The Nigerian government will sign a mega electricity deal with Siemens today and if company pedigree is anything to go by, this could mark the beginning of the end of Nigeria’s electricity struggles.
A few years back, key figures of the Egyptian government embarked on a trip to Germany. By the time they returned to Cairo, they had reached an agreement to boost power generation in their country with renowned energy company, Siemens, after some mediation by the German government. Twenty-four months later, 10,000 megawatts had been added to the Egyptian power grid.
Around the same period, the leadership of Iraq, in its quest to boost electricity generation and distribution in the country, scheduled a sit down with Siemens in Germany. After they put pen to paper, the country’s power grid was boosted by an additional 6,000 megawatts within months.
In 2018, the Nigerian government met with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in an effort to have her broker a similar deal. After months of feasibility studies and sessions at the discussion table, it appears the deal is a go.
Nigeria is about to make up significant ground in its quest to put its power supply woes to rest. Today, Joe Kasser, CEO of Siemens, will be Abuja to sign a mega electricity deal with the Nigerian government.
Pending a dramatic turn of events, the Buhari-led administration will sign an agreement with German-based Siemens AG today on an electrification roadmap aimed at addressing the nation’s power crisis.
Last month, Chief of Staff to Nigeria’s President, Abba Kyari, was reported to have held meetings with the power distribution companies and other stakeholders in the power sector and projects that the German government could help with were examined, hence, the green light on the Nigerian Electrification Roadmap initiative.
The Nigerian Electrification Roadmap initiative came to life following the meeting between President Buhari and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, August 31, 2018.
The initiative is aimed at resolving existing challenges in the power sector and expanding the capacity for future power needs.
It is understood that the projects earmarked for the first phase of the initiative would span transmission and distribution segments of the value-chain, including software maintenance and four years support for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and 11 distribution companies.
In developing the road map, Siemens is said to have engaged relevant stakeholders in the sector at different times and fora, with the Bureau of Public Enterprise acting on behalf of the Federal Government.
The findings from a workshop facilitated by Siemens in October with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing, as well as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and the TCN, was said to have been developed into the road map, which was submitted to President Buhari in November.
That was followed by further engagements with the distribution companies and the TCN including field visits in January this year. And then, another workshop was organised and facilitated by Siemens in March to further identify and validate projects for the first phase of the road map. Seems like a well-thought plan.
It’s been more than five years since the Power Holding Company of Nigeria was unbundled in a privatisation move which saw Nigeria’s power sector ending up in the hands of six generation companies and 11 distribution firms in an effort to improve power supply in the country.
But in all that time, very little has changed. Power generation and supply in Nigeria continues to be bedeviled by the problems of old and private firms haven’t had much luck making things better.
Gas supply shortages, limited distribution networks, limited transmission line capacity, huge metering gap, electricity theft, high technical and commercial losses, and many other shortcomings continue to plague the sector.
For a country with a population of nearly 200 million, it is somewhat criminal that total power generation still dangles below 4,000 megawatts. And it is hoped that the new deal with Siemens will bring some much-needed respite in the near future.