MW Kashimbilla Hydro Power.
The minister further disclosed that large projects such as the 3050 MW Mambilla Hydro Power  and  700 MW Zungeru Hydro power initiatives  as well as  the 14 Solar IPPs were  expected to come on stream.
Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, while declaring the conference open,  said Nigeria needed  to allocate huge funds to renewable energy development in Africa
Represented by his  Chief of Staff,  Gbade Ojo, the governor said   African countries  must set  their minds to improving the level of energy efficiency that would enable the country to meet  the Sustainable Development Goals.
“ Then we must propel our ship to move at full speed in proactive solution for scaling up renewable energy, “ he said.
The Vice-Chancellor of  the University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, said that the theme was  relevant and critical given the current energy challenges.
“ The significance  is not just for the town but also for the gown as the university spends very considerable amount of money to ensure stable electricity supply that can support research,  training and other activities,’’ he said.
The Director of the centre,  Prof. Adeola Adenikinju, said that  the provision of energy infrastructure engenders a multidisciplinary perspectives to solve energy challenges.
According to him, a multidisciplinary approach is needed for providing adequate and reliable energy infrastructure.

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MWUN Threatens To Down Tools Over Failed Quay Aprons 

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Friday threatened to shutdown port operations over the dilapidated quay aprons at some of the nation’s seaports.
Speaking in Lagos during a joint press conference put together by the union and Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), President General, MWUN,  Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, reiterated that the lives of labour workers at the affected terminals was at risk, saying that “injury to one is tantamount to injury to all.”
Adeyanju lamented that the union cannot allow the situation consume some dockworkers before protesting against the trend, noting that as a responsible and proactive group, there was the need to down tools for government to do the needful.
Our correspondent gathered that two port terminal, at Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos, and another  at Port Harcourt, Rivers Port  Quay wells have been in  dilapidated condition for over five years without any sign of repair works from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Recall that Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Sambo, who also inspected the dilapidated portion of the Tin Can Island Port quay apron recently, asked Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the engineers to forward the ‘as-built’ plan of the jetty, alongside other documents to his office for immediate action.
While reacting to questions from the journalists, Adeyanju said the union will also engage management of the NPA in furtherance to address the menacing failed infrastructure of the terminals.
On the recently inked Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NARTO, the President General noted that the collaboration has been in existence for a long while with the aims to cater for drivers’ welfare and support projects of the NPA in port terminals operations.
He also warned members of the dockworkers branch to cooperate and embrace the agreement with the trucking association, noting that any attempt by the dockers to flout the MoU reached so far would result to sanctions from the national executive of MWUN.
He assured the leadership of NARTO, led by its National President, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, of the Union’s commitment towards ensuring that progress and success is achieved  in the agreement.
According to him, the MoU is binding for members of the dockworkers branch, stressing that the Lagos ports was a test run with plans ahead to extend the agreement to other seaports, including, Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt ports.
Earlier, President of NARTO, Alhaji Othman, lauded the MoU reached with MWUN, adding that success will be achieved in the merger. Othman said in line with port operations, the merger will bring about free flow of vehicular movement in and out of the ports calling on the parties involved to embrace sincerity and transparency for the benefit of the industry and Nigeria.
He said, “We wish to draw the attention of the general public to the decision for MWUN and NARTO to synergise and collaborate on a basis of common desire to ensure seamless environment to do business in the maritime sub sector of the nation’s economy”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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PenCom Approves Use Of Pensions For Mortgage

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National Pension Commission (PenCom), has commenced approval for workers to use 25 per cent of their Retirement Savings Accounts for mortgage.
PenCom in a press statement released on Friday, titled ‘PenCom approves guidelines on accessing Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders’, noted that the approval was in line with the Pension Reform Act of 2014.
It stated in part, “PenCom is pleased to inform all stakeholders and the general public, particularly RSA holders, that the commission has approved the issuance and immediate implementation of the guidelines on accessing RSA balance towards payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.
“The approval is in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage”.
According to the PenCom, the guidelines cover pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.
It added that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
It further stated that where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, that RSA holders may utilize the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).
To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, it stated, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate.
“The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years).
“A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application, and the RSA Holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.
“Married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.
“RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.
“Application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in person and not by proxy.” it stated.

By: Corlins Walter

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Car Hires Operators, Bolt Driver Flex Muscles In PH Airport

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There was pandemonium at the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, Friday, as the Accredited Car Hires operators clashed with a Bolt taxi operator over passengers.
The scenario that played out got to the extent that everyone scampered for safety, as the Bolt driver went wild with his vehicle, and defied everything put in place to stop him, determined to crush anything, including humans, that stool on his way.
Problem started when the suspected Bolt driver was stopped by the Car Hires.  After a heated argument, characterized by abuses, the bolt driver decided to enter his vehicle in anger, after he sensed that his car was in danger of being confiscated.
In the commotion that ensued, the car hires, as usual, used their iron piercing instruments to block the tyres of the vehicle to keep it within their custody, and the uproar attracted  the attention of other airport users.
The Car hires and their allies at the airport had always insisted that no other taxi operator must carry passengers at the airport, since they do not pay any levy to the airport authority.
Consequently, they use every force necessary to stop other outside taxis from carrying passengers from the airport.
Friday’s incident took a new twist, as the Bolt driver over. Powered the forces used by the car hires, and went on a suicide mission, which made people to scamper for safety, including the car hires.
The driver went on a speed spree away from the airport. Even when the piercing instruments cut his tyre, he drove in such reckless manner capable of pulling down a building, thereby setting the entire environment on panic.
Some security agents present had to clear the way for the Bolt driver who drove out of the Airport with the iron piercing instrument obstructing his car, defiling all attempts to stop him.

By: Corlins Walter

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