The Federal Government has announced the resumption of the Abuja to Kaduna rail services on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The resumption of the train services is going to coming with fare increases amid precautionary measures to curtail COVID-19.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an inspection tour and test run of the 10 newly acquired coaches and 2 locomotives deployed on the Abuja to Kaduna rail corridor.
Amaechi also revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an increase in train fares due to the fact that the train will now be conveying half its capacity in order to maintain social distancing.
According to the Transport Minister, “In a month (pre-COVID-19), we get about N120 million, and if we run like this (half capacity), we will realize N60 million. It means that we need another N60 million to complete the running cost.”
‘’It is, therefore for the above reason that the rates have been increased as follows: First class, N6,000, Business Class, N5,000 and Economy, N3,000 to enable Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) meet up at least with the running cost.’’
When asked if this increase will not be too much of a burden for the poor to pay, Amaechi insisted that they can afford it, pointing out that it was certainly cheaper than the ransom to be paid if kidnapped on Abuja-Kaduna road.
On the Itapke to Warri rail line, he also revealed that the route will be more lucrative when fully operational, than the Abuja to Kaduna route because when the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project starts, they will carry their pipes from Warri seaport to Itakpe.
He said that the fear of exposing the 1000 workers needed to complete the Lagos-Ibadan railway, to the coronavirus disease, stalled the project which was supposed to be completed in May 2020. He also said that lack of funds is delaying the take-off of the Ibadan-Kano railway line.
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai who saw the Minister off to the rail station after a courtesy call, told journalists that the reopening of the railway could not have happened at a better time. He reminded them that COVID-19 is real, therefore people should abide by all the safety protocols.
On the issue of the increased train fare, the governor said he wished it would have been higher and called on the Ministry and NRC to consider e-ticketing as a measure of addressing ticket racketeering at the train stations.
On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, said that with the arrival of these Diesel Multiple Units (DMU’s), the corporation will now increase the frequency of trips on the Abuja-Kaduna line from eight (to and fro) trips to 14 per day.
The Manager of the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Service, Pascal Nnorli disclosed that there will be fumigation of all rolling stocks and offices before the reopening of the station. He also said that the policy of no mask no entry will be enforced at all stations. He further disclosed that more DMU’s are still being expected on the route to manage the high passenger traffic.
It can be recalled that the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) suspended passenger train operations nationwide following the ban on interstate travel by the Federal Government on April 28, 2020, as part of the measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Some of the suspended train services include the flagship Abuja-Kaduna train service, Lagos-Kano express train on the old narrow gauge, Lagos-Ogun passenger services and some others.
Amaechi had earlier last month, said that the ministry was not in a hurry to resume train operations because of the danger posed by the coronavirus pandemic. He insisted that all health and safety protocols must apply when train services resume.
Abuja-Kaduna train service will resume operations on Wednesday.
We just conducted inspection of the new coaches on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line. Social distancing is set as the new normal with end to end sitting arrangement. – @ChibuikeAmaechi
— NIGERIAN RAILWAY CORPORATION (@Official_NRC) July 26, 2020
Deezer accepts payment in Naira amid stiff competitions with Spotify, Youtube music, Apple music.
Deezer has gained quite a reputation in Nigeria, as it slashes its subscription fee and now accepts payment in Naira.
Deezer slashes subscription fee and now accepts payment in Naira amid stiff competitions with Spotify, Youtube music, Apple music.
Deezer, the French music streaming platform that has gained quite a reputation in Nigeria has slashed its subscription fee and now accepts payment in Naira.
This is coming a few weeks after Spotify launched in Nigeria and 38 other new markets in Africa.
The competition in the Nigerian music streaming space is getting hotter by the day. More music streaming platforms are entering the Nigerian market with better payment methods and cheaper pricing, thereby forcing existing players to slash their prices so as to hold on to their customer base
Launched in 2007, Deezer currently connects over 16 million monthly active users around the world to 73 million tracks.
Before now, Deezer’s subscription was rated at $4.99 (₦1,800) for premium customers and the family plan for ₦2,700.
