Provision of power key to SMEs’ growth, says Jonathan
RESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday commissioned the phase 1 segment of the 1074MW Alaoji combined cycle power station in Abia State, with a firm promise to transform Nigeria and move the country forward.
Government is optimistic that the plant would restore the East as an industrial hub in the country. “Power is key to development. Without power, small and medium enterprises cannot do well. That is the focus of this administration,” he said.
He stressed how the Development Bank being established by government would enhance businesses in the country.
His words: “Only yesterday, through the Finance Ministry, we were talking about setting up the Development Bank. The idea is to have a bank that would support businesses. For small businesses to survive, they need power. If they generate their own power, their return would be minimal and their turn over would be too low.
That is why we are totally committed and we promise you that the second phase of this project would be completed.
He spoke on the background to the project: “For me, it is a moment that one will always remember. As Vice President, I had reports about this project from the National Assembly. Government was to just abandon the project because the information we got was quite disturbing. I decided to go and physically inspect it instead of government just abandoning it. I came here and saw something different from the report we got and decided to continue with the project.”
He promised the emergence of a new Nigeria, noting: “We will work together to transform this country. We will work together to move this country forward.”
The phase, which is of 504MW capacity, is a simple cycle gas turbine power plant, and is the fourth of the ten power plants being constructed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).
The second phase that would bring the total to 1074MW is expected to be completed in no distant time.
Power generated from the plant is to be wheeled via Alaoji-Owerri-Onitsha and the on-going Alaoji-Ikot Ekpene 330kv double circuit lines to the rest of the national grid.
Gas is being delivered from Accugas Uquo Field and Shell through the Nigeria Gas Company’s Eastern pipeline network.
Managing Director of NDPHC, James Olotu, noted that all the four gas turbine units and the balance of plant equipment necessary for the simple cycle gas turbine phase were now completed in full with a total capacity of 504MW.
He said: “Construction work on the combined cycle phase is continuing and by the time it is completed it will bring the entire Alaoji Combined Cycle Power station capacity to 1,074MW, the largest among the ten NIPP power stations.”
He refuted allegations that Olorunsogo plant, which was commissioned by the President recently had previously being commissioned by a past administration.
Olotu said: “Just three days after Olorunsogo was commissioned, it came in the newspapers that the power plant that Mr. President commissioned was actually a lie, that it was not a power plant, that it was commissioned years earlier. While we acknowledge the fact that all Presidents do their work, we will continue to add value to Nigeria.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan did not commission what had been commissioned before. He commissioned a brand new 750MW combined circle power plant, out there at Olorunsogo. No doubt about that.”
Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, said sixwere ready for commissioning.
Nebo ingathe nation’s installed capacity at 5500 MWS, while stressing that about 300 projects embarked upon by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) were now ready for commissioning.
“It is on record that this is the very fourth plant that the President is commissioning within a very short time. This is an unbroken record and a record that cannot be broken.
“We also know that there are six more waiting for you to commission. We know that moving at the pace that you are, moving, before the end of this year, you would have commissioned 6 other power plants. We congratulate you.
“In the South East, we have the Alaoji Power Plant. It is going to ginger up industrial revolution, manufacturing, small and medium enterprises, and all of them to strive. Jobs would be created. Wealth would be created. Overall well being would be guaranteed.
Education would strive, because development follows electricity. Havinginherited 2800-3000MW, today Nigeria has the combined ability, not just installed capacity of 5500MW of electricity.
“Nigeria is diversifying. Coal is coming on stream. More hydro power plants are coming on board. This is no longer a dream. As I speak, 300 projects completed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) are ready for commissioning.