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Siemens Moves to End Electricity Theft with New Technology

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The new power supply deal between Nigeria and Siemens AG, will see the German company deploy modern technology that will end the incessant problem of meter bypass leading to loss of billions of naira by Distribution Companies (Discos).

Speaking during a web conference, Onyeche Tifase, Managing Director of Siemens Nigeria, said that the issues of collection and power theft remain a major challenge in the industry, stressing that with the new technology, any infringement on the meters would be monitored real time.

Siemens lamented that the Aggregate Technical, Commercial, and Collections Loss (ATC&C), which is the difference between the amount of electricity received by Disco from the transmission company and the amount of electricity for which it invoices its customers, is currently as high as 50 per cent.

The federal government recently began the implementation of the deal with the German firm which is expected to overhaul the beleaguered sector in three phases between now and 2025.

The first phase of the deal would see the upgrading of 105 power substations and the construction of 70 new ones, manufacture and installation of 35 power transformers, installation of 3,765 distribution transformers and building of 5,109 km distribution lines with a potential generation capacity of over 13,000mw.

In phase one, 7gw is expected to be achieved between now and 2021, with the upgrading of transmission and distribution of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Discos expected to contribute an additional 2gw,while for phase two, 11gw will be achieved between 2021-2023, with full use of existing generation and last mile distribution capacity.

The third part will see the attainment of 25gw between 2023-2025 with appropriate upgrades and expansion in generation, transmission and distribution.

Tifase maintained that the company had identified everything that needs to be done to transform the sector, noting that in the past, decisions on the sector were over-ambitious with no clear plan on how to achieve them.

She noted that with the new deal, which saw the federal government pay an initial counterpart funding of about N8.6 billion a few weeks ago, every action and every phase of the execution has been carefully mapped out to avoid the failure of the project.

She explained that with minimal human interference and greater automation, the practice of cutting off the meter and stealing of electricity will be eradicated.

“This requires the participation of all stakeholders. We will bring the technology which allows us manage meters, vending and other data that will allow collection and reconciliation of payment.

“You cannot tamper with that meter because there’s real-time intervention, so, we can switch off when it is being tampered with. We have identified what we need to do about those smart meters” she said.

She added that with the new move to ensure that there’s a cost-reflective system and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency’s (NERC) efforts, Nigeria will experience a gradual attainment of self-sufficiency in power supply.

Tifase, lamented that inadequate power supply in the country had led to mass exodus of companies and individuals which had also resulted in loss of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The Siemens boss noted that with the company’s experiences in Iraq, Egypt and other third world countries, Nigerians would soon join the list of countries with adequate power supply.

In his intervention, Special Adviser, Policy, to the minister of power and Secretary, Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) Implementation Committee, Mr. Abba Aliyu, noted that lack of investment, inadequate infrastructure, uncoordinated policy implementation have been issues that beset the sector.

He assured that the federal government had put structures in place to ensure that the agreement and implementation of the Siemens deal is devoid of political considerations so as to outlive the current administration.

He said that there’s a clear governance structure which has made the operators comfortable to sit at the same table to negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement.


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Buhari Sacks Jaja, NCC Chairman

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President Muhammad Buhari has approved the removal of Mr Tonye Clinton Jaja, board chairman of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

Buhari Sacks Jaja, NCC Chairman

Mr Tonye Clinton Jaja

According to a letter dated October 15, by Dr Dayo Akpata, SAN, solicitor general, Jaja’s removal was with immediate effect.

Jaja was directed to handover all property of the commission to the Director General, John Asien.

“Wishing you success in your future endeavours. Please accept the assurances of warn regards and best regards,” the letter reads.

No reason was given for the removal.

The board was inaugurated on 28 May 2019 by Abubakar Malami, minister of Justice.

NCC is the government agency that enforces copyright laws and regulates the creative industry.

Jaja had in September raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life by agents of John Asein, ddirector general of the agency..

He disclosed that an unnamed member of the NCC Governing Board had threatened his life through phone calls and SMS messages.

The sacked Board Chairman, who made the claim in a statement, titled: “Notification of threats to my life and reputation in the line of duty as chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission,” ‎said the development followed statements he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission as part of ongoing investigations into allegations against Asein. ‎

According to Jaja, Asein is being investigated over alleged conflict of interest and abuse of office, among other offences.

The chairman of the NCC Governing Board also alleged that Asein and his agents have vowed to destroy his reputation through publications in the media.

The statement read: “Yesterday, I received a verbal threat during a telephone call and an SMS from one member of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright (NCC).‎

“In a nutshell, he threatened that he will use online newspapers and other means to disgrace me and rubbish my reputation.

