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Energy

FG to invest in the deployment of Mini-grid systems to power 5 million homes in 2021

The Minister said the government will invest in Mini-grid systems that will provide power for 5 million homes in 2021.

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Abuja, Ikeja Discos top list in collection efficiency in Q1 2020- NERC, Estates in Lekki increase electricity tariff to N105/kWh, Eko Electric, Ikeja and 5 others to face NERC sanction for non-compliance, CBN reveals framework for financing National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), Nigeria ranks eight African country with well-developed electricity regulatory frameworks, as Uganda tops.

In a bid to provide remote communities with clean and affordable energy, the Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman has disclosed that the Government is set to invest heavily in the deployment of Mini-grid systems that will provide power for 5 million homes in 2021.

This disclosure was made by Engr. Sale Mamman in a statement released into the mainstream media via his official Twitter handle.

READ: Electricity: Nigeria now has an installed generation capacity of 13,000MW – Minister of Power

The Minister explained that it is virtually impossible for the National grid to cover every geographical point within Nigeria. He emphasized that this reality prompted the present administration to sort out alternatives, and as a result, the Government is set to invest heavily in the deployment of Mini-grid systems, which can easily get to the most remote communities and provide clean, and affordable energy in 2021.

READ: Nigeria to fix irregular power supply in 40 years- Senate

What they are saying

The Minister, in his statement, said, “It is virtually impossible to have the National grid covering every geographical point within Nigeria, that is why the Government is investing heavily in the deployment of Mini-grid systems, which can easily get to the most remote communities and provide clean, affordable energy.

“In 2021, part of our priorities at the Ministry and two of its implementing agencies will be on providing these Mini-grid systems for communities and stand-alone home solar systems. We have a target of 5 million homes. Clean, affordable, and accessible energy for all.”

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(READ MORE:FG set to create at least 5 million jobs for youths in the power sector – Minister of Power)

What you should know

The Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman, at the 2021 budget defense before the House of Representatives Committee on Power in Abuja, yesterday disclosed that Nigeria’s installed grid power generation capacity has grown from 8,000MW to 13,000MW under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

READ: UPDATED: FG appoints Eweluka as NBET MD, as finance, power ministers wrestle

The Minister also pointed out that the distribution system had the capacity to evacuate 5,500MW of power, which is a significant improvement from 4,500MW in 2015.

 

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Omokolade Ajayi is a graduate of Economics, and a certificate holder of the CFA Institute’s Investment Foundation Program. He is a business analyst, and equity market researcher, with wealth of experience as a retail investor. He is a business owner and a stern advocate of Financial literacy, who believes in the huge economic prospect of the Nigerian Payment channels and Fintech space.

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Business News

FG to extend fuel subsidy for 6 months

Reports indicate that the FG plans to spend N720 billion for the next 6 months on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidies.

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Subsidy and PIB, petrol price, PPPRA, We have sufficient PMS stock for 38 days- DPR 

The Nigerian Government may have suspended plans to end its subsidy payments as reports indicate that the FG plans to spend N720 billion for the next 6 months on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidies.

This was disclosed in an exclusive report by The Guardian on Sunday, citing that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that the subsidies remain in place for the next 6 months.

“Specifically, President Buhari has asked the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to suspend any idea on subsidy removal for five to six months so that a plan that does not harm ordinary Nigerians is evolved if the deregulation must go on,” a Government official said.

What you should know 

  • NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari disclosed last month that the “NNPC may no longer be in a position to carry that burden because we cannot continue to carry it in our books,” after reports of fuel imports under-recovery revealed the FG was spending N120 billion a month on subsidy.
  • Kyari also hinted that they may soon start selling PMS at market prices saying: “NNPC importing PMS at market price and selling at N162/L. The actual market price should be between N211 and N234/L. Meaning is that consumers are not paying the market price.
  • “NNPC is currently the sole importer of PMS, and we’re trying to exit the underpriced sale of PMS. Eventual exit is inevitable, when it will happen I cannot say, but engagements are ongoing because the government is cognisant of the implications.”

