By Dipo Olowookere
Not less than $200 million has been invested in the Egbin Thermal Power Plant in Lagos by Sahara Power Group to increase its generating capacity to its present level.
Managing Director of Sahara Power Group, Mr Kola Adesina, speaking at an event organised by the firm in Lagos, stated that when the Egbin power plant was acquired by Sahara Power, it was generating 400MW of electricity. But with the huge investment made by his company, the plant now generates 1,100 MW, indicating that capacity has been more than doubled.
Mr Adesina said though the privatisation of the sector has not been smooth, there was room for improvement as long as stakeholders agree to work together.
“The privatization occurred in 2013 has not been a smooth one. We successor companies have had to embark on a long, protracted curve of learning to fully appreciate the complexity and the magnitude of the behemoth sector we now captain.
“Like young adolescents we have been compelled to grow and mature rapidly to rise up to the burden of responsibility placed on us,” he said at the Sahara Power Roundtable.
Speaking on why the forum was organised, the Sahara Power chief said the gathering was to create a platform to bring every leading actor across the value chain together on one plenary for the benefit of journalists and the consumer.
“Through discourse and constructive conversation, we hope to examine the current state of the power sector in Nigeria and how both the intrinsic and extrinsic are combining, evolving and reacting against each other to shape the future,” he disclosed.
Speaking on how policy can further drive the sector, Mr Adesina submitted that, “There is need to constantly do a systemic revaluation of every policy that is churned out.
“I want to recommend to government and policy makers that any action being taken, every stakeholder, the relevant public that will be affected by the policy must assess the degree to which those policies will affect them.
“While it is easier for economists to speak to the theory of pricing from the standpoint of cost, revenue and profit, affordability is another issue some are not paying attention to.
“We all are aware that there are citizens in Nigeria who are not employed and/or incapable of paying the appropriate tariff, it invariably behoves on the government to step in and cover the gap so that the shortfall currently impeding on the success of the sector can be erased.
“The social contract of government is to ensure everybody lives a good life. So for everybody to live well there is a need for everyone to be electrified.”
He said further that, “Every Nigerian deserves to have electricity, it is a right. The value chain equally has a right to be paid cost reflective tariff. If the revenue of every member of the value chain is not guaranteed, there cannot be guarantee of supply of commodity in question.”
At the forum, it was concluded that despite the challenges impeding its development, Nigeria’s energy sector still holds enormous potentials to deliver the desired expectations and further stimulate socio-economic growth if stakeholders deepen their collaboration and commitment to develop the sector.
The discourse had two panel sessions where the panellists including Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), U. G Mohammed; Lagos State Commissioner for Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo; President/founder, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, Mrs Sola Salako and Head, Procurement, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc. (NBET), Mr Eugene Edeoga, examined the plethora of issues affecting players in the value chain and the relationship with consumers.
Managing Director/Publisher of Business Day, Mr Frank Aigbogun, during the second panel session, noted that political parties and aspirants could gain support of electorates on the basis of promise to improve power supply, while the media plays critical role in shaping the opinion of consumers.
The MD of TCN further explained the series of ongoing projects being carried out by TCN as part of efforts to boot transmission. He also noted that manpower development was identified as one of the ways to achieve sustainability in the subsector.
At the high-powered forum where stakeholders including government, policymakers, industry operators across the sub-sector as well as representatives of Consumer Advocacy groups, who gathered to critically explore issues within energy sector with a view to proffering solutions.
An affiliate of Sahara Group, a leading international energy conglomerate, the Sahara Power Group is one the largest private power businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Its operating entities include, First Independent Power Limits, FIPL; Egbin Power Plc, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest privately owned thermal power generation plant and Ikeja Electric Plc, Nigeria’s leading Electricity Distribution Company.
Brent Jumps 4% as US Stockpiles Shrink
By Adedapo Adesanya
The price of the Brent crude oil appreciated by more than 4 per cent or $2.61 on Wednesday as more positive news led by a drop in United States inventory and fresh positive expectation over oil demand boosted optimism about returning demand for crude.
During the trading day, the value of the commodity increased to $66.28 per barrel, while the price of its counterpart, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, rose by 4.9 per cent or $2.97 to $63.15 per barrel.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the US crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels last week, exceeding analysts’ forecasts of a 2.9 million barrels drop. In the preceding week, the agency reported an inventory draw of 3.5 million barrels.
The EIA’s inventory estimate comes a day after the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a 3.6 million barrels inventory draw in crude oil for the same period.
Oil also found support based on a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) that predicted global oil demand and supply were set to rebalance in the second half of the year. It added that producers may then need to pump an additional 2 million barrels per day to meet the expected demand.
The Paris-based agency noted that the global oil demand will grow 230,000 barrels per day faster than previously forecast.
World oil demand is now expected to expand by 5.7 million barrels per day in 2021 to 96.7 million barrels per day following a collapse of 8.7 million barrels per day last year, the IEA said.
