FG Denies Plans To Stop Payment Of Shortfalls To GENCOS
Following a report in a national daily newspaper, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing Wednesday denied that the Federal Government has stopped the payment of shortfalls to Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos), describing the report as both false and unfounded.
The report, contained in the Wednesday edition of Punch Online media, held that the Federal Government on Tuesday ordered power generation companies to find customers and sell their power directly to the identified customers as, according to the report, “plans are on the way for it to ultimately exit the monthly payments to Gencos to help cushion the revenue shortfalls on the books of the power generators as a result of the poor remittances from the power distributors”.
The report titled, “FG to stop payment of shortfalls to Gencos” and attributed to the Permanent Secretary (Power) in the Ministry, Engr. Louis Edozien, emanated from the remarks of the Permanent Secretary at a Workshop organized by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Tuesday, 12th February, 2019 on the Eligible Customer Regulation.
But in a Statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in person, the Ministry asserted that at no point in his remarks did the Permanent Secretary state that "FGN is to stop payment of shortfalls to Gencos", pointing out that the Payment Assurance Programme of the Federal Government that authorized the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) to guarantee payment for any power it has contracted from generation companies on the national grid had not been reversed.
The Statement read in part, “The Payment Assurance Programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria that authorized NBET to borrow N701.9 billion to guarantee payment for any power it has contracted from generation companies on the national grid and their gas and other suppliers has been in operation since January 2017. The amount NBET is authorized to borrow is not yet fully drawn. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the programme. FEC has not taken any decision to stop it. FEC is the appropriate authority to comment on the Programme’s tenure and borrowing ceiling”.
In order to set the records straight, the Statement clarified that at the workshop organized by NERC on the Eligible Customer Regulation, the Permanent Secretary urged generation companies to more aggressively take advantage of the regulation to sell the power they can generate, of which 2,000MW is now stranded, to Eligible Customers who need it and are willing and able to pay for it.
Insisting that it would be better than waiting for NBET to pay for it or to guarantee it, for which NBET needs support from the Federal Government due to shortfalls in payment by distribution companies, the Permanent Secretary decried that though the Minister issued the policy direction to NERC that gave rise to the regulation in May 2017, and NERC has issued the regulation, none of the interested consumers and their generation company suppliers have been given licenses to buy and sell power as Eligible Customers. He encouraged NERC to accelerate and simplify the licensing process.
He further stated that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) should continue to support the regulation by making targeted investments in the national grid, as needed to service specific contracts with generation companies and Eligible Customers to transmit the power, with penalties for failure to transmit, adding that TCN could finance such targeted investments with the expected revenue from such bilateral transmission contracts.
Encouraging electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to embrace the policy, the Permanent Secretary argued that if the DisCos were satisfying the power supply needs of their consumers of bulk power adequately such consumers would have no reason to generate the power by themselves or to want to become Eligible Customers adding that by embracing the regulation, the DisCos could partner with investors and generation companies to build new distribution infrastructure to better serve specific paying customers.
“They can buy power directly from generation companies and contract with TCN to deliver it, and give premium service to selected customers or customer groups”, the Permanent Secretary said adding that in such cases the distribution company must be willing and able to guarantee the payment for the power they buy, “because the shortfalls in payment which characterizes their power purchases from NBET, would not be possible in such bilateral contracts”.
The Permanent Secretary then enjoined dissatisfied consumers to take advantage of the Customer Care platforms set up by all the distribution companies in compliance with the provisions of their license, and escalate unresolved complaints to the NERC Consumer f Forum offices, as provided for in regulations, emphasizing that dissatisfied consumers could take advantage of the Mini-Grid Regulation, NERC's up-coming Franchising Regulation and the Eligible Customer Regulation to get premium power that meets their needs.
The Workshop revealed that the Ministry has received forty four (44) expressions of interest with a total demand for 600MW from underserved and unserved consumers desirous of becoming Eligible Customers. Of these, 14 have submitted license applications to NERC, two have fulfilled all NERC's conditions and expect to be licensed imminently.
The Ministry enjoins the public to discountenance the false report, and requests that the news outlets purveying such fake news cease and desist.
APC CONVENTION SATURDAY, 6TH OCTORBER, 2018
This is to inform FCT Residents, Visitors and Motorists that due to the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress, APC slated for Saturday, 6th October 2018 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, an unusual influx of human and vehicular traffic will be experienced within the city with the attendant traffic congestion in and around the venue of the convention.
To this effect all vehicular movement through Shehu Shagari Way from the early hours of Saturday, 6th October, 2018 to Sunday, 7th October will be diverted at Ralph Sodeinde Street by Bullet Building to link Central Business District. Motorists will also be diverted at Kur Mohammed Street and Constitution Avenue at Bayelsa House to Central Business District.
Traffic on Ahmadu Bello Way will equally be diverted at Ralph Sodeinde Street by Finance Junction to Central Business District. Motorists will also be diverted at Kur Mohammed Street or Constitution Avenue by Benue Building to link Central Business District.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration have mobilized Officers of the Police, FRSC, FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Service and other relevant Traffic Enforcement Agencies to various flash points to ensure seamless traffic flow.
