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Bill To Reform Power Sector Passes 2nd Reading In Senate …As Reps Probe DisCos Over Illegal Billing

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The Senate, yesterday, at plenary passed for second reading, a Bill for an Act to repeal the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
Presenting the lead debate on general principles of the bill, its sponsor, Sen. Gabriel Suswan (PDP-Benue), said that the bill seeks among other reasons to repeal the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
He said that the bill also seeks to consolidate all legislations in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and enact an omnibus electricity act for the industry to provide the ideal legal and institutional framework that would guide the post-privatisation phase of the industry in Nigeria.
According to him, the bill also seeks to provide the framework that would attract more investors to leverage on the modest gains of the privatised electricity industry in Nigeria to accelerate growth in power incapacity and improve generation of power through increased investment in new technologies.
This, he said would enhance transmission and distribution of power generated and minimise aggregate value chain loses.
Suswam said, in spite of the modest milestones recorded in the Nigerian power sector, the sector has not been able to make electricity available to 75 per cent rural population as envisaged in the National Electric Power Policy.
“This is because the sector is currently plagued with a number of challenges some of which are operational constraints that emerged after the privatisation exercise.
“While others may be attributed to the gaps inherent in the extant statutory framework,” he explained.
He said that the privatised power sector in Nigeria was facing a myriad of post-privatisation challenges, including the absence of tariffs, inadequate enumeration, metering of consumers, limited access to funds for investment.
Other challenges according to him include high levels of Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC &C) losses and poor revenue generation.
“All these constraints have received various interventions by the Executive and Legislative arms of the Federal Government over the years.
“But these challenges have continued to threaten the viability of successor companies, including their financial capacity to invest in network improvement to guarantee reliable power supply as envisaged in their respective Performance Agreement.”
He said that apart from the operational constraints confronting the post-privatised power sector in Nigeria, the principal act which was the extant legal framework for the industry has some gaps and shortcomings that made it unsuitable to adequately govern activities of the market operator and market participants.
He said that the bill, when passed would provide the framework for power diversification through the use of cleaner renewable energy sources.
“The bill will also eliminate current barriers to private sector investment across the power value chain and attract the funds needed to address the current funding gaps confronting the industry since the privatisation of the power sector,” he said.
The bill, after passing second reading, was referred to the Committee on Power by President of Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, for further legislative work.
The committee is expected to report back to plenary in four weeks.
Similarly, to check the trend of high electricity tariffs by electricity distribution companies (DisCos), the House of Representatives has mandated its committee on power to investigate the allegations of over-billing by Nigerians.
The committee is to investigate the allegations of overbilling, illegal tariff increase, and non-compliance to the directives of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The decision to investigate the DisCos followed the adoption of a motion moved by Bello Shamsudeen from Kano.
Shamsudeen said the NERC ordered that refunds be made to overbilled customers of Electricity Distribution Companies through energy credit of excess charges to the affected individuals and businesses.
He stated that some DisCos are not complying with the directives of NERC.
Shamsudeen said some DisCos are violating Regulation 9(7) of NERC Meter Reading, Billing, Cash Collection and Credit Management for Electricity Suppliers’ Regulation 2007.
The committee was mandated by the House to revert to the House within three weeks.

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FG Targets Production Of Locally Made Vehicles By Dec

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The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, has affirmed that Nigeria now has the capacity and materials to manufacture Made-In-Nigeria cars for local use and export.
With the enabling environment being provided by the government, she said manufacturers should be held responsible if the cars are not rolling out by December 2024.
Currently, Nigeria produces less than 10 per cent of the vehicles used in the country.
Last year, Nigeria’s vehicle assembling industry, estimated to be worth around N302billion, tanked to a new low due to increasing production costs and weakened demand for locally assembled automobiles.
According to the Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index, activities of motor vehicles and miscellaneous assembly deteriorated further below the benchmark (50 points) from 48.6 to 46.7 points.
But speaking at the Automotive Component Manufacturers meeting in Abuja, she noted that the automobile industry is faced with both challenges and opportunities.
A statement issued last Friday by the Director of Information and Public Relations, Adebayo Thomas, said, “In a significant move aimed at fostering sustainable growth and development in Nigeria’s automobile industry, the Federal Government has issued a clarion call to all stakeholders, including manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem.
“The call comes as part of a broader strategy to enhance the sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy.”
Encouraging the stakeholders to key into the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy, the Minister said, “As far as we are concerned, the auto industry is now set to go.
“We are counting on all stakeholders to make that happen. If we do not produce made-in-Nigeria cars before the end of this year (December), it will be your fault, because I am sitting down here giving you all the assurances that this administration has created the enabling environment to make sure that the auto policy kicks off.”
Anite emphasised the need for collaboration among manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem, saying by working together, they can address challenges, streamline processes, and drive innovation.
She also urged stakeholders to maintain high-quality standards across the board, including vehicle manufacturing, safety features, emissions control, and after-sales services.
Stringent adherence to quality, she said, will boost consumer confidence and attract investment.
The minister assured all that the government would continue to encourage increased investment in research and development, adding that, innovations in electric vehicles, fuel efficiency, and alternative energy sources are critical for long-term sustainability.
On local content, she also emphasised the importance of promoting local content by sourcing materials and components locally.
By doing this, she said, the sector can create jobs, reduce import dependency, and contribute to economic diversification
In his introductory comments, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nura Rimi, emphasised the significance of team action and shared vision as outlined in the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy.
He also urged stakeholders that the country “will overcome obstacles and unleash the full potential of Nigeria’s automotive component sector.”
He encouraged NADDC and other stakeholders to use the chance to form alliances, explore new areas of collaboration, and devise ways to catapult the automotive components manufacturing industry to new heights of success.
The statement added, “The government’s charge underscores the pivotal role stakeholders play in shaping its trajectory. Their commitment to sustainable practices will drive Nigeria’s automotive sector towards a brighter and more prosperous future.
“Environmental Responsibility: Stakeholders are reminded of their environmental responsibilities. Sustainable practices, recycling, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes are essential for a greener future.”

