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Aba $800m Power plant is set to run, MD assures

As preparations reach an advanced stage for the commissioning of the 188-megawatt Geometric Power plant in Aba, Abia State, the Managing Director, Engr. Ben Caven has assured stakeholders that the firm is eager to supply sufficient power as it has invested about $800 million in the group, the largest investment in the South East.

The only person to have headed the generation, transmission and engineering divisions in the now defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) as Executive Director, Caven said that Geometric Power said that “the more power you get from us, the more revenue we receive from you, our happy and satisfied customers”, adding that “return on this massive investment can come only when we provide you with sufficient reliable and quality electricity”.

On the new electricity tariff, he reminded the customers that charges are not determined unilaterally by distribution firms. “The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) regulates tariffs. NERC is the only body authorised by law to decide electricity tariffs and when they can come into force. NERC approved a new tariff structure for Aba Power last year, but the company chose to absorb substantial revenue losses by charging the old rates until this year. The new tariff structure is based on Nigeria’s current economic realities”, he explained.

Caven said that the takeoff of Geometric Power plant would result in constant power supply and reliable electricity to Aba Power, and to the industries, offices, and homes. “Geometric Power Limited cannot thank you enough for your patience, understanding, and unflinching support over the years. A new dawn is on the horizon. May the Good Lord continue to guide, protect, and bless each of you”, he said.

The Managing Director gave further report on the last challenge faced by the Aba-based electricity integrated company as it gets set to run the plant, saying: “Officials of the Geometric Power group recently held frank and rewarding discussions on the electric power situation in Aba with leaders of the 22 member-Aba Landlords Protection and Development Association (APALDA) and agreed on the way forward for the benefit of all stakeholders in the Aba Ring-Fenced Area. Here is a brief report on the last impediment to the takeoff of the Geometric Power plant in the Osisioma Industrial Layout, Aba, which is in fulfilment of the agreement we reached at the crucial meeting.

“The only remaining challenge to the technical commissioning of the 188-megawatt thermal power plant has been the non-supply of natural gas yet to fire the plant by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) which owns the majority stake in OML 17 at Owaza in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State. As you know very well, the 27-kilometre pipeline to supply gas to the plant was completed long ago, and last September the plant became ready for operations.

“Gas supply has remained an issue because of the change in the operatorship of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 17 three years ago; the change led to a three-year legal tussle between The Shell Petroleum Development Company and the Federal Government of Nigeria. When the Federal Government declined to renew the SDPC’s licence to operate OML 17 so that the NNPCL could operate it as part of the deliberate process to make the NNPCL become a globally competitive state-owned hydrocarbon company like Petronas of Malaysia and Petrobras of Brazil, Shell took the matter to the Federal High Court and later to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. It lost all the way.

“Meanwhile, The SPDC made no investments in the Associated Gas Gathering (AGG) facilities during the legal tussle. This means a tremendous deterioration in the state of the facilities. The NNPCL has been working round the clock to rehabilitate the facilities to the highest standards; any mistake can result in grave consequences. We all know how dangerous gas can be. Once the last technical issue is resolved, the Geometric Power plant will start operations. This will be a historic day not just for the Geometric Power Group but also for the people, communities, and businesses in the Aba Ring-Fenced Area, as well as the people and government of Abia State, and, indeed, the rest of Nigeria.

“The first General Electric turbine will automatically increase the quantum of electricity in the Aba Ring-Fenced Area from the current 25 Megawatts supplied by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company to 47MW, which is almost double. The second turbine will take it to 94 MW. The third turbine will increase the power output to 141 MW and with the peak demand of Aba Ring Fenced Area of 100 MW, the excess power may be exported to the National Grid. Power from the National Grid currently supplied to Aba will be made available to other parts of Nigeria, thereby making life better for all Nigerians. In other words, the commissioning of the Geometric Power plant will benefit all Nigerians, if not directly then indirectly.

“We are enthusiastic to provide you with electricity so that Aba will regain its status as the Japan of Africa. When the cost of goods manufactured in Aba reduces significantly, it will result in a reduction in the prices of goods across the country. Such multinationals as PZ plc and Nigerian Breweries plc as well as Glass Force have their manufacturing plants in Aba, and firms like Neimeth plc are about to move their production plants to Aba because of the availability of constant and quality power supply in the Enyimba Industrial City”.

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Ebonyi denies borrowing from World Bank, IMF

The Ebonyi State Government has denied that it  borrowed from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund contrary to a report by the Debt Management Office.

