In the quest for reliable electricity supply nationwide, the Federal Government has called on the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), an American based support group, to bring in its wealth of technological expertise by making investments in the Nigerian power sector. Permanent Secretary in the ministry of power, Amb. Godknows Igali, made the call while speaking yesterday at a meeting with a delegation from the body led by its Vice President, Ambassador Robert Perry.
Igali noted that the sector has a lot of investment opportunities in the generation, transmission and distribution value chain, and urged the CCA to tap into these windows of opportunities by making huge investment in the fledging sector.
The Corporate Council on Africa is an American organization established to promote business investment between the United States and the continent of Africa. Igali revealed that transmission sub-sector, despite still being wholly controlled by government at present, is another area of investment in the Nigerian power sector.
He said, “Before now, government held up transmission but now wants to open up a window for people to build up transmission systems on a Public Private Partnership basis (PPP),” he informed the visitors.
Speaking further, the Permanent Secretary said Nigeria has vast solar energy potentials which need to be fully harnessed, pointing out that presently three communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are run on solar with very steady supply.
Igali said that governors would be encouraged to facilitate access to land as building of solar plant require large expanse of land. He also promised to facilitate easy access to governor of any state the CCA deemed fit to invest in, stating further that an understanding has been reached with the governors to provide free land to any interested investor.
Igali decried the situation where rural electrification projects were carried out on the use of fuel and diesel-run generators, describing the development as non – sustainable.
He therefore called on CCA to see rural electrification as a viable area of investment, in natural gas for the generation, so as to give sustainable electricity to the rural areas.Responding, the Managing Director, ND Western Ltd, Dr. Layi Fatona, expressed strong willingness of the Corporate Council for Africa to invest in the power sector, but expressed worry about the debts owed by the companies government sold out and the issue of commercial bottleneck in the supply of gas.
Earlier, the Vice President Corporate Council on Africa, Amb. Robert Perry, disclosed that the meeting was informed by the need to meet with principal officers in the power sector with a view to availing themselves of the opportunities available to increase trade and investment with the United States.
He further stated that CCA is the premier American organization devoted to US – Africa business relations with more than 180 companies as members, half of which, he said, are owned by Nigerians.
These companies represent a diverse pool of industries from Africa’s most promising sectors, nincluding agri-business, capacity building, energy, finance, health, ICT, Infrastructure and security, the envoy added.
In a related development, while receiving the Brazilian Trade Mission, the Permanent Secretary stated that Nigeria and Brazil have lots in common hence, it is not out of place for the two countries to work towards encouraging more cooperation between them.
He observed that the power sector is the nerve centre of economic activities of any country from agriculture to economy and even small businesses. The Nigerian power sector privatization he said modeled after that of Brazil, with all generation and distribution being sold out to the private interest.
The Permanent Secretary further stressed that there are opportunities in power generation, renewable energy, power distribution and bio-energy and further called for stronger presence of Brazilian companies in the Nigerian power sector.
He added that there are incentive to such investors which include access to land, duty free on all importation of equipment and a debt relief for a period of time to allow for investors to recoup their investment.
Source : Leadership