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ERGP Focus Labs to Boost Power Generation



  • ERGP Focus Labs to Boost Power Generation

The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) focus Labs set up by the Federal Government is expected to boost power generation in the country and promote economic growth.

Geometerics Power Limited, a major player in the nation’s power sector and a host of other participants must have been skeptical upon receiving invitation to attend the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) focus lab sessions which took place in Abuja this year.

As with most Nigerians, this skepticism often stems from the general perception of such initiatives as another “regular talk shop” organized by the government, where experts and bright minds are gathered for brainstorming sessions but their recommendations never quite get implemented.

Unknown to the participants, a big surprise awaited them, as it turned out by the end of the six-week programme which had in attendance sectorial experts, investors, decision makers in government and other economy major stakeholders. The company, like others, couldn’t have wished for a better opportunity to unlocking its stifled business operations. Not only that, the participation saw Geometrics Power Limited being part of a renewed effort to get the country back on track for the much needed economic recovery and sustainable growth, especially in the power sector. It suddenly saw light at the end of what had been a very long and dark tunnel.

Geometrics Power Limited is the company handling the Integrated Power Project (IPP) in Aba, Abia State, which covers nine local government areas in what is referred to as the “Aba Ring Fence”. A protracted misunderstanding saw the company pitched against the Enugu Distribution Company (Enugu Disco) over the project ownership, in the wake of the privatization of the Power Holdings Company of Nigeria, which left the project suffering lack of attention, with many imported components of the project lying waste for over five years.

By its participation in the ERGP focus labs, the company was afforded an opportunity to meet key decision makers in government and experts who offered the level of assistance and resolution to the seemingly unending challenges it was facing. The same challenges it never could have imagined were possible for resolution, least of all on the spot, given the history of bureaucratic bottlenecks that hamper projects implementation in the country. The focus lab thus provided unfettered access to key decision makers, including concerned Ministers, heads of Parastatals, key officials, as well as representatives of the Bureau of Public of Enterprise (BPE), Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Budget Office, Customs and other agencies required to progress the project.

Benefits of participation in the focus labs

Surely among several others, the benefits Geometrics Power derived from participation in the focus labs were legion, the greatest of which was resolution of the quagmire it found itself in the Aba IPP. The coast is now clear for it to commence work on the project that is expected to generate 500 megawatts of electricity.

Not only did the inability of putting the acquired turbines to use for over five years render the equipment useless, it also eroded the manufacturers warrantee on them. At the Abuja event, Geometrics Power was assigned the foreign organization that would assist in getting the turbines reconfigured to make them useful. A major benefit the company derived in this regard was opportunity to secure, at the focus labs, a presidential approval for the equipment to be taken out of the country for the reconfiguration, since there is a ban on export or re-export of equipment of that magnitude from of the country.

At the focus labs, the company achieved a major breakthrough in securing assistance of the Central Bank of Nigeria and some local banks in sourcing the foreign exchange component requirements for the reconfiguration of the turbines. Thus, the company is set to get the Aba IPP off the ground as soon as possible.

Benefits of uninterrupted power to Aba

The benefits of delivering uninterrupted power supply to Ava are enormous, owing to its status as the industrial hub of the South East for decades. For some time now, there have been concerted efforts at promoting local production of goods also known as ‘Aba-made’ products, with shoes being the dominant product.

The expected boost of power supply to Aba, which will be achieved with the IPP operated by Geometrics Power, will see a massive resuscitation of moribund businesses in the shoes and leather products sub-sector of the manufacturing sector, within and outside the city. For instance, resuscitation of moribund and upscaling of existing businesses in the sub-sector would boost the business of hides and skin producers in the northern part of the country, who depend largely on manufacturers of Aba-made shoes and leather products for survival. Consequentially, this would create more jobs in the locality and even much more along the value chain. Again, the impact of same on social living would be huge with greater potentials as the further grows. This is besides, the possibility of local manufacturers of shoes and other fashion accessories in Aba and environs to feed the boutiques and fashion shops in far-away places like Lagos, other parts of the country and the continent too.

When completed, the Aba IPP is expected to increase the total national electricity generation from the seven thousand megawatts it was as at mid-2018. This is a significant benefit of the over N2.6 trillion the federal government released for capital expenditure to finance infrastructure and other related projects in the country.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre



Petrol Importation

Businesses Groan as Price of Diesel Rises to N250 Per Litre

Businesses have started feeling the negative impact of the rising price of Automotive Gas Oil, known as diesel.

A single litre now goes for N250 in some parts of Lagos, with businesses taking a beating on the back of rising energy costs.

