• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Jonathan lays foundation stone for $1bn Azura-Edo power plant

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President Goodluck Jonathan says the private sector investment in power generation capacity represented logical steps towards the Federal Government’s vision for uninterrupted access to power in the country.

The president made the remark in Benin City, Edo State, at the official foundation laying ceremony of the $1 billion Azura-Edo Power Plant located at Ihovbor/Orior Osemwende communites in Uhunmwode Local Government Area of the state.

He expressed Federal Government commitment to ensure that the growth of the electricity industry was self-sustaining and sustainable.

The 450 megawatts of new generation capacity have attracted almost a billion dollars, mainly in foreign direct investment into the power sector, he said, saying further that the foreign direct investment comprised of $700 million in construction of the power plant and $300 million in associated gas supply infrastructure.

He said the Federal Government was fully committed to continuously improving the framework and enabling environment based on sound policy formulation, access to long-term low interest finance, and transparent and consistent regulatory guidelines.

The president described the project as the first fully financed private sector power plant to get to the present final stage, under the new framework facilitated by the Federal Government reform instituted agencies.

He also said that it was the first power generation project to receive the World Bank Partial Risk Guarantee and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) support as well as the first signal from the global financial industry, saying the years of work the Federal Government had dedicated to the reform of the power sector, in order to attract private sector developers and financing had finally yielding results.

While noting that the fastest way to improve power supply, in the near term, was by completing the National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP) projects, he however noted that the projects had been suspended for a number of years.

He however posited that the power roadmap launched in 2011, had set out the key foundational issues that needed to be addressed, to remove the obstacles to private sector investment towards enabling sectoral growth.

The president however urged the investors to complete the project at record time of 2017, as well as commended the Edo State government for supporting it.

Earlier, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who commended the Federal Government for supporting the project, noted that the site of Azura power plant in the state was in fulfilment of the state government electioneering promises to make the state power hub of the country.

Oshiomhole however called on the Federal Government and its ministries, departments and agencies to continuously provide the necessary support to the project to meet its completion time frame.

David Ladipo, managing director of Azura-Edo Power Plant, assured that the project will come on stream in 2017, and was targeted to create over 1000 jobs during its construction and operation.

It is the vision of Azura Power Holdings Limited to engage in power generation projects that will add over 3,500 megawatts of power, accounting for approximately 20 percent of Nigeria’s projected installed capacity by 2020.

IDRIS UMAR MOMOH