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Electricity: WAPP Moves To Connect Nigeria, Others

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The West African Power Pool (WPP), has announced plans to begin construction of Nigerian component of the North core transmission line that will connect Nigeria, Benin Republic, Niger and Burkina Faso.
The Chairman of WAPP, Mr Mohamnmed Gur-Usman, said this in Abuja, while responding to questions on the sidelines of a meeting organised to disseminate the operational manual of WAPP.
WAPP is a Cooperation of the national electricity companies in West Africa under the auspices of the ECOWAS.
The members of WAPP are working for the establishment of a reliable power grid for the region and a common market for electricity.
It was founded in the year 2000 with present membership of 14 West African countries.
Gur-Usman, who is also the Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said the transmission line was a project designed to be constructed by four member countries of WAPP.
According to him, the component of the line that concerns Nigeria is about 62 kilometers to other countries.
He said the line would run from Birnin Kebbi in Nigeria to the border, to Niamey in Niger.
He also said that the line would run from Benin Republic from Niamey to Burkina Faso.
According to him, the construction of the line that concerns other countries will be financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the French Development Agency (FDA).
The component financed by AfDB is concentrated on the side of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and Niamey in Niger.
“That component has been approved already by the board of AfDB and the agreements signed with those countries.
“The component that concerns Nigeria is about 62 kilometres from Birnin-Kebbi to the border and we are discussing with World Bank to finance it.
“All the studies for it have been carried out including the environmental disclosure.
“For us to be able to supply energy on that line, we also have to build a 330kV double circuit line from Kanji hydropower plant to Birnin-Kebbi which is part of the Northern corridor project of TCN.
“We have done the feasibility study and what is remaining is the validation of the feasibility study which we have hired a consultant to do.
“We are at the final stage of completing the procurement of that contract, everything is starting this year.’’
He further disclosed that the funding of the project that concerns Nigeria would cost 29 million dollars for the transmission line from Birnin-Kebbi to the border of Nigeria and Niger.
“I don’t have the total funding cost for the other countries but the distance of the entire transmission lines is about 700 kilometres. So it is a long distance transmission line’’.
On the progress made on the Southern component of the transmission project, the WAPP Chairman said “the Southern backbone project is a separate project that is under preparation.
“We are doing the environmental impact assessment which is supported by the AfDB, once the study is completed, we will start looking for the financing.
“The grant given is three million dollars and is equal to the amount to pay for the study, they are paying for the contract we entered with the consultant.’’
The chairman also said WAPP in conjunction with the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), was hoping to launch the regional electricity market in June.
He said sensitisation programmes were being done to sensitise member utilities firms on the plan to start the regional electricity market.
“There are several things that are involved in the regional electricity market and synchronisation is just one of them.
“It means that all the electricity that is generated across the sub-region have to be synchronised so that from Nigeria to Cote D’ivoire can have the same power frequency and other places.
“As TCN, we anticipated this and that is why last year, we embarked on the frequency control which we achieved and attained at 39.5 and 30.5 frequency.
“In the last 20 years, this has not been achieved and it enabled WAPP and the rest of the country to synchronise their power.’’
He said the vision of the regional electricity market was also to provide energy security.
“If tomorrow, Nigeria has a problem of gas supply, Nigeria can import energy from Ghana or Burkina Faso, depending on which has cheaper source of energy.”
On if the regional market will ensure improvement in the payment of electricity supplied to international customers, Usman-Gur said:
“We have other mechanism we are putting in place to ensure payment in the market but even as it is, the payment in the international market is better than the local market and we are still working to improve it.’’
He, however, said he could not guarantee that the launch of the regional market would ensure 100 per cent payment of electricity supplied to international customers.
“Whether it will guarantee 100 per cent payment, I can’t tell you because even in the WAPP sub-region like Benin and Niger, the distribution companies are still the weakest link as they are not collecting all the money.
“We are working with WAPP to improve the collection capacities of distribution firms by forming mechanisms that will guarantee payment like this synchronisation.”(NAN)

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Imported Goods Killing Local Production – Presidency

