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Energy: AfDB to invest $12b in Nigeria, others

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By Joseph Oyebola

The Africa Development Bank, AfDB, has stated that it is set to invest about $12 billion under its new deal with ‘Energy for Africa’, in the next five years.
The goal, according to the bank, is to connect 130 million households through the grid, 75 million people through off-grid and provide some 130 million households with access to clean cooking energy.

This was made known during the gathering of African energy leaders at the launch of the Africa Progress Panel Report titled, ‘Lights, Power, Action: Electrifying Africa’.

Speaking at the event in Cote d’voire, President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, observed that the electricity deficit in Africa is immense, adding, “today, 645 million people do not have access to electricity”.

He continued: “The continent has an abundant supply of solar, hydropower, wind and geothermal potential, as well as significant amount of natural gas and in some countries coal deposits. Africa has energy potential, yes, but we need to unlock that potential. And we must do so quickly because Africans are tired of being in the dark.”

Addressing delegates, Adesina said he drew inspiration from the panel’s previous report in developing the Bank’s  High 5  development priorities, which place energy as the top priority, and which has, through the Bank’s  New Deal on Energy for Africa, committed to investing $12 billion in energy in the next five years and leveraging $45-50 billion from the private sector and other partners.

He said, while grid-connected mega projects such as large dams and power pools are essential to scaling up national and regional energy generation and transmission, they are slow and expensive.

The report, therefore, suggests that governments must also increase investment in off-grid and mini-grid solutions, which are cheaper and quicker to install.

“What we are advocating is for African governments to harness every available option, in as cost-effective and technologically efficient a manner as possible, so that everyone is included and no one is left behind,” former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, stated.

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BUSINESS

NNPC Operations Not Yet Fully Transparent – Kachikwu

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said that reforms initiated by the federal government to clean up years of corrupt practices in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have not completely guaranteed that the state oil firm is now transparently run.

This is coming as a group of civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in Nigeria’s extractive industry has accused the international oil companies (IOCs) of complicity in the huge theft of crude oil recorded in the country.

Kachikwu explained that there are still a lot of works to be done to completely transform the corporation and make it accountable and its operations transparent to all Nigerians.

The minister stated this in the October edition of the monthly podcast he released to intimate Nigerians on the status of the country’s oil and gas industry. This edition was recently released in Abuja by his office and he stated in it that the government had though made some efforts in repositioning the NNPC.

“We delivered an open NNPC, we basically opened up our books, we published and tried to be as transparent as we can, but a lot of works still needs to be done there, but for the first time we delivered the kind of NNPC that has never been the sort of NNPC that you used to know,” said Kachikwu, on the results the government had recorded in the last one year.

In a related development, a group of civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in Nigeria’s extractive industry have claimed that IOCs in the Niger Delta cannot be totally absolved of the huge theft of crude oil recorded in the country.

They said IOCs had been found culpable of stealing oil from Nigeria, and that oil theft cannot be limited to illegal refining in the Niger Delta.

Rising from a recent workshop on improving CSOs’ engagements in Nigeria’s extractive sectors which they held in Enugu, the CSOs led by Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria, also stated that it was difficult to achieve transparent contracting processes in the country’s extractive sectors.

They said in a communique signed by the National Coordinator of PWYP Nigeria, Mr. Peter Egbule, that: “It is difficult to achieve contract transparency in the extractive sector in Nigeria. Although, there are legal frameworks that regulate contracts in the industry, however, they are not always complied with.”

“Nigerians find it difficult to know the exact quantity of crude the country produces. Tax incentives are granted to companies without cost benefit analysis. Oil theft is not limited to illegal refining, IOCs have been found to be culpable of oil theft in Nigeria,” the communique stated.

It further explained: “At the moment, EITI application standards in Nigeria are faced with numerous challenges. Efforts are being often being concentrated on transparency, without adequate attention on accountability.

Experience has shown that transparency alone does not deliver good governance, it must come with accountability.”
They noted that the Land Use Act has become a legislation the states use as a justification for the exploration of minerals without adequate compensation to communities.

In their recommendations, they called on the government to ensure that citizens know the exact quantity of crude produced and lifted daily from the country’s oil fields.

“Besides transparency, environmental and human rights issues must begin to dominate discourse around EITI standards. The civil society needs to demand accountability alongside their strong demand for transparency, CSOs should make sure all facts are crosschecked and are correct before engaging in advocacy,” they added.

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BUSINESS

Nigeria Recovers $65m Electricity Debt Owed by Niger, Benin Republics – Fashola

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The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has revealed that Nigeria has made some significant progress in its attempt to recover millions of dollars owed her electricity industry by two of her West African neighbours, Benin and Niger Republics, for electricity supplied to them.
The Minister disclosed this on Monday at the 21st edition of the monthly power sector operators in Asaba, Delta State.
According to him, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc. (NBET) has recovered $64.6 million out of about $115.91 million owed operators in the country’s power market by both countries.
He noted that disbursements of the recovered funds to beneficiaries by NBET would commence shortly, adding that eligible beneficiaries would be paid their monies.
“To those of you businessmen, I have good news for you. We have recovered payments from power that we sold to Benin and Niger Republics. People wonder why we sell power to them but it is a product of treaties and agreements and they also help our own economy.
“So, we have a total of $64.630,055.00 that had been recovered, and NBET will work out the modalities for its distribution and hopefully by next month you should be able to report that you have received alert,” said Fashola, in his opening remarks at the meeting.
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BUSINESS

NNPC Scandal: Osinbajo Clarifies Process of Contract Approval

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has once again weighed in on the controversy over the approval of contracts in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The Vice President who had earlier said he gave approval to the NNPC to sign two loan deals, spoke about the issue at a forum which discussed ways of creating a better Nigeria in Lagos on Friday.

A letter sent by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, of insubordination and of ignoring the NNPC board in approving contracts, among other issues, had sparked the controversy.

The NNPC GMD had since defended his actions insisting he followed due process and that the President, who is also the Minister of Petroleum Resources, approved the contracts.

On Friday, the Vice President told participants in the forum that it is the Tenders Board of the NNPC that is meant to approve contracts and not the NNPC Board.

Professor Osinbajo said, “Is it the Board of NNPC or is it the Tenders Board of NNPC that approves contracts of a certain level? Is it the Board of NNPC or NNPC’s Tenders Board? Now, that inquiry was made in 2015 by way of a letter – and I am sure you’ve seen all of that. The answer that was given by the Bureau of Public Procurement is that the board referred to was the tenders’ board, not the Board of the NNPC.”

Concerning the probe of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Dr Ayodele Oke, Professor Osinbajo said a verdict is expected from President Muhammadu Buhari soon.

“As for the SGF and DG NIA issue that the President will decide. I am sure that very soon we will get a response on that,” he said.

The Vice President also called on a new tribe of Nigerians to move the country forward.

He said, “To build a new Nigeria, we need a new tribe. A tribe of men and women of all faiths, tribes, and ethnicities, hard work, justice and love of country. A tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices and self-constraint that are crucial to insist on justice. A tribe consisting of professionals, religious leaders and all others who believe that this new Nigeria is possible.”

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