By Ejiofor Alike
General Electric (GE) has stated that it is delivering on its commitments to collaborate with the federal government, investors and private sponsors of projects to ensure the realisation of 10,000 megawatts of incremental power in Nigeria, in line with the power Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the federal government in March 2012.
Speaking to select journalists in Lagos at the weekend, the President and Chief Executive Officer of GEâ€™s Grid Solutions/Energy Connections, Africa, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo stated that even though governments and parties have changed in Nigeria, the needs of the country have remained the same.
Angbazo further clarified that his company did not commit to invest $10billion in the power MoU signed at the Nigerian High Commission in London in March 2012 but to collaborate with government and other investors, as well as project sponsors, to deliver 10,000MW of incremental power.
â€œSome people translated that into $10 billion. Now, could it be $10 billion? It could be more but we donâ€™t talk in terms of $10 billion; we talk in terms of actual output because we have seen projects where 1,000MW has cost this country more than $2 billion,â€ he said.
He clarified: â€œWhat we signed in that power MoU, which originated from the company-to-country agreement, was that GE, working with the Federal Government of Nigeria, will invest in the development of new power generation capacity of up to 10,000MW of power â€“ incremental power, which means that GE is going to work with investors, private sponsors of projects and if government also wants to invest in projects, GE will also look at those projects and co-invest. We have done that. If you look at our portfolio of projects in Nigeria, we have got several projects at several stages of development.â€
Angbazo added that his company continued to invest in Nigeria even at a time projects were cancelled globally because of the crash in oil prices.
According to him, GE believes that there is commercial opportunity in Nigeria and the countryâ€™s outlook will get better in the future.
The GE CEO, who lauded the federal governmentâ€™s efforts to encourage private investors in the power sector, also identified the challenges facing the implementation of power projects in Nigeria.
â€œI can spend the rest of the day talking about them but let me just give you some highlights. I think number one on the new developments, which is the IPPs (independent power plants), where we are putting money to private Nigerian firms â€“ just going through development phases with government, whether it is getting their PPAs (power purchase agreements) because if they donâ€™t get their PPAs, the rest of the funding is not going to come through. To get a PPA, you need to get assurance on gas and if gas is not provided, there is no assurance on generated power and if there is no assurance of PPA agreement, there is no assurance of financing. Number three: You also need to get assurance of evacuated power. We know how degraded the grid infrastructure is in Nigeria. I am telling you that we have got issues,â€ Angbazo added.