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The Presidency has frowned at the rate of consumption of imported goods in the country, and has urged Nigerian consumers to change their mindset and patronise locally-produced goods, especially in the agricultural sector, to boost revenue and job creation.
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this while speaking at a one-day seminar/exhibition with the theme, “Re-orientation towards ensuring preference and consumption of domestic agro-allied products”, which was organised by Zakclair Investment Limited.
Adesina, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, said more Nigerians would be financially empowered when people patronise locally manufactured goods.
He explained that no nation could truly develop its production capacity when its economy was based on imported products.
The presidential spokesperson observed that most developed nations of the world were those whose economies were based on the local production of goods.
He said the unbridled importation of products was weighing heavily on the country’s foreign exchange reserve.
“We must also be willing to innovate with our local products in ways that can get us a wider audience.
“Instead of expending scarce resources and importing goods and services, we can channel them to create jobs for people. We need to believe more in the value of what is indigenous to us, as a people.
“When we consume locally made products, there will be less pressure on our foreign exchange. In the same breath, the value addition that happens locally means jobs.
“The economic value of consuming locally made goods is in all the jobs that will be created.
“I think that with the kind of market that we have in Nigeria, 200 million people, you can see there is a lot that we can do with domestic products”, Adesuna said.
Delivering the keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Prof. Garba Sharabutu, urged stakeholders to stop paying lip service to the efforts to drive the consumption of made-in-Nigeria products, saying “we need to take it from words to action”.
Earlier, the CEO of Zakclair Investment Ltd, Adelabu Abdulrazak, explained that with the country’s ailing economy, there was a need to direct attention to preference and consumption of locally-made products.
“Consequently, we believe there is a need for a discourse in this aspect of our national life with the aim to infuse patriotism, encourage policies that tackle this lifestyle, reorientate our citizens and massively stimulate the growth of our economy,” he said.

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Commission Extends Deadline For Digital Money Operators’ Registration

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has announced the extension of deadline for registration of online money lenders and operators, otherwise known as Digital Money Lenders (DML).
Making the registration extension known in a statement that was made available to The Tide at the weekend, the FCCPC Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, said the process has been extended to March 27, 2023.
The FCCPC boss stated that the extra time was to ensure that the registration of DML whose registration was still in process was adequately achieved, and to also prevent significant market disruptions.
It is the third time the commission has postponed the deadline for registration, since it enforced compulsory registration in August 2022.
“On December 6, 2022, in furtherance of the collaboration of the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force, the FCCPC extended the deadline for the registration of DML to January 31, 2023.
“This was to ensure the registration of DMLs whose registration was still in process and to prevent significant market disruptions.
“The Commission noted, however, that several DMLs have not yet provided all relevant documentation to complete their registration process.
“To this end, the Commission is further extending the registration deadline to Monday, March 27, 2023″, The statement read in part.
The FCCPC recently released a limited interim regulatory and registration framework for digital lending in order to curb unethical interest rates, violation of consumer privacy, and other unethical lending practices perpetrated by unchecked digital lenders in the country.

By: Corlins Walter

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Manager Clarifies PH Airlines Building Occupancy Issues

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The Port Harcourt Airport Manager, Mr Felix Akinbinu, has given reasons for the delay by airlines operating at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in occupying the newly commissioned Airport Building.
Noting that airlines still operate from the Terminal building, he said the nature of business operations of airlines is such that makes them operate from the terminal building in order to meet the boarding requirements for passengers.
Akinbinu, who disclosed this while interacting with aviation correspondents, stated that the newly commissioned airlines building is not just for airlines alone.
He said it’s office space for any group or individuals to use, though it bears the name, “Airline Building”.
According to him, the airlines will still operate from the terminal building because the newly commissioned airlines building is to provide additional office space for airlines to accommodate their other activities and staff.
“To be frank with you, what we have in the new airlines building is just eight office space accommodation, and it is not only for airlines, it is open to everyone or group that need an office space.
“It is not that we are ordering the airlines to leave the terminal building, not at all, because they are to operate at the terminal building for the ease of their business and passengers facilitation.
“It is also not an issue of disobedience on their side for still operating at the terminal building. All they will do is to acquire additional office space for their staff and operations”, Akinbinu said.
The Tide’s check earlier showed that the new airlines building is sited at a distance place from the terminal building, which makes it difficult for airlines to easily access, considering their style of business operations.
Some officials of airlines The Tide interacted with stated that they will not operate from the new airlines building because it was sited across the airport major road, distant from the terminal.
They, therefore, urged the airport management to consider the nature of their operations, and make alternative for them.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Salisu Yadudu, represented by the Director of Operations, Murktar Munye, had at the commissioning ceremony of the airlines building, early December last year, directed the airport manager to ensure that airlines occupy the building immediately.
This, he said, was to decongest the terminal building. But the building is yet to be occupied.

By: Corlins Walter

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