‘Power infrastructure concession will solve embedded challenges’
Stakeholders, yesterday, in Abuja, said gaps in power infrastructure can be addressed through concession, especially in power generation, as hope rises for the rehabilitation of the Jebba Hydropower Plant.
While Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (MESL), operators of the Kainji and Jebba Hydropower plants, signed a €92million contract with Andritz Hydro GmbH to add 96.4 megawatts (MW) to the national grid, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), said about 12 similar power projects are being considered for concession.
“There is Gurara, which is being concessioned and will soon happen. There is Kashimbila that will happen in the power sector and also we are looking at the small and medium hydros,” ICRC said.
The Director-General, ICRC, Chidi Izuwah, noted that the concession aspect of power privatisation has been very successful.
“The way to go is to concession our assets to the private sector, whether road, electricity or hospitals. Service delivery can go up and we can address the huge infrastructure deficit we have in our country. Nigeria cannot develop without infrastructure,” Izuwah said.
Decrying the liquidity problem in the sector, he said the agency has made a proposal to the Federal Government on the solutions to the challenges, stressing that there was a need for the sustainable ecosystem in the power sector.
He equally argued that cost-reflective tariff, which he noted made the telecommunication industry successful in Nigeria, was needed in the energy.
Bedevilled by extreme liquidity and infrastructural challenges, Managing Director, MESL, Lamu Audu, said the prevailing situation in the Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), has made it very difficult for power companies to run businesses sustainably.
Audu, who said the company would be committed to delivering more power for the benefit of Nigerians, recalled that “Unit 2G6 got burnt in April 2009, and several efforts by the government to rehabilitate it did not succeed. But as part of our capacity recovery plan under the concession agreement with the Federal Government, we have signed the contract today.”
Asked why the company is investing in generation at a time when stranded electricity is on the increase, Audu said the firm is watching the value chain to ensure that the power being recovered is evacuated as the transmission company has commenced improvement plans.
According to him, the project would be completed in two years at the cost of €32million obtained as loans from about three Nigerian banks.
Audu further disclosed that the concessionaire had recovered over 472MW from both Kainji and Jebba hydropower plants, bringing the total available capacity of plants to 922MW.