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A trip to Sura Market reveals the good and bad of its Independent Power Project

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, commissioned the 1.5MW independent power project at the Sura Market, Lagos Island in October 2018. 

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Sura Market

The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, commissioned the 1.5MW independent power project at the Sura Market, Lagos Island in October 2018.  The project was expected to provide 24 hours of stable power supply to businesses around the market using off-grid electricity solutions.

An off-grid solution is the deployment of power supply by independent developers bypassing the distribution, transmission and generating power value chain of Nigeria’s main grid supply. 

The power project at Sura Shopping Complex was built by Solad Power Holdings, an Independent Power Provider (IPP), as part of the Federal Government’s Energising Economies Initiative (EEI) policy being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). The Sura Market Complex currently has about 1,047 shops which are all connected to this new power project.  

After the commissioning of the power project, nothing has been heard of its operation and how it has affected the running of business in the market. This is why Nairametrics visited the market to find out from the business owners and operators, what their experiences have been so far and if there the project has in anyway impacted their businesses.  There are mixed reactions to our inquiries.

[READ MORE: Nigeria’s power sector loses N69.1 billion in 7 weeks]

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Sura Market Complex IPP

The presidential delegates at the Sura Shopping Complex IPP commissioning

About the market: The Sura Shopping Complex is strategically located in Lagos Island. It’s on the other side of the Osborne Ikoyi Link Bridge and situated around the edges of the ever-busy Simpson Street where it is accessible to thousands of customers daily.  

Our findings

Relative growth in businesses: While surveying the complex’s environment, we met a woman who sells interior decoration materials. The dark-complexioned woman is probably in her 40s. Her friend who sat beside her as they engaged in a conversation often referred to her as ‘Mama Tobi’.

We asked Mama Tobi how business has been and if the power project has in anyway, helped to improve her business. She remarked that while business has been rather stable, she hasn’t experienced the sort of growth one would expect from the impact of stable power supply. According to her, her business doesn’t necessarily rely on stable electricity. Aside the comfort of enjoying reliable power, there has been no direct impact on her sales. 

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Dearth of growth in businesses: We moved on to a Grills and Small Chops Restaurant which is also situated in the Complex. One of the attendants was available to respond to our inquiriesThe attendant, a slender lady in her teenage years, informed us, rather reluctantly, that business hasn’t been so fantastic despite enjoying stable electricity. She maintained that power supply has no way influenced sales, citing low patronage as an even bigger problem. 

Good growth in businesses: A shop occupied by KSBC Business Solutions revealed to us that they have experienced increase in sales since the IPP went live. According to the representative of the company, who did not want his name revealed, the type of business they do requires electricity and so naturally, there was an immediate impact on their revenues.  He said, “Although we had alternatives to generate power before the IPP was launched here, but since launched, we have been spending less on power supply. We work a lot here, and we would be spending more on diesels should this project had not been put in place.”  

Another lady who is a staff of a nearby traveling agency said Sura Market is a conducive environment to run a business.  She explained that she has been in the complex for up to four years, and confirmed the good quality of power supply. She said this is why every business owner should embrace the Sura Power Initiative. 

[READ ALSO: Electricity not the only factor limiting Nigeria’s economy – Boason Omofaye]

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Shop owners’ major complaints

Though some of the shop owners appreciate the power project in that it has brought constant power supply to the market, they have complaints bothering on their experiences. However, their major complaint is high electricity tariff.

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Most of the business owners complained of the N52.8 tariff which they pay for enjoying stable electricity. They asserted that they had to turn off their electrical equipment even in sobering heat. One of them said, “As you can see, I can’t power my air-conditioning at the moment. Look outside, the weather is hot but I will rather use a fan because of the cost.” 

Sura Shopping Complex

Sura Shopping Complex’s powerhouse

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Positive reactions to the project

Despite the complaint of having to pay a high tariff for enjoying stable electricity, we met some occupants of the Complex who have only good things to say about the project.

Stable power supply: Some occupants said they could only be glad that they are enjoying stable power supply, especially when 99% of businesses across Nigeria cannot boast of 10 hours of power regularly.

An occupant said, “How many places can you go to in Nigeria that you will see a stable power supply?”  

A woman also revealed that she believes that the power supply is expensive but maintained that she’s cool with it because the power is always there.  

No ‘crazy’ bills: Another occupant who deals in interior decoration materials, said the good thing about the project is that, “We don’t pay crazy bills like other people that run businesses in Nigeria. You can gauge your power supply, the light is there for you to use.” 

EEI’s unofficial response to the plight 

One of the officials of the EEI who didn’t disclose his identity to our correspondent, said those who are complaining about the cost of their electricity usage are those who are really not using the electricity.  

According to him, the power supply is underutilised and the initiative has been more in favour of those running production businesses within the complex.  

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Note that other staff of the complex’s power suppliers declined to grant our interview request.  

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[READ THIS: Tinubu’s daughter reacts to the protest in computer village]

Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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Financial Services

Niger Insurance Plc gets shareholders nod to restructure business

Niger Insurance Plc has announced plans to restructure its insurance business into distinct but mutually dependent business entities.

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Edwin Igbiti

Niger Insurance Plc has obtained shareholders’ approval to restructure its insurance business into general, life and business insurance, with each segment to be structured as a separate legal entity.

