APA – Lagos (Nigeria) The plan by the Nigerian Government for additional megawatts of electricity to the national grid, as the West African Power Pool moves to create liquidity enhancement for the electricity market in the Economic Community of West African States is one of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.
The Guardian reports that the Federal Government, yesterday, said additional megawatts of electricity are being added to the national grid, as the West African Power Pool (WAPP) moves to create liquidity enhancement for the electricity market in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
To address the epileptic electricity sector in the country, Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, said the government has started construction of a 132 kilovolts transmission line, a two-by-60MVA transmission substation and a switching station in Ekiti State, to raise the state’s capacity by 204 megawatts (MW).
Aliyu, during the groundbreaking ceremony in Ado Ekiti, said the project consists of a 50-kilometre stretch of 132KV transmission line from Ikere (Ado Ekiti) with a turn in- turn out at Ijesa Isu that terminates at Ilupeju Ekiti.
It also has a two-by-60MVA, 132/33KV transmission substation with four line bays at Ijesa Isu Ekiti and a switching station at Ikere (Ado Ekiti).
Represented by Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria, (TCN), Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, Aliyu said: “For TCN, this is a very strategic project, and we believe it will have a massive impact on bulk power transmission in Ekiti and environs.
“The projects are part of the many being undertaken by TCN, in pursuit of its grid expansion programme, which is in line with Mr. President’s mandate for expansion of the power sector for sustainable development.”
The minister said in various transmission regions, nationwide, TCN is equally executing substations and lines projects, which are at various stages of execution.
The newspaper says that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) remitted N463 billion to the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund from 2015 to April 2022.
This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, when he led the management team on a visit to the new Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. William Alo, in Abuja.
Danbatta, while briefing Alo on the status of the industry after his deployment to the ministry, disclosed that the focus of the commission was on its Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan SVP 2021 – 2025, which took into consideration the provisions of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030, and National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.
The EVC said SVP has five focus areas, which include: operational efficiency and regulatory excellence, facilitation of infrastructure provision for the digital economy, promotion of fair competition, inclusive growth and investment, improvement of quality of service, quality of experience and facilitation of strategic collaboration.
In a statement, signed by the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Reuben Muoka, Danbatta who led a team of two executive commissioners and directors of the commission to the briefing, listed successes recorded since 2015 as teledensity, broadband penetration and significant contribution of the industry to the GDP that grew from 8.5 per cent in the 4th quarter of 2015 to 12.61 in the 4th quarter of 2021 as the sector also attracted over $2 billion in foreign direct investment over the period.
Other achievements listed by the commission are the recent successful auction of 3.5GHz spectrum for 5G, licensing of seven fibre optics infrastructure providers and an additional 38, 296 kilometer fibre optic to the country’s spectrum.
He noted that access gap clusters in the country have been reduced from 217 to 114 to enable 15 million Nigerians to have access to telecommunications services and increase fibre optics deployments from 47,000 kilometers to 54, 725 kilometers.
Danbatta revealed that the 3G and 4G base transceiver stations (BTS) in the country have increased from less than 30,000 in 205 to 53, 460, while seven VSAT gateway earth stations have been licensed to boost broadband penetration.
He informed the new Perm Sec that the commission under him has also remitted N463 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund from 2015 to April 2022, while landing permits have been issued to 53 Geo Satellite Orbits (GSO) space stations and 923 non-GSO space stations.
The Punch reports that in light of Nigeria’s dwindling revenue, the continued payment of trillions of naira on fuel subsidy by the government and the attendant economic challenges, the World Bank on Wednesday raised the alarm that the country might be facing an existential threat.
The international financial institution warned that if the country failed to optimise its tax system and focus on other areas to boost its revenue, the already low revenue would continue to drop. It noted that despite the rise in the price of oil in the international market, Nigeria had not reaped the benefits because of the huge amount spent on fuel subsidy.
The Senior Public Sector Specialist, Domestic Resource Mobilisation, at the World Bank, Mr Rajul Awasthi, said these at a virtual pre-summit, with the theme ‘Critical Tax Reforms for Shared Prosperity’, organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group on Wednesday. He insisted Nigeria would have to eliminate the subsidy regime eventually.
After the Federal Government earmarked about N4tn for subsidy payment in 2022, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said recently that government might spend a whopping N6.72tn as fuel subsidy in 2023 or pay N3.36tn up to mid-2023 if the subsidy regime would was to end in May 2023.
Also, the minister had consistently said the nation was battling with revenue problems, which had compelled the government to keep borrowing. The debt stock had risen to N41.6tn in the first quarter of 2022 with projections that it could peak at N45tn by the end of the year. Nigeria is rated the fifth on the list of the World Bank’s debtors, with $11.7bn debt stock as of June 30, 2021.
The International Monetary Fund had in March projected that Nigeria might spend 93 per cent of its revenue on debt servicing in 2022, but the minister disclosed a few weeks ago that about 119 per cent of the country’s revenue was spent on debt servicing. This implied that government had to borrow to meet its debt financing obligations, a development many economists had described as disturbing and unsustainable.
The newspaper says that former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday urged Nigerians to make the right choice during the 2023 general elections.
He warned that making the wrong choice in the election may consume the nation.
Obasanjo spoke as the special guest of honour at the Wilson Badejo Foundation’s 15th annual lecture with the theme, ‘Overcoming the twin challenge of poverty and insecurity in Nigeria’ held in Lagos.
The former President expressed the hope that if the right choice was made in 2023, the nation may witness progress.
“It is either we make the right choice in 2023 because if we make the right choice, we would get there.
“However, if we do not make the right choice in 2023, things would consume us and we pray against that one. We must make the right choice in 2023,” Obasanjo said.
He had earlier said that Nigeria has not taken its rightful position because of poverty and insecurity.
The guest speaker who is the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof Eghosa Osaghea, in his lecture titled, ‘Overcoming the twin challenge of poverty and insecurity in Nigeria,’ explained that when “one’s country fails the individual, then that individual becomes a failure.”
He said, “Poverty cannot divide us but it binds us what divides us is corruption. If you see street protests across the world, it is the poor who do it.”