Heirs Holdings To Invest $2.5 Billion In Africa’s Power Sector

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heirs-holdingsAfricapitalism proponent and chairman of Hiers Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu has disclosed plans to invest $2.5 billion to boost power supply in Africa.

The investment is part of US President Barack Obama’s unveiled power plan for Africa, and would be made through his pan-African proprietary investment company Heirs Holdings, which is the single largest investor to be included in the white house initiative.

The US president on Sunday announced a $7 billion power plan for the black continent, aimed at upgrading the continent’s power network and ending blackouts that deter business investments and activities.

“The investment we are making demonstrates our intent to become a significant player in the power sector.” Mr Elumelu said in a statement. “We want to conduct business in this strategic sector for the long term, in a way that links economic return to social benefits.”

Earlier this year, the investment company, through its investee company, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), acquired the Ughelli power plant, one of Nigeria’s largest power assets, which it plans to restore to its full generating capacity of 1000 megawatts. Also, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), another African partner in the power Initiative, will invest about $250 million in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria’s power sectors, with an additional $1 billion investment in sub-Saharan Africa energy projects. Daily Times reported.

The announcement had earlier caused an influx of heated online exchanges as critics believe the initiative would prove a massive failure.

America’s real estate mogul Donald Trump who took to twitter after the pronouncement claimed corruption within the developing continent would scupper the process, alleging that the entirety of the funds will be embezzled.

However Uganda’s billionaire Ashish Thakkar could not hide his discontent at Trump’s claims, labelling his statement as “ignorant”.

StanChart Commits $2bn To Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ Initiative

Standard Chartered bank has committed itself to financing more than $2 billion worth of energy projects under the ‘Power Africa’ Initiative, set up by US president, Barack Obama during his visit to Africa this week.

Standard Chartered, a bank with marked presence in Africa’s emerging markets, is partnering with the United States of America and African governments, including Nigeria, to accelerate investment in power. The other governments are Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia and Liberia.

The bank is committing $2 billion of new financing, more than 20 percent of the initial private sector contribution to Power Africa, alongside the US government’s provision of $7 billion of financial support.

Many other private-sector firms are taking part in the initiative to improve access to clean and reliable power in Africa.

Power Africa aims to add more than 10,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity — equivalent to 250 percent of Nigeria’s current power generation; increasing access to electricity by more than 20 million new households and businesses.

The partnership represents a coordinated cross-border effort to build the regulatory, economic and policy foundation in order to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.

The initiative is hinged on the hope that the growth of African business and entrepreneurship is hindered by unstable electricity supply on the continent.

Group Chief Executive of Stanchart, Mr Peter Sands, said in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during President Barrack Obama’s visit; “Throughout our 150 years of history in Africa, we have always strived to contribute to social and economic development, financing trade and investment across the continent”.

“We are delighted to partner with the United States and African governments involved in the Power Africa Initiative to address one of Africa’s most critical infrastructure challenges,” he added.

“More than two-thirds of the population of sub-Sahara Africa is without electricity, and more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas lack access,” a White House statement had said.

The statement also noted that “These countries have set ambitious goals in electric power generation and are making the utility and energy sector reforms to pave the way for investment and growth.”

Using its geographic coverage across 37 African countries and leading project and export finance expertise, Standard Chartered will work closely with US agencies, including the Export-Import Bank, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to develop the policy framework for specific projects and the introduction of best practice for infrastructure development in Africa.

Renewable Energy Opportunities Blossoming in Nigeria

Just like any country, Nigeria in the 21st century faces enormous challenges, and one of its most crucial is power. Nigeria has been confronted with incessant electricity problems ranging from power generation to its transmission and distribution. The main sources of its electricity are gas and hydropower, but for many decades, homes, businesses and industries have faced the huge challenges when accessing electricity.

Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world and by the end of 2013 its population will hit 170 million, according to the National Population Commission — but 60 percent of Nigeria’s population have no access to electricity, according to Nigeria’s Infrastructural Concession Regulatory Commission.

