President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is determined to restore Southeast to its industrial status, Vice President Kashim Shettima said yesterday.

He spoke when he flagged off the Light Up Nigeria project in Enugu as part of efforts to improve energy supply to industrial clusters in the Southeast.

The Vice President was also in Aba, the commercial nerve of Abia State, where he inaugurated the 188 Mega Watts Aba Integrated Power Plant Project by the Geometric Power Limited.

He described the completion of the project, which has lingered for over 20 years, as significant.

The Light up Nigeria Southeast Business Roundtable was organised by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) and its partners.

The Vice President hailed the collaboration as significant.

He said: “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 stabilise 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 industrialisation.

“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 Southeast works, Nigeria works.”

Enugu State Governor Peter Mbah, who spoke virtually, said the initiative aligns with his administration’s disruptive approach to governance underpinned by thinking outside the box.

He said: “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.

“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.”

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NDPHC, Chiedu Ugbo, said the event was to provide an opportunity for the business community in the Southeast to interact with the Vice President.

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

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

Speaking in Aba, Shittima said addressing erratic power supply remains top on President Tinubu’s policy agenda.

Okonjo-Iweala seeks better regulatory environment

 Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, called for a proper regulatory environment to ensure the success of power sector investments.

She made the call in her goodwill message, sent virtually, at the inauguration of the Aba Integrated Power Project (IPP), Geometric Power Group.

She explained that creating proper regulatory environments was needed to enable the country’s energetic private sector to follow the Aba IPP example and invest more in energy infrastructure.

According to her, the Aba IPP is a great example of the type of private sector infrastructure investment needed in Nigeria.

“The benefits are truly significant, especially for the thousands of small and medium scale enterprises in Aba, including our well-known industrial market, Ariaria.

“The nation will also benefit from the additional megawatts of power that Aba IPP will send to the national grid instead of being used in Aba.

“The Aba IPP is totally funded by African capital, something we should all be proud of.”

Okonjo-Iweala also said the expectation of establishing Aba IPP was to help stimulate other investments in manufacturing in the Aba area by providing reliable electricity.

She added that another advantage of the IPP was that it makes use of the nation’s gas, a clean energy transition fuel that Nigeria is so fortunate to have in abundance.

“There is really no reason why this country should have the majority of its households without power or have industries struggling when we have the basic energy transition fuel that other countries are yearning for.

“Let me reiterate how excited I am that this thing has finally come,” she said.

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