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December 9, 2023

Infrastructure Revamp, Key To Our Economic Policies – VP Shettima

Vice President Kashim Shettima has said ongoing power projects to light up industrial clusters across the country are an indication that the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration is on a journey of rekindling the flames of enterprise.

Stanley Nkwocha, SSA to the President on Media & Communications, Office of the Vice President in a statement disclosed this is just as he added that the Federal Government’s commitment to revamping Nigeria’s Infrastructure framework was the much-needed drive in empowering Nigerians and strengthening the nation’s economic policies.

The Vice President disclosed these during his visit to the Agbara Industrial Cluster for the launch of a collaboration between the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) and its partners on the project to light up industrial clusters.

According to him, while the government has embraced the past as a lesson in mapping a new path for a robust power sector, the historical mistakes that have brought Nigeria to the point it is are rather an inspiration to work harder.

The Vice President stated: “For too long, some of these ventures were forced to pack up, their potential stifled by the persistent energy constraints. Today, we embark on a journey of empowerment, a journey aimed at rekindling the flames of enterprise and ensuring that the promise of prosperity prevails over the darkness of past hindrances.

“We have gone a full cycle in the search for solutions to our energy crisis. We have unbundled and privatized the power assets in generation, transmission, and distribution. We have also implemented the National Integrated Power Project through the NDPHC.”

He vowed to closely monitor the progress of work in the ongoing power projects to light up industrial clusters across the country, with a view to holding every relevant official accountable.

“I assure you that, in my capacity as the Board Chairman of NDPHC, I will hold every relevant official accountable and closely monitor the progress achieved in this project. We owe Nigerians this success story,” the VP declared.

Senator Shettima reiterated the commitment of the Tinubu administration “to providing the necessary institutional and policy support to ensure the successful delivery” of the project.

While delivering his address titled, “Lighting the Path to Economic Development,” the Vice President expressed gratitude to the Governors of Ogun, Lagos and Oyo States where the NDPHC was already developing similar projects, as well as the companies involved.

The VP noted that the partnership between state-owned power companies and the private sector was an embodiment of progress, teamwork, and commitment to fostering synergy to enhance the productivity of businesses and institutions in the country.

The partnership, according to him, doesn’t only align with the vision of the federal government to transform Nigeria into a premier investment destination but also to serve as an industrial benchmark in Africa.

He added that it was an affirmation of President Tinubu’s resolve to revamp the country’s infrastructure framework.

The VP stated: “The launch of this strategic collaboration between our company, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), and its key partners for the design, development, and operation of projects to supply dedicated, steady, and quality power to major industrial and commercial clusters in Nigeria echoes His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s pledge to reinvigorate our nation’s infrastructure framework.

“The choice of Agbara, Ogun State, as the pilot site of this owes to its function as an artery of Nigeria’s industrial structure. This is our resolve to breathe new life into the enterprises that sustain our economy.”

Noting that addressing the supply deficit in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) is an intervention that aims to reverse “the generational setbacks that businesses with immense promise have endured,” Shettima said it was one thing to attract investors to the country, and another to make them stay.

He further assured that lighting up industrial clusters across the country signposts the beginning of a promised opportunity for Nigeria.

“By mobilizing private capital, harnessing the generation portfolio of NDPHC, and utilizing the existing power delivery infrastructure, we aim to provide a consistent, reliable, and high-quality power supply to specific customer clusters with substantial capacity demands.

“This effort has initiated an industrial revival of significant magnitude. In essence, it implies that, after a considerable period, the NESI will experience a substantial increase in supply levels without the necessity of injecting public funds, delivering nearly continuous power precisely where it’s most critical for our economy,” he explained.

Senator Shettima described the host community, Agbara, as an archetype of what private sector investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship could accomplish in the economic and infrastructural development of a nation, noting that other planned industrial clusters are a manifestation of how private capital could “drive industrial development and foster economic prosperity”.

The Vice President revealed plans by the Federal Government to ensure the industrial clusters unfolded into a reality.

“We are not only committed to providing the institutional and policy support necessary to enable, promote, and sustain this private sector-led initiative but also to paving the way for the emergence of synchronized development in transmission and distribution infrastructure, aligned with the demands of industrial customers.

“This infrastructure is designed for the efficient and reliable transmission of power from NDPHC’s plants. We will deploy the appropriate technology to ensure the efficient operation of the networks and to minimize commercial, collection, and technical losses that have plagued the industry,” he said.

Earlier, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State said the location of the pilot phase of the initiative is due to the viability of the Agbara Industrial area as the most successful industrial estate in the country.

He said the initiative aligns with his administration’s drive to provide critical infrastructure in Industrial clusters across the State and thanked President Bola Tinubu and VP Shettima for prioritizing the power sector, noting that it will unlock potentials in different sectors of the economy.

On his part, the Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu said the interaction with stakeholders around the Agbara Industrial estate was part of efforts by the Federal Government to deliver safe and reliable electricity to industrial and heavy-user clusters across the country.

He expressed optimism that the initiative to ensure effective power supply to the Agbara Industrial Estate would be achieved and can be a model to be replicated across the country.

Mr Obafemi Hamzat, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State said the challenges experienced in the power can be surmounted with effective collaboration and partnership as well as adherence to set standards and due process.

He urged all stakeholders to be cautious in their comments and opinions about systems and institutions in Nigeria.

For his part, the MD/CEO, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr Chiedu Ugbo said the event signifies the unwavering commitment and determination of the Tinubu administration to leverage partnerships with stakeholders to address challenges associated with electricity access for Nigerian homes and businesses.

He said NDPHC remains committed to promoting the bilateral power sales initiative as one of the measures adopted by the company to deliver electricity to industrial clusters and businesses across the country.

Aside from the roundtable, the VP held interactions with representatives of the different clusters in the industrial area.

He had earlier on arrival at the StrongPack premises, the venue of the event, toured the production lines at the factory.

Present at the event were Engr Noimot Salako-Oyedele, Deputy Governor of Ogun State; Hon. Olatunji Akinosi, Deputy Chairman House Committee on Alternative Education; Mr Sola Arifayan, the CEO, Electric Utilities Ltd; Mr Del Tupaz, MD of StrongPack Ltd; representatives of Eko Disco and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, among other stakeholders in the Agbara Industrial Area.

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Mustapha Salisu

Mustapha Salisu is a graduate of BSc. Information and Media Studies from Bayero University Kano, with experience in Communication Skills as well as Public Relations.

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