Connect with us

VenturesNow

693 containers abandoned at ports for 15 years! How Nigeria jokes with power sector reforms

The news was heart-rendering but it had to be told

Published

on

The news was heart-rendering but it had to be told.

On Friday, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) revealed what many had feared; that Nigeria’s claims to being serious with its power sector reforms may have been a huge joke.

An inkling into this mindset was provided by the Managing Director, Usman Mohammed, who told newsmen via a statement that TCN had recovered more than 693 containers of power equipment lying waste at the ports for 15 years.

The company alleged tariff as excuse why the multi-billion Naira equipment were abandoned.

Even more embarrassing was Mohammed’s claims that some of the power equipment had been auctioned by the Nigeria Customs Service, promising that TCN would go after the auctioneers to recover the containers.

“TCN still has over 200 other containers auctioned by the Customs outside the ports,’’ he said.

He added, “We were able to recover 693 containers as of last week, out of a total of 800 containers that have been in the ports.

“Some of these containers have been there for 15 years.

“Others have been auctioned and we had to trace the auctioneers to get the containers.

“The government is supporting us. And with the same way they are supporting us, I know that as government has beamed its searchlight on the distribution companies, they are going to solve the problems with power distribution.”

Read Also: IMF warns South Africa’s economy still faces major risks

Friday’s revelation came on the heels of a recent face-off between Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola, and investors in the Distribution Companies (DisCos).

Trouble began to brew on July 18 when 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria said the claims by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on the status of the nation’s power generation capacity were false.

Fashola had, while addressing newsmen at a briefing in Abuja, claimed that Nigeria’s power generation capacity was about 7,000 megawatts (MW), insisting that the problem facing the nation’s electricity sector had changed from unavailability of power for distribution to an excess capacity of about 2,000MW of power left unused.

But the DisCos, in a 28-page response said that the basis for the increase in power generation capacity from 4,000MW in 2015 to 7,000MW in 2018 as released by the minister was not clear.

“We do not understand the constant references to the increase of generation capacity to 7,000MW from 4,000MW for the period of 2015 to 2018 that has been used as the basis of defining the Discos as incapable of taking on more power – the stranded 2,000MW.

“A review of NERC’s ‘Daily Energy Watch’ for January 28, 2015 would indicate a generation availability of 6,421MW (divided into peak of 4,230MW and constrained energy of 2,191MW).

“In other words, it is misleading to state that available generation has grown from 4,000MW in 2015, as a measure of progress, given that a volume of generation slightly under 7,000MW already or previously existed, prior to the beginning of this administration,” they said.

The DisCos also faulted claims that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) currently had capacity to wheel over 5,000MW, stressing that in spite of the TCN’s tested wheeling capacity of 5,500MW, with the two historical generation peaks of 5,074MW recorded on February 2, 2016, and 5,222MW on December 18, 2017, only 4,577MW and 4,265MW were wheeled or transmitted, respectively.

“In simple terms, the TCN has not wheeled energy in excess of 4,265MW ever,” the firms added.

Read Also: Village Enterprise raises $3.5m to invest into entrepreneurs in Kenya & Uganda

Miffed, Fashola, on July 21, maintained that the power firms were sabotaging the nation’s economy by their actions.

“Claims that no directives from me will save the power sector from collapse, is consistent with the views of someone who has no skin in the game.

“As for the allegation that figures of power generation and distribution released by me are not true, the taste of the pudding lies with those who eat it. Electricity consumers know what their experience was in 2015, 2016, 2017 and today.

“Electricity consumers (which include Fashola), want better service; NBET wants its money; about N800 billion, so she can pay GenCos; If DisCos can prove that FGN owes more than what we admit, they should deduct (N72 billion) from N800 billion and pay the remaining N728 billion which they owe NBET,” he said.

Signals Nigeria could be heading for total darkness as Fashola and the DisCos talked tough came on August 1 when the latter threatened to divest and walk away from the contracts.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the investors in Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc, led by Tukur Modibbo, said the DisCos were doing their best and would not hesitate to sell and leave the market if anyone was interested in buying.

“You asked me whether we are willing to quit the business. Now, please listen to me and put it down clearly that we bought our distribution company cash down for $82 million in 2013; we are willing to take $72 million in 24 hours and leave.

“If you have $72 million or Fashola can give us $72 million, we are giving him $10 million discount; if we get that sum, in 24 hours we are out of this business. Please, is there anybody with $72 million here? If there is none, please advertise it for me because I’ve given you the price,” he said.

The Chief Operating Officer, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, John Ayodele, on his part, stated that the power companies would quit immediately if they had an opportunity to do so.

He said, “On when we are going to quit the business, the fact is that if you ask all the investors, because I’ve sat with them, if you can refund them their money in five minutes, they will quit in 10 minutes. No investor wants to stay.”

With power games very evident in high places, the joke appears to be on Nigerians who, over the years, have pinned their hopes on a so called power sector reforms that had gulped billions of dollars with little to show in terms of its impact on industries and homes.

VenturesNow

Nigeria: Court insists Binance executive can face trial on behalf of firm

Published

on

In an ongoing tax evasion case, a Nigerian court decided on Friday that Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, may go to trial on the cryptocurrency exchange’s behalf.

Binance and executives Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and head of financial crimes compliance, and British-Kenyan national Nadeem Anjarwalla, a regional manager for Africa, face four counts of tax evasion. They are also accused of participating in specialized financial transactions without a license and laundering more than $35 million in another case.

