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FG To Sell Five Power Plants For $1 Billion

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The Federal Government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises is currently carrying out transactions for the sale of five power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects at a cost of about $1.15bn, it was gathered on Tuesday.

Although sources familiar with the development explained that the cost of the plants should exceed $5bn based on international benchmark, they revealed that the BPE was planning to sell the facilities at a price that is a little above $1.1bn

The acting Director-General, BPE, Ignatius Ayewoh, confirmed to our correspondent in a brief telephone conversation that “the transaction is ongoing,” adding that “it is not concluded.”

The BPE boss did not disclose the cost for the five plants, as he quickly stated that he was in a meeting and would not be able to give additional details.

However, impeccable sources at the bureau named the five power plants to include the 434 megawatts gas-fired Geregu II power plant, located in Kogi; 451MW Omotosho II plant in Ondo; and 750MW Olorunshogo II plant in Ogun State.

Others include the 563MW Odukpami power plant in Calabar, Cross River State; and the 451MW Benin-Ihovbor plant in Edo State.

It was gathered that the Omotosho plant, which has four power generating turbines, would be sold at about $85m; while the Olorunsogo NIPP with also four turbines would cost $170m.

The Benin-Ihovbor plant with five power generating turbines would go for $420m; Calabar Odukpami plant with five turbines would be sold at about $260m; while the Geregu plant with four turbines would go $215m.

“These are Siemens turbines and each of the turbine can generate about 115MW of electricity,” one of the sources, who pleaded not to be named due to lack of authorisation, stated.

The official went ahead to explain that it would cost about $1m to construct a plant that could generate 1MW of electricity, stressing that if the five NIPP plants were valued on this basis, they would cost more than $5bn.

It was, however, gathered that the cost of constructing 1MW power plant vary depending on several factors, including type of power plant, location, technological advancements, etc.

“But a general range for the cost of constructing a 1MW power plant based on different technologies is that for a solar power plant, it is between $1m to $2m per MW.

“For wind power plant, it is between $1.5m to $2.5m per MW. For natural gas-fired power plant, such as the NIPPs, it is between $1m to $2m per MW, while for coal power plants, it is between $2m and $3m per MW,” another source in the sector explained.

In December 2022, The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government and the 36 state governors finally agreed to sell five power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects and use the proceeds to fund the 2023 budget.

Parties in the deal reached the agreement in December after over two years of disputes and legal tussle as regards the sale of the NIPP plants being managed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company.

The NDPHC, owned by the federal, state, and local government councils, is a power generation and distribution company that oversees the implementation of the NIPPs.

The former Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Alex Okoh, had disclosed the agreement between the Federal Government and the states as regards the NIPP plants to journalists in Abuja during an interview. The disclosure was, however, opposed by various groups.

There have been discussions and plans for the sale of the NIPPs by the Bureau of Public Enterprises for several years, with the specific details and target sale amount evolving over time.

In April 2021, the National Council on Privatisation approved the sale of five NIPPs through a fast-track strategy. The estimated value of these five plants was not publicly disclosed at the time.

In March 2022, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation expressed interest in acquiring some NIPPs, indicating continued progress with the sale.

In December 2022, the former BPE boss, Okoh, confirmed an agreement between the Federal Government and states for the sale of five NIPPs.

He projected the sale to generate over N260bn (around $600m). However, some many sources and CSOs expressed concerns that this amount wouldn’t significantly impact the rising budget deficits at the time.

As of today, and going by what the acting DG of the BPE states, the sale of the NIPPs has not been finalised. The Niger Delta Power Holding Company, which manages the NIPPs, has also not confirmed its sale.

Meanwhile, it should be stated that while there is no official confirmation on the cost of the NIPPs, some sources speculate that the initial estimates for individual NIPPs could have ranged from $300m to $500m.

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Order CBN to honour Letters of Credit– SINET to Tinubu, NASS

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Amidst several hardships facing the Nigerian populace, the Social Integrity Network, (SINET) has urged President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the leadership of national assembly to compel the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, to order and reconsider honouring the forward contracts that are genuinely backed up with proper compliant documents for utilisation against each Letters of Credit (LCs) opened by the commercial banks using the forwards as a hedge.

The group also urged the Federal Government to make further clarification concerning a statement credited to the CBN Governor on issues regarding the alleged and well-publicized revelations of a $2.4 billion forex trading fraud.

SINET recalled that “On February 5, 2024, the governor of CBN made this declaration in both his interactions with Senate committees and his interview on a national television, following the engagement of Deloitte Management Consultant to conduct a forensic investigation where he claimed that the said amount was uncovered.

