Nigeria to no longer fund excess crude for power plants

Nov 03, 2007 01:00 AM

President Musa Yar'Adua has said the Federal Government will no longer fund the country's power plants from the excess crude account. He said this at the foundation-laying ceremony of the Independent Power Project (IPP) at Osisioma, near Aba, that is capable of generating 140 MW of electricity.
The president, who was represented by the Minister of State for Energy and Gas, Mr Emmanuel Odusina, said the decision to discontinue with the plants' funding was hinged on "the legal implications" of such action. He urged local and foreign investors to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the reform of the power sector. He said the entire requisite institutional framework had been put in place to promote investments in the sector.

The president, nonetheless, pledged that his government would make tangible efforts to develop the power sector, particularly in power generation, distribution and transmission. He said government had intensified efforts to reach out to foreign energy experts "for possible assistance and collaboration in the development of the power supply infrastructure".
He commended the trail-blazing efforts of Prof. Barth Nnaji, the Chairman of Geometric Power, the company funding the project in concert with a consortium of local and foreign financial institutions. Yar'Adua described the project as the "first major investment by a Nigerian in the Diaspora".
"The successful completion, operation and management of the project will, no doubt, be a reference point in the nation's history of power generation, distribution and transmission," he said.

In his address, Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State commended Nnaji for locating the project in the state. He said the project would aid the revival of the industries that were shut in Aba and other towns because of epileptic power supply.
Orji pledged the government's support for the project and warned the host communities against sabotage, harassment and intimidation of workers at the project site. Also speaking, the Special Assistant to the President on Power, Dr Joseph Makoju, said 11 government-assisted IPPs were at various stages of completion in different parts of the country. Makoju, however, described the Aba IPP as unique because it was wholly financed through a private-sector initiative.

The Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr Ransome Owan, represented by Dr Alili Abdulrasaaq, said the commission has issued out licenses to 20 IPPs, adding that three had already started operations. Owan said with the 140 MW of electricity expected from the Aba IPP, the licensed power companies would cumulatively add 8,138 MW to the nation's power generation capacity.
In his speech, Nnaji said an extensive environmental impact assessment of the project had been carried out, adding that the plant would start operations in a year's time.

Source: Daily Trust
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