Govt, Investors Deploy 1,000 Mini-Grid Nationwide
The Federal Government in partnership with private sector investors, midweek, commenced moves to deploy 1,000 mini-grids to electrify rural communities across the country.
Deployment of mini-grids in rural areas is managed by the Federal Government’s Rural Electrification Agency, as the agency supports private sector mini-grid developers with funds to boost off-grid electricity development.
Speaking at the Rural Electrification Fund Call-3 Bidders Workshop in Abuja, the Managing Director, REA, Ahmad Salihijo, announced that over 1,000 mini-grids would be built nationwide under the REF programme and other off-grid initiatives.
According to him, “Through the testimonies from the inauguration of various REF projects, including REF Calls 1 and 2 mini-grid projects, we have proven that renewable energy technology is good economics and also proven that business models work.
“We, therefore, have no doubt about the capacity of leveraging our off-grid renewable energy potentials to transform more rural communities across the country through the REF Call-3.
“We expect that over 1,000 mini-grids will be built in the next few years, in tandem with other REA programmes and initiatives, as well as the recently announced intervention of the President to deploy five million solar-based connections across the country through the Economic Sustainability Plan”.
Salihijo, who was represented by the agency’s Executive Director, Corporate Services, Olaniyi Alaba, told bidders at the workshop that the REA was the implementing agency for Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Strategy and Implementation Plan.
He said the REA would continue to support off-grid developments and developers by creating an enabling environment to facilitate investments in various ways.
“This include access to data, policy support, grants, capacity development, etc.
“The agency’s role of providing energy access to millions of Nigerians through renewable energy is critical if we are to deliver the economic benefits that will spur rural economic growth and development in Nigeria”, he stated.
On the purpose of the REF Call-3 Bidders Workshop, Salihijo said it was to sensitise all shortlisted bidders on their eligibility and selection criteria for business and financial models, technical specifications, regulatory requirements and the timeline for submission of their proposals.
“REA continues to work to ensure that stakeholders not only see the potentials of off-grid sector development, but that they also wish to participate, and in the process strengthen their commercial positions.
“We will like to reaffirm our commitment to continue to keep doing everything necessary to help you – the developers, succeed. We also appreciate all the bidders who have shown interest in supporting our mandate to deploy projects in the rural areas in Nigeria”, he said.
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
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