Vice President Kassim Shettima said Nigeria would function fully if the southeast region achieved maximum industrialization and a sufficient electricity supply.

The region, he continued, is ‘practically mobile, commercially enterprising and educationally ambitious’, just like the Jews.

The vice president revealed that he turned down a plan to cut off the southeast’s electrical supply because of its debt profile. He emphasized that President Bola Tinubu meant good for the country and that the region’s governors and the southeast are the best among others.

The Vice President spoke on Monday at the South East Business Roundtable’s “Light up Nigeria Program” launch, which was organized by Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, or NDPHC, in Enugu.

Enugu State Governor Peter Mbah declared that the “Light-Up Nigeria Project” heralds a new era for the industrialization and power of the South East, pointing out that the project is consistent with his administration’s innovative, disruptive governing style.

Vice President Shettima stated, “We have to make the South East work; we’re targeting the south east for a two million job for women and the youths. We’re proceeding to Abia state to commission the power station built by the elder statesman, Prof Barth Nnaji and we will also commission some road projects and back to Enugu to commission the Smart school because education is the greatest gift you can give a generation.”

According to Engr, the launch also focused on the Southeast phase of the strategic collaboration between NDPHC and other project parties to provide steady and reliable electricity supply to industrial and business clusters across Nigeria. Chinedu Ugbo is the managing director/CEO of NDPHC. He added that the forum offered an opportunity to interact with the Vice President and the business clusters in the region.

According to Ugbo, one of the main issues facing the NDPHC is the need for more transmission and distribution infrastructure to transfer power from the plants. He also mentioned that the financial difficulties facing the electric power industry result in distribution companies and Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) paying generation companies such as NDPHC insufficient amounts.

“The huge indebtedness to the generation companies affects the ability of the generation companies to pay for gas supply, leading to gas supply shortage and the resulting low generation. At a recent press conference, the Honourable Minister of Power rightly identified this severe liquidity crisis as a major impediment to electricity supply in the country, with over N1.3 trillion owed to generation companies. NDPHC alone is owed close to N200 billion out of that.

“These challenges of lack of sufficient transmission and distribution infrastructure to transport electricity from the plants and the sector market liquidity crisis have resulted in gross underutilization of installed generation assets with unserved potential grid electricity consumers, particularly industries (some of which are represented here today), resorting to expensive and often inefficient self-generation.

“In response to these challenges, NDPHC initiated the Light up Nigeria Project, which aims to provide reliable and affordable electricity supply to industries and homes by utilizing underutilized generation capacity, establishing trading agreements with bulk purchasers of electricity, and mobilizing investments to address technical, commercial, and collection losses in the supply chain. Additionally, NDPHC aims to receive full payment for the electricity generated and delivered without relying on the Federal Government for such payments.

“The project aligns with the Electricity Act of 2023 (graciously signed into law by His Excellency Present Bola Tinubu GCFR), which provides a strong framework for state governments to develop electricity markets at the sub-national level, with the aim of delivering consistent and affordable electricity to residents. Through the Light up Nigeria project, state governments will derive the benefit of increased access to electricity, attraction of investment opportunities, revenue generation and economic growth. At the federal level, the project will help reduce the financial burden on FGN’s balance sheet from the debt exposure of NBET.

“The project is further reinforced by NERC’s MYTO 2024 which mandates distribution companies to secure adequate bilateral contracts and exit from contractual relationships with NBET. NDPHC remains at the forefront in pursuing bilateral electric power sales and other projects that ensure efficient and targeted electricity delivery to end-users.”

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