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Energy

DisCos seek CBN funding for massive roll-out of meters to consumers

This, it was said will help DisCos meet the 2024 deadline which they had committed to.

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DISCOS, NERC, electricity tariffs, hotels, bars,

A Central Bank-funded massive roll-out of meters would expedite the efforts to achieve the full take-off of the proposed Service Reflective Tariff (SRT), Electricity distribution companies (Discos) have suggested.

According to Mr Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director in charge of research and advocacy at the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), such funding would help ensure that all electricity customers are adequately metered under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulation.

Oduntan, who said this in a statement to NAN on Friday, also disclosed that it would assist the distribution companies to meet the 2024 deadline which they had committed to, for metering all electricity consumers.

READ ALSO: DisCos earn N473 billion in 2019, reveal reason for metering gap

He recalled that Mr Ernest Mupwaya, Managing Director of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), had spoken on behalf of the DisCos at the House of Representatives Public Hearing on the power sector on Thursday.

According to Mupwaya, the Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) provision in Nigeria’s electricity tariff was insufficient to cover the cost of metering customers.

“Over the years, there has been insufficient investment in customer metering, due to inadequate Multi Tariff Order (MYTO) CAPEX and uneconomic tariff. The approved CAPEX for DisCos has never been adequate for comprehensive metering,” he said.

He added that the Discos were requesting CBN to provide funds for emergency mass metering projects since they no longer had a provision in their CAPEX for metering. If approved, the project would be completed within a period of 18 months.

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Mupwaya added that the funding was even more necessary since no provisions had been made for metering in the event that the MAP regulation failed.

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The first quarter of 2020 had seen an average monthly growth of 75,000 new customers every month, moving the number of metered customers in Nigeria above 10 million, and decreasing the metering penetration from 45.5 percent in January 2017 down to 40.3 percent in March 2020.

“Plugging the metering gap that is in excess of six million meters has been slow because even the recently introduced MAP regulations incorporate inappropriate meter pricing and so, it is not working as NERC/DisCos expected.

READ ALSO: Budget: Bill to compulsory 40% allocation to capex passes second reading

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“The twin effects of the sudden increase in import duties of 35 percent on meter and NERC’s wrong pricing frustrated the good intentions of MAP” he noted.

He appealed to the government to grant full waivers on the 35 percent increased duty surcharged on meters, until mass metering was achieved, and to fix an appropriate and commercial price on meters.

He added that the cap on estimated billing had discouraged consumers from obtaining meters under the MAP regulation, and urged the NERC to allow Discos go ahead with estimated billing, introducing the capping only after the massive meter roll-out after 18 months.

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Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career.As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Business

NNPC says NO to petrol pump price hike in May

There would be no increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit in the month of May 2021.

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Crude oil market remains unpredictable- NNPC Boss

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured Nigerians that there would be no increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as Petrol in May.

This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, on Monday via the Corporation’s Twitter handle.

It tweeted, “There would be no increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit in the month of May 2021.”

Ex-depot price is the cost of petrol at depots, from where filling stations purchase the commodity before dispensing to final consumers.

READ: Nigerian automaker raises $9 million despite protest against electric car in Nigeria

Kyari also added that Petroleum Tanker Drivers had suspended their proposed strike after the intervention of NNPC in the impasse between the PTD and the National Association of Road Transport Owners.

“We have given our commitment to both NARTO and PTD that we will resolve the underlining issue between them and come back to the table within a week so that we’ll have a total closure of the dispute,” he added.

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READ: Oil marketers give conditions to resume fuel importation

What you should know

  • NNPC has maintained an ex-depot price of N148/litre since February despite the hike in the actual cost of the commodity, hence incurring subsidy of over N120bn monthly.
  • Also in March, the NNPC said it would maintain its ex-depot price for petrol until the conclusion of ongoing engagement with the organised labour and other stakeholders.

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Energy

NCDMB’s Oil and Gas Parks and their many adversaries

New businesses within the NOGAPS will face intense competition from foreign OEMs that do not have to battle with tariffs, a harsh business terrain and different tax treatment.

