By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s electricity sector emerged as the 21st best regulated across a number of key metrics, according to the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) 2021 Electricity Regulatory Index.
The 2021 Electricity Regulatory Index, an annual report, covered 43 countries, up from 36 in the previous edition, and assessed their impact on the performance of their electricity sectors. The index covered three countries in the North Africa region; 14 in West Africa; 6 in Central Africa; 7 in East Africa; and 13 in the Southern Africa region.
According to the report, Nigeria has an index between 0.600 to 0.799 which indicates a substantial level of regulatory development. This means that many elements of a supportive regulatory framework are established, although there are weaknesses that do not permit the regulator to have a strong capacity, legal and institutional structures.
Meanwhile, the Ugandan electricity sector is the best for the fourth consecutive year while other strong performers include East African neighbours, Kenya and Tanzania, as well as Namibia and Egypt.
Among the 2021 report’s key highlights are that regulatory independence is one sub-indicator where African countries have room to improve: in 93 per cent of sampled countries, governments, and stakeholders exercise influence over regulatory authorities.
In terms of regulatory substance, participating countries scored lowest on the adequacy of their tariff setting and frameworks, as well as licensing frameworks when compared with best practices.
According to the report, the average performance of economic regulation has continued to decline since 2018. A third of countries surveyed indicated they lack methodologies to determine tariffs; another 40 per cent rely on tariff methodologies that do not include key attributes such as automatic tariff adjustment and tariff indexation mechanisms and schedule for major tariff reviews.
Speaking on this, Mr Kevin Kariuki, the AfDB’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth said, “The unprecedented participation of so many countries shows the commitment to strengthen the countries’ regulatory environment with a view to improving the performance of the respective electricity sectors”.
On his part, Mr Wale Shonibare, AfDB Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, commended the top-performing country.
“Uganda topping the rankings consecutively for four years comes as no surprise to many, as the regulator spends significant time on consultation and analysis, including regulatory impact assessments of key interventions and follow-through to ensure full implementation,” he said.
Outside stakeholders also viewed the report’s results positively with Mr Abel Didier Tella, Director General of the Association of Power Utilities of Africa, saying, “It is interesting that the utilities in most of the top-performing countries in the Electricity Regulatory Index are listed on their national stock exchanges, which requires compliance with transparency in information sharing and good governance practice.”
Since its launch in 2018, the Electricity Regulatory Index has highlighted aspects of electricity regulation that need reform, identified appropriate areas for intervention, and encouraged stakeholders to be proactive in addressing challenges. Since then, the index has been widely adopted by regulators and other stakeholders across the continent as a benchmark for the regulatory environment as well as for ongoing reforms.
Drug Trafficker Conceals 23.55kg of Heroin in Baby Food
By Adedapo Adesanya
A suspected drug trafficker has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for concealing 22 blocks of heroin weighing 23.55 kilograms in packs of baby food at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.
According to a statement issued on Sunday by the agency, the consignment with a street value of over N4.5 billion came from Johannesburg, South Africa on board a South African Airways flight on Wednesday, June 29 as part of a consolidated cargo that arrived at the SAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport.
After a series of follow-up operations that led to the arrest of two freight agents, the actual receiver of the drug consignment, Mr Chike Okeke Eweni, who allegedly distributes the substance for his South Africa-based partner, was arrested the following day, Thursday, June 30 at a logistics warehouse in Ajao Estate, Ikeja.
Mr Chike who hails from Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, claimed during a preliminary interview that he’s also into fish farming.
Before his arrest, NDLEA officers at the airport had on Monday, June 27 arrested a former driver with a public transport company, BRT, Mr Muyiwa Babalola Bolujoko, for ingesting 90 pellets of cocaine. He was arrested at the screening point before boarding a Qatar Airways flight en route from Doha to Sharjah, with his trip expected to terminate in Dubai, UAE.
The 39-year-old from Ijebu South LGA, Ogun State, was placed under excretion observation after body scan results confirmed drug ingestion. While in custody, the suspect excreted all the 90 pellets in four excretions.
He claimed he left his N60, 000 per month job as a BRT driver in February and decided to work as a drug courier to raise funds to buy a shuttle bus popularly called Korope in Lagos to continue his transport business.
Operatives also on Thursday, June 30, intercepted an inbound consignment of khat leaves, which arrived at the NAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport on a Royal Air Maroc flight from the Middle East. A total of 71 cartons of dried khat leaves with a gross weight of 2,434.3 kg were discovered in the cargo.
