Saturday, 3rd June 2023

Stakeholders rally investors to power sector

By Guardian Nigeria
20 November 2022   |   4:03 am
Barely nine years after privatisation, stakeholders in Nigeria’s power sector have called for massive investment, targeted at increasing generation, transmission, and distribution in the nation.

Barely nine years after privatisation, stakeholders in Nigeria’s power sector have called for massive investment, targeted at increasing generation, transmission, and distribution in the nation.

The stakeholders, including experts and investors, noted that the sector still has a long way to go, especially in delivering adequate and stable supply to consumers nationwide.

Speaking at the just-concluded Nigeria Power Sector Awards, (NPSA), in Abuja at the weekend, the Special Adviser to the President on Power and Infrastructure, Ahmed Zakari, said the government has already taken bold steps to address issues, which culminated in the sector increasing generation capacity to about 17,000 megawatts, MW, from about 13,000MW.

He said the feat would not have been achieved without much commitment from every stakeholder, stressing that teamwork will be required in moving the sector forward.

Similarly, the former Minister of Power, Prof. Bat Nnaji, said the main idea behind privatisation was to attract investors with technical and financial resources into developing privatised assets.

He said: The government wanted companies that would have the technical and financial capacity to impact the sector. For instance, if the procured asset has the capacity to generate 900MW, but could only generate 200MW, we expect the investor to invest resources and increase the capacity to 900MW.

“We also expected the Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, to invest their resources targeted at building networks, distribution lines, and prepaid meters in order to enhance supply to consumers.”

Also speaking, the Chairman of the Organising Committee, NPSA 2022, Mr. Odion Omonfoman, noted that with an average generation of 4,000MW of electricity, the nation’s power sector still has a long way to go.

However, he observed that some accomplishments, including the setting up of a legal and regulatory framework, innovative regulations like the Service Based Tariffs, Mini-grid regulations, and Meter Asset Provider Regulations, have already been made in the sector.

He noted improved generation, transmission, distribution, and customer satisfaction, through many initiatives, especially the Presidential Power Initiative in collaboration with Siemens.

Omonfoman, who disclosed that the Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, have also executed innovative projects, targeted at improving supply to several communities, said: “There is no need to reiterate how important electricity and the power sector is to our lives and livelihoods as individuals and businesses.

However, with an average daily generation output of 4000MW, and Renewable Energy is just a tiny component of that mix, the power sector isn’t where we believe it should be. Those who drafted and implemented the electricity reforms and subsequent privatization exercise must certainly be disappointed that the sector hasn’t reached the famous Eldorado.

“But we also cannot deny that there hasn’t been progress as well, no matter how minuscule or small we imagine the progress in the sector to be. In my view, and you may of course not agree, progress has been made across the power sector value chain. For instance, we have seen progress in setting up a legal and regulatory framework for the sector.

“Innovative regulations like Service Based Tariffs, Mini-grid regulations, and Meter Asset Provider Regulations have no doubt improved electricity supply and overall customer satisfaction to an extent. There has been progress in improving generation, even stabilizing generation output at 4000MW is part of the little progress. We see improvements in the transmission sector with more stability of the National grid.

“The Presidential Power Initiative in collaboration with Siemens is significant progress in the transmission segment. We have experienced improvements in the Distribution segment, where innovative projects by some DisCos have seen several communities enjoy almost near reliable 24 hours electricity supply. There have been payment innovations and better customer services as well. We have moved from queuing for hours with our meter cards and wads of Naira notes at PHCN offices, to paying our energy bills from the comfort of our homes and phones.

“More importantly, there is a lot of progress in the Renewable Energy/offgrid space, with the leadership of the Rural Electrification Agency and her partners driving progress in that segment. Development partners such as USAID/Power Africa, the UKNAIF, GIZ, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and other development partners continue to support the sector from an investment perspective and the implementation of reforms and policies that will engender more improvements.

“We have seen State governments now more determined to improve electricity access to their citizens by creating their own electricity markets and regulatory frameworks outside of the National grid system. Innovative PPP projects such as the Ossiomo IPP projects, the Aba IPP projects and other similar projects give an indication of the direction the Power Sector is headed in the future.

“All of these little improvements wouldn’t have been possible without the involvement of Financial Institutions and Investors to take the investment risks and provide the much-needed capital in the form of either debt or equity. The Central Bank of Nigeria must be applauded for its innovative structuring of long-term funding to the sector, through deposit money banks and in collaboration with the NERC. The Core Investors in the Successor PHCN companies are part of the little progress we make reference to.”

Omonfoman, said the feats deserve recognition, adding it would also inspire more positive growth and change the narrative of the sector.

In a statement sent to the media, the organizers stated that some awards were presented to a few individuals for their immense contributions and achievements, including the Posthumous award to the late Joseph Oyeyani Makoju, former chief executive officer of National Electric Power Authority, and special adviser on power to three presidents.

It stated that the ‘Leadership and Excellence Award in the Power Sector’ was presented to Ahmad Zakari, special adviser to the President on infrastructure; the ‘Trailblazer Award in the Power Sector’ was presented to Abubakar Aliyu, minister of power while the Lifetime achievement Award was presented to former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Godwin Emefiele; governor, Central Bank of Nigeria; Barth Nnaji, former minister of power and founder of Geometric Power Limited/Aba Power IPP; and Kola Adesina, executive director, Sahara Energy Group.