This number has been slashed in half. The music platform now charges ₦900 ($2.36) for Deezer Premium, ₦1,400 for Deezer HiFi and ₦1,400 ($3.67) for Deezer Family Plan.
Other streaming players in Nigeria like Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube music, Boom Play, Audiomack and Soundcloud have also slashed their prices.
For YouTube Music, the monthly individual subscription costs ₦900 while a family plan costs ₦1400 ($3.67).
Spotify Premium cost ₦900 per month in Nigeria. The Premium Family plan goes for ₦1,400 for up to 6 family members.
Apple music charges ₦450 per month for students, ₦900 per month for Individual plan while the Family plan goes for ₦1,400 for up to 6 family members.
NERC issues order to DisCos on replacement of faulty, obsolete meters
NERC has issued a directive to DisCos on the structured replacement of faulty and obsolete meters for their customers.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued a directive to the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) on the structured replacement of faulty and obsolete meters for their customers with effect from March 4, 2021.
This is to remove the bottlenecks that had previously impeded the rapid deployment of meters to unmetered customers and the receipt of complaints from metered customers in fourth-quarter 2020, that they had been served meter replacement notices by DisCos when all stakeholders were preparing for the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
The directive from NERC is contained in Order No. NERC/246/2021, Titled, “In the matter of the order on structured replacement of faulty and obsolete end-user customer meter in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI),” issued on March 4, 2021.
The commission noted that over 7 million customers are currently unmetered as indicated by the customer enumeration data. It also estimates that an additional 3 million meters are currently obsolete and due for replacement.
NERC pointed out that the existence of unmetered customers contributes to the threat affecting the financial viability of the NESI as unmetered customers expressed their displeasure with the estimated billing methodology.
The statement from NERC partly reads, “The Commission notes that over 7 million customers are currently unmetered as indicated by customer enumeration data. It is also estimated that an additional 3 million meters are currently obsolete and due for replacement.
“The existence of a large population of unmetered customers contributed to threats affecting the financial viability of NESI as unmetered end-use customers expressed deep dissatisfaction with the estimated billing methodology.
“The revenue assurance objectives of DisCos have also been challenged by being unable to properly account for the utilisation of electricity by end-use customers”.
Following the review from both the metered and unmetered customers, NERC issued the following order;
- DisCos shall grant priority to the metering of unmetered customers under the National Mass Metering Program.
- DisCos may replace faulty/obsolete meters under the National Mass Metering Program but these replacements must be done in strict compliance with the Metering Code and other regulatory instruments of the Commission.
- DisCos shall inspect meters of metered end-use customers and the replacement notice shall contain the following –
- The date of the inspection
- Name, designation and signature of the officer that inspected the meter.
- The fault identified in the meter.
- The date for the installation of the replacement meter
- The Commission shall be copied on all replacement notices issued to end-use customers for the purpose of conducting random reviews of the replacement
- New meters must be installed upon the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter and under no circumstances shall the customer be placed on estimated billing on account of the DisCo’s failure to install a replacement meter after the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter.
- The customer and DisCo representative shall jointly note the units on the meter being replaced and the customer must be credited with these units within 48 hours after the installation of the meter.
- Customers shall only be billed for loss of revenue where the DisCo establishes meter tampering, by-pass or unauthorised access as contained in NERC Order/REG/ 41/2017 on Unauthorised Access, Meter Tampering and Bypass.
- Activation tokens shall be issued to customers immediately after replacement of the faulty/obsolete meter.
- DisCos shall file monthly returns with the Commission on the replacement of faulty/obsolete meters along with their proposal for the decommissioned meters.
This Order may be cited as the Order on the Structured Replacement of Faulty/Obsolete Meters of End-Use Customers.”
What you should know
- NERC was mandated in the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act to maximize access to electricity services, by promoting and facilitating customer connections to distribution systems in both rural and urban areas and establish appropriate consumer rights and obligations regarding the provision and use of electricity services.
- Meters serve as a revenue assurance tool for NESI service providers and a resource management tool for consumers that receive services with the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations coming into force on April 3, 2018.
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