In the same vein, anti-narcotic officers of the Agency also last Thursday seized 36 parcels of Colorado, a variant of cannabis with a total weight of 19.30kg which arrived at the NAHCO import shed from Los Angeles, US on a Delta Airlines flight.
After a series of follow-up operations in which four persons were arrested, the alleged owner of the drug consignment, Mr Abibu Afis Sola was eventually nabbed on Friday, July 1 in the Gbagada area of Lagos.
Meanwhile, in Rivers state, NDLEA operatives on Wednesday, June 29 arrested a 68-year-old woman, Mrs Celina Ekeke at Obunku community, Oyigbo LGA with 231.2kg cannabis, while one Mr Shedrack Eze, was arrested the following day Thursday, June 30 at Yankarfe, Zaria, Kaduna state with 250,000 tablets of Exol 5, weighing 75 kg.
In Borno state, Mr Usman Haruna, 27, was arrested at the BCG checkpoint in Biu on Saturday, July 2 with 19.7kg of cannabis.
In his remark, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Mr Mohamed Buba Marwa expressed satisfaction with the exemplary performance of the officers and men of the MMIA command in the past week while also commending those of Rivers, Kaduna and Borno for being vigilant.
He charged them and others across the country to remain steps ahead of the tricks by the desperate drug cartels.
Council Approves Board to Manage Power Sector Liabilities
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has approved the board composition and proposed governance framework for the sustainable management and payment of post-privatisation power sector liabilities transferred to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) Board.
In a meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the council also approved the fast-tracking of the work plan for the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant (ZHPP).
On the board of the NELMCO board are the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who is the Chairman; while members will comprise the Minister of Power, Mr Abubakar Aliyu; Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh; Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha; Managing Director, NELMCO, Mr Adebayo Fagbemi; and all its Executive Directors.
It was also resolved that two key members from the private sector be included on the board.
Also at the meeting, it was noted that the key objectives of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant concession include leveraging private sector access to finance and reduce the reliance on government budgetary allocation to fund the China EXIM Bank loan; and leveraging efficiencies and better facility management (maintenance) culture of the private sector for long-term preservation of the asset.
The Council had, in its December 2020 meeting, approved the concession of the ZHPP.
Similarly, the team was briefed on the performance assessment report of the nine Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs), which has been forwarded to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the sector regulator, for further review and action.
At the meeting, it was noted that a thorough performance assessment revealed that most of the set performance targets were not met by the nine electricity distribution companies.
Google Organises Residency Programme for Young Non-mainstream Creators
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Some young non-mainstream creators were recently gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for a two-day residency programme organised by a tech giant, Google.
The bootcamp took place from Tuesday, June 28 to Thursday, June 30, 2022, and helped participants learn how to better connect with their audiences and move the culture forward through platforms like Google Arts & Culture, YouTube and YouTubeShorts.
The program will see the first batch of 25 young Alté creatives from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Botswana, and South Africa attend the residency and be equipped with entrepreneurial skills on how they can enhance the visibility of their brands.
Google explained that it came up with the idea to upskill and celebrate the young creatives, who are normally not given a chance on mainstream media, which resulted in many of them taking to YouTube and others to tell their stories.
“It’s exciting to see creators that identify as non-mainstream find community on our platform. This comes just a few days after we announced a call for applications for the YouTube Black Voices Fund for 2023 aimed at elevating marginalised voices.
“The aim of the residency is to amplify the impact of the Alté movement in Africa and the world. We also want to showcase how products like YouTube and YouTube Shorts and platforms like Google Arts & Culture can help drive the culture forward,” the Communications and Public Relations Manager for Google West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, said.
Though it started in Nigeria, it has strongly taken root across the continent. Recent Google Search trends from across Africa show an increase in `Alté’ related searches from 2020, with questions like ‘What is alté?’, ‘Who is an alté?’ and ‘How to dress alte?’, being the most searched alté related questions.
Other top searches in Africa on Alté include alte’ music, alte’ songs, alte’ suit designs, top alte’ vibe, alte’ kids, alte’ Nigeria, alte’ in Ghana Music, and alte’ food.
Google has also invited Alté creatives that have global brands such as Tshepo The Jeans Maker to give career talks to the young creative entrepreneurs on how to further build and monetise their brands.
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