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Power sector: Nigerians beam hopes on Tinubu as Buhari govt fails

The inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Monday heralds a new era for the country after an unsuccessful attempt by the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari to break the jinx facing Nigeria’s power sector.

In 2015, when Buhari assumed power, he promised to revamp Nigeria’s transmission, distribution and generation subsectors of the power industry.

Eight years later, he exited the seat of power, leaving the sector unchanged.

According to data by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency, NERC, available power generation capacity stood at 4,712.34MW in the First Quarter of 2022.

The Nation had continued to hover around the generation capacity of 4,000MW to 5,000MW in a country with over 200 population. Meanwhile, of the generated electricity capacity, the Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, could only absorb less than 3, 802MW per day in July 2022. However, Nigeria needs a massive 25,000–40,000 megawatts (MW) of power supply.

Challenges in Nigeria’s Power Sector

The challenges in Nigeria’s power sector cut across the transmission, distribution and generation sectors.

The continued collapse of the National grid had characterised the power sector in the eight years of Buhari’s administration. On 15 May, the grid collapsed for the 99th time since 2015.

DAILY POST reports that in May 15, 2023, the national grid dropped to 221MW out of over 4,500MW routine available capacity. Accordingly, of over 16 active plants in the country, only three were on the grid at the time; Omotosho was on the grid with 132.90MW, Omotosho NIPP was also on the grid with 78MW, while Rivers IPP was on the grid with a generation of 10MW.

Since privatising the power sector in 2013, the national grid has collapsed 130 times.

In a report by NERC, the national grid collapses in 2015 were 10. That rose to 28 in 2016, while 21 cases were recorded in 2017. NERC listed the cases in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 as 13, 11, four and four, respectively. Last year, the grid failed seven times, among others that the commission did not capture.

As a solution to addressing the challenges in the power sector, Buhari’s government in 2020 launched the $2.3 billion Siemens deal, dubbed the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), to unlock Nigeria’s electricity generation to 25,000 MW in six years; however five years down the line, the project has not impacted the industry.

The challenges led Buhari into cabinet reshuffling, the Minister of Power- Babatunde Fashola, who served from 2015 to 2019 (when the Minister of Power was removed from his portfolio) and given to Mammah Saleh (August 2019 to September 2021) and Abubakar Aliyu whose tenure ended on Monday. However, despite the efforts of Buhari and his men, the sector continued to suffer setbacks.

Speaking with DAILY POST on Monday, the President of Network of Energy Reforms Nigeria, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, Mr Kunle Olubiyo, stated that the power success had failed on all fronts under the Buhari administration.

He said electricity tariffs were increased by 500 per cent in the eight years of Buhari’s government without a commensurate improvement in the quality of services to consumers.

“Between 2016-2023, there was about a 500 per cent increase in electricity tariff without a corresponding increase in power generation, transmission, and distribution via the national electricity grid.

“Power sector’s failure in maximising the inherent potentials of the sector was largely due to failure of institutions and overbearing political interferences in the day to day business operations of the sector, resulting in a decline in power supply to Nigerians in the most unprecedented and embarrassing manners.

“In the years under review, there were largely pronounced failures of regulatory institutions in charge of enforcing market rules, extant operational rules and general failure of enforcement of regulatory framework”, he stated.

Also, Bode Fadipe, Global Power & energy sector policy analyst, said Buhari had not significantly impacted the Nation’s power sector.

He decried that the state of things in the market had remained convoluted under Buhari.

He noted that most of the challenges Buhari met in 2015 were eminently available after his exit on Monday.

“For operations, the Buhari administration did not depart remarkably from what it met on the ground. The state of things in the market continued to remain convoluted.

“From generation to distribution, the challenges that the administration met when it took over power in 2015 – three years into the privatisation were still visible even in the administration’s twilight.

“The number of grid system outages, the inability of the Siemens project to address operational issues and bring the necessary succour to end users of Electricity, the takeover of 6 of the DisCos (Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan, Benin & Port Harcourt) by financial institutions for lending delinquency, the notice of withdrawal of the licence of Kaduna DisCo, the periodic threat by generation companies to withdraw their service, the disturbing silence from the regulator even with the new policy direction provided by the 1999 Constitution are all indicators of a market that requires more than a mere glance by an administration that came on the mantra with a mountainous promise to make a difference within the Constitutionally allowed time to make a change”, he stated.