Our correspondent observed that some filling stations in Lagos had increased the price of the product to N250 per litre, while many others sold it at between N220-N245.

Northwest Petroleum along the Oshodi-Apapa road increased the pump price of diesel to N250 per litre; AP (Ardova Plc), along Airport road, Ikeja, N248; and Oando, along Acme Road, N240.

The National Bureau of Statistics, in its AGO price report on Tuesday, said the average price paid by consumers for diesel increased by 0.22 per cent to N224.86 per litre in January 2021 from to N224.37 in December 2020.

It said states with the highest average price of diesel were Adamawa (N268.33), Zamfara (N262.78) and Kebbi (N257.50).

“States with the lowest average price of diesel were Osun (N194.60), Anambra (N195.83) and Enugu (N198.24),” the NBS added.

Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petroleum products, and the deregulation of the downstream oil sector by the Federal Government means that the pump prices of the products will reflect changes in the international oil market.

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, has risen by more than 25 per cent this year from the $51.22 per barrel at which it closed last year. It rose to $65.25 per barrel as of 6:30pm Nigerian time on Tuesday.

Diesel is mostly used by businesses to power their generators amid a lack of reliable power supply from the national grid.

The President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Mr Femi Egbesola, lamented that the recent increase in the price of diesel was taking a heavy toll on businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises.

“The cost of diesel and raw material is giving us a nightmare. The price of diesel has been skyrocketing in a way that creates fear in particularly manufacturers,” he told our correspondent on Tuesday.

According to him, it is difficult for businesses to factor all the increase in diesel price in their final product prices.

Egbesola said, “That is why a lot of companies are downsizing and are making sure that they only produce products that they are so sure will sell in the market.

“Many companies have reduced their product lines significantly just to be able to cope. And that is not good for us because by the time this goes on, unemployment will increase. I believe government should be able to do something about this.”

He said although the downstream petroleum sector had been deregulated, there should be checks and balances.

Egbesola said many small businesses’ savings had been eroded already because ‘we keep spending our savings to make sure we don’t close shop’.

He said, “If things continue this way, there is no way we are not going to close shop. We are still struggling with the recent increase in electricity tariff.

“Many small businesses still depend so much on diesel generators because there is no alternative power supply. It is only the big players that have the facilities to use gas. And we cannot use solar installation because it is very expensive.”

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.

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United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications




United Capital Appoints Latunji Head, Marketing/Corporate Communications

United Capital Plc has been appointed, Tolu Latunji as its Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications.

In the new role, he is expected to drive a strategic communications, marketing and brand management programme for the investment banking group.

Latunji is a communication and marketing expert with 12 years’ experience in products development, marketing, brand & franchise building, effective management and communication of strategic objectives whilst ensuring adequate visibility for both organisation and product/service offerings through product, content and brand initiatives.

“With a 360 degree knowledge of communications and marketing, which includes but not limited to – brand management and initiatives, corporate affairs, internal and external affairs, product and brand marketing, event management and experiential marketing, cluster/segment marketing, Tolu has served at various capacities on government constituted sub-committees on financial inclusion,” a statement explained.

Prior to joining United Capital Plc, he was the Managing Partner of Ten & Square Media Co., a bespoke creative ideation and brand/crisis management firm, based in Lagos, Dakar and London.

Latunji was recently the Strategic Communications lead at FMDQ Securities Exchange, Nigeria’s first integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI), where he had the responsibility of effectively positioning the group, together with its subsidiaries, as the most sophisticated and technologically driven securities exchange in Africa.

Prior to that, he worked in Guaranty Trust Bank for nine years with roles in brand management & monitoring, events and experiential marketing, products and content marketing and user experience.

He led the marketing team to the successful development and launch of various retail, SME and corporate products. He was also instrumental in curating and developing the bank’s social footprints. Outside the corporate environment, Tolu engages in various humanitarian activities with food banks and empowerment programmes. He holds a B.Sc. Economics from University of Lagos.

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Firm to Train 100 Nigerians in Solar Installation



300MW Solar energy

Firm to Train 100 Nigerians in Solar Installation

A learning institute, GreCo Academy is seeking to train 100 Nigerians on solar installation in Nigeria.

The trainees are expected to undergo a 90- day intensive vocational training after which successful candidates will be rewarded with a three-month paid internship with a renowned Renewable Energy Company in Nigeria, according to a statement by the firm.

The training will consist of 80 days virtual engagement and 10 days physical engagement.

This initiative, according to the firm is aimed at giving the trained candidates hands-on practical experience in their journey to becoming professional solar installers in the country.

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