In most countries that have experienced similar setbacks, the ultimate solution has not been from a single source of energy, but the culmination of several. As an advocate of renewable energy, it is really great to see governments all over the world including green sources of energy in their mix. These actions have predictably increased their respective Total Electricity Installed Capacity (TEIC). Several projects have been proposed with the aim of increasing the TEIC of the country, which currently stands at about 6,000 MW. Recent proposals include the development of new hydropower plants in Mambilla (3,050 MW) and Zungeru (700 MW) and a 10-MW wind farm in Katsina.

The following are the TEICs of nine countries and their respective estimated populations as at the end of 2010; United States (1,000,000 MW, 315 million), Argentina (32,000 MW, 40 million), Venezuela (23,000 MW, 29 million), Poland (33,000 MW, 38 million), United Kingdom (93,000 MW, 64 million), South Africa (44,000 MW, 51 million), Morocco (6,000 MW, 32 million), Egypt (27,000 MW, 83 million), Libya (6,000 MW, 6 million). A quick glance at these figures compared to Nigeria’s (6,000 MW, 170 million) shows an urgent need for melioration, and one common feature that cuts across most of the above listed countries is the adoption of renewable energy sources.

Renewable energy investors are currently looking for investment opportunities in Nigeria after the country was ranked one of the four top investment destinations and growth areas in the world by a leading global audit, finance and tax advisory firm KPMG in March 2013. Understandably, many private investors are not willing to take part in this paradigm, which is being championed by their counterparts in developed countries. There is a measurable amount of risk due to political and economic uncertainties in the nation just like in other parts of Africa.

It is at this juncture that the government should step in and promote this revolution by creating and enabling a sound investment environment and favourable policies to guarantee financial rewards like tax exemptions and renewable energy credits. The benefits of generating more electricity from solar, wind, hydropower and biomass in Nigeria are numerous. The most apparent are the creation of millions of jobs, increased incomes, economic growth and (of course) more stable power supply.

Nigeria to Leverage On Turkish Expertise in Energy

National Thermal Power Corporation

Nigeria’s thermalMinister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, has said that Nigeria in its quest for new energy mix strategy would leverage on Turkish expertise in Thermal and Hydro power sources.

The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Amb Dr. Godknows Igali, said that Nigeria offers the best environment for business not only in power, but also in heavy equipment, machineries and construction.

Speaking in Abuja while receiving the Bereket energi Group led by its Deputy Chairman, Ali Yagli and the Nigerian partner -Oral Energy Limited (the core investor of Jos DISCO), the minister commended the group for the confidence it has in the Nigeria economy, saying that the Group would not regret its decision as there are unequal potentials in terms of returns on investment.

He described their visit as the best timed against the backdrop of the shift in emphasis on hydro renewable like wind, solar and coal to power, with the enormous coal reserves that stretched from Enugu-Kogi-Benue and Nasarawa States. Nigeria should harness these potentials to the fullest as our coal has been described as one of high quality. On the group’s request for more participation in Nigeria’s power market, the minister assured the Turkish company that other renewable like solar energy, wind are also available for exploration.

Responding on behalf of the group, Tukur Modibo, who represented, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, the Chairman of Oral Energy Ltd, said that the Bereket energi of Turkey has been a dependable ally in the on-going privatisation of the power sector. He said the group has enormous experience that has helped the Nigeria partner to effectively operate in six states with three million customers through its Jos DISCO. With that success story, the Turkish group is ready to go into power generation.

Foreign Electricity Company Pledges Smarter Energy In Nigeria

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aef13_logoSchneider Electric SA , a Global Fortune 500 company and market leader in the field of energy management, is pledging for smarter energy in Nigeria and other African countries at the Africa Energy Forum 2013, which opened on Tuesday at the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB), Spain.

The Africa Energy Forum (AEF)  is the annual meeting place where global players from the energy industry meet with African governments, utilities and regulators to engage in dialogue aimed at collectively driving forward the development of Africa’s power sector.

According to UN HABITAT, the African urban population will grow to one billion by 2040 and to 1.23 billion by 2050, at which point 60 per cent of all Africans will be living in cities. As African growth will be driven mainly by existing and new cities, electricity will be a key factor to sustain urbanization and growth on the continent.

