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FG, China to fund $5bn Mambilla power plant

he Federal Government and China Exim bank are to finance the $5bn Mambilla 3,050 megawatts hydro power plant in Taraba State.

It was learnt that senior officials from the ministries of finance and power had concluded arrangements to visit China next week to finalise all necessary transactions needed for the commencement of the project.

Our correspondent gathered that the power plant would cost about $5bn and to be largely financed by the Chinese financial institution.

Confirming the development, the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Mohammed Wakil, said the project had received the approval of the President and the Federal Government would commence work on it once its delegation returned from China.

He said, “The amount to be invested in that project is over $5bn. In the history of this country this is so far the most expensive project. This is so far the biggest project and one has to follow due process. The China Exim Bank is indicating interest in it but the Federal Ministry of Finance has to check and do the needful.

“The ministers of finance and power will be in China any time soon to finalise and cross check all that is necessary about this project. The President has passion for this project and he has been mentioning it on many of his statements has committed himself. He even said sometime that he would have loved to inaugurate the ground breaking ceremony of this project before the elections.”

Explaining reasons why the project had yet to commence as planned, Wakil said litigations by host community had delayed the full commencement of the power plant.

“Somehow, the community instituted a court injunction restraining us from further work on the project. At a point we had about two litigations but the ministry, instead of going through the legal way, decided to solve the problem outside litigation.

“A committee has been set up on this because this is a national project and we don’t want to be involved in unnecessary legal tussle as this may result in a perpetual injunction. That is why we are engaging the committee, the lawyers and the community to see how we can settle this out of court so that they will allow the project.”

The minister said the litigations “tampered with our timetable otherwise the project would have gone far beyond its present state. But even at that, the key things needed for the ground breaking are set.”

Wakil noted that the approval by the President was in order to uplift the North-East by boosting power supply and infrastructural development in the region, which had been ravaged by the devastating activities of insurgents.

He stated that stated the President approved the Mambilla project because of his conviction that boosting economic life in the region was the surest way to engage youths that were being lured to militancy.

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kaduna Electricity Company workers protest ahead of handover


The workers of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, on Thursday morning, staged a protest ahead of the hand-over of the company to its new owners on the same day.

A text message was sent on Wednesday to workers asking them to converge at the zonal office at NEPA roundabout where the gate of the head office will be locked to stall the hand-over.

Some union officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the showdown was to prevent the hand-over until all conditions and some outstanding allowances owed workers were paid.

The text seen by PREMIUM TIMES read: “Good morning how are you and family? I pray well. Please there is and 4all staffs to be at the zonal office, it will be locked up due to some unagreed point with mgt.7am 2day.”

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, had on Wednesday sent notice of an 8a.m. Thursday meeting to all members.

When PREMIUM TIMES visited the zonal office around 7:15 a.m. Thursday, the executives of the NUEE and other members were positioned outside the closed gates.

“They are turning workers and management back and have manned the main entrance gate,” a worker told PREMIUM TIMES.

Neither the managing director, Idris Mohammed, nor the manager, public affairs, Idris Mohammed, responded to text messages sent to them on the protest.

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Germany approves N34.6bn credit for Nigeria’s power sector

The German Development Bank-KFW has earmarked about N34.6bn for the advancement of renewable energy, energy efficiency projects and technical assistance for the Nigerian power sector.

Specifically, the German bank allocated $200m in form of Green Credit Line as support base for Small and Medium Enterprises to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes.

It also stated that another facility worth €5m had been set aside for technical assistance through the KFW.

The leader of a German delegation, Renate Von Bodden, disclosed this during a Bi-national Commission Meeting on Energy in Abuja on Wednesday.

Boddon, according to a statement from the Federal Ministry of Power, stated that the German agency was endowed with the required experience that would be useful to Nigerians in developing their capacities in renewable energy projects.

She expressed satisfaction with the commitment so far exhibited by Nigerian officials, adding that the Germans had been working with Nigeria on a number of energy-related projects.

“Nigeria is on track with its vision of providing more of its nationals with electricity,” she said.

Bodden promised that Germany would continue to support the various energy-related initiatives.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Godknows Igali, said “The co-operation between Nigeria and Germany is a good example of how we can mutually work together for the benefit of our people.”

He commended the Germans for the various projects undertaken in Nigeria as well as their support for the Azura power project.

Nebo stated that after the last Bi-national meeting in Berlin, the Germans had approved the one megawatt renewable electricity project for the University of Ibadan.

This, he said, would also create opportunities for research and observed that Nigerians were tired of the nuisance created by diesel run generators.

According to the minister, the success of the project will be a template upon which similar projects will be replicated in universities across the six geo-political zones of the country.

Nebo also commended the Germans for their intervention in rural development programmes through the provision and access to power for farmers in the rural areas to undertake irrigation activities.

On gas flaring, the minister assured the Germans that a comprehensive gas master plan would soon address their concerns.

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We’re set for Transitional Electricity Market – Operators

The Operator of the Nigerian Electricity Market has declared its readiness for the long awaited Transitional Electricity Market.

According to power market operator, it has prepared all conditions precedent required for the declaration of TEM

Since the privatisation of the power sector in November last year, operators have strived to meet the conditions precedent before TEM is declared.

Some of the conditions are strict adherence to gas supply contracts by power generation companies; prompt and adequate settlement of electricity debts by distribution companies and smooth evacuation of generated power by the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

TEM is a stage that will ensure strict accountability and boost investment in the Nigerian electricity market after it was fully privatised on November 1, 2013.

The Federal Government on three occasions had postponed the declaration of the transitional market as a result of the inability of operators in the sector to meet the CPs.

Speaking during a stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop in Abuja, the Executive Director, ONEM, Mrs. Ngozi Osuhor, said ONEM was prepared for TEM.

