ABUJA—THE Federal Government last night said that it will commence the distribution of free meters with the target of getting 30 million consumers. The National Mass Metering Programme, NMMP, is expected to commence today, Friday, October 30, 2020, and to be simultaneously launched in Kano, Kaduna, Eko and Ikeja DISCO franchise areas. The free meter distribution, a Presidency source said was in fulfillment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to ensure mass metering in the country and in the process put an end to the problems of estimated billing in the electricity sector.
The Presidency sources disclosed that the locations to receive meters include Bawo Road and environs in Kano metropolis (KEDCO), Governor Road/Tudun Wada in Kaduna (Kaduna Electric), Oshodi Business Unit in Ikeja (Ikeja Electric), and Yaba and Surulere (Eko DISCO). The presidency source added that key stakeholders to monitor the launch of the distribution include Kaduna, Kano and Lagos State Government representatives, the Senate Committee and House Chair on Power as well as representatives of Organized Labour and Civil Society Organizations.
It said the “NMMP is to roll out six million meters for all connections points on grid without meters over the next 18 to 24 months, estimating to impact 30 million consumers nationwide.
“Following Mr President’s directive on mass metering, the Central Bank of Nigeria, on October 18th, approved guidelines for funding the mass metering programme which entailed that all meters under the scheme will be locally sourced, creating thousands of manufacturing jobs through lead manufacturers such as MOMAS, MOJEC and others.”
The source further said that” the launch of the NMMP will be part of a continuous effort where all DisCos will go from location to location across the country with their respective Meter Asset Providers to install meters for all Nigerians.”
When contacted,the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande confirmed the story but added that more details will emerge as the distribution progresses across the country.
He added that current efforts by the Federal Government on improving power supply and mass metering was in line with some of the agreements recently reached between the FG and Organized Labour recently. It will be recalled that President Buhari had committed that Nigerians would be metered prior to the end of his Administration and that estimated billing would be ended.
Free distribution of electricity meters was part of the agreement reached between the Federal Government and the organized labour after government increased the electricity tarrif. Minister of State for Power, Prince Godwin Jedy-Agba had announced that out of the six million meters o be distributed, the government would start with one mission which he said was available and they were expected to be distributed before the end of December this year.
Gov Obiano Begins Dustribution of Christmas Rice to Anambra Workers
The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has flagged off the distribution of rice to public and civil servants in Anambra state ahead of the Christmas celebration.
During a brief ceremony to mark the event at Jerome Udoji secretariat, Awka, Governor Obiano reiterated the commitment of his administration to worker’s welfare.
He said that welfare of workers has been one of the priorities of his administration since inception in 2014.
According to him, “worker’s welfare has been a top priority of this administration. We have always ensured that worker’s salaries are paid on the 25th of every month”.
Going further, Gov Obiano said that 2020 will be remembered with some sadness due to the hardship occassioned by Covid-19 pandemic and the unfortunate incidents that followed the #endsars protests.
“But we are not deterred”, he declared. “Though Nigeria is officially in recession and revenue from federal government and internal sources are on the decline, we made a commitment to you and we will continue to uphold it.
“That is why we have paid the leave allowances of all workers in November and we are prepared to pay December salaries before Christmas. In addition, we have made provision for every worker in Anambra to go home with a bag of rice.
“We survived the past recession by reflating the state economy using the N20m community choose your project initiative. This year we intend to do same. The ripple effect of early payment of salaries will initiate the required velocity of money to ensure that money circulates in the state. This will keep our economy above the recession line”.
Gov Obiano also encouraged the workers to show more dedication to duty and curb wastage. He assured them that government will continue to support them and ensure that the Christmas and new year festivities are celebrated in a peaceful and safe environment.
Responding, Head of Service of Anambra State, Barr Harry Uduh, thanked Gov Obiano and encouraged the workers to be more diligent and committed to helping the government record greater achievements.
The event witnessed the presentation of seven recipients of the Nigeria Public Sector Leadership and Productivity Award from the Anambra state civil and public service, to the Governor, for special recognition.
The awardees include MD/CEO ABS, Chief Uche Nworah PhD, Dr Emmanuel Ude-Akpeh, Mrs Carol Njaka, Mrs Stephnie Keri-Uzo, Ngozi Onuorah, Mr Adebayo Oyejinka and Mr Uchenna Ezeani.