“His annoyance and threats is not an isolated incident, it is part of a coordinated onslaught of threats, publications of propaganda and other acts of reprisal targetted against me in my capacity as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

“The persons behind this have gone to the illegal extent of forging certain documents and leaking government official documents to Online newspapers in their desperate attempts at smearing my hard earned reputation.

“The Office of the Inspector-General of Police is currently investigating one of such incidences.

“All this smear campaign is because I ‎was invited by the Code of Conduct Bureau and the ICPC as part of their investigation of Mr John Asein the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) whom they are investigating for allegations of conflict of interest and abuse of office, etc.

“‎As a responsible and law-abiding citizen,  who could not disobey the invitation of the ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau, I went to the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and deposed to an affidavit to confirm the veracity of the written and oral statements that I submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

“Instead of these persons to apply the same steps of going before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or any other court of Justice in Nigeria to swear an affidavit and oath on the pain of perjury, in support of any statements they are making, they have resorted to peddling fake news, falsehood and false, unsubstantiated allegations through the pages of online newspapers and other social media platforms.

“In recent times, their anger and onslaught has intensified because their attempts to “kill” and “bury” the investigations proved abortive considering that the ICP

 

 


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Our Youth and the Protests, Looking Beyond End SARS

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By Austin Okere

The youth are not our enemies; let us remember this before we do anything rash such as using brute force to quell their protests. They are our children that have come of age.

Their flaws are our failings as parents. All over the world, the youth have broken ranks with the earlier generation when they feel that their future is being mortgaged, mostly through excessive greed of the “elders”.

The wind of change has been blowing for quite a while. After the global financial crisis in 2008 there was the Occupy Wall Street protests in the America. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was a protest movement against economic inequality that began in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City’s Wall Street financial district, in September 2011. It gave rise to the wider Occupy movement in the United States and other countries.

Thereafter came the Extinction Rebellion, a global environmental movement with the stated aim of using non-violent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse.

Young Greta Thunberg, a Swedish environmental activist gained international recognition as the face of the protests for promoting the view that humanity is facing an existential crisis arising from climate change.

Quite recently, there was the Black Lives Matter protests which started in America and gained momentum, after a white policeman brutally murdered a black man, George Floyd, by kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is a Global Network that builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe.

The Arab Spring, closer to home is indelibly etched in our minds. It was sparked by the first protests that occurred in Tunisia on 18 December 2010 in Sidi Bouzid, following Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in protest of Police Corruption and ill treatment. It escalated into a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab World in the early 2010s.

The past two years have indeed been years of discontent, with protests demanding the removal of corrupt governments, better living standards, greater freedoms and more rights, toppling leaders from Bolivia to Sudan, with the latest being the forced resignation of the President of Kyrgyzstan after weeks of mass protests. The leaders of Bolivia, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq and Sudan have been pushed out as a consequence.

Youth Protests across the world aiming to take back their future is like a moving train. Stand in front of it and it will crush you. Remain on the platform and it will leave you behind; or you can hop on it for a ride into a future of social Justice and good governance.

Truth be told Nigeria’s case is not very different, even though in fairness, it did not start with this regime. It is an endemic problem that has assumed exponential proportions. SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) and the injustice they perpetuate with characteristic impunity is a microcosm of the Nigerian situation.

In June 2018, CNN announced that Nigeria had overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country’s population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveals that Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the second quarter of 2020 was 27.1%, indicating that about 21.7 million Nigerians remain unemployed. The data also reveals that the worst-hit are Nigerian Youths (between the ages of 15 and 25 years) with over 13.9 million currently unemployed.

With the largest economy in Africa (GDP of $447b in 2019 compared to South Africa $359b and Egypt $303b), and despite her abundant natural resources and huge revenue from oil and gas exports of $32.6 billion in 2018 (according to eiti.org) it seems that Nigeria is experiencing growth without shared prosperity.

The gap between the rich and poor is ever increasing, as is the gap between the “in Crowd” and those left behind. Treasury looting and stashing hoards abroad has not helped the deficit in infrastructure and the enabling environment for creating Jobs. According to TRT World, Every year, Africa loses more than $88b due to illicit capital flight, amounting to 3.7 percent of the continent’s GDP of $2.6trillion.

Our youth are forced to take to immigration – legal and illegal, sometimes risking dangerous trails in the Sahara desert and across the Mediterranean Sea in rickety rafts in pursuit of survival. Nigeria has been a “country of huge potential” since independence 60 years ago. When will this giant wake up from her slumber?