She said, “We have prepared all the CPs for TEM. For instance, we have our settlement and payment platforms in place and we have conducted the training that we need to conduct. One other thing that we are working on now is the ability to read the meters from a central point, our operation command centre, which is right there in the TCN.

“The TEM requires a declarative statement that must be made by the minister of power. So, except that statement is made, we cannot enter TEM. What we are doing is to prepare the market so that when it gets to TEM, it will move smoothly.”

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, last week said the transitional market might be declared in the next six weeks.

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FG certifies 285 engineers for power sector

The Federal Government on Monday issued certificates to 285 engineers to help boost power generation, transmission and distribution across the country.

It said the engineers would help bridge the technical manpower gap in the sector as the industry was largely characterised by weak and dying human capital.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who issued the certificates to the engineers during the second graduation ceremony of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria Graduate Skills Development Programme in Abuja, said many graduate engineers lacked the requisite engineering skills to function in the sector.

“So this programme will ensure that those who graduate as engineers are indeed engineers and are prepared for the industry. This is because for 16 years, neither the National Electric Power Authority nor the Power Holding Company of Nigeria employed a single engineer.

“This, of course, led to the lack of adequate technical manpower in the sector, hence the need for adequately trained engineers to fill these positions,” he said.

The Director-General, NAPTIN, Mr. Reuben Okeke, said the 2013/2014 NGSDP commenced on November 14, 2013 with 310 trainees.

He stated that 224 of them were sponsored by their state governments while the remaining 86 were on self sponsorship.

Okeke said, “Today’s graduation will witness the certification of 285 engineers, made up of 211 electrical/electronic and 74 mechanical engineers.

“It is important to state here that these young engineers have gone through rigorous training processes that took them through a nine-month practical hands-on experience in the three sub-sectors of generation, transmission and distribution of the electricity value-chain in various power sector companies.”

He noted that during the last 2012/2013 batch, nine state governments sponsored trainees from their states while in 2013/2014, 14 states were involved.

Okeke explained that with the privatisation of major power sector components, it was important for the nation and NAPTIN in particular to see that assets were not just handed over but were handed over to trained professionals capable of managing the assets efficiently.

He said the Federal Government through the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme was sponsoring 220 fresh engineers in the 2014/2015 round of the NGSDP which commenced in April 2014.

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Japan grants Nigeria N1.9bn to develop solar electricity

Japan has given a grant of N1.9bn ($9.8m) for the generation of solar electricity in Nigeria, as part of its infrastructure development assistance.

The Asian country is also considering a $200m request from the Federal Government for power transmission project.

The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, who said this at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, noted that the support to Nigeria was part of his nation’s Official Development Assistance, following the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, a summit initiated by Japan in 1993 to revive the interest of the international community in African development.

Shoji also said that Japan was considering a plan for Nigeria’s automobile industry development as well as a centre for industrial human capacity development, stressing that Japanese companies would soon double their presence in the country.

The envoy stated that his country had budgeted an $85m loan for polio eradication and another $4m grant for medical equipment for community health centres in Nigeria.

According to the ambassador, Japan has also earmarked $12.77 as a grant for primary school construction in Oyo State, adding that his country was empowering small-scale farmers by assisting with rice post-harvest and marketing improvement project, aquaculture and shea butter processing facilities.

Shoji said his country planned to contribute to the growth of Africa by spending about $32bn (¥3.2tn), utilising private and public means, including Official Development Assistance worth $14 billion (¥1.4tn), in the next five years.

He explained that Japan also planned to double its rice production in sub-Saharan Africa to 28 million tonnes by 2018 through the continuing efforts of the Coalition for African Rice Development.

Shoji stated that Japan was working to transform farmers from subsistence to commercial ones in 10 African countries, stressing that access to safe water and sanitation would get support.

Asked why Japan had not assisted Nigeria with arms to combat the Boko Haram insurgency, the envoy said his country did not export or import arms, noting that this was the content of its security policy.

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‘Flared gas can generate 40% of electricity needs’

The volume of gas flared in Nigeria can provide 40 per cent of the country’s total electricity requirement based on the current needs assessment, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, has said.

She specifically stated that the flared gas to power potential was estimated at 27,612 gigawatts hour, describing it as “enormous.”

Nigeria currently generates less than 4,000 megawatts of power for its population of over 160 million people. Inadequate supply of gas, on many occasions, has been described as the major factor inhibiting efficient power supply across the country.

Mallam stated that the opportunity cost of gas flaring was the amount of power that could have been generated had the gas been channelled to the power sector.

Mallam, in a presentation made available to our correspondent on Sunday, disclosed that the volume of gas lost as a result of gas flaring was worrisome and stressed that if properly managed “this could effectively double Nigeria’s current electricity targets for 2014 and could provide 40 per cent of Nigeria’s total electricity requirements based on the current needs assessment.”

This, according to her, prompted the introduction of the gas flare tracker which was officially deployed last week in Abuja.

She said, “Following the success of the oil spill map and our ongoing work with communities and stakeholders in the Delta region, we decided to seek further assistance from the Department of International Development to build an online tracker that could capture the number of gas flares across the Delta region.

“The goal has been to enable us to better understand the size of the problem and to provide freely available information to the government, industry, civil society organisations and local communities to inform and guide policy and seek lasting solutions for the benefit of all Nigerians.”

The Director-General/Chief Executive, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, Mr. Peter Idabor, said Nigeria flared approximately 50 per cent of its natural gas, adding that it was estimated that 30 billion standard cubic feet of gas was flared in January 2011.

He noted that the gas flare tracker would help the government to calculate the amount of unpaid fines by facility owners, estimated at $1.1bn per annum.

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