Similarly, Mr Joseph Eleojo, an energy expert, reiterated that nothing changed in the power sector under Buhari’s government except the increase in electricity tariffs.

He noted that Buhari’s administration only paid lip service to electricity generation in Nigeria.

“Foremost, nothing has changed in the electricity sector despite the so-called reforms. The generation has not crossed 6,000 Megawatts for a Country of over 200m people since the Military regime.

“What has changed in the electricity sector? He just increased tariffs without corresponding service. The Buhari Government only paid lip service to electricity generation”, he said.

Can Tinubu break the jinx in the power sector?

Tinubu, during his inaugural speech on Monday, had promised that his administration would undo the many challenges facing the country’s power sector.

He said, “Electricity will become more accessible and affordable to businesses and homes alike. Power generation should nearly double, and transmission and distribution networks should be improved. We will encourage states to develop local sources as well”.

The specifics of how Tinubu would achieve the above feat in the power sector have remained to be determined.

It was not all bad during Buhari’s government as it completed the Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam, 40MW Hydropower Station and Associated 132KV Switchyard, Transmission Line and Distribution Substation located in Taraba state, 50 megawatts (MW) Maiduguri emergency power project and other projects.

Olubiyo advised Tinubu to review the entire gamut of the power sector.

According to him, the privatisation project of the country’s power sector had failed to achieve its desired outcome, hence the need for a drastic turnaround.

“The incoming administration should review the entire gamut of the power sector privatisation in its present state, which has failed to achieve the desired results despite huge investments.

“Electricity is a major enabler for job creation, industrialization, sustainable growth and development. The need for the incoming administration to get it right with electricity can not be over-emphasised,” he said.

Eleojo said Tinubu must prioritise electricity generation and distribution if he must succeed on the economic front.

He stated that Tinubu must undertake drastic reforms beyond rhetoric.

He particularly advised that the privatisation of the DisCos should be reviewed and the national grid disbanded.

“The incoming administration should make electricity generation and distribution its number one priority. It should carry out more drastic reforms, review the privatisation process of the DisCos and disband the national grid.

“Let private estates, local governments and other interested entrepreneurs generate and distribute electricity without getting a licence from NERC. The guidelines and regulations of NERC are one of the major bottlenecks to power generation in Nigeria”, he stated.

On his part, Fadipe said Tinubu’s government must walk the talk on the subnational government taking advantage of the liberalised power sector.

The government must intentionally kick the ground running in the transmission, distribution and generation sectors.

“It is also vital that the Tinubu administration takes deliberate steps to work with subnational governments to exploit the liberalised power sector.

“It is very important because if the national government provides that technical support, the subnational governments may be able to take advantage of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

“The Tinubu administration also needs to look very closely at the principal regulator of the sector to exorcize from it what is called the 1st Born Syndrome. Frequently, 1st borns are usually timid with a yes sir mentality. 1st borns are more managers than leaders. They are often quiet with an intention not to rock the boat.

“We have seen this syndrome in the principal regulator of the market. The regulator needs to lead the market from the front. A sector that is ten years old should have become stronger and better by now with a steady climb into higher altitudes. Unfortunately, we are still dealing with take-off issues in the market.

“As tantalising as it seems, asking for scrutiny of projects executed in the last 8 years will be distracting. That notwithstanding, past managers must be held accountable for their deeds as soon as there are discoveries”, he stated.

Like other past administrations, Tinubu’s government has started with hope and expectations; certainly, Nigerians are optimistic that the rhetoric would translate into fundamental changes required to curb the menace in Nigeria’s power sector.


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India gas leak: No less than eight dead after Visakhapatnam accident

Eight instant death, with hundreds of others taken ill, after a gas leak in south India.

The leak, in the city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh state, has been traced to the LG Polymers plant.

“Doctors say “hundreds” of people have been taken to hospital – many complaining of a burning sensation in the eyes and difficulties breathing.”

The occurrence, which took place around 03:00 local time (21:30 GMT), may have been due to carelessness, officials say.

