N1.3b for power sector training
The National Economic Council (NEC) approved yesterday N1.3 billion for financing manpower development and training of 3,700 trainees under the National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme (NAPSAS). The cash will come from the Federal Ministry of Power Intervention Fund.
The NEC comprises the 36 governors, Chief Economic Adviser, Central Bank Governor, Solicitor-General and Vice President Namadi Sambo (the chairman).
The training became necessary to close the 23-year manpower gap in generation, transmission and distribution sub-sectors of power, the NEC said.
Anambra State Governor Willy Obiano, with who were Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, Kogi State Governor Idris Wada, Bayelsa State Deputy Governor John Jonah Gboribiogha and Minister of National Planning Sulaiman Abubakar, briefed reporters at the end of the meeting presided over by Sambo.
NEC also directed the Acting Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba to dismantle all “road blocks” mounted on nation’s highways for revenue collection so as to curb the growing incidents of illegal multiple taxation.
Obiano said following the receipt of brief from the Ministerial Implementation Committee (MIC) on the harmonisation of taxes, it was discovered from its findings that “the 1998 taxes and levies Act is overdue for review, there is duplication of some taxes and levies at states and local governments, taxes and levies administered by some states are not backed by appropriation legislation”.
He pointed out that the MIC had recommended the discontinuation of the practice of using non-revenue officials for collection of taxes and levies by states and federal agencies as it was contrary to Section 2 of the taxes and levies Act.
Further recommendation include that states revenue boards should be empowered to automate their tax operations for effectiveness, processing, accountability and to reduce leakages.
According to him, NEC resolved “to direct IG of police to dismantle all ‘road blocks’ mounted on highways for revenue collection” while it further resolved that the MIC committee should work with the Attorney Generals of six states representing the six geopolitical zones to incorporate the inputs and comments of the members of the council and revert to it at the next meeting.
The Zonal representatives, according to him, are as follows: Enugu for Southeast, Lagos for Southwest, Bayelsa for Southsouth, Plateau for Northcentral, Kebbi for Northwest and Borno for Northeast.
At the briefing, the governors of Gombe and Kogi, Dankwambo and Wada, highlighted on the National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme (NAPSAS) based on presentation made by the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo.
Some of the objectives of the scheme, include to train qualitative and skilled middle and low level manpower for the power sector; provide employment opportunities to meet the government’s job creation projections for unemployed youths, which has direct correlation with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projection; and meet the local content expectation of government in the privatised electricity industry across the value chain.
Wada explained that 3,700 trainees, 100 each from 36 states and the FCT are to be fully sponsored by the Federal Government under the scheme just as N1.3 billion is to be disbursed from the Federal Ministry of Power.
The council also received a status report on the valuation of electricity distribution assets provided by the state governments and connected to the distribution networks.
Gboribiogha said that the Council received the status report on the valuation of the electricity assets provided by the state governments — presented by the Chairman/CEO of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
“Council took note and urged the states to come up with the final submission by next month,” he said.
The National Planning Minister said the council also received an update on the National Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan (NIIMP ).
It also took note of all the amendments and adopted the NIIMP from the Minister of National Planning as a follow-up to the last NEC resolution that the National Planning Commission should work with the commissioners of state planning agencies to further review the document and incorporate inputs.