This is coming a day after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Tuesday raised its global demand forecast by 70,000 barrels per day from last month’s forecast and now expects global demand to rise by 5.95 million barrels per day in 2021.
Despite the stronger global economic indicators, the IEA said the recovery remains fragile given rising COVID-19 cases in some key countries and regions including Europe, India and Brazil.
Even with a wave of new lockdowns in Europe, the agency said it remains confident that the region’s vaccination program will accelerate in the coming months allowing for a boost in mobility in the second half of the year
The market is still concerned over near-term fuel demand as a result of surging COVID-19 cases in some major consuming countries, and now the news that vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson may be suspended temporarily because of rare blood clotting problems in several patients are also weighing on oil prices.
DPR Mulls Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre in Lagos
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has concluded plans to inaugurate the Advisory Council and Body of Neutrals of the oil and gas industry’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (ADRC) in Lagos.
Mr Paul Osu, Head, Public Affairs, DPR, made this known in a statement issued in Lagos.
Mr Osu said that the centre would be inaugurated on April 15, pointing out that the ADRC was one of the centres in the DPR National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
According to him, the centre will offer arbitration, mediation and conciliation services for the industry.
“The centre will leverage industry technical experts, Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioners and resources of the National Data Repository to provide fair and balanced resolutions of industry-related disputes from an informed position.
”The ADRC is structured to adequately resolve disputes in a manner consistent with regulatory and commercial interests of the industry.
“This will address suboptimal development of oil and gas assets associated with lingering disputes,” he said.
Mr Osu added that this would eliminate the attendant consequences of value erosion in terms of national resource growth, global competitiveness, investment attractiveness and investor’s profitability.
The Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) is a department under the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, DPR has the statutory responsibility of ensuring compliance with petroleum laws, regulations and guidelines in the Oil and Gas Industry.
NGX Group Stocks Gain 2.31% on NASD Exchange
By Dipo Olowookere
Equities of Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group on the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Securities Exchange closed positive on its first trading session.
The NGX Group stocks formally joined the unlisted securities market in Nigeria on Tuesday and started their first full trading day today.
The demand for the equities of the demutualised exchange, which is running as a non-operating holding company, surged on Wednesday, causing its value to rise by 2.31 per cent.
Business Post reports that NGX Group stocks were listed on the NASD Exchange yesterday at a unit price of N25 and at the market today, they rose to N25.59.
According to data obtained by this newspaper, the firm listed a total of 1,900,000,000 units of its securities on the alternative bourse, boosting the market capitalisation by N48.6 billion.
The exchange used to be known as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) but after its conversion, it became NGX Group Plc with three subsidiaries: Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, the operating exchange; NGX Regulation (NGX RegCo) Limited, the independent regulatory arm of the exchange; and NGX Real Estate (NGX RelCo) Limited, the real estate company.
Our Worry Not Current Debt Levels—FG
By Dipo Olowookere
The federal government has described the current debt levels of Nigeria as comparatively good, noting that the major worry, for now, is how to diversify the economy to increase the revenue sources.
Last week, the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Emefiele, shocked many Nigerians when he said the nation was currently undergoing a huge fiscal crisis.
He said the federal government printed N60 billion to share to the state governments in March 2021 when the revenue generated in February was not enough to meet the demands of the other tiers of government. This sparked reactions from Nigerians.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, while speaking with the Africa Department Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr Abebe Selassie, blamed COVID-19 for the challenges the nation was passing through at the moment, saying that the country was gradually getting back on its feet when the global health pandemic struck in 2020 and reversed the gains achieved so far.
However, she said the careful implementation of some policies of the government ensured that Nigeria exited recession it slipped into last year with the 0.11 per cent growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“Although the GDP recorded a growth rate of 0.11 per cent (year-on-year) in the fourth quarter of 2020, in contrast to -3.62 per cent in Q3 2020 and 2.55 per cent in the corresponding period of 2019 (NBS), and inflation creeping through 17.33 per cent, we are a bit encouraged by the recent IMF forecast of 2.5 per cent,” she said.
The Minister praised the effectiveness of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) with the support of development partners, including the World Bank Group (WBG) last year.
According to her, the policy trade-offs of the government quickly filled the deepening gaps created by the COVID-19 crisis as “it did not only push us back to a recession but also reversed most of the development gains recorded in the past decade.”
Debt levels sustainability
While commenting on the nation’s debt sustainability, Mrs Ahmed said that the government was committed to addressing the issue as the administration was “mindful of our experiences in this regard and the credibility and commitment of President Buhari to transparency and accountability in public expenditure.”
“We take note that our current debt levels are comparatively good, but we are aware of the pressures on debt services and commend the WBG and The Group of Twenty (G20) for the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI).
“However, with current obvious limitations of the DSSI, we may not embrace it, and would prefer to focus on diversifying our economies and enhance efforts at revenues mobilisation and other best practices and would appreciate the understanding and strong support of the IMF in expanding the monitoring and reporting of all public spending, as well as ensuring easy public access to spending data.
