Tony Elumelu, the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, has revealed that a lack of appropriate gas supply is affecting the operation of the country’s power plants.
He said at the Nigerian Bar Association’s Annual General Conference on Sunday that this development was harming the country’s electricity supplies.
During his remarks at the occasion, he stated that it was time for the country to invest in its power industry and build regulatory institutions that would provide people, schools, hospitals, and companies with sustainable electricity supply.
He said: “Is it not ironic that a country with abundant gas resources cannot optimally operate its power plants due to lack of gas. I have seen, the beginnings of what we can do.
“Let me give you an example: The TransAfam Power Plant that belongs to Transcorp Group has an installed capacity of 1000 megawatts. The Federal Government of Nigeria made a significant investment to acquire 240 megawatts fast power turbines from General Electric.
“For context, 240 megawatts of electricity can power about one million homes in Nigeria. Yet GE has threatened to pull out of the project, because our nation – with some of the largest gas reserves globally, could not provide 65mm scuffs of gas needed for the comprehensive testing of the installed fast power plant.”
According to him, the country has idle gas fields even when there is so much private capital that can be channelled as needed investments for gas production.
He said that regulatory constraints and self-serving policies were holding back these investments.
The founder of the foundation further stated that the Nigerian private sector has been showing the watching world the country’s capability, ingenuity, and institutionalisation. He, however, said these global businesses with Nigerian origins were far too few.
Elumelu highlighted that energy deficits and the disillusionment of youth manifesting in the loss of talent among many others were also impacting the country.
Commenting on the security situation of the country, he said, “Insecurity breeds disorder, feeds intolerance, and destroys opportunity. Let us invest in security. Banditry, kidnapping, oil theft, pipeline vandalisation, transmission line cuts-create uncertainties, fears, deprivation, poverty, and untold hardship.”
He also noted that the recent policies of the government will have good long-term effects in the country.
According to Elumelu, Nigeria is a country of entrepreneurs and needs to become deliberate about its people.
He said, “Investment in our youth — we need to renew our commitment to our youth, provide them with the means to succeed in Nigeria — not beyond Nigeria. This means not just investment in our education system, but in our entrepreneurial culture.
“Nigeria is a nation of entrepreneurs — you know me as an investor and champion of entrepreneurs – I know the social and economic returns entrepreneurship creates. Let us create a joined-up government task force to champion at the highest level, our young and our entrepreneurs.”
He further admonished private sector leaders to see themselves as the engine of innovation, source of investment, and the creators of jobs.
He said that the nurturing of entrepreneurship is not merely an economic endeavour, but a social responsibility.
“In conclusion, let us approach the task of nation-building with unwavering determination, guided by the principles of unity, inclusivity, and progress,” Elumelu said.