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Manufacturing firm Aspira Ltd records growth on switching to gas power

Kano-based manufacturing firm Aspira Nigeria Ltd has switched to generating its own power using gas due to frequent power cuts and the company is recording improved operations leading to growth.

Sami Jafaar, the managing director of Aspira Nigeria Ltd said the company turned to generating its own power using gas due to the problem with fluctuating diesel prices, frequent power cuts and the problem with pollution.

Aspira has signed a contract with Clarke Energy, a multinational specialist in engineering, installation, and maintenance of distributed power generation solutions to install a gas power plant.

Clarke Energy has installed a 4 megawatts (MW) power plant as part of the initial phase of a project whose capacity will be upscaled to 10 megawatts (MW) at the later phase. Clarke Energy delivered the entire power plant solution which includes its designs, technical drawings, engines, installation, commissioning and currently provides maintenance of the equipment.

Yiannis Tsantilas, the managing director of Clarke Energy in Nigeria said “The project represents a critical breakthrough in the northern part of Nigeria because it will eventually utilise gas that will be supplied into the region through the AKK pipeline, which implies that the customer will access more available and affordable gas, add value to the gas supply network, increase its productivity and improve cost per product. Additionally, it will allow competitiveness in the local and export markets.”

The plant is currently powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivered to the facility.

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Jafaar said that apart from reduced cost, a key benefit of the gas plant is that it has virtually eliminated downtime due to power cuts and damage to some sensitive factory equipment.

As a result, the company’s products have become more competitive, reduced their carbon emissions and helped to hire more people.

According to Jafaar, who has a banking and finance degree, combating the security challenges in the north will help businesses thrive. Delay in clearing goods at the port and foreign exchange issues still pose a challenge.

“The impact of the 2016 recession in Nigeria and the devaluation of the Naira were major challenges but things got worse with the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Jafaar said the Nigerian market is very big and versatile. The people are resilient, knowledgeable, open to trying new things, and care very much about prices as well as the quality of the products.

Aspira commenced its operations in 2009 in Kano, where it manufactures cosmetics, detergents, personal care and hygiene products which apply to many key sectors. It is part of a workforce of 20,000 employees under the Lee Group of Companies, the second highest employer after the state government.

Lee Group also has other investments in manufacturing of steel, plastic bags and footwear. Additionally, it possesses one of the biggest bakeries in the north and is going into sugar production.

The company says it has a nationwide distribution system and even ships some of its products outside the country into Niger, Chad, Togo, Benin Republic, Cameroon, takes them as far as Sudan and it is looking to expand to more areas.

Manufacturing companies like Aspira Ltd are leveraging the Nigerian government’s renewed focus on gas to invest in generating their own power on the promise that new gas projects including the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Pipeline will help them become more competitive.

The $2.8bn Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline is a 614km-long natural gas pipeline being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It will run from Ajaokuta to Kano in Nigeria.

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