The DMO had reported that the Ebonyi State under the current administration led by Governor Francis Nwifuru, was among the 17 states that had borrowed $125.1 million (N111.24 billion) from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Debunking the report, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Leonard Uguru, said  Nwifuru had not borrowed from either internal or foreign creditors since he assumed office on May 29, 2023.

He said:  “Since the inception of this administration, the Ebonyi State Government has not borrowed any money, whether foreign or domestic loans. So, any organisation that’s writing that Ebonyi is among the states that have borrowed money, I don’t know where they are getting their data.

“Among the South East states, Ebonyi is still the least in both domestic and foreign debts. Even though we have a trace of debt, which is the 150 million dollar loan from Africa Development Bank and Islamic Bank inherited from the past administration in the reconstruction of Ring Road, which is what made the loan increase, it is worth it as the road cuts across various local government areas of the state. Outside that, I don’t think there’s any other debt owed by the previous state government.”



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Dangote refinery reduces price of diesel to N1,000

Diesel hits N350/litre, surges by 56% in one year

In an impressive move, Dangote Petroleum Refinery has announced further reduction of the price of diesel from 1200 to 1,000 naira per litre.

While rolling out the products, the refinery supplied at a substantially reduced price of N1,200 per litre three weeks ago, representing over 30 per cent reduction from the previous market price of about N1,600 per litre.

This significant reduction in the price of diesel, at Dangote Petroleum Refinery, is expected to positively affect all the spheres of the economy and ultimately reduce the high inflation rate in the country.

Recall, Aliko Dangote, on Wednesday, in Lagos, said Nigerians should expect a drop in inflation given the reduction of diesel pump prices by two-thirds.

“In our refinery, we started selling diesel at about ₦1,200 for ₦1,650 and I’m sure as we go along this can help to bring inflation down immediately,” Dangote told journalists after he paid Eid-el-Fitr homage to President Bola Tinubu at his residence.

The businessman said his petroleum refinery had been selling diesel at ₦1,200 per litre, compared to the previous price of ₦1,650 – ₦1,700.

He expressed hopes that Nigeria’s economy will improve, as the naira has made some gains in the foreign exchange market, dropping from ₦1,900/$ to the current level of ₦1,250 – ₦1,300.

Dangote said this rise in value has sparked a gradual drop in the price of locally-produced goods such as rice and flour, as businesses are paying less for diesel.

Therefore, the reduced fuel costs would drive down inflation in the coming months, he asserted.

“I believe that we are on the right track. I believe Nigerians have been patient and I also believe that a lot of goodies will now come through. There’s quite a lot of improvement because if you look at it, one of the major issues that we’ve had was the naira devaluation that has gone very aggressively up to about ₦1,900.

“But right now, we’re back to almost ₦1,250, ₦1,300, which is a good reprieve. Quite a lot of commodities went up. When you go to the market, for example, something that we produce locally like flour, people will charge you more. Why? Because they’re paying very high diesel prices.

“Now, in our refinery, we started selling diesel at about ₦1,200 instead of ₦1,650 and I’m sure as we go along, things will continue to improve quite a lot,” Dangote stated.

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NCAA suspends three private jet operators for operating commercial flights

N46bn debt: NCAA threatens to withdraw airlines’ licences

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the permit of three private jet operators for engaging in commercial flights.

Acting Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo, disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.

Najomo said that after issuing a stern warning to the PNCFs in March, the authority deployed its men to monitor activities of private jet owners at airport terminals across the country.

He said that consequent upon the heightened surveillance, three private operators were found to have violated the annexure provisions of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2023.

“In line with our zero-tolerance policy for violations of regulations, the Authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.

“To further sanitize the general aviation sector, I have directed a re-evaluation of all PNCF holders to be carried out by April 19, 2024, to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements. All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours.

“This directive also applies to existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders who utilize aircraft listed on their PNCF for commercial charter operations.

“It is important to emphasize that only aircraft listed in the Operation Specifications of the AOC are authorized for use in providing such charter services. Any AOC holder wishing to use aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it in the AOC operations specification.”

The NCAA reiterated to the traveling public not to patronise any charter airline operator lacking a valid Air Operator’s Certificate issued by the NCAA when seeking charter operation services.

NCAA also encouraged legitimate players in the aviation industry to promptly report the activities of such unscrupulous elements to the authority for necessary action.


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