Thursday, 1 December 2016

ENERGY EXPERTS SPEAK ON THE IMPACT OF GAS-TO-POWER ON NIGERIAN ECONOMY

Determined to tackle the power challenges in the country head-on, industry experts have again tasked government to create conducive operating environment for investors in the gas-to-power value chain, and reduce overbearing interference in their operations.

Speaking during the yearly Roundtable Session of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (LCCI), Power Sector Group in Lagos, the experts in a discussion on gas-to-power, noted that continuous government assertions in the sector is posing great challenges to the industry.

Among the speakers is the publisher of Africa Oil and Gas Report, Toyin Akinosho, who said government does not have the capacity to invest in the industry like the private sector would, hence the need for them to stay as regulators.

He noted that instead of expending the taxpayers’ money in all its replacement and repairs of pipelines, “government needs to step aside and allow people invest their own money so that they are not necessarily tasking citizens for their inefficiencies.” According to Akinosho, some of the pipelines in Warri and Odidi does not have to be replaced by the government agency, adding that some of the expansion programmes enumerated by the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) have been in the pipeline for years, but are being dislocated by so much interference by the government.

Addressing the theme for the meeting, “Gas-to-Power: Impact on the Nigerian Economy-Lagos Perspective,” President, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, said it was relevant because of the country’s critical economic situation, “knowing that the increased power generation and distribution plays a significant role in the development of our economy.”

Dr. Akande remarked that the economy is presently largely dependent on thermal power plants, which are fuelled by gas, thus the need to get the power sector right, and work towards gas sustainability and availability.

The LCCI president added that, “the Nigerian economy can be an investors’ haven if the power sector challenges are holistically addressed.”

The Director, Aspec Energy, Israel Aye, said the problem with power generation in the country was lack of investment, and poor legislature. He regretted that the sector was entirely locked-in, using legislation and it needs to be opened up now for money to flow into it. (Guardian)