Some stakeholders in the electricity industry have tasked the new Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), a special purpose vehicle funded by the three tiers of Nigeria’s government, Joseph Chiedu Ugbo, to fast-track power generation and delivery in the country.
Though the NDPHC had claimed that its seven of the 10 power plants were operational and producing 25 per cent of Nigeria’s generation output, these stakeholders posited that this power company could generate more electricity to meet the nation’s demand.
One of these experts, Mr. Dan Kunle, while noting that NDPHC was set up to run seamlessly but it had experienced unnecessary encumbrances typical of public project implementation in Nigeria, said: “The NIPP situation is a classical Nigerian way of doing things. This is due to delays and in some cases, lack of seriousness to deliver key infrastructure projects.”
Kunle, who has a deep knowledge of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) conception and project expectations, said that it was completely unnecessary for Nigeria to have dragged on with the NIPP for over 10 years now.
He also explained that despite the initial challenges, which resulted to the suspension of the project, works on its generation aspects should have been completed long before now to give the country some leverage in its power generation capacity.
The issues of inadequate gas supply to the plants, even after close to $500 million had been put into building and upgrading gas supply infrastructure, according to him, had continued to put a big question mark on the values, which the NIPP had so far brought to the country’s power supply system.
Kunle asked: “What is the point of having power plants with no gas to turn them on? The fact that some of these plants do not have gas supply to them shows how unserious we can be sometimes with planning and executing key infrastructure projects to the end.
“While I completely give it to the NDPHC for mustering that quantum of assets, the assets are huge and robust especially the transmission networks, I also believe that the power stations should have been completed by now and everything related with its first phase completely forgotten.
“It is because of the country’s irrational decisions on completing the NIPP generation plants as at when due with its associated gas infrastructure that has cost it the opportunity to have private investor buy them over in a privatisation exercise that has been on suspension for more than two years now.
“The Federal Government, which is currently running the plants that are in operation through the NDPHC, does not have the capacity to do it under an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) arrangement. The NDPHC supervises this O&M framework in some of the plants like Geregu-2.
“How many megawatts of power are they putting on the national grid today? Very minimal because the government has remained adamant and allowed private investors who would add value to them go away.
“Government is doing the O&M by itself but I insist that it does not have that capacity. It should allow people who know the power business to bring out the values of the NIPP plants.
There is no way the government can run these plants efficiently otherwise the whole idea of privatisation would mean nothing,” he stressed.
Another industry source said that the NIPP initiative was suffering from misplaced planning, especially with adequate provision for gas feedstock.
Another expert said with the vast transmission infrastructure built by the NIPP, transmitting power from its stations should not have been a challenge but for the lack of power therein.
He said: “If there was a deliberate plan to have good gas supplied to the power stations of the NIPP, there wouldn’t have been the kind of issues that arose with investors during its privatisation.
“But because we deliberately plan without focus, the NIPP is in what I can call a limbo because it is neither giving out the values it ought to give or allowing others who have the capacity to do,” he added.
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