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Columnists

Why NNPC’s Borno power plant may not materialise 

The glaring security challenge cannot be overlooked in considering a major power plant project in Borno State.

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Only a few days ago, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, led a delegation to Borno State to meet with the Governor of the State, Babagana Zulum.

In the conversation with Zulum, Kyari promised the establishment of a gas-fired power plant in Borno State within a maximum of 4 months to solve the recent blackouts that resulted from insurgents cutting off Borno from the national grid since January this year.

In Kyari’s words, “We have talked to each other and we think it’s very possible to establish a dedicated power plant in Maiduguri which will serve current needs of power supply not only in Maiduguri but to other parts of the neighbouring cities.”

READ: NNPC GMD says AKK pipeline, Nigeria’s biggest gas project is 15% complete

Yet, there is a significant possibility that the power plant promised by Kyari may not materialize for many reasons, the first of which is security. In the meeting with Kyari, Governor Zulum had noted: “The ongoing insurgency has cut off the entire Borno from the national grid in the last three months. We put all our efforts and restored it back… but unfortunately, after 48 hours, the same group of insurgents went back and destroyed the main tower again.”

This glaring security challenge cannot be overlooked in considering a major power plant project in Borno State, particularly noting that the State and its surrounding communities have been the hot zone of insurgent and terrorist attacks by Boko Haram insurgents since 2009. Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have particularly been states where the insurgents have set up shop and carried out various activities, including kidnap, extermination of entire communities, burning of markets and religious buildings and the attack on the United Nations compound, in each case claiming tens or hundreds of innocent lives.

READ: Analysis: NNPC and its refining losses

One report reveals that at least 37, 500 people have been killed by the insurgent group since May 2011, a modest number, some say. Also, till date, some of the secondary school girls kidnapped in the April 2014 Chibok incident are yet to be returned to their families. It is then bewildering how Kyari intends to see to the construction and operationalizing of this gas power plant.

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Additionally, while the Minister of Petroleum for State, Chief Timipre Sylva, announced last year about the discovery of oil and gas deposits in the North, we have not seen any exploration and production kick-off. It then begs the question of where the gas for the Borno power plant intends to be sourced. The only gas pipeline that runs through the North – the AKK- is still in its first phase of construction out of three phases and has been earmarked at the earliest, to be completed in 2023 – not counting the typical delays the project will experience along the way.

READ: NNPC, only Nigerian company to cut losses by N800 billion in one financial year – GMD

Should the AKK by some stroke of luck materialize much earlier than the target date, the pipeline route is a considerable distance from Borno. It runs the route of Ajaokuta-Abuja-Katsina-Kano, its endpoint, a striking 481km from Borno State. Thus, there would have to be construction of a tie-in pipeline almost as long as the AKK from Kano to Borno State to get gas to Borno.

Optimists may reference the oil and gas discovery in the North and how production may start soon, thus obliterating the need for a 481km pipeline. This optimism however is not well-founded, as insecurity has been shown to be a major risk to oil and gas projects everywhere in the world. One of the major reasons the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline proposed to run from Nigeria to Algeria was abandoned was due to security challenges posed by Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Tuareg guerilla movement in Niger and other insurgent groups along the proposed route of the pipeline.

READ: Why NNPC should be commercialised

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These increased the risks across board, including for completion and operations through the lifecycle of the project. As such, failing to fix the security threats in northeast Nigeria makes any proposed gas plant project a pipe dream. Transporting gas via LNG trucks is not a better option, given that the drivers and their cargoes would be in danger of being kidnapped, shot at or bombed. The risks for both personnel and investors are high.

In any event, promising a power plant in 4 months for the people of Borno is unconscionable, since a typical gas power plant will take between 1 to 6 years to construct in relatively peaceful regions. What the government needs to do instead of making promises it cannot keep is to work arduously to fix the security challenges in Northern Nigeria and at the same time consider using decentralised solar power to provide power supply to homes, government institutions, schools and businesses while plans to produce gas in the region or transport gas to it are underway.

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