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FG Failed To Provide N100bn Electricity Subsidy Since 2013 – Discos

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Electricity distribution companies on Sunday officially reacted to the takeover/restructuring of five Discos by the Federal Government through the Bureau of Public, saying the move is a backdoor renationalisation of the power firms.

They claimed that investors in the 11 Discos were shortchanged by BPE when the facilities were privatised in November 2013, while the government had failed to pay the N100bn subsidy on electricity since the privatisation of the sector.

Speaking under the umbrella of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, a body for the power firms, the Discos expressed concern about the restructuring of the five companies as announced by BPE on July 5, 2022, in collaboration with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The Federal Government through BPE had announced the planned takeover of Kano, Benin and Kaduna electricity distribution companies by Fidelity Bank Plc after the bank initiated action to take over the boards of the three Discos.

It also announced that with the takeover of Ibadan Disco by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, the bureau had obtained approval from NERC to appoint an interim managing director for the distressed power firm.

The government had further stated in its restructuring notice that it was restructuring the management and board of Port Harcourt Disco to forestall the imminent insolvency of the utility. The notice was signed by the Director-General, BPE, Alex Okoh; and Executive Chairman, NERC, Sanusi Garba.

Although some of the affected power firms had commenced legal actions against the move, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, said on Sunday that the association viewed the restructuring to be inconsistent with all the guidelines necessary to comply with the framework of privatisation agreements and the rule of law.

“We believe that it is reasonable to conclude that the resultant outcome has been an expropriation or backdoor renationalisation of the Discos by the Federal Government,” ANED stated in a statement issued in Abuja.

It added, “Such renationalisation or expropriation must be viewed through a historical context as necessary for a proper understanding of the performance challenges that the Discos have been faced with since privatisation.

“Fundamentally, the basis of privatisation was flawed from the beginning due to conditions that were not met by the Federal Government, while expecting the Discos to meet their performance obligations.

“Not only were the investors shortchanged because of insufficient and unreliable data that was provided by BPE to them during the privatisation process, but the government also committed to and failed to deliver on debt-free financial books; payment of ministries, department and agencies electricity debts; and N100bn subsidy.”

It outlined other areas of failure by the government to include its inability to implement a cost reflective electricity tariff, stressing that this singular unfulfilled condition had led to accrued significant debt and liabilities on the Discos’ financial books, as Discos continued to sell electricity below the cost price.

ANED further stated that the government had failed in the private management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, currently, a government-owned and operated entity.

It said the privatisation of TCN was a major requirement for attracting the private investment critical in addressing the transmission bottleneck currently belittling the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry value chain.

The association said, “These commitments have remained largely unmet over the post-privatisation period and have belatedly been partially addressed – too late to rectify current performance challenges.

“While the Discos are not exonerated from responsibility for performance failures, it would be unrealistic to reach related conclusions without taking into consideration the factors that have been listed previously, as well as the Federal Government’s contributions to these challenges.”

It added, “Furthermore, there is an established process by which a change of a corporate entity’s board of directors and management occurs. As such, it is with much surprise that the Disco investors awoke to the July 5, 2022, renationalisation or expropriation of the five Discos.”

The association argued that due process was not followed and that the Federal Government, as a 40 per cent minority shareholder, was represented by the director-general of BPE on the board of each of the Discos and was party to all decisions concerning the operations of the Discos.

It stated that what obtained in NESI currently was a misalignment of risk, technical and commercial factors, with the Disco investors bearing the brunt of the misalignment.

The Federal Government stayed mute when contacted to react to the claims by the Discos as regards the N100bn electricity subsidy.

A senior official of the Federal Ministry of Power stated that the government could not speak on the issue and advised that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission should be contacted, since it was NERC alongside BPE that approved the takeover/restructuring of the five Discos.

The NERC, however, did not respond to enquiries when contacted by our correspondent on Sunday.

But industry experts expressed diverse views about the move by the government to takeover/restructure the power firms.

A member of the National Technical Investigative Panel on Power System Collapses (June 2013), who doubles as the President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, Kunle Olubiyo, stated that the move by the government should be commended.

BIG STORY

Firstbank Commemorates 2022 Customer Service Week

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider has announced its commemoration of the 2022 edition of the Customer Service Week scheduled to be globally celebrated on 3 – 7 October 2022.

The event themed: “Celebrating Service” will be marked across its FBNBank subsidiaries in over half a dozen countries which include FBNBank UK, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Senegal, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank DRC and FBNBank Sierra Leone.

Customer Service Week is an international celebration that highlights the importance of customer service and staff who serve and support customers daily to deliver exceptional service to customers.

