Friday, April 3, 2020

Covid-19 Lockdown: Gbajabiamila, Elumelu, Others Meets Ministers, CBN Gov., NERC Over Poor Power Supply.

....As  panacea to  a protest by Nollywood actress during the kick-start of Covid-19 lockdown in Nigeria.

...As Minister for Power, Mamman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Stakeholders assure of better power supply during COVID-19 lockdown.

....House of Reps Leadership enjoins Minister, NERC, Stakeholders on solutions as Nigerians file Complainants on poor electricity Supply in the on-going lockdown.

....Power Minister says NERC monitoring GENCOs and DISCOs activities.

.... As House of Representatives to plead with Minister of Finance, CBN, NNPC, others to release funds to rescue situation on poor power supply.

.... Challenges of  defaults by Electricity Stakeholders, poor  billing system by customers to be  addressed as House of Representatives enjoins Power Minister on palliative measures.

...Power Minister, others assures House of Representatives of constant power supply in the on-going lockdown

By Victor Bieni

ABUJA- As Nigerians groan over poor power supply in the on-going lockdown over the outbreaks of Covid-19 Pandemic, the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Wednesday met with the Minister of Power, Mr. Sale Mamman and the management of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission as evidenced in  a viral video by Nollywood actress, Ada Ameh.

This was dislosed to the publisher of "Shocknaija News Online" by the Special Adviser Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Lanre Laisisi in a press statement from the office of the Speaker, House of on April 1, 2020.

Ameh had in the viral video protested the poor electricity supply to Nigerians during the ongoing lockdown in major parts of the country to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The composition of the meeting that has the speaker of house of Representatives,  Femi Gbajabiamila alongside  Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu; and Deputy Minority  Whip, Rep. Adesegun Adekoya
Met with the leadership of  NERC  who was represented by its Commissioner on Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, those that joined the meeting via virtual connection were Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele; and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari.

In his opening remark, Gbajabiamila expressed dismay over the barrage of calls and messages from many Nigerians through his social media account, reacting to the protest video and called for prompt action.

In the words of the Speaker House of Representatives: "It has become imperative that I urgently call for this meeting to find a solution to the poor supply of electricity during this lockdown period".

"If we ask people to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, at least we have to make their homes comfortable for them to stay".

"The complaints have just been too much in the last 24 hours. There are people also in the hospital now without electricity; we need to brainstorm over an urgent solution".

On his part, Minister of Power, Mamman, highlighted the challenges encountered by power generating compaies (GENCOs) and the possible intervention of the leadership of the House of Representatives.

"We are aware of the challenges faced by Nigerians, so we have started talking to GENCOs, because they have been complaining that Discos are not paying and only about 20% of their dues are remitted", the Minister of Power stated.

The  Nigerian Power Minister also stated that GENCOs are facing technical and revenue shortfall, that Consequently, they find it very difficult to meet their financial obligations to gas companies,  he added that the Discos also pay less of their generated revenue to GENCOs, because they complain about power theft by consumers, high technical costs, and others.

In the words of the Nigerian Power Minister: "The sum of N130 billion is what the government gives GENCOs to augment the shortfall of payments not fulfilled by Discos. We still have about N1.2 trillion payment shortfall in all".

"I have been begging the gas suppliers to please, in the interest of Nigerians, release gas to the GENCOs. The shortfalls are accruals from the problem of estimated billing, non-payment of bills by estimated customers, and others".

“What the NASS can do is to plead with CBN to help with funds to enable the Federal Government to augment the revenue shortfall to enable government pay gas companies and thereafter bring all the critical stakeholders to a table".

In his contribution, the NERC Commissioner on Compliance, Mr. Akpaneye, assured the Speaker and the leadership of the House that the commission is committing the Discos to a new guideline that shows empathy with Nigerians during this COVID-19 lockdown.

“All NERC Commissioners are in the Situation Room in our office monitoring GENCOs and Discos activities. We know the demand for this power during this lockdown is for residential, since most industries are on lockdown, so we are going to release a new guideline and sanction electricity companies that can’t show empathy during this period", he stated.

Also speaking, the GMD of NNPC, Kyari hinted that the problem with the Trans Vocados gas line was resolved Wednesday morning and gave assurance of supply of gas to enable GENCOs to generate power.

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, in their various contributions, gave accounts of complications arising from the non-fulfilment of financial obligations by the electricity stakeholders but assured of interventions in the interest of Nigerians who are observing the lockdown order.

At the end of the meeting, all the critical stakeholders assured the Speaker and the leadership of the House of their commitment to ensuring power supply. They, however, agreed to reconvene in the next few days to find lasting solutions to the challenges in the sector beyond the lockdown period.

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