The leak crop up when the plant was being re-opened for the first time since 24 March when India went into lockdown to restraint the spread of coronavirus.

The state Industries Minister Goutam Reddy told BBC Telugu that it looked as though proper measures and guidelines were not considered when the plant was being re-opened.

As the gas escalate, inhabitants of the place ran out of their homes in panic.

“Distressing visuals of people fainting and dropping unconscious on the streets are being shared on social media.”

Source___BBC News

Trump economy encounters long-term catastrophe as jobs data emerges

The swaying economic pain — might be one of the trounce since the 1930s — of the American economy in the time of the Corona Virus pandemic will be graphically intensified in two new rounds of unemployment data that are due on Thursday and Friday.

“The figures will show Americans who have and will lose their livelihoods as common victims of the most cruel public health crisis in 100 years, along with the sick and the more than 73,000 people who have so far died.”

The anticipation of an extended economic hovel will have vital implications in politics. It is already threatening to humidify memories of the roaring economy that President Donald Trump was banking on to carry him to a second term.

“It may also provide an opening to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden who helped bring the country back from the last economic crisis in the Obama administration.”

The coming reality that the “rocket” like glance the President foretell is unlikely may be behind Trump’s drastically frantic statements on a emergency he has also declared will soon be over.

“We went through the worst attack we’ve ever had on our country,” he said on Wednesday. For weeks early this year, Trump was in denial and painted the threat from the virus as tiny.

“This is really the worst attack we’ve ever had. This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center,” Trump said Wednesday.

Trump also called on schools to resume and cut off a nurse visiting the Oval Office who observed that personal preventive equipment had been “sporadic” in hospitals.


Banjul City Council calls quick distribution of Gambia gov’t food aid

In spite of the launch of its own food bank, the Banjul City Council says it would be perfect if the central government speed up the issuance of food aid to inhabitants of the city as Covid-19 limitations threaten to give rise to food insecurity in many Gambian households.

The BCC not long ago set up a food bank but the town hall has demonstrated its readiness to work with the central government to help keep hunger at standstill through the distribution of food aid to residents under the Covid-19 partial lockdown.

“The government has asked us to send them data on the number of compounds and houses in Banjul and we’ve done that since on Thursday and we’re now keeping our fingers crossed,” spokesman Bah disclosed.

“We believe they [government] will involve us because as local government authorities to complement the efforts of the central government.”

He told The Standard that the earlier the government engaged local governments in the distribution of relief aid, the better as the population faces prospects of hunger.
“We are patiently waiting but we want it [distribution] done quickly because people have been asked to stay at home and this can cause food shortages,” he predicate.

Source___Standard News

Gambia: URR village pressurize to cast out family over Covid19 case

The Ministry of Health has said a community in Upper River Region has pressurized to cast out the family of the only Covid-19 case in the area.

The acting director of health services, Dr Mustapha Bittaye told journalists yesterday: “The ministry of health has intensified psychosocial support and sensitisation support in a village (Numuyel) in URR as the community threatens to banish the family of the only confirmed case in the village.”

“All the 109 test results received all tested negative. 90 percent of these test results are samples of the mass screening conducted in Bakau. Three high risk contacts of the recently confirmed case have been traced. 101 low risk contacts have been regularly followed up to ascertain manifestation of symptoms of Covid-19,” he said.

He said five connected contacts of the recently recorded case in Central River Region have been taken into quarantine and the compound is under total isolation. “The country currently has 101 people under quarantine, 7 active cases.”

Source___Standard News

India unemployed numbers pass 120 million in April

A lockdown to prevent the escalation of coronavirus has seen 122 million Indians lose their jobs in April alone, new data from a private research agency has explain.

India’s unemployment record now topped 27.1%, according to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE).

“The new data shows India’s unemployment figures are four times that of the US.’

The country has been in lockdown since 25 March to to prevent Covid-19 spreading around, causing mass layoffs and heavy job losses.

India currently has not less than 50,000 reported infections.

Unemployment hit 23.5% in April, a sharp rise from 8.7% in March. This is due to the lockdown, which brought most economic activity – except important services such as hospitals, pharmacies and food supplies – to a standstill.