“The challenge is not only to produce more electricity but to produce intelligent energy in order to enable smart growth in Africa. Schneider Electric’s solutions aim at increasing the electricity available in Africa with limited investments,” Mohammed Saad, President Africa, Schneider Electric.

With its Smart Cities solution, Schneider Electric unites the technologies required to improve the efficiency of urban systems and deliver “urban efficiency”.

“By modernizing the existing grid, developing renewable energy, exploiting the huge solar potential Africa receives every day, and helping companies, industries and public authorities to be more energy efficient, Smart Cities approach delivers the short-term, visible, measurable, low-investment results that cities need,” added Saad.

The Smart Cities solution allows up to 30% energy savings, 15% reduction of water losses, 20% reduction of travel time and traffic delays, as well as tremendous social and economic benefits.

“As a market leader in the fields of energy management and renewable energies, Schneider Electric is the only company able to provide a comprehensive solution allowing the production of intelligent energy that enables smart growth in Africa,” comments Jean-Marc Darboux, President Schneider Electric International.

Schneider Electric as a global specialist in the field of energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructure, Industries & Machines Manufacturers, Non-residential Building, Data Centres & Networks and in Residential.

Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the Group’s 140,000 plus employees achieved sales of 24 billion euros in 2012, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

NEITI uncovers $9.8bn unpaid taxes

Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has uncovered unremitted taxes amounting to $9.8 billions (N1.538 trillion) by oil companies into the federation account. This came as President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, promised that the Federal Government would soon review the law setting up the agency to strengthen its operations for optimum performance. The unremitted taxes resulted from under-payment of taxes and rents, through under-assessment, process manipulation and poor management of agreements between the Federal Government and different companies.

Speaking to newsmen after meeting with the President, NEITI Chairman, Ledum Mitee, who disclosed this, however, said NEITI had been able to recover $2 billion (N314 billion), being money owed the Federal Government as unremitted taxes by companies operating in oil, gas and mineral sectors of the economy. Mitee lamented that the cut in agency’s budgetary allocation was negatively affecting its operations, adding that between 2011 and 2013, the agency’s budget had been reduced by about 50 percent, a situation he added was affecting its smooth operation. Mitee said: ”What we have tried to identify is that between 2011 and 2013, there has been some 50 percent reduction in our budgetary allocation which we thought was threatening the smooth operation of our work. ”The fact that we won an international award at the Sydney global EITI conference last month where Nigeria was adjudged the best country in compliance with its standards. ”Our responsibility is to identify gaps. The key issue which came out of the meeting was that we have to close the gap between what NEITI is doing and what the economic management team is doing”. He noted that of the 39 countries implementing EITI, Nigeria’s mode of implementation had been rated the best.

He said: ”We are not just out to find faults. We are there to help government to even raise revenue and identify gaps so that they can be remedied and that should be seen within the larger frame work of the reforms we all pray for”. He said the agency was able to achieve this feat through the collaboration of relevant agencies working under the aegis of Inter-Ministerial Task Team, IMTT, from additional assessments. FG to review NEITI law — Jonathan Speaking while receiving a report from the National Stakeholder’s Working Group, NSWG, led by its Chairman, Ledum Mitee, President Jonathan pledged that the law that set up NEITI would soon be reviewed to make it more effective. According to the President, “NEITI is not just a watchdog organisation but also one playing a critical role in the economy with additional responsibilities.”

Commending the leadership of NEITI for the level of successes recorded, while urging it to maintain the tempo to export the exemplary performance to other countries. The President said the issues of funding and gaps in the synergy between NEITI and certain major government bodies would soon be addressed with the setting up of IMTT which would also see to the “proper integration of NEITI into the economic agenda of government.”

Kano Signs Agreement On Power Project

The Kano State government has signed an agreement with Skipper Nigeria Ltd, a company that specializes in manufacturing power transformers and electrical equipments for the construction of an independent power plant, which would generate 35 megawatts of power in the state.

