Power Distribution Companies in Nigeria said they have incurred a huge operational shortfall of about ₦3 trillion, a development that makes it difficult for them to meet their obligation. The Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Sunday Oduntan, said that the liquidity crisis was not peculiar to the DisCos but cuts across the entire power value chain as there is a limit to how much one can invest otherwise recovering tariff will be difficult considering the sector as a heavily regulated industry. According to him, the right price for a kilo hour of electricity is ₦80, but the DisCos are forced to operate at ₦31.56 national average for residential. This he said, has made it difficult for firms to operate. The huge shortfall, which the current government is aware of is one issue hampering the provision of steady electricity in the country by the DisCos. The liquidity crisis, he said, cuts across the entire value chain, including gas suppliers who need to be paid by the generation companies. The challenge is a function of a lot of factors which is the responsibility of the regulators to look into, including forex, lending rate, and the cost of production of power, he said.
Gokada, a Lagos-based on-demand motorcycle taxi-hailing app, has suspended its services in Nigeria amidst rising competition in the mobility hailing market in the country. The temporal shutdown was announced by CEO, Fahim Saleh, who said the compulsory break, which would last for 12 days beginning from 14 August to 25 August, was compelled by his personal experience on one of the company’s bikes in Victoria Island, Lagos. Saleh said he hailed a Gokada bike from Victoria Island to Mainland bridge in Lagos, and his experience was unpleasant because rider’s failure to get to his pickup point within the allotted time and the rider’s struggle to navigate the road due to a fault developed by the firm’s app. The company started operations in February 2018 and was already completing 5,000 rides a day by its first anniversary. It recently raised $5.3 million in a Series A fundraiser.
The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria have condemned the increasing over-regulation of the sector with particular emphasis on the recent incursion of the National Information and Technology Development Agency. The operators claimed that there has been serious regulatory overlap on the part of NITDA in some areas that were core jurisdiction of the Nigerian Communications Commission. The operators had mentioned that certain provisions in three subsidiary legislations and frameworks issued by NITDA were currently under the regulatory purview of the NCC. These were pointed out in a letter by the operators dated 30 July 2019, to the Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Umar Danbatta. The said framework sets out rules for the provision of Public Internet Access without regard to the powers of the Commission and extant competition considerations. On framework for Data Centre Facilities, ALTON claimed that NITDA wrote to some of its members in July 2019 stating it has commenced registration of Data Centre facilities in Nigeria and requested that they initiate the registration of their Data Centre facilities with NITDA. According to NITDA, the registration is in furtherance of Presidential Executive Orders 003 and 005 on local content development. However, a careful review of the Orders does not reveal anything specific to the operation of data centres, ALTON said, also identifying, among others, Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019 guideline issued by NITDA as another infraction. The developments bring to light the dreaded multiple regulations, which has been a reoccurring challenge for the industry, according to ALTON, which calls for urgent intervention by the Commission to safeguard the interest of market players and preserve the powers of the Commission.
The Senate has requested the FG to divest its 40 percent stake in electricity distribution companies to foreign investors. Senate President Ahmed Lawan said that experts in the field should be given an opportunity to invest in the sector. According to the Senate president, the 40 percent holding of the FG as stipulated in the Power Privatisation Act 2005 may be more beneficial to the country if it is sold to foreign investors with technical know-how as it is not in the interest of the government to keep disbursing bailout funds to DisCos without a commensurate improvement in the power supply. Lawan also expressed displeasure with the report on supervisory control and data acquisition contracts awarded three times in the past without success. He, however, called for a more stringent process of awarding contracts that would allow only competent firms qualified to execute the project while assuring the TCN of the senate’s support for its proposed recapitalisation of DisCos and the transmission rehabilitation and expansion programme.