The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has asked electricity distribution companies in the country to suspend the proposed tariff increase which was supposed to take effect from Wednesday 1 April 2020. In a memo on Tuesday, the commission said the adverse effects of the coronavirus has affected the global economy and Nigerians are also bearing the brunt. NERC had announced in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020 that the order was issued to reflect the impact of changes in the minor review variables in the determination of cost-reflective tariffs and relevant tariff and market shortfalls for 2019 and 2020. The order, the commission added, also determined the minimum remittances payable by the distribution companies in meeting their market obligations based on the allowed tariffs. All future tariff reviews, the commission said, shall be on the basis of consultations between the DisCo and customer clusters with firm commitments on rates and quality of service. It added that the service level compact shall include a compensation mechanism for end-user customers to address the DisCo’s failure events to deliver on performance targets.

Nigeria’s power sector in the past weeks had continued to experience supply shortage due to serious gas constraints to most of the country’s thermal generating stations, the Transmission Company of Nigeria said as data from the Office of the Vice President showed that gas unavailability stalled the generation of 4,156.5 megawatts of power on 28 March alone. The company had reported the low gas supply to many power plants a few weeks ago and said again on Monday that the gas shortage had persisted to date. The cut in supply, TCN said, had restrained optimal generation into the grid and consequently the quantum of electricity transmitted to distribution load centres. The Geregu Gas Station, Geregu National Integrated Power Project; and Sapele NIPP were all the thermal power plants most affected by gas supply constraint as they all now generating 0MW against 435MW, 81MW with a shortfall of 354MW, and 0MW against 230MW, respectively. Other thermal power plants that were also affected include Olorunsosgo NIPP, generating 0MW against 112MW; Olorunsogo Gas plant, generating 70.5MW with a shortfall of 195.5MW; and Gbarian plant, generating 0MW against 112MW. Also affected by the gas supply constraint was Omotosho NIPP, generating 110MW with a shortfall of 220MW. Egbin power plant, Alaoji NIPP, Delta and Okpai were equally affected by the gas shortage. The report said that Egbin is currently generating 596MW with a shortfall of 264MW. Delta II-IV gas is generating 306.81MW with a shortfall of 128.19MW and Okpai Gas plant is generating 159MW with a shortfall of 291MW,” the transmission company stated. Among others, Rivers IPP, AFAM IV-V and Paras Energy are also generating with a shortfall of 40MW, 60MW, and 30.2MW respectively. AFAM VI does not have a gas supply problem but one of its units is out of service. Currently, Azura and Odukpani power plants were the only two thermal power generating stations generating at full capacity into the nation’s grid, the TCN said.

The MTN Group is not backing out from its plan to reduce its majority stake in the wireless carrier’s Nigerian business. The continuous spread of coronavirus pandemic which has caused turmoil in the global market may require the sale to be done in smaller chunks than anticipated. The CFO, Ralph Mupita. said that the impact of the pandemic on international financial markets does not in any way change the importance of selling part of its 79 percent shareholding to local investors, However, the rest of a three-to-five-year plan to dispose of 25-billion rand ($1.4 billion) of assets will probably take a back seat, for now, he said. MTN had announced a plan to dispose of part of its Nigeria division after a series of disputes with authorities of its largest division. The dispute over tax payments and the withdrawal of cash from the country is the firm’s most recent battle with the country’s authorities. The plan is to sell about a 15 percent stake to local investors, reducing MTN’s ownership to about 64 percent. MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd. was listed in Lagos last year and is the country’s second-biggest publicly-traded company. The Nigerian telecommunication market is MTN’s biggest, accounting for a third of overall 2019 revenue and almost 40 percent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation. The Nigerian Communications Commission has said the telco is the biggest provider of telecom services in the country, with almost 69 million customers.

Nigeria’s federal government has declared as illegal the lockdown of some states and the closure of their borders by their respective governors in an effort to curtail the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country. Reacting to the reports of Nigerians being trapped in the border communities of some states as a result of the various governors’ directives, the secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said that the lockdown announced by President Buhari on Sunday to stop the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic only affected the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun States. This is coming after the disclosure of the Ogun governor Dapo Abiodun that the state government had obtained permission from the presidency to begin the lockdown of the state on Friday instead of 11 pm on Tuesday as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari. Mustapha, who is the chairman of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of the Coronavirus-19 Disease, at a press conference in Abuja said the lockdown by Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Ekiti, and Osun that has left travellers in agony was illegal.