The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Thursday in Abuja presided over the signing of a 540 MW Power Purchase Agreement between the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, NBET, and Qua Iboe Independent Power Plant saying it was consistent with the roadmap of the government on power which is one of the five principal components of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.
In his remarks at the Ministry’s Conference Room, venue of the event, Mr. Fashola explained that within the responsibility framework of the ERGP, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing had drawn a roadmap for providing power for the country which, according to him, “is to start with getting incremental energy until we can stabilize; then we go to uninterrupted power”.
The minister said while the Ministry of Petroleum Resources bears the responsibility for the energy component of the ERGP, his ministry was saddled with the responsibility of the production and supply of sufficient energy and power for the people of Nigeria, adding, “a process that potentially adds 540 megawatts to our power store fits very well with our incremental power roadmap”.
“Within our responsibility framework, we have drawn a roadmap for providing power for this country which is to start with getting incremental energy until we stabilize; then we go to uninterrupted power. That is our journey”, he said.
Advocating dedication and patriotism among Nigerians in the service of the country, Mr. Fashola said such qualities should be a motivation for national service in or out of government and with or without title adding that with dedication and patriotism, there was a lot one could do to ultimately deliver one’s own share of the national commonwealth to help build prosperity for the people of Nigeria.
The minister commended developers of the plant-Black Rhino Group, Dangote Group, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, among others – for demonstrating the aforementioned virtues. He declared, “Well, I think all of the Private Sector partners, Mobil, NNPC, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, have demonstrated clearly that you don’t need to be in government and you don’t need a title to serve”.
He told Nigerian investors, “There is a lot you can do with dedication, patriotism to ultimately deliver your own share of the national commonwealth to help build prosperity for our people”.
Mr. Fashola thanked the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader, NBET, for its efforts in bringing all the parties together to make the signing of the PPA possible; adding that the ceremony was important not only because of the presence of the partners but also because the media would be able to share with the members of the public what was involved in delivering the project for the good of the people of Nigeria.
The minister declared, “I think this ceremony is important not just because we are here, but because I hope that those who cover this event will be able to share with the members of the public how much effort, how much team work, how much consensus building, how many people are really involved in order to bring ultimately to the doorsteps of Nigerians this very important commodity that is defining for our development and for our goal”.
Thanking, particularly, the NBET Managing Director, Marilyn Amobi, and the Permanent Secretary, Power, in the Ministry, Louis Edozien, for his “very resolute determination in guiding his team and bringing all of them ultimately to safe harbour”, the minister, however, expressed regrets that the media would not see the behind-the-scene efforts such as “the long distant calls, the emails in the dead of the night, the heated argument over the telephones and the plodding from office to office”, that preceded the event.
He disclosed that at his ministry’s Monthly Project Review meeting the day before, one of the projects reviewed was the preparation for the construction of the Ikot-Ekpene-Ikot-Abasi Line -which, according to him, the Qua Iboe Plant would depend on adding that the commitment of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) to deliver on the project was not in doubt. “And we are looking at all the options to get that project back on track,” he said.
Urging all the stakeholders to get to work, Mr. Fashola declared, “Incidentally and fortuitously, not only will Qua Iboe Power Plant benefit from it, it will also help us release the store of energy that needs to go out to the public from the Ibom Power Plant when all of those lines are finally delivered.”
In his remarks earlier, Chairman of Black Rhino Group and Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi ll, said the project was being jointly developed by his Group, Dangote and the NNPC, following the purchase of the rights to do so from Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited; adding that the plant would be one of the lowest cost thermal power plants in Nigeria “due to its efficient combined-cycle design and competitive gas price”.
Noting the importance of the project to the President and the Vice President, Mr. Sanusi, who recalled the persistent follow-ups with the Power, Works and Housing minister, other ministers and agencies concerned, promised that the partners would do everything possible to deliver it to Nigerians on time and schedule, adding that in the next few months the partners would inject about $1.2 billion into the project.
He declared, “QIPP will utilize Nigeria’s gas resources to increase our electricity generation capacity and reduce the cost of power”, adding that the plant represented “an example of how the Federal Government of Nigeria and private investors can work together to develop infrastructure that has a real socio-economic impact in our country.”
In her remarks also, the Managing Director of NBET, Marilyn Amobi, disclosed that the process took almost two years to get to the signing stage adding that the project started as an alliance between the NNPC and the Joint Venture Partners towards the response to the call by government to pursue investment in the power sector towards the privatization of Nigeria’s Electricity Supply Industry.
Commending the Minister’s role in bringing the signing event to fruition, the NBET MD declared, “Hon. Minister, I think it will be very unfair if I fail to acknowledge your doggedness…,” adding that he should be applauded for his commitment to the entire process and sector.
Also present at the ceremony were the Chairman, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington; NNPC COO, Saidu Mohammed, among other dignitaries and top officials from both the private and public sectors.