The just-concluded 12th West African Power Industry Convention in Lagos has provided a time of deep thought on how optimistic Nigerians should be about the power sector.
Those who spoke at the event included Engr. Oladele Amoda, the Chief Executive Officer of Eko Electricity Distribution Company; Shi Wei Liang, the Vice President of Huawei Technologies Limited; Abiodun Ajifowobaje, the Managing Director/CEO of Ikeja Electric; and Austin Avuru, the CEO of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc.
At a session handled by Rob Dickerson, the MD of Enugu Electric, he said the power problem in Nigeria cannot be solved by the Government alone.
Dickerson said he does not think the country is financially buoyant to do that because the cost to get to a standard level of power supply for the country would be about N9 trillion.
He said: “If we had an effective and efficient energy system, the low oil prices would have resulted in the non-oil sector enjoying relatively low energy costs and this would boost the economy and compensate for revenue losses in the oil sector.
“Nigeria really needs creative and courageous approaches to solving the challenges of gas supply, power generation, transmission and distribution.”
Dickerson said investors are available but some factors needed to be addressed.
These include security of the equipment and availability of channels for proper distribution of generated power, adding that all the channels for distribution are outdated.
He equally said customers are a very big set back as 40 per cent of them do not pay bills and another 20 per cent of power generated goes to waste.
When asked if the power sector in Nigeria is a fertile ground for the growth of the economy, Dickerson said yes.
He, however, said the government needed to address the challenges he highlighted for the sector to become a money spinner.
Austin said electricity is the backbone of a nation’s progress.He said industries and individuals need electricity to thrive, adding that globally, it has been demonstrated that the demand for electrical power grows as the Gross Domestic Product grows.
He added: “The corollary is that making cost effective energy available drives economic growth.
“We will need to find and develop about 120 Tscf of gas to meet and sustain this projected demand and to achieve the vision 2020 aspiration, Nigeria requires a very robust and executable national gas strategy.”
Austin said an Investment of over $10 billion per annum is required over the next 10 years in the power sector.
The CEO of Shoreline Energy Nigeria, Kola Karim, stated that the problem of power in Nigeria can only be solved if the government will make all incentives available.
Karim said that will be the only way the power business will attract investors. Using XYZ as an example of a company that came into Nigeria and after going through all the processes for the registration of the company only discovered that there is a fixed price to sell the product without any consideration for how much went into the production.
He said most times, this leads to frustration and loss. Karim however said where there is adequate financing, there should not be a challenge.But he said this is not so.
The question and answer time at a private press briefing with the stakeholders in the power sector made it obvious that both the consumer and producers are not happy about the state of power supply in the country.
A lot of people were of the opinion that the private investors should return the power sector to the government if it was not profitable for it to run instead of the complaint from them.
The event ended with exhibition of power production equipment by the companies.
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