Parking has been made available at the National Stadium for ALL Delegates coming from outside Abuja from where they will be conveyed to the venue by dedicated Buses.
In the same vein, ALL Delegates from within the FCT should converge at the Old Parade Ground from where they will be conveyed to the venue.
Please note that parking around the Eagle Square and its environs will not be tolerated as offending vehicles will be removed.
The understanding of the public is hereby solicited
Secretary, Transportation Secretariat
Federal Capital Territory
FG Provides N500bn to Resuscitate FMBN for Mortgage Facilities
The Federal Government says it has provided N500 billion to resuscitate the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to make mortgage facilities easily available to Nigerians. Alhaji Mustapha Baba-Shehuri, Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, announced this in Lafia on Monday when he called on the Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Mr Silas Agara.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister visited the site of a National Housing Project (NHP) in Lafia. “The resuscitation of the bank with N500 billion will provide the institution with adequate funds to provide mortgage facilities to interested Nigerians. “The Federal Government in its quest to provide shelter to Nigerians, has recently directed the FMBN to waive the payment of 10 percent equity on mortgages below N5 million. “This will greatly enhance the transition of low income earners from tenants to home owners,’’ he said.
Baba-Shehuri explained that the project would provide houses and jobs for low income earners. The minister said the houses would be built based on Nigerian housing design with 100 per cent local content. “The housing project came up with a 100 per cent Nigerian housing design and local content. “This is done because government wants to create employment for Nigerian youths,’’ he said.
The minister commended the state government for providing land for the National Housing Project, saying that it was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s promise of providing infrastructure. Baba-Shehuri said the ministry would leave no stone unturned in tackling the challenges of housing shortage in the country which was about 16 million to 17 million. He disclosed that the government had commenced plan to construct mass housing units in every state for public and private workers over the next three years.
Responding, the Deputy Governor thanked the minister for the visit and commended the Buhari led administration for initiating the project. “We assure you as a state that we will partner with your ministry to ensure that the project is successfully completed. “As you are aware, we have fulfilled our part by providing a good location in Akruba in the outskirts of Lafia metropolis for the project,’’ he said.
The minister visited the ongoing project in Akruba in Lafia Local Government Area comprising 76 houses of one, two and three-bedroom apartments.
Speech Delivered By H.E, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN At Press Briefing On National Infrastructure Maintenance Framework At Federal Ministry Of Power, Works And Housing Headquarters Mabushi, Abuja
I welcome you warmly to this press briefing to share information about two very important developments that occurred in the month of January 2019.
The first was that on the 9th January 2019, the Federal Executive Council, Nigeria's highest decision making organ of the Executive arm of government approved a National Maintenance Framework for public buildings.
The second is that on the 24th January 2019, President Muhammad Buhari signed into law a bill to prohibit discrimination against persons living with disabilities which included provisions for specific actions that must be taken within a period of 5 (FIVE) years to provide opportunities for such persons to live as normal a life as possible.
This briefing is meant to discuss what these developments mean for Nigeria and Nigerians, and to highlight the possibilities that they offer for our way of life and our economy.
National Maintenance Framework for Public Buildings
Let me start with the National Maintenance Framework on Public Buildings and first point out that for now, this only applies to public buildings but will ultimately extend to other public assets like roads, bridges, rail, power installations and other infrastructure of a public nature.
What the FEC approval means is that after decades of agonizing about lack of maintenance, the Buhari government has chosen to act.
This is policy decision of enormous profundity because the records do not indicate that any such policy decision has previously been taken at the federal level.
The decision was provoked by a memorandum from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing that challenged the conventional thinking that "Nigeria does not have a maintenance culture".
The memorandum argued and FEC agreed, that maintenance of infrastructure whether public or private, is not a cultural issue but an economic one.
The memorandum showed that in the built industry, only about 23% of the workforce is employed by Design (6%) and Construction (15%), Governance (2%) , while the remaining 77% are employed by Maintenance and operation.
Council was persuaded to accept that while skill training and vocational centres exist almost nationwide for training artisans like plumbers, painters, bricklayers, welders, tilers, electricians etc., there is a lack of National policy that makes the practice of these vocations economically worthwhile on a sustainable basis.
The available data showed that many people trained in these vocations often resort to earning a living by resorting to other vocations in which they do not have a training, such as riding motor-cycles and tri-cycles in order to make a living.
Therefore, the federal government’s decision on maintenance is an economic one, to empower Nigerians at the base of the economic pyramid who are artisans, those at the middle of the pyramid who own small businesses, SMEs who are involved in manufacturing of building and allied materials.
What it entails is that:
* Site assessment of the affected buildings will have to be conducted, measurement are to be taken, valuation conducted and data is collated. This on its own requires the employment of people to carry out this process and therefore jobs will be created from the very first step.
* It will also provide for credible data such as lettable space, value of the property and so on which can form the basis of the economic decisions or even actions in emergency periods.
