Vice President Kashim Shettima has inaugurated an electric energy meter manufacturing factory in Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Speaking during the inauguration at the factory’s premises in Oraifite, Anambra State, yesterday, Shettima said the energy factory, called Advanced Energy Management Solutions, would help the Federal Government in it’s efforts at addressing the power challenges in the country.
The Vice President, who acknowledged the electric meter shortage in the country, said the factory would help reduce the metre shortage gap.
He said, “We commend this initiative as we commission the factory to the glory of God and the use of humanity. This will help reduce the shortage gap of prepaid meters in the country.
“We believe that the establishment of the factory will help resolve the power supply challenges facing the country by addressing the critical issue of very high metering gap among consumers.
“It is also a direct response to the call by the Federal Government for local and foreign investors to invest in Nigeria, create jobs and stimulate economic activities all around the country.”
In his address earlier, the Chief Executive Officer, Advanced Energy Management Solutions, Okechukwu Onyejiuwa, said the factory has the capacity to produce 1.4 million meters annually with a view to tackling the power shortage in the country.
He also noted that the factory was established to support the government’s efforts to resolve the power supply challenges facing the country by addressing the critical issue of the very high metering gap.
He said, “This factory has the capacity to produce 1.4 million meters annually. The establishment is to support government’s efforts to resolve the power supply challenges facing the country by addressing the critical issue of very high metering gap amongst consumers.
“This facility possesses the capability to produce Single Phase and Three Phase as well as Maximum Demand Meters. The manufacturing facility is equipped with advanced, cutting-edge equipment and machinery to manufacture a wide range of MD and non-MD smart energy meters, as well as feeder meters of accuracy class ranging from 0.2S to 1S in compliance with national and international standards.
“The factory is set to create about 500 direct jobs comprising majorly of engineers, technicians as well as finance and administration professionals. In addition to the direct jobs, we estimate that there will also be over 4,000 jobs created by the activities of this company.
“The operations of this factory will stimulate economic activities in the country especially given the high-tech nature of the skills required for the manufacturing process. It will also conserve scarce foreign exchange through reduction in the cost of imported raw materials, developing local raw materials sources and the potential for export to other countries within Africa and other parts of the world in the near future.”
Onyejiuwa explained that it is more beneficial to patronise local meter manufacturers with proven capacities rather than contracting supply of energy meter to foreign companies and granting them import duty waivers.
“Sourcing of foreign exchange to import machines, equipment and raw materials have been a herculean task in recent years. When manufacturers are left with no alternative than to source foreign exchange from the alternative market, the consequences are that the price of the finished product is impacted very negatively, and the capacity is constrained.
“The impact of steady power supply in a manufacturing outfit such as this cannot be over-emphasized. The high cost of diesel and the attendant inefficiency in generating our own power supply is certainly not sustainable, both for the company and for the nation.
“It is therefore pertinent that the government encourages investors and even makes further investments in the energy sector which holds the key to unlock huge potentials in other sectors of the economy.
“On a short trip to deliver our meters from this factory to Enugu for instance, one will encounter over 15 checkpoints and roadblocks comprising police, army, produce inspection, emblem checkers and so many government and quasi government organs who stop vehicles carrying goods indiscriminately to extort and collect taxes and levies prescribed by them and often not backed by law.
“There is certainly an urgent need to improve ease of doing business, harmonise revenue/tax collection and create a more conducive environment for businesses to thrive. Ultimately, the nation benefits from increased revenue from better performing production driven enterprises,” he added.
Other projects commissioned by the Vice President included the official commissioning of Ijele 93.1FM and housing units donated for widows, among others.
Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede
The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.
Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.
Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns
In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.
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