Geometric Power Plant: Govt must encourage investors to boost electricity supply – Atiku

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has hailed the launch of the Geometric Power Plant in Aba, Abia State, saying he is excited by the project.

Atiku, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also said the project launch should serve as a wake-up call for the government to incentivise the private sector to increase greenfield investments in the development of off-grid solutions to intensify electrification, particularly of rural communities not yet serviced by the grid.

The former number two citizen said this in a statement on Thursday.

Recall that Vice President Kashim Shettima inaugurated the 188MW Geometric Power Plant on Monday.

The $800 million power plant, described as the first integrated electricity facility in Nigeria, is located in the Osisioma industrial area of Abia State.

It was learnt that Aba Power Limited Electric, a new electricity distribution company (DisCo), will take electricity from the plant and supply it to nine local government areas — out of 17 — in Abia.

Atiku said, “On Monday, the 188MW Geometric Power Plant in Aba, Abia State, was commissioned. By this weekend, Aba Power Limited, a subsidiary of Geometric Power, will commence the electricity supply to a section of Enyimba City. It has taken long, two decades in coming.

“But soon, the much-needed electricity to unleash the full potential of Aba, the industrial and commercial nerve centre of Abia, will surely make up for the long wait.

“I congratulate and appreciate the efforts of Prof Barth Nnaji and his team to deliver on this project despite all the (political and) business environment obstacles. His tenacity and demonstration of the ‘can-do spirit’ is exemplary.

“It is remarkable that the governor of Abia state had stayed the course of the project that he had made an initial contribution to as a private sector person. Equally worthy of congratulation is the enterprising people of Abia.”

He said that the project was significant because it would improve people’s access to electricity, thereby improving the overall quality of life in Abia, and would be a big boost to businesses, particularly as Aba is one of Southeast’s industrial nerve centres.

“Thirdly, the project is delivered by the private sector – and an indigenous one to boot! It demonstrates the resilience of the private sector despite all the business environment issues.

“It also demonstrates the capacity of the local private sector to deliver on such huge and complex projects,” Atiku said.

Atiku noted that finances required to bridge Nigeria’s infrastructure gap are in the region of US$100 billion per annum over the next 30 years and as such Nigeria does not have the resources to provide all of its infrastructure needs without sacrificing investments in education, health, and other social services.

“It should be remembered that Nigeria struggles to budget no more than US$30 billion annually.

“For these reasons, I have been an ardent advocate of private sector presence in Nigeria. I have all along advocated for a private sector friendly business environment so we could leverage its enormous resources, including finance, skills, and technology,” he stated.

He added, “Nigeria must double efforts to support the likes of Prof Nnaji. Nigerian governments both federal and state must provide the Business environment that will make the private enterprises more competitive by (1) reducing their costs of set-up and operations (2) improving their margins and (3) making government policies more predictable.

“In particular, the authorities must create an environment that will enable distribution companies to recover full costs for power supplied to their consumers with firm commitment to a metering program for all customers.

“The scourge of electricity theft must be dealt with through a viable partnership between investors in the distribution companies and the government with legislative support for prompt action against electricity theft.

“Attention must be paid to improve access to Credit by enterprises willing to invest in the power sector.

“Government must incentivize the private sector to increase greenfield investments in the development of off-grid solutions to intensify electrification, particularly of rural communities not yet serviced by the grid.”

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