Tinubu ready to return southeast as industrial powerhouse – Shettima

Vice President Kashim Shettima on Monday, February 26, flagged off the Light Up Nigeria project in Enugu as part of federal government efforts to improve energy supply to industrial clusters in the southeast region.

Shettima, who spoke during the Light up Nigeria Southeast Business Roundtable held in Enugu, also disclosed that President Bola Tinubu has vowed to return the southeast region as the nation’s industrial powerhouse.

The launching of the project was done by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) and its partners.

The event was to launch an initiative to ensure dedicated power supply to industrial clusters across the country, with the southeast as a major bloc.

Shettima described the project as a transformation journey and renewal of hope for industrialists and investors in the Southeast region

He said: “I am pleased to witness the second launch of this strategic collaboration between the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and its invaluable customers. We gathered here to embark on a strategic journey for the light-up Nigeria in the Southeastern States.

“This marks the renewal of hope for investors and industrialists. This is not a ribbon-cutting charade, this is a calculated endeavour to re-engineer our economy.

“The project serves as a long-awaited solution to the power supply that has undermined our economy over the past decades.

“This intervention is a calculated endeavour to re-engineer our economy, oil the wheels of industries and stabilize our electricity supply industry. Power is a sinequanon for any industrial takeoff. No matter the efforts committed to industrial development, if there’s no power, there can be no industrialization.”

Shettima added: “The economic fortune of Nigeria remains the critical concern of President Tinubu as we believe that if the power sector works, Nigeria works too. So we must make the project work and make Southeast work

“The Southeast is an industrial powerhouse and its economic fortune remains a critical aspect of President Bola Tinubu. He wants Southeast to work again. If the southeast works, Nigeria works.

“Some describe the Igbo as the Nigerian Jews; geographically mobile, economically enterprising and educationally ambitious. You have the hope of the nation, right in our midst. The hope of the nation rests with Ndigbo.”

The vice president explained that the light-up project is dear to President Tinubu, whose determination is to improve power supply to in­dustrial clusters in the Southeast.

Shettima, who assured that the project would soon be delivered, called on all stakeholders to join hands to ensure the success of the project.

Governors of Anambra, Enugu, Imo, and Ebonyi States took their turn to address the audience.

Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu state who virtually spoke on behalf of his colleagues said that the Light-Up Nigeria Project signals a new dawn for power and industrialization of the Southeast of the region, saying the initiative aligns with his administration’s disruptive approach to governance underpinned by thinking outside the box.

Mbah, while commending the federal government and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) for coming up with the project to ramp up power supply to industrial clusters in the Southeast, enjoined industrialists of the region to fully key into it and take advantage of the initiative to remove any bottlenecks they face regarding power availability.

He said: “The Light up Nigeria Project today is, in my view, a new dawn for power in the Southeast and one of the most innovative initiatives in the power sector. This project is of critical importance since it deals with the power sector, which I believe is pivotal to economic growth. Indeed, if we fix power, a lot of other sectors would fall into place.

We must resolve border security lapsesto get national security right -Shettima
“This project ensures efficient dispatch of power to the largest consumers via bilateral sales agreements, which overrides the existing bulk purchase arrangements through NBET, leveraging on a willing buyer, willing seller structure.

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“The programme will certainly bring improved access to affordable power to the Southeast. This will in turn result in reduced power costs for the productive sector and enable them to improve productivity and generate jobs. This is critical in this day where the country is pushing to boost production and drive-up exports to ultimately shore up our domestic currency.”

He pledged his government’s continued support to industrialists and other private investors across the state to complement the undeniable boost that the Light-up Nigeria project would bring.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd (NDPHC) Chiedu Ugbo, said the event was to provide an opportunity for the business community in the southeast zone to interact with the Vice President of Nigeria, adding that it marked the formal launch of the Southeast phase of the strategic collaboration between NDPHC and other project partners to provide steady and reliable electricity supply to industrial and business clusters across Nigeria.

The initiatives, he said, demonstrated the commitment and determination of President Tinubu’s administration, working through NDPHC, to provide reliable and sustainable solutions to the electricity challenge in the country, starting with reliable and affordable supply to industries.

He said: “The first event in this series took place on October 12, 2023, in Agbara, Ogun state, southwest Nigeria, where His Excellency engaged with the business community and committed to providing the required electricity to power businesses in industrial areas across the country through NDPHC.

“Since then, significant progress has been made on the Agbara Project including identifying and signing on key industrial customers, conducting engineering surveys, negotiating transaction agreements, and procuring OEM/EPC providers for the required transmission and distribution projects.

“Additionally, NDPHC has worked closely with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and FGN Power Company to conduct engineering surveys, identify sites, and acquire a mobile transmission substation for the project.

“TCN has approved the connection of the new substation to the national grid, and efforts are underway to deploy this fast-track transmission substation.

“Today’s event builds on the commitment made by His Excellency at Agbara and will be replicated in other geopolitical zones across the country.”

Ugbo disclosed that the NDPHC is responsible for implementing the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) and operates a portfolio of gas thermal electricity generation assets in Nigeria.

He however lamented that the optimal utilization of these assets has been hindered by technical challenges and market constraints.

“One major challenge is the lack of sufficient transmission and distribution infrastructure to transport power from the plants”, he said.

He nevertheless assured Southeast governors and the business community that the Light up Nigeria project would have the dedicated and diligent attention of the team of NDPHC and its project partners devising creative and bankable solutions to addressing power supply challenges to industries in the zone.

Some of the dignitaries in attendance were the governor of Imo State and the Chairman, of Southeast Governors’ Forum, Senator Hope Uzodinma; the governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mba; the Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo and the Governor of Ebonyi State, Hon. Francis Nwifuru.

Others were former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; former senate President Pius Anyim; Minister of power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu; the Chairman, Board of Directors, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, (EEDC) Emeka Offor, among other dignitaries.

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