The Federal Government through the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), an agency of the Ministry of Science Technology and the Chinese Great Wall Corporation (CGWC), on Thursday, formally began the implementation of N4 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed two years ago for the establishment of a local transformer manufacturing plant in Okene, Kogi State.
NASENI’s Spokesman, Mr. Olusegun Ayeoyenikan, in a statement made available to the media on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, said Nigeria cannot continue to assemble power modules but must upgrade to local production to provide efficient power supply services for the nation.
The NASENI boss expressed optimism that on completion, the project would not only assist in distributing steady power supply in the country but also enlist Nigeria as one of the few countries in the world that has transformer manufacturing plant.
He said: “The Federal Government and China Great Wall Corporation agreement was signed since 2013, while awaiting implementation, unfortunately, Ethiopia got the hint that Nigeria had an understanding with China to build Transformer manufacturing plant and went ahead of us to get the facilities offered by China in this regard.”
He admitted that Ethiopia now has a big transformer manufacturing plant ahead of Nigeria, adding that despite the delay on the part of Nigeria, the Chinese Government has been patient to assist in reviewing the facilities offered to Nigeria in respect of the project.
Haruna promised to conduct the delegation on an on-the-site visit to PEEMADI-site in Okene and NASENI Solar Energy outfit located in Karshi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to assess the activities on ground.
The Chinese delegation led by Mr. Ao Pei Yong assured that the project when completed will be the second largest transformer producing plant in Africa.
He explained that the visit was to achieve the process of setting up the transformer manufacturing plant and the initiation of China railway project manufacturing processes in the country, adding that the visit was also to ensure that the harmonisation of government regulations and policies on all related issues were cordially formalised.
He said: “We guarantee to establish everything on transformer and transformer making machines in this collaboration and promise that we will work together to achieve everything as specified in the MoU.”
Yong said that the transformer manufacturing project covers electric power and distribution, power transformer as well as high voltage testing laboratory, adding: “Once this project is completed, Nigeria will have the capacity to achieve a Nigeria brand of transformer not only for self-sufficiency but the country can export to other parts of Africa.”
On the role of Bank of China, he said: “The bank can give financial backing in form of loan and financial advisory support to the project.
“Bank of China’s interest rate is low and also its operations meet the financial requirements of Nigeria. They can also give us as far as ten years moratorium before repayment. So I think the budget cannot be a problem, Bank of China is a strong supporter.”