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Power contractors in states hopeful as Fashola assures of payments in 2016 

Geometric-power-plant

Contractors working on power supply projects in Nigeria are now more hopeful than ever, as issues of non-payment of invoices since 2013 will be solved with the 2016 budget, Babatunde Fashola, the minister of power, works and housing, has said.

In a statement issued by Timothy Oyedeji, the director of press in the ministry, Fashola said the 2016 budget had captured resources to be paid contractors who have already gone back to project sites.

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The minister of power, works and housing Babatunde Fashola, in a nationwide inspection, and verification tour

In Kaduna State, for example, hope has risen over the possibility of resolving the age-long problem of epileptic electricity supply, which has crippled its previously bubbling textile industry, as the Federal Government has re-affirmed its commitment to completing the 215 megawatt Kaduna power plant project on schedule.
Fashola, who recently undertook a working inspection of the project with Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, said that “what is needed now more than ever is harder work from all stakeholders, as issues of non-payment of invoices since 2013 will be solved with the 2016 budget.”

Speaking at the site, El-Rufai said that the Kudandan power project is very important to the economy of the state as the centre of Nigeria’s textile industry in which lack of access to power supply has crippled the hitherto vibrant sector.

“As a responsible government, we cannot but ensure that the Kaduna State government is interested in the completion of the plant… on the credit line of N7.5 billion it has secured from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” he said.

He promised that his government will do all it can to revive the collapsed industry, which in a way would solve the problem of unemployment and youth restiveness.

 On the 215 megawatt electricity project, Fashola said with over 150 workers in the employment of companies handling the project, “these people will earn money that would enable them pay fees for their children and also provide food on their tables”.

On the request by the contractors for government intervention in the clearance of goods for the project, the minister assured them that the present administration in the country would do everything possible to ensure that the 40 containers held up at the sea port are cleared to pave way for seamless continuation and completion of work in accordance with initial projections.

Briefing the minister on the status of the project, Briskila Sapke, a director in the ministry of power and supervisor of the project, said the dual fired LPFO/gas plant will come on stream, as two of its eight units are scheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2017.

Upon completion, the two units are expected to add 30 megawatts of electricity to the national grid, while all the eight units are projected to become operational by the end of 2017.

Also determined to fast-track the attainment of incremental power through increase in quantum of electricity supply, Fashola presented four documents for validation and adoption by states to enable them take their rightful positions in contributing to the nation’s drive towards energy sufficiency.

This, the minister did at the recent National Council on Power (NACOP) which held in Kaduna State.

The documents are; National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAP), National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAP), Sustainable Energy for All-Action Agenda (SE4ALL-AA) and the Nigerian Power Sector Investment Opportunities and Guidelines.

The development of NEEAP, has received tremendous support from the European Union (EU), and the German Government funded GIZ, through the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), underscored by the fact that inefficient use of energy supply will increase environmental problems, increase cost of goods and services.

It can also constrain access by a large portion of the nation’s population to power by making it expedient for financiers to avoid investments into the power sector in excess of actual requirement, considering the present reality of financial resource scarcity.

Already, some private sector initiatives exist, arising from the approval of NREAP in 2015, which include Energy Efficient Housing Scheme, The Abuja Green City Initiative on Integrated Renewable Energy Services, Abuja Centenary City.

These were planned by private investors on renewable energy sources and energy efficient mechanism in conjunction with the Nigerian Clean Energy Access Programme (NCEAP), all of which are aimed at the reduction of energy waste, resource conservation and the overall negative impact of climate change on the global environment.

The second document is the National Renewable Energy policy document which is developed as a key element embedded in the current electricity reform, and seeks to radically increase the use of renewable energy sources in Nigeria.

The SE4ALL initiative was launched to promote access to sustainable energy as a critical and essential component of all economic activities globally.

The 2015 draft document is aimed at harnessing Nigeria’s vast energy potentials through harmonisation with other policy initiatives and action plans, as well as provision of technical and financial supports for the attainment of set goals and objectives.

The Nigerian Power Sector Investment Opportunities  and Guidelines unveiled by the minister is intended to optimise hydro, coal, solar wind and gas fuels sources for energy production underlined by closeness of these fuels to where power would be produced, thereby making power more affordable.