Focus on closing power deficiency gap in Nigeria at Abuja summit

NNPC copy 2Mele Kolo Kyari, group managing director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the country’s national oil company, has assured that Nigeria is open for business, especially in the power and gas sector

Kyari gave the assurance at ongoing Nigeria’s International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) going on in Abuja.

He acknowledged that though that Nigeria is currently power deficient, which leads to poverty among the populace, the country distributes less than 4,000MW grossly inadequate.

Kyari, however, stated that the intention of government is to deliver enough power citing the various power projects earmarked for Abuja, Kaduna and Kano.

Yusuf Usman, chief operating officer, gas and power at NNPC pointed out that power has to be paid for to encourage investors in the sector, especially in the gas sector.

“The problem of gas in Nigeria is not pricing but collection,” Usman stated.

According to Usman, the inability of the power distribution companies to collect payments for power supplied jeopardises the bankability of power projects. “We can only deliver power to off-takers if there is a power purchase agreement (PPA). Consumers need to pay for power consumed.”

Osagie Okunbor, chairman of Shell companies in Nigeria and managing director of Shell Petroleum and Development Company (SPDC), stated that bankability is a way of reducing the risk involved in developing projects. He noted that the availability of resources is just one step in the creation of wealth.

It is noteworthy that during the summit, the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) signed a gas power development grant agreement with the NNPC to finance the development of 1.35MW power plant in Abuja. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, the USA ambassador to Nigeria told the audience that the project is one of several projects the agency is undertaking in Nigeria.

Speaking on the occasion, Tom Hardy, director of the USTDA, commented that the signing of the agreement is his agency’s effort to close the power deficiency gap in Nigeria, secure energy capacity and drive economic growth.

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