General Electric (GE), the American multinational company working with the Federal Government of Nigeria on some strategic power projects in the country, had threatened to exit the TransAfam power project over gas shortage.
This revelation came from Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Transcorp Group, the owner of the TransAfam power plant, which has an installed capacity of 1000 megawatts.
Elumelu, speaking at the official launch of the Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which took place on Sunday in Lagos, said that GE, which is helping the Federal Government acquire 240 megawatts out of the 1,000 megawatts, may not be able to do so because of gas shortage.
The chairman of Transcorp Group was irking out his frustration over the country’s lack of seriousness when it comes to facilitating the much-needed vehicle of change.
He said, “Is it not ironic that a country with abundant gas resources cannot optimally operate its power plants due to lack of gas!
“I have seen the beginnings of what we can do. Let me give you an example: The TransAfam Power Plant, that belongs to Transcorp Group, has an installed capacity of 1000 megawatts. The Federal Government of Nigeria made a significant investment to acquire 240 megawatts of fast power turbines from General Electric (GE).
“For context, 240 megawatts of electricity can power about one million homes in Nigeria.
“Yet GE has threatened to pull out of the project because our nation, with some of the largest gas reserves globally, could not provide the 65mm scuffs of gas needed for the comprehensive testing of the installed fast power plant.”
He explained that what was more painful was that the country had a large deposit of idle gas reserves just waiting for enough private investment to exploit them for the good of the nation. A fault he put squarely at the feet of the nation’s “short-sighted regulatory regime and self-serving policies.”
Elumelu said, “We have idle gas fields, and there is so much private capital to make the needed investments for gas production. Yet, we cannot produce gas to power our economy and 21st century industrialization. Thanks to a shortsighted regulatory regime and self-serving policies that keep our people permanently in the dark, this has to change.”
During his speech, he urged the government to invest in security and rebranding of the nation.
He said, “Let us invest in security: banditry, kidnapping, oil theft, pipeline vandalization, transmission line cuts. These create uncertainties, fears, deprivation, poverty, and untold hardship.
“Let us invest in brand Nigeria: We know the frustrations. We know that the joblessness of our youth is a betrayal of a generation, and the plundering of our commonwealth is inhumane and cruel, but we have no other motherland than Nigeria. Let us be proud of our country.”