Economy

GenCos threaten to shut down power generation supply

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The Power Generation Companies (GenCos), have threatened to shut down power generation supply if pressing issues in the sector are not addressed.

The GenCos spoke through the Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr Joy Ogaji at a news conference in Abuja on Sunday.

Ogaji explained that the main reason for considering to take such action was due to the inability of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) to honour agreement it had with GenCos.

She said GenCos were facing liquidity challenge due to NBET’s breach of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) terms of 100 per cent payment for power generated and supplied.

Nigeria News Agency reports that NBET (Bulk Trader) is a trading licensee.

It is licensed and regulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to undertake bulk purchase and resale of electricity in the Transitional Electricity Market.

She accused NBET’s management of constituting itself as “the Alpha and Omega” authority that has the capacity to make or mar generation businesses in the country.

According to her, the situation is so bad that to remain in business and provide power to Nigerians, GenCos have to plead, lobby, and beg to be paid for power generated and utilised.

“NBET has now reduced its role to blackmailing and threatening GenCos investors and chairmen who have refused to concede to NBET’s illegal demand of a 0.75 per cent charge on invoices paid to gas suppliers.

“NBET has clearly threatened not to release payments due GenCos until they accede to NBET’s request, urging them to agree for a quid pro quo with the 0.75 per cent administrative charge.

“The situation is truly grave and completely unprecedented as NBET has completely shed its role as a licencee of the industry and has taken on some sort of regulatory role.

“This singular action by NBET may lead to shutdown of power supply by GenCos, who have unanimously agreed to call the bluff of NBET.

“GenCos have, in addition to the mounting debts being owed, working under the harsh, unprofessional and unethical dealings from the NBET management staff.

“GenCos Chief Executives and other key staff all have a bucket full of tales of abuses, insults, aggression, nonchalance, non-responsiveness, bullish, belittling, and ostracising actions

“All these are geared towards intimidating the GenCos and keeping them at bay from seeking legitimate clarifications,” she said.

The executive secretary said the matter had been reported to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and other high authorities but yet nothing had been done.

She called on Federal Government through the board Chairman of NBET to review the professional conduct of the management of NBET and ensure that business etiquettes were instilled.

“In a nascent market as ours, there are processes entrenched in the  Market Rules and other applicable Codes that should be followed in dealing with sectorial issues at all times.

“This is in order not to leave room for arbitrariness, duress or undue influence.

“The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) clearly delineates the terms of the business relationship and expectations of the parties.

“NBET was designed to help smoothen these relationships, removing frictions which may exist between Gencos and DisCos.

“NBET was envisaged to occupy the space between GenCos and DISCOs, acting as a “shock absorber” in times of market turbulence and not to make it worse. “

Ogaji said there was N600 billion the Federal Government needed to pay GenCos through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

She said that if that money was not released on time, it was likely to contribute to the shut down of power generation in the country soon.

Effort by Nigeria News Agency to speak with Dr Marilyn Amobi, the managing director/chief executive officer of NBET failed.

A phone call put across to her cell phone was not answered, neither did she respond to the Short Message Service (SMS).

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

Economy

SMEDAM, NIPC harp on matchmaking of SMEs with MNE to boost opportunities

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The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku, says  matchmaking and linkage programmes will enhance opportunities for Small all and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Sadiku made the assertion during a two-day  training/matchmaking/ of SMEs with Large Local Corporates (LLC) and Multinational Enterprises (MNEs).

The event was organised by NIPC and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in Lagos on Thursday.

Sadiku, who was represented by an Assistant Director of NIPC,  Mrs Edit Udofia, said that both SMEDAM and NIPC had been engaging different categories of entrepreneurs on  linkage programmes in the last few months.

“The first phase of action plan which was the pilot programme was agreed to focus on agro-industry / agro allied machineries, metal and foundry, plastic and rubber, electrical and industry services, and to be later spread to other sectors.

“After signing Memorandum of Understanding  between NIPC and SMEDAN in January 2019, a Joint Technical Committee was inaugurated for the implementation of the work plan.

and the Lagos event is what is happening here today,” Radda said.

A former Chairman, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Osun branch, Mr Ali Alabi, commended the efforts of SMEDAN and NIPC in improving  the capacities of SMEs.

Alabi said that the programme would enable SMEs markets to be known, adding that  it would also improve their productions.

He urged robust networking among  SMEs, MNEs and LLCs to enable them to remain in business.

