Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze
By Ejiofor Alike
Desirous of attaining 12,000 megawatts of electricity supply as against the current allocation of about 1,000mw from the national grid, the Lagos State Government would partner local and foreign investors who are committed to building captive power plants in the state.
Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, stated this at a recent media briefing on the preparation for the 2012 Lagos State Economic Summit, christened “EHINGBETI 2012,” which comes up next month.
Akabueze pointed out that Lagos had 10 years ago, pioneered the establishment of Independent Power Projects (IPPs) in the country, with the construction of the 270mw-capacity AES Barge.
The commissioner however noted that the challenges in the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) could not allow the 540mw-capacity Phase 11 of the project to be pursued.
He disclosed that the Federal Government, which could have assisted Lagos State had initially acted as if it were in competition with the state government but added that things were changing in the positive direction as the two governments had set up a joint committee to identify areas of challenges.
He stated that the state government had concluded power audits in most areas of the state to ascertain the actual demand for electricity.
The commissioner disclosed that for its mega-status, Lagos State requires 12,000megawatts of electricity, as against the current allocation of about 1,000mw from the National Grid.
“Mega City, according to the United Nations, is a city with a population of at least, 10million. Lagos and Cairo are the two mega cities in Africa,” he said.
Akabueze, who is also the chairman of the Central Planning Committee of the summit said the theme of the conference “From BRICS to BRINCS: Lagos Holds the Key,” is strategic.
According to him, Lagos has a significant role to play for Nigeria to join the league of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) to form BRINCS (Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria, China and South Africa), as part of her Vision 20:20:20 aspiration.
“We believe that Nigeria can rightfully aspire to join that group but for the country to join the group, Lagos has a significant role to play. The fact that over 45per cent of the subscriber base of telephone network is based in Lagos is another pointer to the significance of Lagos to the economic development of Nigeria.
“The two PHCN distribution companies – Ikeja and Eko account for the country’s 50 per cent electricity distribution and revenue generation. About 80 per cent of international air travel takes place through Lagos, while the state accounts for 50 per cent of domestic air travel. It was projected that Nigeria’s economy should be growing by 13per cent yearly for the country to attain her Vision 20:20:20 aspirations.
“For this to happen, Lagos must grow far higher than this figure to make up for other states that have very low growth. Therefore, Nigeria cannot attain its economic aspiration without Lagos playing key role,” he said.
He noted that the summit would revolve around four key areas – power supply, agriculture, housing and urban renewal and transport, adding that these four areas hold the key for Nigeria’s economic development.