Keeping the Momentum

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Barth Nnaji

Association of Electricity Consumers of Nigeria presses for greater utilization of the memoranda of understanding Nigeria signed with international firms in the power sector

|  By Maureen Chigbo  |  Feb. 25, 2013 @ 01:00

THE Association of Electricity Consumers of Nigeria, AECN, is urging the federal government to utilise greatly the different Memoranda of Understanding, MoUs, signed in the power sector. The MoUs were signed by the government and leading international firms when Bart Nnaji was the minister of power from July 2011 to August 2012.

AECN call is coming in the wake of the recent Joint Development Agreement, JDA signed in Abuja, by Jeff Immet, global chairman of General Electric of the United States, and Nnaji, chairman of Geometric Power Ltd of Nigeria, for the building of a 500megawatt power facility in Aba, Abia State, for $450 million.

According to Gani Makanjuola, an engineer and AECN president, those who have already signed the MoUs with GE, the world’s leading manufacturer of electricity equipment, should use its product in power development. They include major Nigerian power sector firms like Dangote, Transcorp and Honeywell. Makanjuola noted that despite the fact that the agreements they signed were commendable, “they are a far cry from what the situation should be.”

In November, 2011, the ministry of power signed an MoU with GE to assist in the building of power stations to generate 10,000MW in Nigeria. In other words, the agreements already signed are nothing near the production of 10,000MW.
This may be the reason Makanjuola, who is also the chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Pensioners Welfare Association, is reminding investors that “Professor Nnaji was, within the one year he served as the minister of power, able to get the American Export-Import Bank to provide credit for firms in the Nigerian power sector worth $1.5 billion, the largest amount of credit US EXIM Bank has ever agreed to any sector in Nigeria within one year.

“Both foreign and local firms operating in our electricity sector which make use of American products and services should quickly tap into the opportunity created by the MoU with the US EXIM Bank,” he said, adding: “The amount this world famous bank has agreed to extend to firms in the Nigerian power sector is a fortune by any standard anywhere, and it is not only big firms like Geometric Power, Transcorp, Honeywell and Dangote which should be reaping the benefits”.

Makanjuola also requested players in the local electricity market not to restrict themselves to American products and services, calling attention to other MoUs which the ministry of power signed with other world leading firms like Siemens of Germany, Daewoo of South Korea and Electrobrazil of Brazil.
In the MoU with Siemens, the German firm would lead a fresh and different effort to build power plants to generate 10,000MW.  It will, in addition, build a workshop in Nigeria, the first time it would build a facility like this in West Africa, just like GE which has accepted to build an assembly plant in Nigeria, the first of such plant in Sub Sahara Africa.

Both Electrobrazil and Daewoo have also accepted to assist build 10,000MW power stations in the country. “This is a good strategic move because it is in the country’s long term interests to diversify its sources of technology and development partnerships”, Makanjuola said. Besides, he said Nigeria, as a major campaigner for South-South cooperation has to be seen as working for closer economic ties with such fast developing countries like Brazil and South Korea, which will inspire it to attain greater development heights. Makanjuola recalled that his association with Geometric Power since 2001 when it  built the first indigenous power station in Abuja before embarking on the 140MW Aba Power Project. According to him, a personal research he conducted on why Nigerian firms have not yet fully utilised the opportunities arising out of the MoUs in their sector “revealed that most participants in the power sector do not have basic information on how the MoUs could be implemented”.
Consequently, Makanjuola suggested that seminars and symposia should be held to educate investors on how to operationalise the MoUs. The seminars should host members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, NACCIMA, as well as the Association of Independent Power Producers of Nigeria and properly brief them on what they should do to access the funds from US EXIM.

“I have no doubt that someone like Professor Nnaji, who initiated and signed the MoUs on behalf of the Nigerian people and government, will not hesitate to speak at such gatherings so that many of our people will benefit from his stupendous wealth of knowledge and experience. Nnaji has, over time, proved to be a patriot of the finest hue. At a time many Nigerians are engaging in capital flight, Nnaji is leading in the campaign for capital importation through his personal example.

“He has been using his enormous personal clout, international contacts and tremendous goodwill to work for the development of our country in a way which challenges and inspires us all. Though his tenure as the minister of power was brief, it remains the golden era in electricity development in Nigeria, and every minister of power after him will be judged by the standards he has set,” he said.

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