The Niger Delta power holding company {NDPHC} and unlocking Nigeria’s economic prosperity

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The Nigerian nation has had to grapple with a myriad of most pressing problems and needs. Top of that list is the provision of stable/uninterrupted electricity supply to its millions of hard-working citizens. To provide stable electricity for domestic use and for industrialization to boost economic prosperity. To confront this challenge, the country tried various measures until it devised a most comprehensive scheme, the National Integrated Power Projects {NIPP}, funded by the three tiers of Nigeria’s government.

NIPP/NDPHC.

The National Integrated Power Projects {NIPP}, funded by the federal, all states and all local governments in Nigeria, was to fast track power generation and delivery. With this projects, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company {NDPHC}, was established, a special purpose company owned by the three tiers of the Nigeria government, tasked with the responsibility for implementing the NIPP. The NIPP was a major key to bringing in steady and then uninterrupted electricity supply with the construction of ten {10} gas fired Power Plants, seven {7} situated in the Niger Delta for ease of access to gas feedstock. This $7.1 billion generation asset was to give high volume megawatts [MW] of electricity which will be transmitted and distributed to the Nigeria people. The NIPP to be managed by the NDPHC, was a gas for power initiative like the Marshall Plan; gas being Nigeria’s most reliable source of power ahead of hydro.

As federal minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola put it, ‘’the simplest way to put it, is that we do not have enough power…power cannot be steady unless it is enough. Not only must it be enough, we must create excess capacity.’’ This is where the NDPHC’s mandate and purposeful leadership comes to the fore. The NIPP Scheme has succeeded in building Power Plants but without ensuring gas supply to them. The leadership of the NDPHC must therefore be one to be spot-on to meet this daunting gas task to ease Nigeria into economic boom. Also, there are people, companies, who want to invest; people who have interest in the domestic gas aggregation, processing and supply business. This huge market requires investment and under the present administration in Nigeria, fairplay and investor’s return are assured. A committed leadership must drive this goal.

According to the Nigeria Vision 2020 Report of the Energy Sector National Technical Working Group, the energy sector should be the major engine of Nigeria’s sustainable social, economic and industrial growth, delivering affordable and constant energy supply efficiently to other sectors of the economy to fuel growth. Nigeria has the gas reserves to power its economy. It is not running out of gas. It also has the wherewithal to build accompanying power plants. Nigeria, as the saying go, have the yam, it has the knife. What next then? An efficient body of manpower, with considerable discipline and patriotic dedication by its chief executive and leadership, to put the two together and power Africa’s largest economy. Then steps in the NIGER DELTA POWER HOLDING COMPANY,[NDPHC], established with a mandate to implement the Nigeria Integrated Power Projects [NIPP], 10 gas-fired power plants, to fast track power generation and delivery.

Nigeria’s economy has its various sectors linked and energy is a major input that should turn the whole wheel. The energy sector was strategic to the development of the western world. Infact, it is the main determinant of the West’s progress, apart from constitutional rule, good nationalist policies and efficient dedicated manpower. If Nigeria is to rise to its expected position in world affairs, it must start with reducing its poverty level, improve productivity and enhance the quality of lives of its people. The institutional framework to get all these achieved, apart from stable constitutional rule and good national policies, is the efficiency of its energy sector, its harnessing of its huge natural energy reserves.

According to Chief Philip Asiodu, CON, ‘’There is a direct relation between total energy consumption and growth of GDP.’’ Nigeria’s attainment of constant power will naturally shoot up its investment attraction and gear up a viable sector of small and medium scale industries and enterprises. The attendant economic boom and prosperity will quadruple and poverty level will reduce. However, despite Nigeria’s large reserves of energy resources, the levels of energy consumption and consequently GDP have been low. The Nigerian state in creating the NDPHC, was to merge the blessings of its huge natural gas reserves with efficient power plants, which are to be turned on by gas. The intended result? Constant energy for accelerated development. Yet that has not been fully achieved.  But Nigeria’s low levels of energy of energy consumption, a power deficit, actually presents a opportunity  for the NDPHC. According to the Advisory Power Team, Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, only 9% of gas produced in Nigeria is domestically utilized for power generation in Nigeria. 41% of gas produced is exported to the international market. 10% of gas produced is still being flared. Infact, more gas is flared than used for power generation. It will therefore take strong government policies and an efficient body, to handle its allotted gas, and provide power for Nigeria’s domestic energy needs. An optimal utilization will lead to sustainable development. It is not rocket science. It is that simple.

The NDPHC, which is now conforming to international best practices, is surmounting the herculean task it has been mandated with and is working to achieve results. It is working on a well connected and functioning gas pipeline network, with corresponding uninterrupted supply of gas, to deliver the beneficts of energy; springboard the economy.

The NDPHC, Nigeria’s own Marshal Plan for its energy sector, is actively pre-occupied with the optimal utilization of the existing power plants built under the Nigeria Integrated Power Projects, NIPP, funded by the three tiers of Nigeria’s government, to whom the NDPHC collectively owe explanations under the board headed by the vice president of the federal republic. The working of the NDPHC, is at meeting the energy needs of households and the larger Nigeria economy demand for constant energy, especially for Nigeria’s major political and industrial cities.

Take Abuja, Nigeria’s centre of unity for example. The aggregate infrastructural development in the city since its inception over 35 years ago is put at about 25 percent. Over 90 percent of allocated plots are not developed. Getting to its full potential with massive development functioning of just this one city will rest squarely on energy. For modern infrastructure in transportation, telecommunications, hospitality, real estates, even the Abuja Industrial Park, to be optimally function, will need power. And function it will.

Since the amount of energy used determines productivity, the NDPHC, has its work cut out and has its place in the Nigeria political economy. Nigeria’s exponential growth, say in tonnage of goods and products produced by industries and then there is the corresponding need for them to be carried through road, rail, water and air. Then there is attendant provision of services in a bustling economy. The modern infrastructure for all these, rest mainly on energy.

Nigeria has the proven gas reserves for energy and it has the NDPHC. It also has a present administration that knows its priorities and is a stickler for transparency. It is only a matter of time.

Cliff Chima Esq.

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