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Inefficient Policies Impeding Power Sector Progress – Reps

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The House of Representatives Committee on Power, has attributed the crisis in the power sector to lack of efficient and dynamic policies.
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Magaji Aliyu, said this on Wednesday in Abuja, at the third annual general meeting of the Association of Rural Electrification Contractors of Nigeria (ARECON).
Aliyu said that the relocation of certain parastatals and agencies under the ministry of power to other ministries was an aberration and one which was causing confusion in the sector.
According to him, there must be a desired formula that ensures that irrespective of inherent politics, the Minister of Power must be allowed to drive power processes in the country without interference.
“Today, you will hear that a particular part of ministry of power has been shifted to another organisation, which I believe is an aberration of the concept.
“For example, Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company, there is a tug of war, where does the organisation belongs, is it in power or is it in Ministry of Finance, there is an issue of Hydro-Power Development Authority is it going to the presidency, or is this going to power?
“I believe that there are political machinations not to allow power grow in this country.”
He said it was understandable that the sector had multi-dimensional problems which were evident in distribution, transmission and generation.
Aliyu said that the problems in the sector were enormous as Nigerians were paying for the power they did not consume, a situation he said was undesirable.
He, however debunked strongly the allegation that lawmakers interfere in the procurement process in contract awards to contractors, saying it was untrue.
Former Chairman, Mr Sam Amadi, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said that that one of the ways to improve the sector was to promote local content law to help industrialisation to begin the manufacturing of the equipments needed.
According to him, if this is realised, it will help local manufacturers to optimise production, create wealth and jobs.
On tariffs, he said there was need for regulatory credibility and stability, adding that independent regulators help to attract more investors into the sector.
“If you set up a group like this and empower them, you can set up and use them to ensure that there is little or no project failure.”
He advised ARECON members to organise themselves to be a real trading section in the sector as was obtainable in other sectors of the economy.
Amadi, also said that as a major player in the sector, they should build their capacity to be a voice to determine how policies ensures the growth of the sector.
Chairman of ARECON, Mr Uchenna Akubuobi said that since privatisation in 2013, the sector was yet to satisfy the yearlings of electricity consumers in Nigeria.
He said that some of the factors militating against achieving power sector goals were low daily generation, weak transmission grid resulting in frequent system collapse and vandalisation of electricity infrastructure.
Others are poor funding by private investors after the take over of the acquired assets and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) incapacity to take load from transmission stations.
“ARECON is prepared to work with the government  to ensure that electricity gets to the rural communities within the shortest possible time.
“This will stem rural migration to cities and engender economic prosperity.”
He, however, urged the Federal Government to increase budgetary allocation to the Rural Electrification Agency to allow for more projects to the rural communities.
He added that a law should be enactedÎ to restrain any other government agencies from carrying out rural  electrification projects in any part of the country.

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Karu Market Inferno: Re-Allocate Shops To Original Owners, Senate Tells FCDA , AMAC

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The Senate yesterday expressed concern over recent spate of fire outbreak in markets while commiserating with traders in Karu Main Market over the huge losses.
Considering the plight of the traders, the Senate urged the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), to re – allocate shops affected by fire outbreak at Karu Main Market to original owners after reconstruction.
The upper chamber also urged the federal government through its Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Social Development and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to urgently make emergency palliative and relief provisions to cushion the effect of fire disaster on the victims.
The Senate consequently mandated its committees on Environment and Legislative compliance, to ensure strict compliance with the resolutions and report back within four weeks.
The resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator IretiKingibe( Labour Party FCT) .
Senator Kingibe in the motion titled : “ The Karu Fire Outbreak and the Need for Safer Public Places “ , informed the Senate that the fire outbreak that occurred at Karu Main Market on June 27, 2024, left scores of traders in tears after goods worth billions of Naira were destroyed .
She specifically lamented that as disclosed by eye witness accounts, the inferno razed almost all the shops and destroyed food stuff, electronics, cosmetics, clothes among other consumables and non-consumable items worth billions of Naira.
‘ These fire outbreaks have become one too many already; with attendant losses running to billions of Naira. In the last six months, there have been several incidents of this nature. From Idumota Market Area in Lagos; to the Police Shopping Complex, Mararaba, Nasarawa State; to the Yan Katako Market, Rijiyar Lemu Area of Fagge LGA, Kano State, just to mention a few.
“ These fire outbreaks all had the same causative factors which hinged on basic building safety regulations that were either inadequate or not adhered to or out rightly not in place.
“This state of unpreparedness in safety management cuts across private homes, government buildings, open parks and gardens, markets, shopping malls, warehouses, sawmills, fuel tankers, gas and fuel stations, educational establishments, shops, clubs, hospitals, hotels, and restaurants: thereby exposing ourselves to avoidable mishaps”, she said .