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Waive Tax On Electronic Imports, Women Engineers Appeal To Tinubu

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The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Lagos Chapter, has called on President Bola Tinubu to exempt the importation of electronic components from taxation for inventive engineers.
Chairman of APWEN, Ms Atinuke Owolabi, said this a in statement yesterday in Lagos, in commenration of the 2024 World Creativity and Innovation Day, with the theme: “Step Out and Innovate”.
The Tide source reports that World Creativity and Innovation Day is a global UN Day, celebrated on April 21, to raise awareness about the importance of creativity and innovation in problem solving.
This is with respect to advancing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, also known as the global goal.
Owolabi explained that such a measure would significantly enhance technological progress, support local innovators, and elevate Nigeria as a leading hub for innovation globally.
She stated that in a world marked by dynamic challenges and unprecedented opportunities, creativity and innovation stand as the driving forces behind progress and transformation.
According to her, women engineers recognise the critical role that innovation plays in shaping our societies and driving sustainable development.
”On this occasion, we affirm our commitment to fostering a culture of creativity and innovation within our organisation and the broader engineering community.
”Together, let us step out, innovate, and inspire the next generation of women engineers to reach even greater heights of achievement and impact.
”We believe that by stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new ideas, technologies, and approaches, we can unlock innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing our world today,” she said.
According to her, the theme: ‘step out and innovate’, serves as a call to action for women engineers everywhere to break barriers, challenge conventions.
She noted that it would also pioneer groundbreaking solutions that would propel them toward a brighter and more sustainable future.
Owolabi disclosed that in celebration of the World Creativity Day, APWEN Lagos had inaugurated an artificial intelligence club tailored for female engineering students and young engineers.
She said that the proactive initiative aimed to inspire and equip young engineers with cutting-edge technological insights.
Th chairman said, “Additionally, we already have a 200-capacity hall to set up a resource, technology, and innovation hub to empower women and girls in engineering.
”This endeavour serves as a catalyst for encouraging aspiring female engineers to embrace innovation and stay abreast of emerging trends in the field.
”APWEN Lagos stands united in its dedication to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and excellence in engineering.
“We encourage all female engineers to seize this opportunity to unleash their creativity, explore new frontiers, and make an indelible mark on the world.”

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Pan-Igbo Group Hails Dangote Group For Reducing Diesel Price

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A pan-Igbo group, Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), has commended the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his management for reducing the price of diesel from N1,600 to N,1000 per litre.
The Tide’s source reports that diesel is the major fuel used by heavy duty vehicles and generating sets to transport goods as well as run industries across the country.
The President of NUF, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, told The Tide’s source in Enugu, yesterday, that Dangote’s timely response to suffering masses of Nigerians, going through hell to get a meal a day, “is highly commendable”.
According to Chukwudum, Nigerians need to appreciate the patriotism of Dangote since what he has done will go a long way in reducing prices of goods, especially food stuff which has gone out of the reach of the poor.
He called on Nigerians, who wish and pray always for the betterment of the country, to appreciate and thank God for answering their prayer through Dangote’s move.
“It is clear that if Dangote Refinery starts fully and gets all the crude oil needed from Nigeria, the prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel will further reduce.
“We commend President Bola Tinubu for being a listening President and supporting the Dangote Group on our crude oil needs.
“We appeal to Tinubu to encourage Dangote by providing the company with crude oil at a reduced rate as we have been demanding,” he said.
Chukwudum said that this move and subsequent further reduction, would bring industries in comatose back to life, jobs created for unemployed youths and reduction in crime as well.
“We call on governors of oil-producing Anambra, Imo and Abia States to bring investors, who shall build refineries in each of the states to refine thousands of barrels of crude in commercial quantities,” he said.

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