A statement issued on Monday by SINET national coordinator, Ibrahim Issah, disclosed that “On the contrary, we wish to unequivocally state that these claims lack merit and do not take into account the consequences they will have on businesses, public perception, or the economy of our cherished nation and its implication on forex both at home and abroad.”

According to him, “Without sentiment, the claim is completely falsehood and unacceptable as he, the CBN governor, failed to consider its economic implications. It is pertinent to state that genuine businessmen and women across the country, borrowed Funds from commercial banks, some with interest rates as high as 30% to secure forex from the CBN through their respective commercial banks since CBN does not sell the dollars to individuals directly.

“The same funds have been deposited with CBN for the past one and half years for forwards allocated for which the Apex Bank is now claiming were fraudulent transactions. May we remind Mr. Governor that while the CBN allocated the forwards after collecting the naira for each forward allocated, the commercial banks used these same forward contracts as a hedge and issued Letters of Credit (LCs) to their various customers against their offshore credit lines and also as a sovereign guarantee to their offshore banks which stand unpaid till today as a result of the failure of CBN to honour the various forward contracts.

“May we also remind our CBN Governor that as a result of their failure to honour these contracts, the outstanding foreign loans continue to accrue interest (post-negotiation charges), which the commercial Banks are passing to their customers: the same customers you say do not have a genuine claim.”

The statement further stressed that, “The public would like to ask Mr. Governor the following questions: What will happen to the foreign bank that is expecting their payment to be paid back? What will happen to the businessmen and women who had borrowed Naira from commercial Banks and paid the same into the CBN account for the purchase of forex for over eighteen months? Who will bear the interest charged on borrowed funds locally? Who will bear the charges running against the offshore lines used in establishing Letters of Credit? What will happen to the businesses? What will happen to the employees that are dependent on the survival of the businesses that CBN is trying to kill?

“We call upon the senate president and, in fact, the president and Commander In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to call the CBN governor to order and reconsider honouring the forward contracts that are genuinely backed up with proper compliant documents for utilisation against each Letters of Credit (LCs) opened by the commercial banks using the forwards as a hedge.

“Let us state categorically that the CBN is killing businesses by cancelling the forward contracts that were sold to them about 18 months ago at the rate of N450/dollar and now selling the same funds to the commercial banks and directing the bank to sell the money at the rate of 1,500/dollar to the same businesses who initially had a forward contract at the rate of N450/dollar.

“May we also remind Mr. Governor, that failure to honour these forward contracts is taking commercial banks longer time to clean the offshore lines already used for establishing Letters of Credit against which shipments have been done and payment made to LC beneficiaries by the offshore banks. The delays of the commercial banks to settle their Forex obligations to their offshore banks is making our country risk to be very high.

“Lastly, the public will like to call on the coordinating minister for the economy, Mr. Wale Edun to engage the CBN regarding this issue of undelivered forward contracts because at present in Nigeria, almost 60% of companies in the manufacturing sector have been closed due to the volatility of Forex in Nigeria in order to avoid the other 40% from also closing down.

“This will go a long way to help the few remaining manufacturing companies still in operation in Nigeria and also encourage the new investors that the president and commander in-chief of the federal republic is trying woo to bring their investments to Nigeria.”

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Senate Passes Sen Ashiru’s Bill To Establish National Road Transport Council

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The Senate on Tuesday granted first reading to a bill seeking to establish a National Road Transport Council which is to be saddled with the responsibility of regulating the road transport industry and the transport profession in Nigeria.

The bill titled National Road Transportation Council (Establishment) Bill 2024 is sponsored by Deputy Senate Leader Senator Oyelola Ashiru and was introduced to the Senate plenary after the Senators resumed from their 30 day recess.

Further details of the bill fronted by the Kwara South Senator reveals that if signed into law a council board will be established which shall consist of a Board chairman and six members drafted from each geo-political zone of the country.

More insights of the bill sighted by the Sun also states that the board shall be presided by a representative from Ministries of transport, commerce and industry and aviation and they shall not be below the rank of a Director.

As highlighted in the explanatory memorandum of the bill , [b]the functions of the proposed council include; creating an effective regulatory framework on road transport service operators; determining the standard of knowledge and skills required for road transport service operators; encouraging the advancement of education in road transportation; ensuring accessibility of road transport facilities, [/b]channels, and routes; monitoring the performance of the regulated road transport industry; conducting background check on road transport service operators; registering all road transport service providers and determine the fees for such registration; setting guidelines and general policies for road transport service operators; updating the Federal Government on its activities and progress through annual and audited reports; reviewing progress and suggest improvement within the provisions of this Bill and do such other things as are necessary or incidental to the objects of the Council under this Bill or as may be assigned by the Federal Government.

The bill received the nod of the Senators via voice votes presided by the Senate President Godswill Akpabio shortly after it was introduced to the floor of the Red Chambers by the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.

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