The state governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who spoke after signing the agreement at the Government House in Kano yesterday, said “the agreement is a significant milestone in the quest of his administration to cater for the energy need of the state,” according to a statement by his spokesman Halilu Ibrahim Dantiye.

He identified “the present challenges with provision of electricity and the insufficient grid and other power infrastructure” as the main problems that emboldened his administration to initiate this project which he said “will hasten the socio-economic transformation efforts of the government.”

“One of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria for a very long time is that of electricity so the signing of this MOU is a dream come true for our people,” he said.

Kwankwaso added “turbines will be installed at Tiga and Challawa Gorge dams, so as to generate not only electricity but also to consolidate water supply and street lighting schemes.”

120mn Nigerians lack access to electricity supply- Power Minister

Only 40 million Nigerians currently have access to electricity, the Minister of State for Power, Zainab Kuchi, has said; with the remaining 120 million of the population living in darkness. The minister said this after Wednesday’s weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.

She addressed the press, alongside the Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo; Information Minister, Labaran Maku; and Niger Delta Minister, Godsday Orubebe. “We have 160 million Nigerians now and we are only giving power to 40 million of that population. what it means is that there are about 120 million Nigerians that are without power and wish to buy power,” Ms. Kuchi said.

Mr. Nebo, on his part, described the situation where only 25 per cent of Nigerians have access to electricity as a nightmare caused by human beings used by evil forces. He attributed the current shortage in power supply to the lack of appropriate provisions in the 2012 budget for maintenance of power equipment; adding that the country did not anticipate the current slow pace in the privatization process. He said the problems are surmountable with divine intervention and the efforts being made by this administration.

He said unprecedented system collapses were being experienced in the power sector; while the rainy season has brought about heavy storms like the ones that shattered transmission lines in Bayelsa and Kebbi states which destroyed four transmission towers. Mr. Nebo, however, painted a lucrative picture for the sector and called on investors to take advantage of the ongoing privatization process and government’s energy mix policy to invest in the sector which he said holds better prospect for lucrative returns.

“We need to deliver power to Nigerians and the only way to do this is by serious commercialization. There is even more money in power than in petroleum, all you need is a power plant and you will make money by the day,” he said. “The government has tried, we have all sorts of encouragement, we could go into coal, renewable energy so we need clusters of the windmill”. The minister also assured Nigerians that the 10,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity being targeted will be available by the end of 2014. He disclosed that 3,200 MW is currently available for distribution out of the 4,000 MW being generated. Mr. Nebo said government was looking forward to partnering with independent producers; adding that power funding should not be left to government alone.

On the opportunities in the power sector, Mr. Nebo disclosed that government is focusing on energy mix, including those of solar, hydro and wind energy, to meet the energy requirement. “We are looking forward into energy mix, what we are looking at are ways that will bring in so many other options; and the only way we can power Nigeria is, we have agreed, to look forward to IPPs (Independent Power Projects). “We keep on saying we shouldn’t allow imperialism, yes we want foreign direct investment but we also want Nigerians to take ownership.

If water can sell on the street, power can sell better because everybody wants power 24/7,” he said. “So if we come together by way of synergy and we are able to build consortia and the Independent Power Projects come in to address the issue of power need, it will not only be government looking for funding to do this. The energy mix that we want to come up with, there is solar, wind and hydro. And all these things are available in form of access to Nigerians.”

On current shortage in power supply across Nigeria, the minister attributed the problem to system collapse forced by the natural occurrences like rain storm which knocked out the entire area in Bayelsa State. “It took about 10 to 12 days to restore power to Bayelsa as a result of the heavy storm which destroyed three transmission towers,” he said; adding that “In Abuja, we would have had very stable power, but for the vandalisation of power equipment by youths in the area. It is easy for systems to collapse through trip offs which causes signal drops.”

ERA Goes Tough On Zungeru Dam Project, Insists On EIA Or No Deal

Foremost environmental rights advocacy group in Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) has gone tough on the Zungeru Hydro Dam project being pursued by the Nigerian government to boost power supply in the country.

