Servicing equipment such as turbines outside the country is taking a toll on operating costs of power companies, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Transcorp Power Limited, Christopher Ezeafulukwe, has lamented.
According to him, the fact that these companies, operating in Nigeria, incur additional costs while servicing their turbines, remained a huge downside to the business.
Ezeafulukwe said the millions of dollars lost to capital flight could have been saved if the services could be made locally.
Transcorp CEO was addressing members of the press following a guarded tour of the facilities in Transcorp’s Plant in Ughelli, Delta State, by a delegation from the Army War College of Nigeria as part of their environmental study tour; where he pointed out that Nigeria’s overdependence on technical services from abroad, was also bound to increasingly expose gas plants in the country to huge logistics challenges, which translates to loss in millions of naira.
He said: “For instance, to carry out routine inspection of the turbines, you need to fly them out which is a huge foreign expenditure which exposes us to logistic challenges.
“The fact is that we queue to wait for some clearance before being allowed to do our jobs, which to a large extent affects our turnaround, because, if you have a turbine that should have come back in six months, it ends up taking about eight to 10 months.
“This in turn will deny us the ability to generate power that could have been added to the National Grid to support the nation’s economy.”
Advocating deliberate and significant improvement in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, Ezeafulukwe pointed out that such trend could fast-track lasting solution to erratic power supply.
He bemoaned the fact that Nigeria was struggling with 5,000 MW generated electricity .
“There is the urgent need for everyone involved to decisively tackle the current epileptic power supply in the country, because it is rather distressing for a country of over 200 million people to still be grappling with driving its economic and social activities with a meagre 5,000 MW of electricity,” Ezeafulukwe noted.
According to him, Nigeria requires at least 20,000 Megawatts of electricity to drive its industrial, economic and social activities round the clock and end epileptic power supply, and it is therefore important that there is conscious and disciplined investment by the incoming administration to address the challenges in the power sector in the country.
The Transcorp Power boss urged the Federal Government to work on incentives for investors in the power sector by identifying gas fields for accelerated development, just as he scored the company high on provision of various corporate social responsibility programmes spanning quality education and vocational training and empowerment to provision of health and other social facilities particularly for several host communities in Ughelli North and Ughelli South local government areas.
Deputy Commandant/Director of Studies at the War College, Brig.-Gen. U.M. Alkali, who led the delegation from the Army War College, explained that the theme of the tour of the facility is “Protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure for National Defence”, and noted that it was of strategic importance towards identifying and understanding ways and means of safeguarding various critical infrastructure in the country important to national economic growth.
He assured that the outcome of the detailed study tour will help in fashioning policies and programmes that would translate into ensuring seamless operational activities of critical assets like Transcorp Power.