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Support Nigeria’s Economic Reforms, Minister Urges UN

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Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, has called on the United Nations (UN) to show more deliberate support for Nigeria’s economic reforms.
He said such support would encourage other nations to make similar adjustments necessary for sustainable growth and development.
Bagudu made this appeal during a courtesy visit by the Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Ms. Fatou Haidara, in Abuja.
Despite the substantial economic reforms introduced by President Bola Tinubu’s administration aimed at revitalising Nigeria’s economy, Bagudu expressed disappointment over the UN’s slow response in backing these initiatives.
“Over the past year, Nigeria has undertaken what we consider very bold and courageous reforms, almost at risk to our leadership. But we don’t think the system, particularly the United Nations system, has responded fast enough.
“We feel that we are missing maybe an element which will encourage other countries to embark on reforms if they don’t see the support”.
The Minister told Haidara that many developing countries believe the UN has not been meeting their expectations. She urged the UNIDO deputy director-general to relay this message to the UN system for corrective measures.
“This issue was discussed at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Uganda. Many countries thought the United Nations system was deviating from the ideals of its founding fathers. We are telling you this, so you can find a way of communicating the challenge or doing something about it”, he stated.
Despite these concerns, Bagudu expressed gratitude for UNIDO’s support for Nigeria’s industrial sector over the past 40 years, particularly highlighting the establishment of one of its investment and technology promotion centres in the country.
In her response, Haidara acknowledged Nigeria as a significant founding partner of UNIDO and noted the rewarding cooperation between the two entities over the years.

Her visit is intended to provide a status report on the ongoing cooperation and seek further guidance to enhance their partnership.

“My colleagues told me that all the meetings to design the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) were held with your ministry and here.

“We are very honoured to be able to talk today about what we will be doing under this Programme for Country Partnership”, she said.

Haidara revealed that UNIDO had developed ‘Agenda 2063,’ a strategic framework aligning with the developmental priorities of African leaders, to support the continent’s growth and development.

The meeting underscored the importance of mutual support and collaboration in achieving sustainable economic growth, with Nigeria urging for more proactive engagement from the UN system to bolster its ambitious reform agenda.

Nneka Amaechi -Nnadi, Abuja

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FG Threatens To Revoke Sold Ikoyi Liaison Quarters

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The Minister of Interior, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has expressed the Ministry’s determination to recover its liaison residential quarters allegedly sold by an undisclosed Director of the Ministry.
He gave the hint in Lagos on Monday while on tour of some facilities in the Federal Marriage Registry, Immigration Service, and Ikoyi Correctional Centre, all in Lagos, to be abreast with their operations.
The Minister said the sales of the properties will be revoked, not minding who is involved, because “we can not mortgage our future”.
According to him, “the government of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda would not let go of those involved in the illegally acquired government properties”.
In the same vein, while addressing journalists after the facilities tour at the correctional center, Ikoyi, he stated that “President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda will continue to tackle and address all inherited jumble of problems of the past administration”.
He further explained that Mr. President as a patriot is braced up to address all inherited problems since assumption of office, adding that as a listener, he has showed concern about the inherited problems and never rested on his oars.
On Correctional Centre, Tunji-Ojo said, “I have always said, that urbanisation is real. So far, we have looked at some of these correctional centres across the country and we have been very keen on repositioning them.
“We want a real correctional centre in actual deed, not a place that will be psychologically damaging. We want offenders to come to correctional centres and be reformed.
“We think that the change of name from Prisons, which is a place of incarceration, to correction, simply means a place of transformation, and should take effect really.
“We want a change of ideology, a change in orientation, and change in our approach of methodology of formation so that people will see this place as a place of hope, and leave with the renewed hope”.
He further assured that the Ikoyi Correctional Centre will soon be relocated to a designated area properly deemed fit by the Federal Government.
Industry watchers commended the minister for making time to assess some of the dilapidated buildings and offices  warehousing his officials.
A senior officer of Immigration Service who did not want his name in print, said the Minister’s visit was not a witch hunting exercise but an assessment of performance of the ministries under his watch to enable him assess the problems inherited, adding that the Minister had an ample opportunity of critically observing activities on facilities visited and even said officialdom would not permit him to see.
The Minister was accompanied on the tours by the Director, Citizenship and Business, Mr. John Adinoron; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Aishatu Gogo Naayako; and the Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, amongst others.

Nkemenyie Mcdonminic, Lagos

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