ERA which also doubles as the country’s wing of the Friends of the Earth, has cautioned the Federal Government from going ahead with the construction of the hydro dam project without informing the Nigerian public on issues bothering on the conduct of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The project which is expected to add 700 megawatts to the national grid was commissioned on Tuesday, May 28, by President Goodluck Jonathan and is to be implemented by a Chinese consortium, CNEEC- Sinohydro Consortium, with funding from the Nigerian government and Exim Bank of China. Its completion is billed for 2018.

The dam construction will bring to four, the number of hydro-electric dams located within Niger State in Northern Nigeria. Others within the region are located at Shiroro, Jebba and Kainji.

 In an online statement to AkanimoReports on Wednesday, ERA said, ”the hype around the dam project is centered on a 1982 feasibility study yet, there is a ‘strange silence’ on the issue of EIA which is supposed to intimate the Nigerian public on the immediate and long term impacts of the dam on communities in Wushishi.

“While we support government’s desire to up power generation in the country, we insist that this cannot be done at the expense of the environment and the people. By remaining silent on EIA, government seems to be closing its mind to the potential social dislocation and environmental impacts of the project”.

Executive Director of the group, Godwin Uyi Ojo. who made this known added, ”it would have been expected that the Nigerian government at this point start exploring alternatives in decentralised renewable energy that are small scale and managed by the local beneficiaries themselves. The emphasis on mere feasibility studies and nothing on EIA indicates that government is in a hurry to show it is taking steps in the area of electricity generation but not considering the very important issues of impacts that communities are likely to suffer”.

Ojo is insisting that the 2012 floods caused by release of excess water from a failing dam in Cameroun and some others in Nigeria was a clear signpost that the time for gigantic energy infrastructure is over, adding that in more advanced climes, big dams are being faced out because of their impacts whenever there is a breach.

”Studies and occurrences have shown that bug dams are neither sustainable nor environment-friendly”, he said.

Continuing, he said, ”not only do we demand that the government make public the EIA on the Zungeru Hydro Dam project which must have inputs from neighbouring communities and the general public, the document must also be subject to public presentation. We also reiterate our opposition to big energy projects that continue to fail and cause havoc across the globe. The time for engaging in risky projects is gone. Sustainable alternatives are the way to go”.

UNIDO Hands Over Hydropower Centre to Energy Commission of Nigeria

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has handed over the administration of UNIDO-Regional Centre for Small Hydropower Development in Africa to the Energy Commission of Nigeria.

UNIDO’s Country Representative/Director, Dr. Patrick Kormawa said this was part of organisation’s efforts to promote energy in Nigeria.

Represented by Dr. Raymond Tavares, Deputy Country Representative/Investment Development Officer, Kormawa said energy is one of the three thematic operations of UNIDO.

“This project is linked to renewable energy and one that is much more sustainable in Africa. The Small Hydropower (SHP) Programme in Nigeria is part of UNIDO’s wider renewable and rural energy effort. Although the project is administratively closed, technical implementation and joint cooperation will definitely continue.”

Acting Director General of the Energy Commission, Professor Eli Bala explained that the project was developed into a regional centre in 2005.

He said: “In 1994, the commission constituted a national committee for planning and development of small hydropower in Nigeria. In assessing potentials of small hydropower in Nigeria and conducting feasibility studies in this regard, UNIDO and the ECN organized a national stakeholders’ forum in 2002 on renewable energy technologies on small hydropower on rural development and industry.

“This led to the signing of an MOU between UNIDO and ECN, with regards to the establishment of pilot project, capacity building and training. The centre project originally planned for three years was extended to seven by UNIDO.”

The SHP programmme includes human capacity building, replication and scale-up, technology transfers, demonstration and institution building which took place in Enugu, Bauchi and Osun states.

Trainees made two 35KW cross-flow turbines which were installed in Ikeji-Ole, Osun State. As part of the project, the National Association for Science and Engineering Infrastructure also fabricated a 100KW capacity cross-flow turbine after receiving hands-on training from Indonesia.

UNIDO is currently overseeing the installation of the 1.2MW SHP plant at Amoke/Ugbokpo, Benue State, the Nigerian component of the African Adaptation programme funded by Japan.