Alabi said that for small businesses to thrive,  there should be  hand holding from government and big enterprises.

Mr Olarenwaju Oyekanmi, Managing Director of Alagura Farms Ltd., manufacturers of cassava for industries.
 hailed SMEDAN and NIPC  for organising the programme.

He, however, decried low turnout of  big manufacturing companies at the event, and called for  fine-tuning to achieve better results.

Edited by: Ijeoma Popoola
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Economy

NDIC commends media for being part of its 30 years success story

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The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has commended the media for being part of the corporation’s 30 years success story.

 

The Managing Director of the corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim gave the commendation in a goodwill message at a workshop for business editors and members of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) on Thursday in Yola.

 

Ibrahim, represented by Mr Ibrahim Kudu, an Asst. Director said the workshop, was fostering the needed understanding and collaboration between the media and the corporation.

 

He said that the topic for the workshop with title the  ‘Nigeria Banking System Stability-Tackling Emerging Issues’, was in recognition of what the future held for the banking industry.

 

With the recourse to technology and fintechs, the entire dynamics of banking has been altered to such an extent that it poses serious challenges for both operators and regulators.

 

‘“Let me at his point restate that the media is crucial to our success story in the past 30 years.

 

It is to this end that we will not rest on our oars towards sustaining the relevance of the workshop through the choice of robust and informed topics and highly qualified resource persons.

 

After all, the entire banking landscape has remarkably changed since the time the corporation was established,“ he said.

 

The managing director urged the media to avail themselves of opportunities provided by the workshop to gain knowledge of contemporary issues in the financial industry.

Edited by: Shuaib Sadiq/Felix Ajide
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Economy

Gov. Sanwo-Olu vows continuous support of MSMEs in Lagos

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Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Thursday vowed continuous support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the state to boost the economic strength of Nigeria’s business hub.

The governor made the pledge in his address at the opening of the 4th Lagos State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises fair in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji, said the potential of MSMEs was too attractive, numerous and enormous to be ignored by any government of the 21st century.

It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction that we have committed to ensuring that the micro, small and medium enterprises sector of our state’s economy grows and flourishes beyond limits.

In recognition of the importance of this sector in achieving our economic goals, this administration is focused on making Lagos a 21st century hyper-city through supporting local businesses.

The potential of the MSME sector in creativity, entrepreneurship development, wealth creation, value addition and employment generation are too attractive to be ignored by any discerning government.

This government will continue to create opportunities for MSMEs to thrive by focusing on the development of complementary infrastructure that helps improve competitiveness and productivity locally and globally,” he said.

Dr Lola Akande, the state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, said MSMEs deserved huge support for the vital role they played in driving the economy of the state and the nation at large.

Without equivocation, MSMEs have been playing an important role in our state and the nation.

It therefore behoves the government at all levels in strengthening these agents of economic change.

As one of Nigeria’s most endowed economies, Lagos State has a lot of business opportunities and entrepreneurial potential which are being tapped by industrious and innovative citizens for the growth and development of the economy.

Under the able leadership of Gov. Sanwo-Olu, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives would continue to sustain all programmes aimed at enhancing the status of MSMEs,” she said.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mr Sanni Okanlawon, encouraged Nigerians to patronize Made-in-Lagos and Nigeria products.

MSMEs in Nigeria are paid little or no attention in spite of their potential as the bedrock of social economic development.

The bane of most MSMEs is the inability to finance their operations but in recent developments we have seen MSMEs accounting for economic growth and development.

It has become expedient as a state and nation to step activities towards supporting the profitable cause of the small business enterprises.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the governor for supporting Lagos MSMEs through this fair and other initiatives,” Okanlawon said.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Wale Ojetimi
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Economy

NCRIB urges FG to insure railway projects

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The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) on Thursday urged the Federal Government to ensure that the huge investment in the railway system was protected through insurance.

Dr Bola Onigbogi, President of NCRIB gave the advice at the December edition of the council’s Members Evening hosted by Africa Alliance Plc.

Onigbogi said this was necessary because it was one of the prudent ways to protect the national asset and guarantee that it endures.

As a critical stakeholder in the economy, I like to also use this medium to first commend the federal government for the enhancement of public transportation in Nigeria through the strengthening of the nation’s railway system.

Aside from aiding commerce and reducing road accidents, the railway system will also create more jobs for Nigerians, ” she said.