* Condition assessment is the next step that requires people to be trained and employed to assess the conditions of affected buildings from foundation to roof and for mechanical and electrical sustainability for purpose.
* In one of our sample buildings leading up to the memorandum to FEC, we found out that out of 63 air-conditioning units, 11 required replacement or repairs. We also identified windows, doors, tiles, roofing materials, plastering works that required replacement or repair.
* The maintenance program is then developed from these assessments as to what jobs need to be done to restore the building to fitness, what needs to be replaced and what needs to be repaired.
* This is the basis for the award of the maintenance contract following the existing procurement law.
* This provides a window of opportunity for small businesses who are into facility management and for young graduates of building tech, architecture, engineering and even technical schools to register for these contracts.
* Successful bidders are then in a position to employ artisans to execute the maintenance contract they have won in the bid.
* Each ministry, department and agency will be responsible for its own procurement for its own building after training of their designated personnel by the staff of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing who will guide them through the framework approved by FEC.
* Because data is critical to the programme, each MDA will file data with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing who will centrally manage data and use it to advise government and brief the public, while the MDA reserves the right to keep its own data.
* The award of contracts will not only drive employment for artisans, it will drive demand of manufacturing and suppliers of parts like wood, pipes, paint, tiles, electrical fittings, windows and tools, in addition to those of cleaning items like soap, detergent, polish, varnish etc.
This is the economy that we see ahead as we set out to implement this approval starting from buildings, and as I said, and extending to roads, rail, bridges etc. as we progress.
Our pilot programme covered 9 buildings comprising a Federal government college, a Federal Hospital, a Federal Court building, a federal prison, a federal secretariat and our office buildings at our headquarters here in Mabushi.
The pilot survey showed that these 9 (Nine) buildings will cost N40.3 billion to reconstruct, while it will cost N922.8m per annum to maintain them which is about 2.3 % of the cost of replacement.
Just these 9 (NINE) buildings will require about 448 people to keep them well maintained a year. For example, the school will require at least 30 people to be employed per school for maintenance; and the federal government owns 104 Unity schools which potentially will require 30 X 104 = 3,120.
So you can see the economy we see when this extends to all our hospitals, all our courts, all our prisons, all our police stations, all our universities and covers all public buildings.
This is an economic choice by this government to drive the small business sector, to drive skill utilization and to move the economy from growth without jobs to growth driven by new jobs that reward services.
But as if this was not enough, President Buhari raised the bar for construction, services and a new way of life for Nigerians when he signed the law to protect people living with disability from discrimination and exclusion.
We have 5 years to comply, and this requires that all our buildings must have lifts and ramps. (By this I mean well designed ramps for people confined to their wheelchairs, not hills they cannot use on their own).
We must modify all our toilets with support for our brothers and sisters who are living with disabilities, as we must build sidewalks for them to use our roads without colliding with vehicles.
Our airports and parking lots in buildings must become compliant with international best practice by providing corridors and facilities for people living with disabilities at arrival and departure points, while a minimum number of slots clearly designated must be provided for vehicles owned by people living with disabilities.
This is another opportunity for jobs to re-design, to re-model, to retrofit all our assets nationwide to comply with the law as signed by Mr President.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Nigeria that beckons upon us from today and the immediate future. A Nigeria where public infrastructure works because they are maintained.
A Nigeria where everybody has a secure sense of belonging because they can use their skills and labour to earn a decent income and retain their dignity.
A Nigeria where government cares for the people living with disability by providing the basic minimum facilities that gives them a sense of belonging to demonstrate their ability.
Government has taken the leadership role to provide the policy and the how to make this Nigeria possible.
It is now your responsibility and mine to take ownership of this platform of opportunities and make it work for all of us.
Thank you for listening.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing
Thursday 31st January 2019
COMMISSIONED 60KW GRID CONNECTED HYBRID SOLAR PV MINI GRID POWER PROJECT IN TORANKAWA VILLAGE YABO LGA SOKOTO STATE
The recently commissioned 60KW Grid Connected Hybrid Solar PV Mini Grid Power project in Torankawa village Yabo LGA Sokoto State Initiated by the Ministry of Power Works and Housing Power Sector under the Renewable Energy Micro Utility REMU Programme which was commissioned on Tuesday 12th February 2019
FASHOLA ADDRESSES THE PRESS ON THE NATIONAL PUBLIC BUILDINGS MAINTENANCE POLICY RECENTLY APPROVED BY THE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL IN ABUJA
Hon Minister of Power Works Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN 2nd left Permanent Secretary Works Housing Mr Mohammed Bukar 2nd right Chairman Committee on Housing House of Representatives Hon Mahmud Mohammed right Deputy Chairman Committee on Works Hon Dr Abubakar Kannike left shortly after the Hon Minister s Press Briefing on the National Public Building Maintenance Policy recently approved by the Federal Executive Council at the Ministry of Power Works Housing Headquarters Mabushi Abuja on Thursday 31st January 2019