It is good that our youth have found Purpose behind a common goal. The strategy, conduct and prosecution of the peaceful protests has so far been remarkable. Unlike previous ones, this Youth Movement has not been punctured by tribalism, religion nor compromised by “leaders”.

The youth have stood as one, behind a vision of a better country with shared prosperity and social justice. The youth have finally proved that they are not lazy, clueless and entitled. To buttress this, PayStack, a Fintech company founded in 2016 by Nigerian Youths Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi has been acquired by global fintech giant Stripe, in the biggest M&A deal in Nigerian corporate history.

Just recently, Interswtich, another Youthful Nigerian Company reached unicorn status after Visa acquired a minority equity stake in the firm, making her one of the most valuable African fintech businesses with a valuation of $1 billion,”.

CWG Plc’s significant contribution to Financial Inclusion is another example. Diamond bank (now acquired by Access Bank) with 7m customer accounts after 23 years was able to add an additional 6m customers, mostly from the Bottom of the Pyramid in just one year after the launch of the Diamond Yello Account, Powered by CWG and MTN.

It is about time that the youth invite themselves to the political table, because it is about their future. It is imperative to get involved in politics right from the grassroots, where the impact is most felt. It is through such initiatives that we can ensure quality and inclusive education and healthcare for the masses while create an enabling environment to attract businesses and create jobs.

It is from here that they can ensure that the voice of democracy rings out loud throughout the land (and not one political godfather installing his stooges and milking the state treasury). #EndSARS was just a catalyst, it is imperative to now look #BeyondEndSARS and focus on the broader goals of social justice and equity.

The Youth have drunk deep of this cup of knowledge and empowerment, and there is no turning back. Even though the protests end in the streets, they will be carried deep in their hearts. This movement is by no means to a destination but rather a journey of sustainable nation building. They will begin to ensure that the demand side of governance is deeply entrenched and that the voice of democracy will always be heard loud and clear at every ballot.

Gone will be the days when they were used as thugs during elections and dumped soon after, and the days when they disenfranchised themselves from apathy to the pollical process and the attendant requirement of probity from elected officials. This is just the beginning; the best of the Nigerian Youth is yet to come – Finally there is hope for our dear country.

Austin Okere is the Founder of CWG Plc, the largest security in the technology sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at CBS, New York. Austin also serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network based in Washington, and on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Innovation and Intrapreneurship. Austin is a Non-Executive Director at Globus Bank and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Risk Management Association of Nigeria (RIMAN). Austin now runs the Ausso Leadership Academy focused on Business and Entrepreneurial Mentorship.


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Stanbic IBTC Restates Commitment to Host Communities

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Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc has reiterated its commitment towards creating a positive impact within its host communities through its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives.

The financial institution explained in a statement, that it recently touched the lives of people in various communities where it operates through the donation of household and skill acquisition items, as well as the renovation and equipping of a hospital cafeteria.

Speaking during the inauguration of the renovated cafeteria at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Executive Director, Personal and Business Banking (PBB), Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Remy Osuagwu, said positively impacting communities where Stanbic IBTC operates is one of the ethos of the organisation.

Osuagwu noted that staff of the Personal and Business Banking department of Stanbic IBTC embarked on the renovation of the cafeteria to ensure that patients at the hospital eat their meals in a hygienic and conducive environment.

According to him, the humane choice of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos was borne out of the need to support the hospital, which plays a critical but often overlooked role in the health care sector.

Expressing her gratitude to the management and staff of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun, Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, explained that one of the ways the hospital is being assessed is the present state of its infrastructures.

She noted that Stanbic IBTC has provided a conducive environment where the kitchen staff can work seamlessly in making nutritional meals available to the patients.

Ogun, however, called on other organisations to emulate the good work done by Stanbic IBTC in supporting Neuro-Psychiatric Hospitals across the country, noting that mental health is one of the most critical aspects of life.

Earlier on, the department of Enterprise Data Office, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC and staff of Stanbic IBTC Insurance Brokers Limited donated household items to St. Monica Orphanage Home, Iju-Ishaga and Heritage Homes llupeju, Lagos, respectively.

The Procurement and Group Real Estate Department of Stanbic IBTC also donated skill acquisition items and empowerment machineries to the Freedom Foundation in Lekki, Lagos.

Similarly, the Card Operations department donated food items, toiletries and home utensils to the Old People’s Home, Yaba, Lagos.

Peter Ashaolu, Manager, Card Operations, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, said that one of the organisation’s strategic drivers is to give back to the community. According to him, the elderly and less privileged in the society must always be remembered and well taken care of.


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