Onigbogi also commended the government on the closure of the country’s land borders, saying it would protect local production of goods and services.

It is advisable that the government should use the opportunity of the closure to encourage the acceleration of local capabilities so that our strides towards self-sufficiency would be guaranteed.

It is a fact that no country could wholly depend on foreign countries for survival, but this must come with utmost sincerity on the part of the government, ” the NCRIB President said.

Onigbogi reaffirmed her commitment to run a progressive tenure that would be anchored on two pivots, namely: Image Management and Strategic Engagement, having assumed office on November 31.

She said the choice of image management was not far-fetched, especially when considering the remote image and reputation which insurance brokers had attracted in the scheme of things in the country.

Everywhere you go, there is gross misconception about who a broker is and what he does.

It is often sickening to at best hear many mixing our identity up with that of the stock brokers and this must stop under this administration.

We would be more strategic and aggressive in our projection of the insurance brokers brand across all geographical areas of the country by deploying indepth image making strategies, ” she said.

Onigbogi said the council would devote good time to enhancing the capacity and competences of the insurance brokers.

She said the council would also forge effective collaboration with the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) to remove all those “toxic traits” that could jeopardise attempts at projecting the industry and the insurance broking professionals in bad light.

Let me also say that this tenure would devote attention to professionalism, international relations, secretariat empowerment, mentoring and enhanced collaboration with the regulatory authorities.

I would like to inform our distinguished members that this administration will be open to advise and constructive engagements by members.

“It will also be all-inclusive. Myself and the Management would operate with the TEAM acronym that says ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’, ” she said.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle
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Economy

NPA to enforce compliance on management of ballast water — Official

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) will enforce compliance on the management of ballast water in order to minimise hazards associated with it, an official said on Thursday.

Mr Sani Shehu, Senior Manager, in the NPA’s Environmental Department, made this known at the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), capacity building training on International Maritime Conventions, in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that ballast water is water carried in ships’ ballast tanks to improve stability, balance and trim.

It is taken up or discharged when cargo is unloaded or loaded.

When ships take on ballast water, plants and animals that live in the ocean are also picked up, which cause harmful ecological, economic and health challenges in the host environment.

According to Shehu, ballast water is a vector through which Harmful Acquatic Organisms and Pathogens(HAOP) are transferred from one place to another.

Shipping has been widely recognised as a major component of international trade, driving the most effective means of transporting bulk cargoes and passengers across borders of water from one place to another over long distance.

For safety of ships and oil tankers, ballast water is required to maintain stability throughout their voyages, especially when empty or having insufficient load,” he said.

Shehu said that before now, NPA was not checking for compliance because the convention had not come into law.

He said that Ballast Water Management Convention was a new thing that NPA wanted to capture into its activities.

The official said that before, for ships that had the same coastal line with Nigeria like Ghana, the authority might not bother to check; but for international ships, they needed to discharge their ballast water 200km away from the county.

Shehu said that going forward, a sample of ballast water of an incoming ship would be taken to a sediment reception facility for analysis, to check for harmful species.

He said out that in the whole of West Africa, it was only Nigeria that had the sediment treatment facility.

Shehu listed some of the challenges of the convention as: source of funds, no ballast water sediment treatment facility and insufficient trained manpower to the programme.

He said that as regards the Marpol 73/78 Convention, it was introduced due to the oil pollution of the territorial waters which was recognised as a problem, necessitating regulation.

Shehu said that for implementation and enforcement, signatory nations pledged to comply with the convention and laws, as the effect was damaging to the marine life, wildlife, fishing, tourism and wetlands.

He said that zero tolerance of illegal discharge from ships could only be effectively enforced when there are adequate reception facilities in ports.

According to him, NPA has environmental department in ports to checkmate this.

Shehu said that the Basel Convention was also established in 1980 to control the transboundary movement of hazardous waste and their disposal.

He said that the objectives were to ensure disposal of hazardous waste was done closer to source of generation, minimise the generation, apply strict control across borders and prohibit shipment of hazardous waste.

Shehu said that 60,000 tones of e-waste pass through Tin-can port annually, hence the need to check its disposal due to its negative effect.

Earlier, Mr Anya Njoku, President MARAN, said that the training was to help remove ambiquity when reporting maritime news, to avoid misleading the public and government.

The training was organised in collaboration with NPA and the Nigerian Shippers Council.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Oluwole Sogunle
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