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Discos Accuse FG Of Reneging On N100bn Electricity Subsidy 

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Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) have reacted officially to the takeover/restructuring of five Discos by the Federal Government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE),  describing the move as a backdoor renationalisation of the power firms.
They claimed that investors in the 11 Discos were shortchanged by BPE when the facilities were privatised in November 2013, while the government had failed to pay the N100bn subsidy on electricity since the privatisation of the sector.
Speaking under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), an umbrella body for the power firms, the Discos expressed concern about the restructuring of the five companies as announced by BPE on July 5, 2022, in collaboration with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The Federal Government, through BPE, had announced the planned takeover of Kano, Benin and Kaduna electricity distribution companies by Fidelity Bank Plc after the bank initiated action to take over the boards of the three Discos.
It also announced that with the takeover of Ibadan Disco by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, the Bureau had obtained approval from NERC to appoint an interim Managing Director for the distressed power firm.
The government had further stated in its restructuring notice that it was restructuring the management and board of Port Harcourt Disco to forestall the imminent insolvency of the utility.
The notice was signed by the Director-General, BPE, Alex Okoh, and Executive Chairman, NERC, SanusiGarba.
Although some of the affected power firms had commenced legal actions against the move, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, said the association viewed the restructuring to be inconsistent with all the guidelines necessary to comply with the framework of privatisation agreements and the rule of law.
“We believe that it is reasonable to conclude that the outcome has been an expropriation or backdoor renationalisation of the Discos by the Federal Government,” ANED stated in a statement issued in Abuja.
It added, “Such renationalisation or expropriation must be viewed through a historical context as necessary for a proper understanding of the performance challenges that the Discos have been faced with since privatisation.
“Fundamentally, the basis of privatisation was flawed from the beginning due to conditions that were not met by the Federal Government, while expecting the Discos to meet their performance obligations.

“Not only were the investors shortchanged because of insufficient and unreliable data that was provided by BPE to them during the privatisation process, but the government also committed to and failed to deliver on debt-free financial books, payment of ministries, department and agencies electricity debts, and N100bn subsidy”.

It outlined other areas of failure by the government to include its inability to implement a cost reflective electricity tariff, stressing that this singular unfulfilled condition had led to accrued significant debt and liabilities on the Discos’ financial books, as Discos continued to sell electricity below the cost price.

It said the privatisation of TCN was a major requirement for attracting the private investment, critical in addressing the transmission bottleneck currently belittling the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry value chain.

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Multiple Fibre Cuts Bar MTN’s 87m Customers From Calls, Data

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MTN Nigeria has blamed the recent network issue experienced by its customers nationwide on multiple fibre cuts.
Recall that MTN customers were unable to make calls or use their data last Wednesday.
According to the company, the problem started at about 1.39 PM on Wednesday.
In its reaction via X, MTN Nigeria blamed the network issue on multiple fibre cuts, even as it assured that its engineers are working assiduously to restore normal services.
The statement reads: “Dear Customer, you have been experiencing challenges connecting to the network due to a major service outage caused by multiple fibre cuts, affecting voice and data services.
“Our engineers are working hard to resolve this with services gradually being restored in some areas.

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Alake Confident Nigeria’ll Overcome Economic Hardship

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The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake has said that Nigeria would soon overcome its current economic hardship.
Alake gave the assurance in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said  the hardship was because Nigeria was going through a gestation period of economic restructuring and reforms.
He said that President Bola Tinubu was determined to revamp  Nigeria’s  economy and put on a pedestal for sustainable growth through his Renewed Hope agenda.
According to him, the President has a track record of changing the economic tides of a region, just as he did when he was the governor of Lagos State.
“Going down memory lane to the experience in Lagos state, the then governor  Tinubu in 1999,  met a state that was almost insolvent, with a monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N600 million.
“ And a wage bill of over N1.1 billion monthly, with little or no resources to cater to infrastructure and other sectors of the economy.
“President Tinubu took similar measures in Lagos as he is taking in Nigeria, to turn the tide and financially re-engineer the state.  Today, the state is the fifth largest economy in Africa, bigger than most African countries.
“What we are going through is the gestation period of reforms and policies for economic restructuring and like the President will say, it is like throes of pregnancy, that a pregnant woman goes through.
“After delivery, she heaves a sigh of relief,” he said.
The minister urged  Nigerians to be patient with the government  as the current economic  situation  would soon stabilise with positive  results from on going reforms.
“For the first time, Nigeria has a  president well-versed in public finance. I am  confident in this administration’s capacity to diversify the economy, plug leakages, and redirect the economy to a path of sustainable growth.
“ The future of this country is extremely very bright. What we need to do is to exude confidence in our ability and capacity to weather the storm of restructuring, economic and societal restructuring.
“As we restructure our economy, putting in physical infrastructure, we must also restructure our minds and mental capacity to be at par with physical development.
“ So that we can efficiently and judiciously enjoy the benefits of physical development.
“With the cooperation of Nigerians, the tide will turn very soon, and we all will be proud, he

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Only Professional Builders’ll Handle Global Centre’s Modern Cities  – President

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The President/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Centre for Empowerment and Care for Life Challenges (GCECLC), Amb. Vincent Ejikeme Agbo has said that only professionals would be used for the massive global center real estate housing and industrial development in the country.
The CEO who said this in a chat with the media shortly after their press conference in Port Harcourt recently, reiterated that the group will not compromise standard  both in the use of  standard building materials or professionals in the building sector.
Amb. Agbo noted that the use of quacks builders and building materials are the major causes of building collapse in the country, adding, “the 5,000 housing units that would be built in the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory in the first phase of the GCECLC building project would be the same quality with that of the developed countries”.
He said the building materials would be supplied directly by the main companies, adding, “GCECLC, a non governmental organizations (NGO) has already gotten the license from Dangote group of companies to supply cement at a giveaway price for the building project, seeing the importance of the project to the masses.
“We want to bridge the gap in the Nigerian building sector and this would enable everyone in the country to own a quality building in an environment where the system is working”.
In his contribution, the Vice President of the NGO, Amb. Shittu Isiaka Salami said the group is working with all the building construction agencies to ensure  that quality jobs are delivered because, “we have zero tolerance for building collapse”.
Amb Isiaka called on qualified building engineers and contractors to come and do business with the NGO in the project that is aimed at fulfilling United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) 9 & 11.
The Public Relation Personel/ the marketing contact person for the building project, Amb. Larry Goodwill Ajiola advised interested building engineers and contractors to register for the project, adding that non professional contractors would not be given a chance to build.
Amb  Ajiola said contractors should give priority attention to the project when money is given to them as, “no excuse would be tolerated in the first and second phases of the building project aimed  at decongesting the urban settlement.
Amb. Ajiola who is also the CEO of I Cnntact- Connect Limited, Port Harcourt, said the project is a welcomed development, especially to the less privileged ones that never thought they could own a house of their own.
He noted that the long span of payment between 10- 30 years makes it affordable to all serious minded citizens, adding, “GCECLC has risen to give hope to the hopeless in the country, especially now that Nigerians are passing through hardship.
“It is a welcomed development to Rivers state and the other 36 States. It is contributing to the welfare of the masses. Everyone will benefit since you will pay small small. I have confidence that the project is already a success”.
One of the invitees, Mrs Ifeoma Usoro commended the NGO for  moving into this financial intensive area for their love to help the poor masses and requested for the building engineers to be given more time to conclude registration modalities.

Lilian Peters

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