Shettima launches Light up Nigeria Project in Enugu

– Says Nigeria will work if South East works

VICE President Kassim Shettima yesterday launched the light up Nigeria Project in Enugu. The Vice President, said that Nigeria will fully work when the south east performs optimally in industrialization with adequate power supply.

Vice President who emphasized on the pivotal role of industrialization and reliable power supply in fostering Nigeria’s development, Particularly highlighted the significance of the southeast’s performance in these areas.

Drawing parallels, he likened the region’s potential to that of the Jews, citing their mobility, economic ventures, and educational aspirations as examples of what the southeast could achieve.

Furthermore, VP revealed his principled stance against severing electricity supply to the southeast over debt concerns, citing President Bola Tinubu’s upmost concern for the nation’s welfare.
He commended the region’s governors and their governance, recognizing them as exemplary leaders.

“Light up Nigeria Program,” orchestrated by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited in Enugu is a pointer towards enhancing power infrastructure and driving industrialization in the Southeastern region.

Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State in his remarks echoed optimism, heralding the “Light-Up Nigeria Project” as a herald of progress in power generation and industrial advancement for the southeast.

He added that his administration’s innovative governance approach, is geared towards fostering transformative solutions.

According to Vice President Shettima, “We have to make the South East work; we’re targeting the south east for a two million job for women and the youths. We’re proceeding to Abia state to commission the power station built by the elder statesman, Prof Barth Nnaji and we will also commission some road projects and back to Enugu to commission the Smart school because education is the greatest gift you can give a generation.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director/CEO of NDPHC, Engr. Chinedu Ugbo said that the forum provided an opportunity to interact with the Vice President and the business clusters in the south east, adding that the lunch was also for the South-East phase of the strategic collaboration between NDPHC and other project parties to provide steady and reliable electricity supply to industrial and business clusters across Nigeria.

Ugbo stated that one major challenge the NDPHC has was the lack of sufficient transmission and distribution infrastructure to transport power from the plants, adding that another challenge stems from financial difficulties in the electric power sector, leading to inadequate payments by distribution companies and Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading company (NBET) to generation companies like NDPHC.

“The huge indebtedness to the generation companies affects the ability of the generation companies to pay for gas supply leading to gas supply shortage and the resulting low generation”.

At a recent press conference, the Honourable Minister of Power, rightly identified this severe liquidity crisis as a major impediment to electricity supply in the country with over N1.3 trillion owed to generation companies. NDPHC alone is owed close to N200bn out of that.

“These challenges of lack of sufficient transmission and distribution infrastructure to transport electricity from the plants and the sector market liquidity crisis have resulted in gross underutilisation of installed generation assets with unserved potential grid electricity consumers, particularly industries (some of which are represented here today), resorting to expensive and often inefficient selfgeneration.

“In response to these challenges, NDPHC initiated the Light up Nigeria Project, which aims to provide reliable and affordable electricity supply to industries and homes by utilizing underutilized generation capacity, establishing trading agreements with bulk purchasers of electricity, and mobilizing investments to address technical, commercial, and collection losses in the supply chain. Additionally, NDPHC aims to receive full payment for the electricity generated and delivered, without relying on the Federal Government for such payments.

“The project aligns with the Electricity Act of 2023 (graciously signed into law by His Excellency Present Bola Tinubu GCFR), which provides a strong framework for state governments to develop electricity markets at the sub-national level, with the aim of delivering consistent and affordable electricity to residents. Through the Light up Nigeria project, state governments will derive the benefit of increased access to electricity, attraction of investment opportunities, revenue generation and economic growth. At the Federal level, the project will help to reduce the financial burden on FGN’s balance sheet from debt exposure of NBET.

“The project is further reinforced by NERC’s MYTO 2024 which mandates distribution companies to secure adequate bilateral contracts and exit from contractual relationships with NBET. NDPHC remains at the forefront in pursuing bilateral electric power sales and other projects that ensure efficient and targeted electricity delivery to end-users.”