Scenes of stranded migrant workers, particularly daily-wage earners, fleeing cities on foot to go back to their villages, filled TV screens and newspapers for most of April.

“Their informal jobs, which employ 90% of the population, were the first to be hit as construction stopped, and cities suspended public transport.”

But prolonged alarms and the continued lockdown of businesses – and the uncertainty of when the lockdown will end – hasn’t left out formal, permanent jobs either.

Source___BBC News

265 Nigerians To Reach Lagos From Dubai Today– Foreign Ministry

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has said 265 Nigerians will reach in Lagos from Dubai on Wednesday amidst the coronavirus outbreak

In a breifing on Tuesday, ministry spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, said the Emirates Airlines assigned with the transport is put forward to arrive at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

Over 4,000 Nigerians are waiting to be vacated across the world back home, foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama said on Monday.

“Discussions are also ongoing with British Airways to evacuate 300 Nigerians from London on Friday.”

To add more, arrangements are being made with Ethiopian airlines to evict Nigerians from New York to Abuja next Monday, the foreign ministry said.

The ministry added that the Dubai vacated are being carried out in line with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines.

Evacuees will be put to undergo a obligatory 14-day handled quarantine environment.

The ministry said it has put in place hotel for accommodations in Lagos and Abuja, which will be used to quarantine the incoming citizens.

The hotels have been inspected by the “Port Health Services, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IPC,” the foreign ministry said.

Source___Channels TV

U.S. Supreme Court to review overseas anti-AIDS funding curtailments

The Supreme Court on Tuesday is set to consider arguments over whether a U.S. law infringe constitutional free speech rights by requiring overseas associates of American-based nonprofit groups that seek federal funding for HIV/AIDS assistance to explicitly adopt a bearing against prostitution and sex trafficking.

“The case is the second in which the nine justices will hear arguments by teleconference following Monday’s debut of the call-in format prompted by the coronavirus pandemic in a trademark dispute involving hotel reservation website

President Donald Trump’s administration is alluring a 2018 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of non-profit organizations that declined a provision of the 2003 law as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

Organizations including the Alliance for Open Society International, Pathfinder International, InterAction and the Global Health Council challenged the constitutionality of the measure.

The Trump administration claimed that foreign entities like those associated with the nonprofits do not have free speech rights that can be put forward in U.S. courts and that the rights of the American groups therefore were not tampered with.

“The law, enacted under Republican former President George W. Bush, intended to bar funding for organizations that operate programs overseas but do not have a blanket policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. The United States has spent billions of dollars to fight HIV/AIDS overseas.”

Source___ WASHINGTON (Reuters)

Nigeria Confirms 245 New Cases, Toll of Infections Now 2802

Nigeria has confirmed 245 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the country’s Toll of infections to 2,802.

According to a tweet by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday, the total deaths are now 93 while the total discharged are 417.

The nine cases that were previously made known as discharged cases in Nigeria, were confirmed in error. So for now, there are 417 cases that have been discharged

One case reported in Nasarawa in Nigeria was a repeat test. The state has a total of 11 confirmed cases at the moment.

Source___Channels TV

Coronavirus Death Toll Top 250,000 As Billions Raised Aloft For A Vaccine Push

Global deaths from the coronavirus escalated and topped a quarter-million on Monday, mainly in the US and Europe even as both regions steadily moved away from lockdown and world leaders garnered billions towards a vaccine.

An AFP result of official figures showed that Europe is the hardest-hit continent with around 145,000 fatalities, and the United States recorded close to 68,700 — together accounting for more than 85 percent of global fatalities.

An internal government approximated in Washington forecasts an even aggravating number of fatalities for the country. It said the daily COVID-19 death toll could double by the end of May.

In Europe, though, governments percive they have passed the point of the disease with deaths in the continent’s worst affected countries, drastically dropped as a result of nearly two months of restrainment.

Restaurants in Italy partly reopened and Germans lined up for haircuts in a Europe encompassing cautiously out of lockdown.

“Half of the planet has been under orders to shelter in place, and much of the world remained cautious even as countries from India to Nigeria sought to ease restrictions so that businesses can remain afloat and workers earn a wage after the pandemic-induced economic crash.”

Update___Channels TV

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