Since 2019 when the Nigerian government struck a power-generation deal with German company, Siemens, Nigerians were eagerly expecting the deal to disrupt the current epileptic electricity status quo and usher in a new order of constant electricity supply.
Three years later, the federal government appears to be giving their expectation hope of actualization. On Tuesday, FGN Power Company, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up for the Nigerian-Siemens power deal said electricity equipment like transformers and mobile power substations are expected to arrive in Nigeria in September.
The delay in executing the partnership, which was attributed to Covid-19, has contributed to the deterioration of Nigeria’s poor electricity supply.
But the Managing Director, FGN Power, Kenny Anuwe, said on Tuesday in Abuja, while speaking on the project, that by the time the power equipment are installed, there would be major improvement in the supply of electricity in the country.
Per ThisDay, Anuwe explained among other things that the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) in Phase 1 seeks to modernize, rehabilitate and expand the national grid by investing in the electricity value chain, including generation, transmission, and distribution systems of the power sector.
“We will start to see the implementation of the transformers and substations which have been purchased across the country starting from September, right through to December. We have some significant amount of equipment which will start to come in.
“Part of the minister’s objective in visiting Germany only a month ago, if you recall, was to engage the principals at Siemens on the president’s agenda for the PPI to ensure that we were able to deliver on the objectives
“I am happy to report that this has borne some fruits and we will start to see the delivery of equipment starting off in September this year,” he stated.
He also explained that yesterday’s programme was meant to provide the “codes”, the standards and the essential technological aspects of the project that the Distribution Companies (Discos) as well as other partners will abide by in the process.
“Essentially, this provides the minimum standards and requirements that they must utilize in implementing the project.
“Siemens equipment must comply with the local laws and regulations. And these are the things that we have put together to ensure that the Discos are all aligned with the FGN company power company and Siemens to implement the presidential initiative,” he said.
The Minister of Power, Aliyu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Nebolisa Anako, stated that the close-out event signified a milestone for the stakeholders in the sector.
“The objective of the PPI is to improve the end-to-end operational grid of the power supply in Nigeria to 25,000 MW, but the purpose in the next 18 months is to deliver additional 2,000 mw,” he said.
The Chief Technical Officer, FGN Power, Mr. Idowu Oyebanjo, in his intervention, said there are two parts of the project, including the onshore aspects that will take place in Nigeria as well as the offshore aspect that will take place overseas.
While Siemens would remain in charge of design and manufacturing of equipment, including control panels, mobile substations, he stated that the contractors will be in charge of logistics, transportation, storage as well as procurement and dismantling of substations for upgrades.
He added that while transformers in Nigeria are bought with the capacity to withstand about five Degrees Celsius, the new transformers could stay for 30-40 years because the transformers are now attuned to the Nigerian weather.
While attributing the delay in the project to the Covid-19 pandemic, he assured that with the expected supply of the mobile substations, as early as September, the work that has been done will begin to reflect nationwide.
“In six months’ time from now, we will be having the first tranche of supplies of mobile substations and transformers delivered on the shores of this country and that will be very, very helpful to the power grid,” he stated.
He denied the insinuation that there was any disagreement between the federal government and the German company as to the local content part of the project, insisting that the information was not correct.
“By means of mere coordination of what is going on in the power sector right now, we can even achieve the 2,000MW without a drop of power sector investment, but by September when all these equipment start to arrive, and we start to put them in the right places on the network, Nigeria’s will start to feel the impact in terms of power supply delivery,” he explained.
Epileptic electricity supply is one the bedrocks of Nigeria’s economic underdevelopment, resulting in poor business performance that has largely plunged Africa’s largest economy into abject penury. Last year, the World Bank said that unreliable power supply costs Nigeria about $29 billion annually, a situation that has exacerbated since then, forcing some companies to move their businesses to nearby country Ghana.
Nigeria has 8,000 MW installed electricity capacity but only about 4,000 MW is operable. Infrastructural development plans by successive governments since 2005, have failed to address the problem.
The partnership between the Nigerian government, German government and Siemens AG, had a target of 7, 000 megawatts of power generation by 2021, (the 1st phase) and subsequently, 11, 000 megawatts by 2023, (the 2nd phase). It’s April 2022, which means that the first target has failed. It is only hoped that the new target of ‘2000MW in 18 months’ will not falter also as the partnership is resuscitated.