POWER: NNAJI INSISTS ON FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF REFORM ROADMAP
From GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka
As Nigerians still groan under constant poor and inadequate electricity supply, the immediate past minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, has said that all that is needed to give Nigerians the required service in the power sector was full implementation of the power reform roadmap.
Nnaji, who was the Guest Speaker at the 25th Annual General Meeting of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Anambra/Enugu/Ebonyi states branch, held at Emmaus House, Awka, also identified infrastructural deficit as the bane of manufacturing in Nigeria.
The former minister, who is chief executive officer of Geometric Power Limited, noted that power reform was informed by government's decision to resolve the problems of power in the country and disclosed that most of the pillars of the reform have been put in place.
He said: 'The government at some point decided that okay, we are going to solve this problem of electricity, and that's why we talk about power reform. I will say that most of the pillars of power reform are in place, all that remains now is implementation. The pillars for example, we have a regulatory commission, we have bulk filter who buys power from whoever produces power. We have appropriate tariff regime etc., so all the things are in place but implementation must be correct.'
He stressed that it was for the same reason that his company, Geometric Power got the federal government permission to build the Aba Power plant which first unit he disclosed would commence operation next month while the official commissioning would be on May 15, 2013. Nnaji said: 'Next month (April) the first unit of Aba Power plant will fire from thereon gradual feed to Aba to ensure reliability will begin, the whole idea is that Aba will within the year come to a point where it has absolute reliable electricity 24 seven.
What it does is that the industries there will no longer have share generating electricity. The industries that are located there, they can keep their generators alright but they won't have any use for generators. 'I have always said, there is no place where it is written on the forehead of Nigeria that thou shall not have reliable electricity, but we just have to structure things right so that things will happen,' he added.
The Geometric Power boss commended Nigerian manufacturers for their steadfastness not withstanding the numerous problems they encounter in doing business in the country, insisting that for Nigeria to get it right in industrialization there must be diversification of industries. According to him: 'When you talk of industrialized nations it seems as if there is something else they have other than industries, it is not because they are smarter, it is not because they have something that gives them some kind of magic for industrialization.
If you look at Germany, Germany produces automobiles, it produces Mercedes Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, all these constitute one product line, automobile. Germany has millions of other products lines like that and that's what industrialization is about.'