Five Things to Know to Start Your Day
Power plants suffer shortage amid Nigeria’s decade of gas
Less than 20 days after launching an ambitious plan to power its entire economy with gas by 2030, most of Nigeria’s gas-fired power plants are suffering from low gas supply and other operational problems, a development that is keeping many Nigerians in darkness.
Two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari told the world, Nigeria is ready to leverage on the huge gas reserves to become a major gas-consuming country, problems relating to gas supply and maintenance loopholes have thrown the country into darkness in recent weeks as more than 16 electricity-generating plants are facing critical challenges.
In an apology statement to Nigerians, minister of power, Saleh Mamman, admitted seven thermal plants were battling with low gas shortages as a result suffered “breakdown” but assured that there were ongoing efforts to restore power to the affected areas in the country.
The seven thermal power plants experiencing breakdown as a result of gas constraints include Geregu, Sepele, Omotosho, Gbarain, Omuku, Paras, and Alaoji power plants.
Most experts are wondering how a country that boasts Africa’s largest proven gas reserves of 203 trillion cubic feet and 600tcf unproven gas reserves is still struggling with a shortage of gas for domestic use.
PoS vendors overrun Lekki Free Trade Zones as banks shy away
The long stretch of land along the Ibeju-Lekki corridor in Lagos State is punctuated at every turn by multiple Point of Sale (PoS) kiosks sandwiched between food markets and low-rent residential quarters.
The area houses the Lekki Free Trade Zones and the Dangote Refinery, expected to be the world’s largest single-train facility when completed.
Yet, no commercial bank has ever stepped foot in Ibeju Lekki, which was designed to become a central hub for business, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, despite the two gigantic developments now rousing locals from sleep as early as 5 am with rumbling trucks carrying stones, gravel or sand to and from the construction sites.
Why #PantamiResign is trending
Nigerians have continued to call for the resignation of Ali Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy over alleged links to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Taliban.
This is despite the announcement by the minister that the ban on SIM registration has been lifted, ending four months of lack of activities on SIM cards by network operators. Interestingly, the announcement was made the same day, the viral video that alleged jihadist sentiments was posted on Twitter.
In the viral video published by online media platform Sahara Reporters, and confirmed by the minister’s lawyer, Michael Numa, the minister who was much younger when the video was recorded, was seen engaging the late leader of Boko Haram, Muhammed Yusuf.
The Peoples Gazette also said it was in possession of three audio recordings that showed the minister making statements in support of the killings of infidels by Islamic jihadists.
A civil society group on Friday sent a petition to the United States government urging the Joe Biden administration to investigate Pantami’s alleged links with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
COVID-19 vaccination: Government failure leaves Nigerians vulnerable to pandemic
There is a scientific and medical consensus about the coronavirus. It will not be defeated in any country without mass vaccinations. True, adhering to safety protocols and having an effective test, trace, isolate and cure system are powerful weapons against the pandemic, but it’s universally accepted that, ultimately, only mass vaccinations will keep COVID-19 at bay. Sadly, in Nigeria, none of these protective measures is in place or effective.
First, take adherence to safety protocols. Well, thanks to widespread public apathy, public safety protocols, such as using face-covering and social distancing, have collapsed in Nigeria. They are more honoured in the breach than in the observance. Then, second, take the test, trace, isolate and cure system. It is non-existent or utterly ineffective in Nigeria.
According to Reuters COVID-19 Trackers, as of April 16 last week, Nigeria had 164,000 infections and 2,061 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began. But one must take these figures with a pinch of salt because you can’t know the number of infections without an effective test and trace system, which doesn’t exist in Nigeria. And if the number of deaths is derived from hospitalisations, what about the countless ordinary Nigerians who probably died from COVID-19 complications without hospitalizations?
Truth is, the absence of an effective test and trace system has led to dubious figures that suggest that COVID-19 infections and deaths are low in Nigeria and that they are even decreasing when these might not be so. Sadly, such misinformation lulls Nigerians into a false sense of protection; several deaths would probably have been prevented with an effective test, trace, isolate and cure system.
What Shoprite buyer should do to sustain brand
The buzz in the Nigerian retail market today is no longer the curious mix of Shoprite exiting the market when a Burger King is making a bold entry. The good news, instead, is that Africa’s largest retail chain has been acquired by a local investor.
Speculations were laid to rest last week following a media report which disclosed that Persianas Group, a local property development company, were the new owners of Shoprite
The Persianas are the owners of The Palms Mall, the first formal retail outlet in Lagos, which has branched out to other Nigerian cities including Enugu, Kwara and Ibadan. That report evoked reasonable excitement in the retail market.
The Group is also the promoter of the Jara Superstores (Mall) brand. Speculations are rife that they may change the Shoprite to Jara. How this might affect their new business remains a matter of conjecture.
Amid the market excitement, experts warn that the local content in the new ownership of the retail chain comes with loads of expectations and implications, pointing out actions the new investors should take to keep the brand intact and remain profitable.
“If you look at South African businesses compared to Nigerian ones, you will see that when it comes to marketing and communication around their brands, they are always a step ahead. That is why they are very strong,” Ken Egbas, marketing communications and brand expert noted.
He noted further that South African brands work with high-level professionals different from their Nigerian counterparts. He, therefore, advised that the new investors need to understand the peculiarities of the Nigerian market and the requirement of the target audience.