All of them have entered not-guilty pleas on the allegations of money laundering. Following the court hearing on Friday, Binance’s attorney chose not to comment. The attorney for Gambaryan was similarly silent.

“We are deeply disappointed that Tigran Gambaryan, who has no decision-making power in the company, continues to be detained,” a Binance spokesperson said in a statement on Friday after the court hearing.

“These charges against him are completely meritless. He should be freed while discussions continue between Binance and Nigerian government officials.”

Gambaryan is still being held while Anjarwalla left the nation in March. The office of Nigeria’s security adviser has declared that it is collaborating with Interpol to pursue Anjarwalla’s detention.

After its executives were imprisoned as part of a crackdown on cryptocurrencies in February after being invited to the African nation for talks with officials, the CEO of Binance has warned Nigeria of establishing a dangerous precedent.

Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced that Gambaryan may face prosecution on behalf of the exchange; Binance has not been accused in the tax evasion case.

According to prior statements from Gambaryan’s attorney, Gambaryan was “neither a director, partner, nor company secretary” and did not have any formal authorization from Binance to take on the accusations on the firm’s behalf.

Judge Emeka Nwite decided on Friday that Gambaryan, who is Binance’s chief financial compliance officer and was lawfully designated to represent the company in a meeting in Nigeria, should be served with the charges against Binance.

On Wednesday, Gambaryan is scheduled to appear in court and enter a plea on Binance’s behalf. On Friday, Gambaryan’s request for bail in the money laundering case was turned down. As the nation struggled with ongoing dollar shortages, cryptocurrency websites became the go-to venues for trading the Nigerian naira. Nigeria has blamed Binance for its currency problems.

Continue Reading

VenturesNow

Nigerian govt denies reports it plans to borrow pension fund for infrastructure

Published

on

The Nigerian government has denied reports that it plans to borrow the N20tn pension fund to finance infrastructural projects.

In a statement made in Abuja, Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, stated that the government would abide by the laws and guidelines in place pertaining to the pension fund.

Following a two-day Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, the minister reportedly informed reporters that the government would present a plan to use local funds, including the fund, to finance infrastructure development.

Edunstated that the government does not intend to exceed these legal boundaries, emphasising that the government was committed to protecting workers’ pensions.

“It has come to my notice that stories are making the round that the Federal Government plans to illegally access the hard-earned savings and pension contributions of workers. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

“The pension industry, like most the financial industries, is highly regulated. There are rules. There are limitations about what pension money can be invested in and what it cannot be invested in.

“The Federal Government has no intention whatsoever to go beyond those limitations and go outside those bounds which are there to safeguard the pensions of workers.

“What was announced to the Federal Executive Council was that there was an ongoing initiative drawing in all the major stakeholders in the long-term saving industry, those that handle funds that are available over a long period to see how, within the regulations and the laws; these funds could be used maximally to drive investment in key growth areas,” Edun clarified.

The plan to spend the pension fund was reported and was widely criticised. The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and the Nigeria Labour Congress had earlier on Thursday urged the government to abstain from making any changes to the pension fund.

They stated, “Nigerian workers have entrusted their hard-earned savings for retirement security, not as a means for government projects. It is imperative to halt any further plans to tap into these funds, especially given the lack of transparency and accountability in past government borrowing practices.”

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Culture2 hours ago

How South Sudanese singer John Frog moved from child soldier to Afrobeats star

John Frog may be one of South Sudan’s most successful musicians at the moment, but a little over 10 years...

Tech3 hours ago

American risk management solutions provider Archer opens business in Egypt

American risk management solutions provider, Archer, has announced expanding its operations to Africa with Egypt as the first point of...

Sports3 hours ago

South African Akani Simbine beats Omanyala to pick 100m gold at Atlanta City Games

South African sprint sensation, Akani Simbine, on Saturday at the Atlanta City Games further put a dent on Kenyan 100m...

Metro6 hours ago

Church in Northern Province cautions against cyberspace abuse, supports cyber security law

The church in Northern Province has issued a warning to Zambians regarding the misuse of cyberspace in the guise of...

Metro11 hours ago

Nigeria kicks as South African police torture citizen to death

The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) has condemned the killing of another of its citizens, Prince Muoka Ebuka, who was...

Politics1 day ago

Nigeria 2027: Opposition party chieftain Atiku vows to support Obi if …

In Nigeria, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has hinted that he would support the...

VenturesNow1 day ago

Nigeria: Court insists Binance executive can face trial on behalf of firm

In an ongoing tax evasion case, a Nigerian court decided on Friday that Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, may go to...

Tech1 day ago

How Nigerian online connection hub Workjeje helps with access to quality service providers

A Nigerian online connection hub, Workjeje, has revealed how it is connecting individuals and corporate bodies to quality service providers...

Sports1 day ago

Egyptian midfielder Elneny announces departure from Arsenal after eight years

Egypt and Arsenal midfielder, Mohamed Elneny, has announced his departure from the club at the end of this season after...

Culture1 day ago

Nigerian moviemakers Funke Akindele, Mo Abudu, Jade Osiberu named in Hollywood Reporter’s Powerful Women in Film list

Foremost Nigerian moviemakers, Funke Akindele, Mo Abudu, and Jade Osiberu have been named in the Hollywood Reporter’s list of the...

Trending