Contrary to the reports in some national dailies that electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria would soon offer free power supply to consumers, the DisCos have disclosed that the initiative has not been approved.
A source in one of the biggest DisCos in Nigeria, who spoke to Nairametrics on the condition of anonymity, explained that though the initiative would alleviate the economic pressure of Coronavirus pandemic, certain processes need to be followed before such a decision can be taken.
According to him, the DisCos would come up with an estimated amount that it would cost them to offer Nigerians free power supply for two months, meet with the National Assembly to deliberate on it, then pass it before the Federal Government signs it into law.
Findings revealed that it could cost the DisCos an average of N30 billion to provide electricity for Nigerians and residents for one month. That means it would cost the Federal Government about N60 billion to provide free power supply for Nigerian in two months.
Can DisCos bear the cost?: Contrary to the expectations of some Nigerians that the DisCos should be able to shoulder such responsibility, experts explained that such would be a great burden on the 11 firms.
A PWC’s report on the assessment of the companies revealed that the companies could only collect 66% of electricity billed as revenue. For instance, in 2018, out of a total of N661.6 billion worth of electricity billed by Discos, only N437.9 billion was received.
That is not all; all 11 Discos are currently unable to pay tax because they have reported losses consistently since 2013. Also, their tariff shortfall has been a clog in the wheel of their progress. The tariff amounted to N384 billion, due to the fact that electricity consumers are not charged the cost-reflective tariffs.
Ikeja Electric speaks
To clear the air, the management of Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), one of the biggest DisCos in Nigeria, explained that it fully supports the on-going efforts of the National Assembly, in collaboration with the Federal Government, to consider a proposal on the possibility of providing free electricity for two months.
But Head, Corporate Communications, IE, Felix Ofulue, told Nairametrics in an interview that it is important for Nigerians to note that the initiative is only a proposal now and that it is still undergoing stakeholders’ reviews on its feasibility.
He said, “It has not been approved by the Government as a stimulus package or palliative. The ability of the DisCos to implement the proposed palliative is subject to the stimulus package being passed by the legislators and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We urge all our customers to continue to pay their utility bills as usual, while on our part, we shall continue to serve our customers first during this difficult period.”
Hyundai and Kia to set up an assembly plants in Ghana by 2022
The automobile giants will join Toyota-Suzuki, Nissan, Kantanka, Volkswagen, and Sinotruck who already have plants in Ghana.
Few weeks after Twitter announced its plans to open its first African office in Ghana, Hyundai and Kia have also concluded plans to set up an assembly plants in Ghana by 2022. The automobile giants will join Toyota-Suzuki, Nissan, Kantanka, Volkswagen, and Sinotruck who already have plants.
Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen announced this on Twitter.
Pleased to announce that Hyundai & KIA are set to establish assembly plants in Ghana by the end of 2022 to join Toyota-Suzuki, Nissan, Kantanka, Volkswagen & Sinotruck. The Ghana Auto Development programme = 3,600 assembly & 6,600 manufacturing parts jobs in Ghana. #InvestforJobs pic.twitter.com/JMHAmlM5VI
— Alan John Kyerematen (@AlanKyerematen) April 22, 2021
“Pleased to announce that Hyundai & KIA are set to establish assembly plants in Ghana by the end of 2022 to join Toyota-Suzuki, Nissan, Kantanka, Volkswagen & Sinotruck. The Ghana Auto Development program = 3,600 assemblies & 6,600 manufacturing parts jobs in Ghana.
“The local assembly of vehicles, 3,600 direct and indirect jobs would be created in Ghana, and the addition of components and parts manufacturing will also add about 6,600 direct and indirect jobs.”
Why this matters
More foreign companies are shunning Nigeria in favour of Ghana. Recently, Nairametrics reported that Amazon is set to situate its African Headquarters in South Africa, a multi-billion dollar investment that is projected to create over 20,000 jobs both directly and indirectly.
Following its move to Ghana, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey cited a number of human rights-related reasons for the choice of Ghana over Nigeria. Added to this are rising insecurity, stifling government regulations and the gapping infrastructural deficit bedevilling Nigeria. Consequently, our nation is steadily losing opportunities to attract foreign companies that could be very instrumental in bridging its unemployment gap which is currently over 30%.
Passports: Backlog of undelievered passports to be fixed before May 31st – Minister
The government also announced the launch of a new passport application system, which would be aided by fast track services nationwide.
The Federal Government disclosed that all backlogs of undelivered passport requests would be fixed before May 31st, and announced the launch of a new passport application system, which would be aided by fast track services nationwide.
This was disclosed by Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, in a press briefing with newsmen on Thursday.
What the Minister said
“On or before May 31st, all backlogs of undelivered requests for passports will be totally met, unless such applications have a problem,” he said.
“But before the deadline, the problematic application would be contacted, so that we know what’s wrong with the applications. Assuming there would be no problem, every successful application for a passport would be given a passport on or before May 31st,” he added.
The new passport process
The Minister disclosed that the FG will launch a new passport application process which would come into effect soon.
“When you finish your application process, there would be a waiting period of six weeks to collect your passport, however, if you want an express service, there would be fast track centres nationwide, to meet requests for express passport users,” he said.
What you should know
- Recall Nairametrics reported last month that the Federal Government inaugurated the Nigeria Immigration Service Passport Express Centre, which is a partnership with the private sector to enable the government offer passport services to Nigerians and make passports available in a maximum of 72 hours of a successful application.
- The FG also launched the Electronic Temporary Passport to cater for Nigerians desirous of returning home but whose national passport is not available.
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