Managing Director at Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Ramesh Naravanan, has said an investment of US$4bn within the next 10 years in the energy sector is needed to tackle challenges related to power transmission in Nigeria and make it globally competitive.
He said this during a business luncheon for chief executives organized by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Apapa Branch in Lagos.
According to Naravanan, the investment would be expected to cover generation, distribution and transmission and about 70% would go into plant machinery as the other 30% into construction. Stakeholders have argued that transmission of power in the country is still a challenge that needs to be addressed.
Naravanan urged that the investment in power sector will open up Nigeria’s service and manufacturing sectors adding that the government should invest in equipping Nigerians with necessary skills through capacity building programmes to help them benefit from the investment.
He has also added that 170 million Nigerians continue to struggle with energy problems and only 5% of the population has access to electricity supplied to 11 discos in the country.
Solving power transmission challenges is important since, according to MAN Apapa Branch Chairman, Tunde Odunayo, manufacturers are also in anguish due to the current dreadful power situation in the country.
He added that industrialists still supply their own power to run their businesses and that majority of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) cannot afford enormous generating sets. These are forced to wait for power as there is shortage in supply. He said there is need to overhaul and expand transmission lines that currently carry a capacity of 4000 Mega Watts, and cannot absorb all power as would be needed.
He said the investment would also generate new direct and indirect job opportunities in the country, calling for private and public academia to rise up to the challenge to train more engineers to fill up the job opportunities the investment will offer.
Managing Director, Egbin Power Plc, Mike Uzoigwe said that many of the new National Independent Power Plants (NIPP) projects have been completed but power is yet to get into the grid since there has been a number of a challenge not yet tackled.
He noted related issues that need to be addressed to unlock the potential of transmission included tackling overloaded distribution feeders, inadequate power transformer capabilities, undersized conductors, single circuit transmission lines and radial network type instead of the closed grid systems.