25 million Nigerians to own 5 million solar panels at N4000 monthly
DESIGNED to fundamentally address the challenge of power supply in the country, the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration from this week is starting a Solar Home Systems, under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), where with only about N4,000 monthly over a three-year period, 25 million Nigerians not served by the national grid will own solar panels outright in their residences.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the vice president’s office, Mr Laolu Akande, made the disclosure in response to media inquiries about the cost of the ESP solar programme nicknamed ‘SOLAR POWER NAIJA’, for which installations start in December.
Akande disclosed that the ESP solar programme was being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). Media reports had indicated that priority would be given to Nigerians residing in rural areas and urban settlements either underserved or totally cut off the national grid.
He added that an important aspect of the scheme was the option of outright ownership by beneficiaries at a cost ranging from N1,500 per week to N4,000 monthly, depending on the capacities for a period of three years, noting that the arrangement allowed as many as 25 million Nigerians to own personal solar systems in their respective homes.
As indicated in the ESP, the five million connections initiative is a private sector-led electricity access acceleration scheme to be facilitated by a low-cost loan facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and implemented by the REA.
The objectives of the programme are to expand energy access to 25 million individuals (five million new connections) through the provision of solar home systems (SHS) or connection to a mini grid; increase local content in the off-grid solar value chain and facilitating the growth of the local manufacturing and assembly industry; incentivise the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the energy sector.
Emphasising the point about benefits derivable from the programme aside the creation of access to cheap and clean energy, Akande noted the local solar assembly industry would be impacted.
He said “the programme will include the assembly or manufacturing of components of off-grid solutions to facilitate growth of the local manufacturing industry.
“In view of the scale of materials required, solar equipment manufacturers/ assemblers will be incentivised to set up facilities in Nigeria, thereby offering additional job opportunities to Nigerians. In addition, installation, servicing and payment collections are expected to provide thousands of other jobs. In all, at least 250,000 jobs will be created.”
Explaining the role of the World Bank in the project, another Presidency official, who pleaded anonymity, said the World Bank which was also participating in the plan, was providing a grant to finance 20 per cent of the retail cost of the solar system across the country.
The source observed that the connection of 25 million new Nigerians to clean energy and the ongoing implementation of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), amongst other measures adopted to address the energy problem, the Federal Government is, indeed, on course to address the nation’s energy crisis.
It will be recalled that the REA, the lead implementing agencies of the Solar Home System had through its offgrid solar programme connected the people of Olooji community (Ijebu East) in Ogun State to electricity for the first time in 200 years.
Olooji solar hybrid has a total capacity of 100 kilowatts completed with 304 solar panels, 72 batteries and over 30 kilometres of distribution network cables, serving over 4000 people. The off-grid solar project was implemented under the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) and is one of 12 solar mini grids across the country in addition to 19,000 solar home systems implemented under the programme through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
UK Set To Impose Tougher Rules On Google, Facebook
Britain announced Friday it will set up a watchdog to regulate tech giants such as Facebook and Google and improve their transparency on using people’s data and personalised advertising.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement that the new regulator, the Digital Markets Unit, will “govern the behaviour of platforms that currently dominate the market, such as Google and Facebook”.
The aim is “to ensure consumers and small businesses aren’t disadvantaged”, it said.
The unit is being created after the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in July that existing laws were not effective and a new regulatory regime was needed to control internet giants that earn from digital advertising.
The CMA has backed the new rules while it has not taken direct action against Facebook and Google.
“Our new, pro-competition regime for digital markets will ensure consumers have choice and mean smaller firms aren’t pushed out,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
Britain acknowledged the online platforms bring “huge benefits for businesses and society” but said the “concentration of power amongst a small number of tech companies” was curbing growth and innovation in the industry, which could have “negative impacts” for the public.
A new statutory code will aim to make the tech giants “more transparent about the services they provide and how they are using consumers’ data”, it said.
Consumers will be able to choose whether to see personalised advertising, the government said.
The new regulator will be launched in April and could have powers to “suspend, block and reverse decisions of tech giants”, order them to take actions and impose fines.
The new code could also mean online platforms have to offer fairer terms to news publications.
There have been calls for Facebook and Google to give a larger share of their advertising revenue to media organisations whose content they use.
According to the CMA, last year around 80 percent of the £14 billion ($18.7 billion, 15.7 billion euros) spent on digital advertising went to Google and Facebook.
Newspapers are dependent on the online giants for traffic, with around 40 percent of visits to their sites coming via Facebook and Google.
Google reacted by saying it wants to “work constructively” with the new regulator.
Facebook is preparing to launch its Facebook News service in the UK, which works with news media and includes original reporting.
It said it remains “committed to working with our UK industry partners to find ways to support journalism and help the long-term sustainability of news organisations”.
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