•Starts training engineers, predicts 11,000 jobs
The federal government yesterday said its power deal with Siemens is on track, saying the first phase of the program under the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) will increase power to about 40 million Nigerians.
In addition, the deal, which would expand the country’s generation capacity to 25,000 megawatts, would create at least 11,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to the government.
At the start of PPI training on grid development studies by FGN Power Company, the company overseeing the Siemens energy project, in Abuja, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Dr. Zainab Ahmed, the unveiling of the training session was a milestone in the initiative.
Ahmed assured that the cooperation with the implementation partner Siemens on the PPI is on the right track to bring about positive changes in the energy sector.
The training aspect of the PPI, she said, is to empower engineers with tools and training in network modeling and systems engineering studies.
According to her, the FGN had driven the process by coordinating input from key stakeholders and working with the Treasury to secure funding and establish efficient commercial and contractual arrangements to deliver the PPI.
The training flag-off, she noted, was intended to enable capacity development for engineers in network development using Siemens proprietary simulation software.
“The first phase of the PPI will bring more reliable electricity to over 40 million people and create 11,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians, from power systems engineers to electricians and contractors.
“This, in turn, will improve living standards while helping households and Providing businesses with constant, reliable and affordable electricity,” said the minister.
While praising President Muhammadu Buhari “for his tireless efforts in supporting sector improvement efforts, particularly the PPI,” Ahmed explained that the first phase would see an immediate increase in power generation of 2,000 megawatts.
The Minister is the Chairman of the Board of FGN Power Co. Members include the Ministers for Energy, Works and Housing, as well as the Minister for Justice, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).
In his remarks, Energy Minister Abubakar Aliyu, represented by Minister of State for Energy Goddy Jedy-Agba, reiterated that the Siemens project would add 2,000 megawatts to the national grid in 18 months, increasing it to about 7,000 megawatts.
“The goal of the PPI is to increase the end-to-end grid operation capacity of Nigeria’s power system to 25 gigawatts, but the focus over the next 18 months is to deliver the first additional 2,000 megawatts.
“This will bring about rapid change in the grid-connected electricity value chain, boosting economic growth, creating jobs and opportunities for Nigerian youth and businesses,” he noted.
Noting that the government is ready to solve Nigeria’s epileptic power supply problems once and for all, he stressed that this is the reason why the federal government launched the program.
According to him, the initiative would help achieve commercial autonomy by facilitating investment in critical infrastructure for power supply and service to Nigerians.
“This project aims to modernize, rehabilitate and expand the national electricity grid by investing in the electricity value chain (generation, transmission and distribution systems) of the electricity sector.
“Our implementation partner Siemens will support us with their world-class experience in energy system reforms, as they did recently in Egypt,” he noted.
FGN Power Managing Director Kenny Anuwe also said that the training is the first Power System Simulation Software (PSS) session at Power Technology International (PTI) from Germany.
He indicated that the training would cover the entire power sector value chain, including generation, transmission and distribution, to be carried out by the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN).
According to him, the training will take place at different levels over the next four years in order to improve the competence of those who will be involved in the management of the project.
Anuwe assured that the project will solve the existing bottlenecks in transmission and distribution grids, which will improve access to electricity across Nigeria.
“It is important to emphasize that the benefits of a constant and reliable power supply will boost economic activity; improve the lives of small, medium and micro businesses across the country and provide much-needed electricity across the country.
“I want to assure you that FGN Power Company will do their best to implement this project to ensure greater success and sustainability,” he stated.
Siemens Energy Nigeria Project Manager Sean Manley commented that Siemens had brought in trainers from Germany and stated that the company would not back down until the various phases were completed.