The House of Representatives on Wednesday began investigations into activities of the power sector with a view to repositioning the sector for better service delivery.
The investigation was organised by an ad hoc committee of the house, chaired by the Majority Leader of the house, Rep. Ado Doguwa (APC-Kano).
The Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabimila said that it was no longer news that inspite of huge investments in the power sector, little progress might have been made.
Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Ahmed Wase (APC-Plateau) Gbajabimila said that it was becoming increasingly worrisome that successive governments had been unable to fix the issue of power in our country.
“With the current state of electricity supply apparently dampening the hopes of landmark industrialisation and national development.
“At the onset of the 9th House of Representatives, we proposed a legislative agenda that sought to initiate comprehensive review of all legislations relating to the power sector.
“Today’s activity is an attempt to walk the walk; this investigative hearing is the premise upon which the House of Representatives shall amass adequate information to guide us in causing the required and appropriate legislative intervention in the power sector,” he said.
Doguwa said that the committee had been given the mandate to kick start activities relating to the investigation and review of activities of the power sector.
He said that the power sector is critical to national industrialisation and development.
Doguwa said that the greatest issue bedeviling the sector after the unbundling of the defunct National Electric Power Authority is the inability to effectively transmit and distribute electricity supply across the country.
“The sector is also confronted with the issue of liquidity; with the Gas Suppliers claiming billions of Naira being owed them.
“Another major challenge is the fact that the tariffs are not cost reflective; it is in fact, becoming clearer from a layman’s perspective that the DISCOs and transmission agents must do more if we anticipate any form of improved electricity supply in the country.
“The inability of some of these institutions to meet the covenant obligations they entered into at the time of privatisation has reduced the capacity to enable reliable and quality electricity supply for both domestic and commercial use.
“Sadly, it appears to the common man that there is hike in electric tariff without corresponding increase in quantity and quality of electricity supply. This is indeed the crux of the matter under the mandate of this ad hoc committee,” he said.
The Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Mr Chiedu Ugbo said that the company had made intervention worth eight billion dollars in the power sector.
He said that the agencies is making intervention in power generation, transition, distribution and home solar system.
Ugbo said that the company had completed six power plants while two were partially completed and that all connected were to the national grid.
The managing director said that the company provided 20,000 home solar systems across northern Nigeria in 2017.
He explained that the company was visible in every state and zones across the country, ensuring that all parts of the society is connected to the national grid.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Asaba film village, leisure park will boost economy, create jobs – Okowa
The Governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, says Asaba Film Village and Leisure Park when completed, will boost the state’s economy and create jobs for unemployed youths.
Okowa gave the assurance on Monday after an inspection tour of some ongoing projects in the state, including the film village, leisure park and the new technical college in Asaba.
He said that the state government would continue to give priority attention to projects that would boost the economy and enhance the living conditions of the people.
“The twin-project of film village and leisure park would serve as a community where people would go for entertainment, relaxation and watch movies.
“The project, will on completion, also create employment opportunities for many persons, especially, during this period where the number of the unemployed is increasing,” he said.
The governor said that Asaba had always been a “movie town’’, saying that the film village would positively impact on the economy of the state.
Okowa, however, said that the project was billed for completion in 2021 given the circumstances of the nation.
“The leisure park is of great importance to us because whatever you do, there is need for relaxation and we believe that the park will provide that relaxation for both our children and adults.
“People need somewhere to go and relax in a fast-growing city like Asaba and I believe that the leisure park is going to be of great value to our people. It is going to be a project that will generate quite a lot of funds with good management,” he said.
The governor noted that the state, particularly Asaba, had been the hub of Nollywood actors and after, he had met with them, they made a request and “we find out that it was important to encourage them’’.
“At the film village, we are going to have a lot of facilities that will encourage more and more of our Guild of Actors to come to Asaba to shoot their movies.
“The village which is properly sited, will create a lot of economic activities and also create a recreation for our people,” Okowa said.
The governor, who was impressed with the level work done at the new technical college, commended the contractor handling the project and urged him to sustain the pace of work to ensure timely delivery.
He said that the state government was committed to building nine new technical colleges, which currently were at various levels of execution.
“It was a proactive step to give the people opportunity to acquire technical education aimed at turning the youth into an army of entrepreneurs,” he said.
Okowa promised to also visit the sites of the other eight technical colleges to ensure a steady progress on the projects.
NAN reports that the governor and his team were conducted round the film village, leisure park and others by the Project Consultant, Mr Kester Ifeadi, who pledged the company’s commitment to deliver the project in 2021. .
Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
COVID-19: SON, committee review safety guidelines for tourism sector resumption
COVID-19: SON, committee review safety guidelines for tourism sector resumption
Mrs Chika Balogun, Committee Chairperson and Director-General, National Institute for Hotels and Tourism, said via a webinar meeting on Monday in Abuja that the draft standards would help revive the tourism sector.