“We commend the extension of the DSSI to 2021 as a positive step, but there is a need to address the apparent reluctance of the private creditors to participate in the initiative as their participation will ensure a meaningful treatment of debt challenges of countries requesting support under this framework,” she said.
COVID-19 vaccine supply
The Minister said discussions with multilateral institutions such as the IMF could not be thorough without discussing the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination.
“The vaccination programme for Nigeria has been progressive and is gradually yielding needed results. As at the time of this meeting, slightly less than a million doses of the vaccine have been administered, representing less than 0.5 per cent of the population of the country.
“We are working assiduously to cover much ground by ensuring that as many as are willing to be vaccinated are promptly attended to,” she said.
She further said, “However, Nigeria like many countries in Africa, is concerned about adequate supply. The proper thing maybe for producer countries to release their excess stock of vaccines to developing countries that currently have limited or no access.
“We would appreciate your assistance in that regard. Similarly, multilateral institutions such as the IMF/World Bank are encouraged to continue to pool resources together, particularly the COVAX facility and the African Union (AU) initiative to support local manufacturers in the production of vaccine in Africa. “
Nigeria Begs France for Additional Loan
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The federal government of Nigeria has appealed to France to grant it an additional loan aimed to develop the country and provide the dividends of democracy to the citizens.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, made his plea when she received the French Foreign Trade Minister, Mr Frank Reister, at her office in Abuja recently.
Mrs Ahmed described the credit facility of the European country as “highly concessional” and that it would support the government’s development agenda.
The Minister said the government was happy to have the French government as a partner, reiterating the commitment of the administration of President Muhamadu Buhari to a stronger bilateral tie with France
She also expressed the commitment of the nation to accelerating the preparation of the health project in Oyo State to ensure the effectiveness of the project.
In his remarks, Mr Reister commended the government for its different development strides, explaining that he was in Nigeria to “strengthen the Nigeria/French bilateral relations and to strategise with the government and other stakeholders on how to improve the present relationship.
“We want to strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors,” the French Minister declared.
“We want to look at our long-term investments, fight against climate change, explore financing options for different projects in Nigeria and support Nigeria in its gas project,” he said.
The visit is coming on the heels of the summit of African economies in Paris in May 2021, where President Muhammadu Buhari will be attending with others to deliberate on the objectives to help boost a strong inclusive recovery in Africa and accelerate the green and digital transition in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement on climate change.
BUA Cement Lists N115bn Bond on Nigerian Exchange
By Dipo Olowookere
The N115 billion 7-year series I fixed rate senior unsecured bond of BUA Cement Plc has been listed on the trading platform of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.
The paper was admitted on the exchange on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, and to commemorate it, the CEO of BUA Cement, Mr Yusuf Haliru Binji, was honoured with the digital closing gong ceremony.
Mr Binji thanked the management of NGX Limited for the invitation to bring trading activities to a close, describing it as “another key milestone on our journey to becoming the preferred cement manufacturer in Africa.”
He explained that the cement maker accessed the debt capital market to source for N100 billion “as part of our growth strategy.”
The BUA Cement chief said the decision to raise more than N100 billion in the first tranche of the firm’s N200 billion programme was due to the “overwhelming response and in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s guidelines.”
“For us, this was a clear assessment of our viable business model, strong financial performance, and the strength of our product offerings,” Mr Binji stated.
Speaking on behalf of the parties to the transaction, the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Capital, Mr Funso Akere, expressed the delight of the organisation at being the adviser to BUA Cement Plc on the transaction “where they took advantage of very supportive conditions in the debt capital market to raise long term funding.”
“On behalf of Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited, Tiddo Securities and Union Capital, we would like to thank BUA Cement for giving us a freehand to guide them and the commitment showed to make the transaction a phenomenal success. We would also like to thank NGX for giving us a platform to list the bonds,” Mr Akere said.
On his part, the Divisional Head of Listings Business at NGX Limited, Mr Olumide Bolumole, stated that the exchange was “excited about BUA Cement’s debut bond offering which was oversubscribed by 37 per cent to the tune of N137.82 billion and represents the largest amount raised by a corporate issuer in the history of Nigeria’s debt capital market.”
“Without a doubt, this is a testament to the high level of confidence placed on this reputable brand by its investors and the entire market,” he said.
Mr Bolumole added that, “In line with its commitment to support Nigeria’s economic growth by providing a liquid, efficient, and multi-asset securities exchange hub, NGX Limited continues to provide a platform that offers investors varied options including equity, fixed income, Exchanged Traded Products (ETPs) and other funds.”
The blockchain brings new financing options to the business market. For example, Bitcoin Cash casino has adapted to only using cryptocurrency. This way, it makes it easier for their customers to deposit and withdraw in a BCH casino. Entrepreneurs have taken note of this and are looking to invest more in crypto than in fiat markets.
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