President Buhari administration fully acknowledges the vital role of electrification in the development of Nigeria. The APC Legacy Awareness and Campaign, a voluntary think-tank group of the governing party, can report that since 2015, the administration has focused on the following: Completing inherited projects, many of which had been abandoned or facing funding challenges; Resolving the liquidity issues faced by players in the sector; Promoting off-grid/renewable initiatives, especially targeting underserved communities and vulnerable populations; and ensuring robust consumer protection for on-grid electricity consumers. In line with this, the Buhari Administration has embarked on the following programmes and initiatives:
Completion of Inherited and Abandoned Power Projects: Abandoned projects inherited include the 40MW Kashimbila Dam and Hydropower Plant; the 10MW Katsina Wind Farm; and the 30MW Gurara Hydroelectric Power Plant, which has been completed and concessioned to the private sector in 2020. The 700MW Zungeru Hydropower Plant is scheduled for completion at the end of 2021 – it will be one of the biggest power plants in the country.
New Projects: New projects started by the APC-led President Buhari administration are the private-sector-led Azura Power Plant in Edo State (460MW), for which the financial close was facilitated in 2015/2016, and which was completed in the first quarter of 2018, several months ahead of schedule. The Buhari Administration also built the Afam Three Fast Power Plant, with a capacity to generate 240MW of electricity. Following a competitive bidding process, that new plant has been sold, alongside the neighbouring Afam Power Plc (966MW installed capacity), to Transcorp Plc, in demonstration of the administration’s belief in the managerial capacity of the private sector.
The Energizing Education Programme: This was designed to supply clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to Federal Universities and Federal Teaching Hospitals across the country. So far, four Universities have had their power plants completed and commissioned: BUK (Kano), FUNAI (Ebonyi), ATBU (Bauchi) and FUPRE (Delta); while others are ongoing in the first phase of the programme.
The Energizing Economies Programme: A complementary programme to the Energizing Education, this time targeted at markets and economic clusters across the country. Completed projects include sections of Sabon-Gari Market in Kano, Ariaria Market in Aba, Abia State and Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos.
The National Mass Metering Programme: This was launched in August 2020, in line with a presidential directive to ensure that all Nigerians receiving electricity from the national grid are metered. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been tasked with providing the 60 billion Naira for the first phase of the NMMP, with a target of 1 million meter installations. As of May 2021, more than 500,000 meters had been delivered to the Discos, and more than 280,000 installed. The NMMP is ongoing.
The Solar Power Naija: This was launched in April 2021 to deliver 5 million off-grid solar connections to Nigerian households, as part of the Economic Sustainability Programme of the Buhari Administration, under the oversight of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The Solar Power Naija initiative is expected to generate $10 million in annual earnings from import substitution. In addition to the homes that will be covered, the programme will also see the deployment of solar-powered grids to Primary Health Centres (PHC) and Unity Schools nationwide.
The Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), also known as The Siemens Power Programme: This is yet another manifestation of President Buhari’s emphasis on Government-to-Government initiatives, for tackling some of the most pressing challenges facing the country. The PPI is a partnership between the Governments of Nigeria and Germany, and a multinational firm, Siemens AG of Germany, to upgrade and modernize Nigeria’s electricity grid, in three phases, over the next few years. President Buhari has since approved the payment of Nigeria’s counterpart funding for the pre-engineering segment of the PPI, and the relevant contract was signed earlier in 2021. The PPI alongside a host of other investment by the private sector and Development Finance Institutions like the World Bank, African Development Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria and others will attract more than $3 billion of new investment into the transmissions and distribution segments of the value chain.
The Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) is providing grants to support the deployment of 200,000 Solar Home Systems, as well as a nationwide rollout of mini-grids, positively impacting the quality of life for millions of Nigerians.
Introduction and Implementation of a landmark ‘Eligible Customer’ Regulation, which provides for a ‘Willing Buyer, Willing Seller’ scenario in which certain classes of electricity customers are permitted to buy power directly from available Generation Companies (GenCos); and are permitted to freely select and change suppliers while also being empowered to negotiate with these suppliers on the most beneficial terms of supply. The Eligible Customer Regulations have helped usher in a new vista of competition in the Nigerian Electricity Industry.
Consumer Protection: Under the Buhari Administration the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is more actively rising up to its regulatory responsibilities. In 2019 it issued an Order capping estimated billing by DisCos. Most recently (July 2021) it has issued a Consultation paper on the Review of Customer Protection Regulations in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, and is inviting the input of citizens and stakeholders as it works to strengthen these consumer protection frameworks.
Financial Interventions from the Federal Government, by way of electricity pricing reform, as well as the introduction of a multi-billion dollar Payment Assurance Programme – all designed to resolve the liquidity challenges in the Power Sector by increasing the revenues available to Discos, Gencos and Gas Suppliers. Since the tariff reforms commenced in 2020, with “service-based tariffs”, DisCo collections have increased by more than 60 per cent, bringing greater stability to the value chain.
Gas-To-Power Infrastructure Projects: The Buhari Administration is investing significantly in the construction and completion of several large-scale gas pipeline projects across the country. The 342KM Escravos—Lagos Pipeline System Phase 2 (ELPS 2) has been completed, as has the Second Lot of the 130KM Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Gas Pipeline. Construction is ongoing on the 614KM Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project. When completed and operational, all of these projects will substantially increase the amount of gas available to feed power plants across the country. In addition, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which are Government-owned entities in the sector, have completed and are completing hundreds of generation, transmission and distribution projects with renewed vigour, under the Buhari Administration.
While we acknowledge that there is still a long way to go in terms of permanently breaking the country’s electricity jinx, the efforts of the Buhari Administration t is contributing significantly in laying a solid foundation for uninterrupted power supply in every part of the country in the near future. For the first time in decades there is the political will to roll out policies, incentives and financing to improve the generation, transmission and distribution of reliable electricity to all Nigerians, including the poorest and most vulnerable among the population. This is President Buhari’s scorecard in the Nigerian power sector, and it is clear that he is walking his talk.
Barr. Ismail Ahmed
Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu
Mr. Tolu Ogunlesi
Mr. Salihu Moh. Lukman
July 28, 2021