Experts Emphasize Need for Adequate Financing of the Power Sector

L-R: Afolabi Akinrogunde, Investment Manager, All On; Ugochukwu Obi-Chukwu, Ag. Chief Commercial Officer, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company; Anshul Rai, CEO, Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund; Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani, Head – Energy & Natural Resources, FBNQuest Merchant Bank; Mark Amaza, Head, Research & Communications, Clean Technology Hub and Ebipere Clark, Acting Sr. Special Asst Energy & Power, Central Bank of Nigeria, during a panel session at the 2019 Power Nigeria Exhibition & Conference held at the Landmark Centre.

…as 2019 Power Nigeria Exhibition and Conference Kicks Off

Experts have highlighted the need for adequate financing of the energy sector in Nigeria. This emphasis was made at the 2019 Power Nigeria Exhibition and Conference which held at the Landmark Centre Lagos.

The 2019 Power Nigeria Exhibition and Conference, the largest power event serving West African utility, commercial, industrial and key-end user markets brought together experts from the financial sectors including, the Central Bank of Nigeria, FBNQuest Merchant Bank and Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund to discuss collaborative strategies to close the financial gap in the Power sector.

The experts shed light on the reforms needed in the energy sector to attain its full potential and yield returns on investments. They also discussed how lack of access to capital is hindering the electricity sector. Also highlighted were frameworks for assisting companies with funding requests; risk mitigation tools in projects or expansions; electricity-focused mutual funds/collective investment schemes in Nigeria; returns investors can expect and how lending rates can be improved in the next two years.

Speaking at the Conference, the Commissioner, Ekiti State Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi, explained how good customer relationships are essential for improving the quality of power in the country. Using Ekiti state as a case study, the Commissioner said, “improving the power sector in Nigeria calls for collaborative effort between the government, private sector and the end users. Unpaid electricity bills affect the proper running of the sector, hence, a need for DisCos to build trust and maintain good relationships with the end users so as to minimize default in payments and address power issues. In addition, huge financial investments should be made in distribution networks to attain smartness and profitability while regulatory agencies should ensure compliance with stipulated rules and guidelines”.

On her part, Head –Energy and Natural Resources, FBNQuest Merchant Bank, Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani said there is a huge financial gap in the sector that needs to be urgently addressed to meet sector growth. According to Akinkugbe-Filani, “the Nigerian Power Sector needs to rid itself of legacy debt of over 300 Billion Naira if any progress is to be made. There is a need for private funding to be injected into the system and for an urgent shift in the funding landscape from investment banks to SME initiatives. Private sector investment could come in terms of advisory, capacity building for project developers as well as financing for capital projects”.

Power Nigeria exists to serve the West African and Nigerian energy market. The event has successfully established itself as an annual hub for suppliers to meet buyers, driving the energy markets in Nigeria forward. The international brand status combined with local knowledge & stakeholder partnerships results in making Power Nigeria a must-attend event for all energy industry professionals.