President Bola Tinubu, on Friday, declared that despite the nation’s current rate of energy supply, his administration is poised to address all the obstacles militating against stable electricity supply in the country.
He said his administration will bring solutions to the multifarious challenges across the electric power sector value chain which will significantly relieve longstanding problems of suppressed demand and improve the steadiness of peak supply for Nigerians, affirming that improved energy generation and distribution is an imperative for accelerated national growth.
Tinubu spoke at the ground breaking ceremony of the new 350MW Gwagwalada Independent Thermal Power Plant (Phase 1) where he urged the NNPC and its partners to deliver the landmark project within the promised three years completion timeline, insisting that, “three years must be three years.”
“Although the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is currently characterized by huge supply-gap deficits owing to dilapidated power infrastructure and poor distributions networks, amongst others, this administration is poised to address every power value chain challenge that will significantly relieve the suppressed demand, enhance generation, and improve national peak growth & sustainability far above the hitherto abysmal and unacceptable 5,300MW for over 200 million Nigerians,” the President declared.
Tinubu noted that a swift improvement in the stability and quantum of energy supply will enhance national economic development, which remains a cardinal priority of his administration.
“During my electioneering campaign, I made a commitment to Nigerians on providing stable electricity. This is to be achieved by ensuring that we use all available energy sources to boost power generation beyond the current installed capacity of 12,000 megawatts, strengthening the integrity of our transmission infrastructure and ensuring that all distribution bottlenecks are removed.
We can not form the productive and industrialised economy we need in order to conclusively tackle poverty, and create thousands of high paying manufacturing jobs for our teeming young people, whose creativity and talent we must harness for national development, without reliable electricity,” the president stated.
Tinubu affirmed that adequate energy, broadly, and electricity, specifically, is to be treated as the topmost national economic imperative, if Nigeria must develop and maximise her human and natural resources, stating that “to accelerate our economic growth, we must work hard to remove every obstacle that has slowed down our progress. I have often said that electricity is the greatest human invention of the last 1,000 years.
“We cannot advance and join the rest of the developed world if we remain stuck with our current electricity supply situation and unable to supply the energy our country requires to power a doubling of the size of our Gross Domestic Product within the next decade.”
The President expressed his excitement that the landmark project was commencing at the onset of his administration.
“The groundbreaking for the Gwagwalada thermal power plant (Phase 1) is highly significant to the nation, as it marks the first bold step and the beginning of the administration’s concerted efforts to entrench a strong and virile energy foundation for uninterrupted power supply to boost the economy and accelerate industrial growth.
The Gwagwalada 350MW (Phase 1) project is part of an incremental 3,600MW cumulative power project that is based on market-driven designs along the Abuja, Kaduna and Kano (AKK) gas pipeline corridors, which will further underpin the project’s economic viability while generating multiple foreign direct investments (FDIs) for the nation,” President Tinubu further stated.
The President promised to harness the nation’s gas resources, assuring that “this administration will latch onto the global declaration of gas as a ‘transition fuel’ and the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to enhance investments in the oil and gas sector to fully harness the more than 200 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven gas reserves which are expected to deepen domestic gas utilization through improved power generation, establishment of gas-based industries, petrochemical firms, as well as liquified/compressed natural gas (auto-gas) development to catalyze sustainable economic development while creating millions of jobs for the teeming Nigerian populace.”
Tinubu pledged his administration’s commitment to addressing the power challenges and gas utilisation with a clear focus on advancing the diversification of its energy mix.
“Nigeria will continue to vigorously pursue the implementation of other low-Carbon energy options as part of a larger mix, such as Solar, Hydro, Wind, Thermal and biofuels (for both on grid and off-grid power systems) to help shore-up our national energy supply to meet the growing domestic demands and ensure that adequate energy penetrates the homes of our people with a view to improving the standard of living of our people in the rural areas,” the President assured.
While commending the NNPCL for leveraging on the established AKK Gas pipeline through this laudable project, Tinubu charged the NNPCL to ensure the prompt and early completion of the project saying, “while planning this project, the prudent use of resources has been given top priority, as by this endeavor, Nigeria will strategically underpin the commerciality of the multi-billion dollar AKK gas pipeline, even as we evolve a competitive low-power tariff structure and revitalize numerous industries that will create millions of direct and indirect jobs.”
“I would like to commend the efforts of the NNPC Ltd, alongside General Electric and CMEC, for this business partnership initiative and I hereby charge the team to ensure that this three year project is successfully implemented on the agreed scope, time, and budget,” the President charged.
Tinubu further applauded the NNPCL for its proactive initiative in this direction, saying “the recent strategic partnership between the NNPC Ltd and NIPCO Gas Limited to deploy Compressed Natural Gas stations across the country is another excellent example. The landmark collaboration will expand Nigeria’s CNG infrastructure, improve access to CNG, and accelerate the adoption of a cheaper and cleaner alternative fuel for buses, cars, and kekenapep nationwide.”
According to the President, “under this NNPC-NIPCO partnership, 35 state-of-the-art CNG stations will be constructed nationwide, including three Mother stations. Once fully operational, the stations will have the ability to service 200,000 vehicles daily.”
Similarly, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC Ltd, Mallam Mele Kyari, stated that the NNPC Ltd will leverage on the nation’s endowment of gas resources to power the nation’s industrial growth and stimulate ubiquitous job creation, adding that, through the project, the NNPC Ltd would be providing a huge boost to the national grid.
Kyari assured the President that NNPC Ltd will continue to execute power projects to enhance energy security, noting that several of such have already been completed. These, according to the NNPCL Group CEO, include the 50MW Maiduguri Power Plant, and the 900MW and 1,300MW power plants in Kaduna and Kano, respectively.
The colourful event was witnessed by many dignitaries and senior government officials, including the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, Governor of Nasarawa State, represented by his Deputy, Royal Fathers, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, among others.