President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday urged all local governments and communities where private, states and federal projects are located to be receptive and partner with them in a bid to fast-track development not only in the communities but in the nation as a whole.
The president also insisted that his administration is fully committed to continuously improving the framework and the enabling environment for a sound policy formulation that would guarantee access to long-term low interest finance and consistent regulatory guidelines.
He made this known at the official flag-off of the $1 billion Azura-Edo Power Plant located at Ihonbor/Orior Osemwende communities in Uhumwonde local government area of Edo State.
The first phase of the Azura-Edo IPP consists of a 450 MW green field, open cycle gas turbine power station, with a total capital cost of $735 million and completion date set for early 2017. The total capacity of the power plant is 1,500MW.
The Azura-Edo power plant is also the first fully financed private sector project of its kind as well as the first power generation project to be the recipient of the World Bank Partial Risk Guarantee and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, MIGA, support.
Mr. Jonathan at the occasion said the flag-off of the project is the first signal from the global financial industry that the years of work that his administration has dedicated to the reform of the power sector, in order to attract private sector developers and financing, is producing the desired results.
According to the president, the Azura-Edo project, demonstrates “a strong foundation on which we are building a sound and sustainable electricity industry, with great expectations for robust growth in the sector. However, success in any endeavour does not happen by accident, but is facilitated by sound decisions, conscious effort, and immense persistence”.
Mr. Jonathan said his government is committed to repositioning the Nigerian power sector as a pivot for the attainment of the nation’s developmental targets.
“We are also maintaining our policy push for increased diversification of our energy, expanding investments in large hydro power projects through public-private partnerships, and the provision of necessary support to accelerate the exploitation of our coal resources”, he said.
Assuring that the Federal Government remains committed to the “Transformation Agenda” regardless of the challenges faced, the president said it is in the interest of the nation and its people for all in the present and the generations to come.
Pesident Jonathan tasked the project sponsors and their contractors to ensure that the estimated completion date of early 2017 is met, adding that he is eagerly looking forward to when the Azura IPP begins to contribute to the national grid.
In his remarks, the Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, said that the financial support received by the investors from the international finance community was an indication that Nigeria still remains the favorite destination for investors.
He said the Jonathan administration has been able to muster the required confidence for investors to participate in the sector, though the privatization of the power sector has been on since 1999.
The governor added that the success recorded by the Jonathan administration in its power reform has further shown that government works better with synergy and collaboration between federal, states, ministries and other government agencies.