This is part of the resolutions passed at the 50th Annual General Meeting of Niger Insurance Plc., held on 20th of January, 2021 at Peninsula Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

The decision to restructure the company is in a bid to make it more efficient and profitable to stakeholders, especially as efforts are geared towards overturning a loss of about 1,1723.2% Year-on-Year, earlier made by the company in its last reported financial statement, Q2, 2020, as reported by Nairametrics.

Other key decisions reached at the 50th AGM include;

  • The re-appointment of Mr Ebi Enaholo and Mrs. Olufemi Owopetu as Directors of the company.
  • Acceptance of the presented financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2019 and the report of the audit committee, directors and auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to appoint external auditors to replace retiring auditors of the company.
  • The appointment of four individuals as members of the audit committee.
  • A decision to restructure the company’s business capital was also reached.

In case you missed it: The shareholders of Niger Insurance Plc in the 49th Annual General Meeting approved the decision by the company’s board to raise additional capital to the tune of N15 billion, in a bid to meet the revised recapitalization targets for general and life insurance companies.

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What you should know: The House of Representatives had in December 2020 directed NAICOM to suspend the mandatory deadline for the first phase of 50%-60% of the minimum paid-up share capital for insurance and reinsurance firms.

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Energy

Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude exports resume as ExxonMobil lifts force majeure

ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil exports as production resumes.

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ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil export terminal, as crude exports resume for the first time in almost six weeks after a fire at the terminal halted operations.

This is according to a company spokesman yesterday, who confirmed the company had lifted force majeure on Qua Iboe crude loadings.

Qua Iboe production started to ramp up to normal levels of 200,000 b/d in the past week, according to sources, with the release of both the February and March loading programs.

The VLCC Dalia was also in the process of loading a 1-million-barrel stem at the Qua terminal since January 21, 2021, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. This will be the first export of Qua Iboe since December 15, 2020, after a fire hit the facility and injured two workers.

The company has been under pressure since the closure and prices have taken a hit as a result of the disruption. S&P Global Platts last assessed the grade at a discount to Dated Brent of 50 cents/b, down from a premium against the benchmark in December.

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Bonny Light, a mainstay Nigerian crude which typically trades at roughly the same level as Qua Iboe, was last assessed 30 cents/b higher.

What they are saying

One trader said: “If you get a cargo of Qua now it could be 50 cents to a dollar below Bonny even – a January cargo is completely out of cycle and the reliability issues mean people won’t touch it.”

Another trader stated that: “[The return of Qua Iboe] is not what West African crude assessments (WAF) differentials needed.”

What you should know

  • Qua Iboe is one of Nigeria’s largest export grades, and is very popular among global refiners, with India, the US, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and the Netherlands being key buyers.
  • Qua Iboe is light sweet crude, which has a gravity of 36 API and sulfur content of 0.13%. The crude, produced from fields 20-40 miles off the coast of southeast Nigeria, is brought to shore at the Qua Iboe terminal via a seabed pipeline system.
  • Indian demand has steadied following a buying spree late last year, and European demand has been hit by renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the region.
  • Prices for Nigerian crude have suffered in recent weeks, even with lower supply due to the outage.
  • February and March loading programs have been issued for Qua Iboe averaging 169,643 b/d and 153,226 b/d respectively.
  • Production of this key grade ranged between 180,000-220,000 b/d in 2020, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

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Financial Services

CBN says revised new cheque book to become fully operational from April 1, 2021

The CN has announced plans to discontinue the use of old cheque books with effect from March 31, 2021.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), accredited Cheque Printers/Personalisers, and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), stated that the revised cheque book will become fully operational from April 1, 2021.

The apex bank has directed all DMBs to enlighten their customers on the revised cheque book, introduced across all banks as full enforcement of its usage will commence on the stated date.

READ: CBN reviews minimum interest rates on savings deposit to 1.25%

The disclosure is contained in a circular that was issued by the CBN and signed by its Director Banking Services, Mr Sam Okojere.

The CBN in the circular noted that the clarification became necessary as some stakeholders had been interpreting the circular differently from the intended purpose.

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READ: CBN moves to ring-fence Disco collections

The CBN in the circular stated, ‘’Please refer to our circular dated 9th December, 2020, referenced BKS/DIR/CIR/GEN/02/042 on the above subject.

It has come to our notice that some stakeholders interpret the circular differently from the intended purpose. Consequently, it has become imperative for the CBN to issue the following clarifications;

  1. The parallel run, in which old and new cheques are allowed to co-exist, will end on 31st March 2021, and thus only new cheques would be allowed in the clearing system from 1st April 2021.
  2. Full enforcement of the second edition of the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version 2.0 will commence April 1, 2021 and the NCS/NICPAS 2.0. Sanction grid will be fully operational on April 1, 2021.
  3. All deposit money banks are (therefore) directed to actively enlighten their customers and ensure necessary provisions are put in place for a smooth migration to the New standard.
  4. The extension of full implementation date from Jan. 1 to April 1, 2021 is due to outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it had on the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version. 2.

READ: CBN grants approval for banks to debit accounts of loan defaulters 

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in an earlier circular issued on the revised cheque book, the CBN had put the cut-off date for the parallel run of the old and new cheques at August 31, 2020.
  • This was further extended to December 31, 2020, with only new cheques intended to be allowed in the clearing system from January 1, 2021, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it had on the project.
  • This further adjustment of the deadline gives room for more sensitization by the deposit money banks to their customers, taking into consideration the disruptions that have happened in the economy.

READ: CBN temporarily suspends cheque clearing during Coronavirus lockdown

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