By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has set a new target for distribution and transmission of 11,000 megawatts of electricity to power consumers in the country by 2023.
This is as the President yesterday witnessed the signing of Electricity Road Map agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and German-based Siemens at the State House, Abuja.
The agreement is the outcome of a meeting Buhari held with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel on August 31, 2018.
The Letter of Agreement was signed on behalf of the Federal Government by the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh, and the Global Chief Executive Officer of Siemens, Joe Kaeser.
The President set the new target in his comments while receiving the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the world reknown power giant, Siemens AG, from Germany, Mr. Joe Kaeser, at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
He challenged Siemens, the distribution companies, transmission companies as well as electricity regulators in the country to ensure the delivery of 7,000 megawatts of electricity to consumers by 2021 in the first phase and 11,000 megawatts by 2023.
Buhari lamented that despite the nation’s over 13,000 megawatts current power generation capacity, only an average of 4,000 megawatts eventually gets to the consumers.
The President also projected an increase in the nation’s generation capacity to 25,000 megawatts after the transmission and distribution bottlenecks must have been fixed in the first and second phases.
According to the President, an agreement was reached between his administration and the German authorities last August when the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, paid him a state visit in Abuja.
He said that was when the German Chancellor declared the determination of her country to work with Nigeria to develop a feasible roadmap to modernise Nigeria’s electricity grid with support from the German Government.
He said “This Government’s priority was to stabilise the power generation and gas supply sector through the Payment Assurance Facility, which led to a peak power supply of 5,222 MW. Nonetheless, the constraints remained at the transmission and distribution systems.
“This is why I directed my team to ask Siemens and our Nigerian stakeholders to first focus on fixing the transmission and distribution infrastructure – especially around economic centres where jobs are created.”
Kaeser, who spoke to newsmen after the meeting, said the new roadmap will significantly enhance the country’s power supply and get the country to the next industrial phase.
He said “We believe we will all very much benefit together, the people of Nigeria and of course Siemens as a company.”
Asked about the cost of the project, Kaeser said: “We have really talked about solutions and how it can bring power to the people literally, from generation to transmission and effective distribution.
Yes, we have been talking money at this time because this is about a long term partnership and is a road map which we are going to work all the way till 2025.
“The first phase is supposed to be done by 2021, second phase till end 2022 and the final phase by 2025.”
The Director General of Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh, while fielding questions from State House Correspondents, described the partnership as credible.
He said what has been done so far is the technical evaluation from both the transmission and distribution to know what the gaps are; to essentially understand what the gaps are in terms of the technical infrastructure to improve the transmission and distribution capacity.
Okoh said the next phase is to do the detailed commercials and see costing of what the Siemens intervention will entail before they will agree on the financial frameworks to domicile the financial commitment within the books of the DISCOS.