FG flags-off ‘Light Up Nigeria Project’ in South-East just as Soludo calls for removal of gas from Exclusive list to Concurrent list .

Vice President of Nigeria and Chairman, Board of Directors, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Senator Kashim Shettima, Governors of the South East states, Captains of Industries Government officials from the zone and other stakeholders in the power sector, Monday gathered in Enugu for the flag- off of the Light -Up Nigeria program aimed at providing power across the South East zone and Nigeria at large.

Pix- VP Shettima

They also held a South East Business Roundtable to proffer solutions to power challenges faced in the zone,

Flagging -off the project at the Old Government Lodge,Enugu, Vice President Shettima, said the project was the Federal Government’s reassurance of its responsibility towards expansion of the country’s industrial sector. He added that the intervention was a calculated endeavour to engineer the nation’s economy, serve as the oil wheel of industries and improve Nigeria power supply.

Pix- Govs Soludo and Uzodinma(L) Shettima(m) Govs Mbah, and Nwifuru(R)

*We gather here today to embark on transformative journey, the launch of the Light of Nigeria project in the southeastern states.

“What we are witnessing is the second launch of the strategic collaboration with the Nigeria Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and other valuable partners.

“We are sure of the direct pursuit of the priority set by his Excellency President Bola Tinubu, adding that the project is long awaited solution to the power supply that is undermining our economy,” he said.

He described the South East Zone as the industrial power of the country,

“Igbos are enterprising, practically mobile and educationally ambitious. You are the hope of the nation.

“I can assure you that President Tinubu means well for Nigeria and Ndigbo and South East and South East Governors are among the best,” he said.

Shettima said the problem of poor power supply in the country is an operational issue and will be solved .

In his speech, the minister of Power ,Adebayo Adelabu, said the Federal Government would pursue the project to achieve its objectives, stressing that it would turn around power issues in the country and create jobs for Nigerians.

According to him, the project has been structured to resolve major challenges in the Nigeria’s electricity supply industry since the privatisation in 2013.

He regretted that inspite huge investment in the sector, power supply had not improved but kept deteriorating.

“Since I was born, we have experienced same issues and currently we are generating only 4000 mega watts which is one of the fundamental issues this administration is trying to address,” he said.

The minister added that they needed a lot of investments to be done to improve the power sector. They have some initiatives to close the metre gap.” There is a program to harmonizing all the meters There is a budget for that this year to take communities not electrified to be energized.
He added that once the issue of right of ways is resolved with the governors, the completed sub-stations not yet energized will be energized.

.On his part, the Managing Director, NDPHC, Chinedu Ugbo,said the project was part of historic initiative by Federal Government to address the issue of electricity in the country.

He added that the project demonstrates commitment, determination and intervention of President Tinubu’s administration and NDPHC to provide reliable and sustainable solutions to the electricity challenges in the country, starting with affordable power supply to the industries.

Pix- Gov Mbah

Ugbo said the launch of the project first took place in Ogun state where Shettima engaged business community and assured them that Federal Government was committed to providing electricity to power businesses in the industrial area across the country.

He said NDPHC is the government own company responsible for implementing the national integrated power projects.

In his welcome address, Chief host and Governor of Enugu state, Dr Peter Mbah’ said the Light-Up Nigeria Project signals a new dawn for power and industrialization of the South East region. He added that the initiative aligns with his administration’s disruptive approach to governance underpinned by thinking outside the box.

He commended the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) for coming up with the project to ramp up power supply to industrial clusters in the South East. Governor Mbah’ enjoined industrialists of the region to fully key into it and take advantage of the initiative to remove bottlenecks they face regarding power availability.

“The Light up Nigeria Project today is, in my view, a new dawn for power in the South East and one of the most innovative initiatives in the power sector. This project is of critical importance since it deals with the power sector, which I believe is pivotal to economic growth. Indeed, if we fix power, a lot of other sectors would fall into place.

“This project ensures efficient dispatch of power to the largest consumers via bilateral sales agreements, which overides 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 South East. This will in turn result in reduced power costs for the productive sector and enable them improve enganced 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.

“Therefore, this project aligns completely with our approach to governance in Enugu in the sense that it is a very disruptive initiative, which shows a deep ability to think outside the box. Today’s Nigeria requires a marked departure from business as usual to business unusual”, he said.

He pledged his government’s continued support to industrialists and other private investors across the state to complement the undeniable boost that the Light-up Nigeria Project would being

On his part, the Governor of Anambra state, Prof Charles Soludo, called for lasting solution to the power problem. He urged the Federal Government to remove gas from Exclusive list to Concurrent list to improve power generation . He explained that electricity generation goes with gas and since power generation is now in Concurrent list, gas should also be removed from the Exclusive list to Concurrent for smooth power generation by states

In his brief remarks, Ebonyi State Governor, Hon. Francis Nwifuru called for actionable programs to solve the power problem in the South East zone

On his part, tthe chairman of South East Governors forum and Governor of Imo state, Senator Hope Uzodinma called for auditing of the managers of the power sector to account for tbe unused budgetary allocation to the sector.

Participants who spoke at the event urged the Government to take strategic steps to solving the issues of power deficit in the South East zone to improve businesses

Dignatries at the event were the Governor of Ebonyi State, Hon. Francis Nwifuru, Anambra state Governor, ,Prof .Chukwuma Soludo, Imo state Governor, , Senator Hope Uzodinma, and the host Governor,Dr. Peter Mbah’ of Enugu state.
Others are the former Senate President Pius Anyim, Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, Chairman, Board of Directors, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, (EEDC) Emeka Offor, Senator representing Enugu West senatorial zone, Osita Ngwu, members of Enugu state Executive council, political appointees and some National Assembly members from Enugu state.among other dignitaries.

. Author – Maureen Ikpeama

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