According to her, it will help the sector to pick up when the lockdown ends.
”The online meeting by the committee’s Working Group on Tourism and Related Services is aimed at mitigating harrowing effect of COVID-19 on the industry.
”It will find a common ground for post-COVID-19 way forward in reviving the industry.
”The draft standards on Health and Safety Measures for Tourism and Hospitality Establishments-Post Pandemic (COVID-19) Resumption Guidelines specified resumption requirements to comply with lives protection and business sustainability.
”The guidelines apply to Hotels, Restaurants, Fast Foods, Conferences, Meetings, Event Centres, Tour Operatives, Travel Agents, Tourist Information Centres, Airlines and Beaches, among others,” she said.
Balogun said at a difficult period like this, tourism stakeholders needed to put all hands-on deck to pull out of the pandemic challenges.
Balogun thanked the committee members for their commitment and dedication towards making Nigerian tourism sector at par with its counterparts on the global scene.
The Director, Standards Development, SON, Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, said tourism sector had been adversely affected by the pandemic within and outside Nigeria.
“National Mirror Committee is expected to oversee a comeback by the sector through deliberations on the draft standards and the eventual implementation,” she said.
Represented by SON Group Head, Service Standards, Mr Ayoola Ololade, Egwuonwu stated that SON was ready to work with stakeholders to revamp the sector to ensure that activities pick at the end of the lockdown.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Nigeria’s candidate for WTO chief prioritizes fixing dispute settlement system if selected
Okonjo-Iweala, who is competing with seven other nominees for the position of director-general of the WTO, told Xinhua in a recent interview that her top priorities if selected, would be preparing for the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Kazakhstan in 2021.
She also hoped to work on restoring the dispute settlement system and updating the WTO’s rule book.
The WTO’s dispute settlement body is currently paralysed.
The Appellate Body, considered as the Supreme Court for global trade disputes, is supposed to have seven judges and needs a minimum of three judges to function.
The United States administration has been blocking new appointments for more than two years, with United States officials claiming that the court had gone beyond its remit.
“I would be focusing, if I get the job, on the dispute settlement system because this is the fundamental pillar of the WTO,’’ Okonjo-Iweala said.
“If you have a rules-based organisation, you must have a place where rules are arbitrated and that’s what happens with the dispute settlement system.
“So, restoring that will be a top priority as well.’’
She also had a 25-year career at the World Bank, including as a managing director.
The candidate, who also sits on the board of Twitter and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, said she was confident to win the selection process and that she would be a listener-in-chief as well as a tough negotiator.
“I have strong political skills and negotiation skills.
“I think that’s very much needed; I am a consensus-builder and I’m a good listener too.’’
The candidate showed her confidence to “find a way to unlock the seeming division’’ on the trade side, between China and the United States, underlining that finding areas of mutual interest and to build trust within the WTO trading system would be important.
“Actually, if you listen to the two members, they have some things in common,’’ Okonjo-Iweala added.
“The dispute settlement system of the WTO is valued by both, they want it to reform, they don’t want it to disappear.’’
“I think the best thing China can do is to recover quickly.
“Because it’s one of the engines of growth in the world and it’s almost a quarter of world trade,’ she told Xinhua.
“So, if it recovers quickly, it means that it can help the rest of the world recover.
“So, that’s the role I would see for China.’’
Roberto Azevedo, the incumbent WTO chief, announced in May that he will officially leave his post on Aug. 31, a year before his term expires.
The second phase of the selection process, in which the candidates “make themselves known to members’’, will end on Sept. 7 and then the General Council chairperson will consult with all WTO members before making the final decision.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Buhari mourns Khalifa Tidiane Niass, Senegal-based Islamic leader
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep sadness over the demise of Sheikh Ahmed Tidiane Niass, Grand Khalifa (leader) of Tijjaniyya Islamic movement in Africa.
The President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said Buhari’s condolence message was addressed to President Macky Sall, government and people of Senegal as well as millions of members of the sect in Nigeria.
President Buhari said: “It is really sad news for all of us to learn that our beloved Khalifa, Sheikh Ahmed Niass, has passed away in Senegal.
“Sheikh Ahmed Niass, who took over from his father, Sheikh Ibrahim Niass, did not at all disappoint the large followers of his greatly adored father.
”He will be remembered for his impeccable service to Islam and passion towards the sect’s followers, which has a large body in Nigeria.”
The Nigerian leader recalled that June, 2018, Sheikh Ahmed Niass visited the State House, Abuja, accompanied by some eminent Nigerians including President of BUA Group of Companies, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabi’u.
President Buhari, on behalf of government and people of Nigeria, prayed “for the eternal repose of his departed soul.”
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)