The Bank’s celebration of the 2022 Customer Service Week will include several activities considered integral to promoting a relaxed atmosphere whilst extending its participation to everyone, irrespective of where they are. The activities include virtual engagement of customers on its social media handles: firstbanknigeria on Instagram; First Bank of Nigeria Limited on Facebook; First Bank of Nigeria Limited on LinkedIn and @FirstBankngr on Twitter.

Others are a video booth and photo frame funfair, then a Virtual Party on the Friday of the weeklong event and a movie date for staff.

Through the last 128 years of its operations, FirstBank has played a leading role in utilizing its robust customer service network and digital banking architecture to support its customers – cutting across diverse cultures, tribes and races beyond the shores of Nigeria – in meeting their individual and business needs. The Bank achieves this through its innovative, interactive, self-service banking platforms like *894# Quick Banking mobile solution, FirstMobile banking application, Firstmonie Agents, FirstOnline internet banking, WhatsApp banking, and ATM amongst many others. The Bank’s electronic banking channels are constantly updated with new and exciting features to expose customers to exemplary services and experience to put them at an advantage in the industry.

According to Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank “for us at FirstBank, celebrating service, the theme of the 2022 edition of the Customer Service Week is a reflection of our brand mantra “You First”. This reiterates the essence of our existence since 1894, centred on putting You, our customers First as we continue to support individuals and businesses to impact the economy.

With our dynamic and vibrant human-led and digital-led customer services operations, we remain committed to rendering the gold standard of services to our customers and stakeholders regardless of where they may be across the globe” she concluded.

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 128 years.

With over 750 business locations and over 189,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 30 million customers. The Bank has an international presence through its subsidiaries, FBNBank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

The Bank has been handy at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 12million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.

FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is always to put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.

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BIG STORY

Police To Sanction Atiku Wife’s Orderly For Carrying Her Bag At Event

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The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has vowed to sanction the police orderly of Titi Abubakar, wife of Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, for carrying her handbag at an event in Abuja, recently.

Prince Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Police Public Relations Officer, made the vow in a tweet on Thursday, in response to a Twitter user who expressed reservations about the policewoman seen carrying Mrs. Abubakar’s handbag while she was delivering a speech at the event in Abuja on Wednesday.

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has vowed to sanction the police orderly of Titi Abubakar, wife of Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, for carrying her handbag at an event in Abuja, recently.

Prince Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Police Public Relations Officer, made the vow in a tweet on Thursday, in response to a Twitter user who expressed reservations about the policewoman seen carrying Mrs. Abubakar’s handbag while she was delivering a speech at the event in Abuja on Wednesday.

Mrs. Abubakar had apparently handed her handbag to the police orderly while delivering her address at the unveiling of the SHE Campaign, which she organised to rally the support of the women folk for her husband’s 2023 presidential bid.

The picture of the police orderly carrying her bag trended on social media after it was shared by a Twitter user, Ifeoma, @Fifi_Ify, who expressed reservations about the officer “being turned into a maid.”

She had noted, “When a private citizen can turn our uniform force member into her maid, why won’t the police forget their primary duty and only dance to the tune of the elites? @BenHundeyin is this how it’s supposed to be?”

Responding to her tweet, Prince Adejobi said the police have commenced necessary action against the orderly, and would also reach out to her principal, Mrs. Abubakar.

“This is not acceptable. We have commenced necessary action on this. We will fish her out and get across to the principal. The AIG Special Protection Unit has been contacted to assist us get the woman police. Gradually, we will sanitise the system,” he said.

“How can an orderly be carrying bag for her madam, i am sure the madam will have a PA, and that is the PAs job, its an absurdity and this is condemned in its totality.”

This is not the first time a police officer carrying out the job of a personal assistant is raising eyebrows.

In March, Dr. Nimota Nihinlola Akanbi, chairman of the governing board of National Secondary School Education, stirred up similar controversy when her police orderly, Yahaya Abubakar, was captured in a video carrying a plate of food for her.

Abubakar was subsequently summoned by the police authority, but Mrs. Akanbi later claimed that the plate of food was meant for the officer.

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BREAKING: DPO Abducted Three Months Ago Freed By Kidnappers

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CSP Sani Mohammed Gyadi-Gyadi, the Divisional Police Officer, (DPO) of Birnin Gwari Division, Kaduna State abducted about three months ago has been freed by his abductors.

Gyadi-Gyadi was abducted on his way to resume at his new police division.

The circumstances surrounding his freedom were not clear, but according to PRNigeria, he was released through a sophisticated intelligence-coordinated operation led by the joint security service early Thursday morning.

Gyadi-Gyadi who was kidnapped by terrorists in July this year was taken to a health facility in the Kaduna for a medical checkup, immediately after his release.

“He is stable, but doctors are monitoring his health condition,” a close relative of Gyadi-Gyadi said.

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