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In 2018 the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the body saddled with driving the development of Nigerian content in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, did a groundbreaking of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGAPS), a scheme that involves the construction of sprawling oil and gas parks in Bayelsa, Imo and Cross Rivers State.

In a visit last week to one of the parks currently under construction in Emeya 1, Ogbia, Bayelsa State, the Minister of Petroleum for State, Chief Timipre Sylva, expressed delight at how the project was quickly progressing and was now at 70% completion. Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, during the visit also noted that the Oil and Gas Park project “is in line with the Federal Government’s mandate to develop indigenous capacities for the oil and gas industry.”

READ: NCDMB, BOI, won’t relax conditions to access $200 million NCI Fund despite complaint 

While this is highly commendable, as the project will indeed reduce Nigeria’s dependence on import of oil and gas equipment and provide jobs for local indigenes -which would likely reduce restiveness in the area-, there exist significant challenges to this project achieving its goals.

Perhaps one of the biggest of them is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) regime which is expected to open Nigeria’s borders to an influx of imports from other countries within Africa. Beyond opening the borders, however, the tax treatment given to domestically produced items will be no different from similar products imported, and the typical tariffs for imported items will be removed.

READ: Aiteo accuses Shell of theft of 16 million barrel of crude oil

This essentially means that large and established original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from other African countries may on the basis of their economies of scale be able to supply the same products produced in the oil and gas parks at lower rates. A report by Dun & Bradstreet reveals that in Africa, countries like Guinea, Gabon, Burkina Faso and Ghana that flank Nigeria play host to various oil and gas OEMs.

With the large oil and gas market Nigeria has, these companies will seek to make inroads into Nigeria under the AfCFTA regime. This will mean that the new businesses within the NOGAPS will face intense competition from foreign players that do not have to battle with tariffs and different tax treatment. Additionally, the Nigerian culture of preferring imported products over domestically manufactured ones might play a role in this, particularly if the prices of the imported ones even up with domestically produced ones or only have a slim margin.

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READ: NNPC says local operators must improve capacity to achieve low cost of oil production

If the patronage for Innoson vehicles is anything to go by, in a market where there is no real difference in price between that and the domestically produced ones, we will see a preference for imported products.

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All of this will be further aggravated by Nigeria’s doing business difficulties. Things like delays in obtaining permits, approvals and licenses, the corruption that accompanies these processes, weak currency and dual exchange rates, poor infrastructure and lack of power supply abound. While the Nigerian businesses struggle with this, their foreign counterparts get to produce under more convenient conditions and are thus able to deliver within time and without the additional costs passed to consumers through these poor doing business practices.

While Mr Wabote has promised that the park in Ogbia will have dedicated power supply, it is hard to imagine that this power will not significantly cost the businesses if they are served at maximum capacity. At number 131 on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking, a park would not solve Nigeria’s problems, only a positive commitment to fix these doing business issues will.

READ: Seplat incurs N41.1 billion loss from OML 55, blames fall in oil prices

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The christening of a park as an “oil and gas park” in the 21st century, where countries of the world –and indeed private companies- are working towards achieving increased use of cleaner energy sources, is counterintuitive. The park should be an energy park that integrates significant research and development in its function as well as innovation and production of renewable energy equipment, both adapted to benefit from local conditions and standardized for export purposes.

It seems too, that not much consideration has been given to export of these equipment, as the parks earmarked so far are in landlocked Imo, port-less Bayelsa and Cross River that feeds into Cameroon, which is not a very prime market, although the DRC on the other end could attempt to compensate for this. It might be worth considering, the setting up of a park in Lagos – perhaps in the same vicinity as the Dangote refinery.

The park would benefit from being able to supply equipment to the refinery (especially as the refinery starts production in early 2023). It will also be able to tap into the global market through export via the Lekki port. This might also be a good time for the Agge deep sea port mulled by the Bayelsa State government to come onstream to open up the Ogbia park to a global market.

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