A delegation of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) led by Major General J.O. Akomolafe embarked on research at the Ibom power plant in Ikot Abasi today as part of requirements for the Strategic Management and Policy course facilitated by NARC in Abuja.
The delegation, which had top management staff of the Nigerian Army, Defence Intelligence Agency, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Customs and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) arrived in Akwa Ibom State on Sunday and have embarked on visits to other parts of the state as part of the research.
The leader of the delegation, Major General J.O. Akomolafe disclosed that the purpose of the visit is to know how Ibom power has been able to generate power for the state over the years and the company’s challenges.
He said, “The theme of our visit is the role of entrepreneurship, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and infrastructure in job creation and how it has impacted on the internal security of the state”.
“It is a course, a Strategic Management and Policy course. This is the third one that we are running and part of the course curriculum is a visit to states. Many states do invite us to research their state by way of trying to get their needs known to the Federal Government for adequate attention since we are there in Abuja”
“Ours is a research center, most of our work is based on research. After due consideration, Akwa Ibom was selected for this year and that is why we are here. We are delighted and we know that we will be able to do our research based on what we see on the ground”.
The Chairman of Ibom Power Board of Directors, Engr. Etido Inyang who received the delegation along with the Managing Director, Engr. Meyen Etukudo disclosed that though the Ibom power plant has been in operation for more than 10 years with the expertise of Nigerians.
“We have Akwa Ibom State indigenes, Nigerians that have passed through training in this particular plant that are serving here and all over the country. They emerged top in their trainings and currently we have an employment status of over 200 in number working in different shifts”.
The Chairman noted that from his interactions with similar NARC facilitators, part of the research of the Strategic Management and Policy course is to recommend strategies on how to improve power supply in the country. He informed the delegation that the ‘take or pay’ clause in the gas agreement is a major setback.
“We have a Gas Purchase Agreement that states ‘take or pay’. It means that the gas company has committed to giving us gas, if we don’t use it, we pay, if we use it, we pay. For instance, if we are generating power that will give us an income of maybe N200million, the gas bill can be about N500million due to the ‘take or pay’ clause”.
“If we are not able to transmit the power we are generating or the National Control Centre at Oshogbo tells us to drop our power production from our 115megawatts capacity to maybe 50 megawatts, the gas bill does not change, we are still going to pay for it. So, it is a major setback”.
Aside from the challenges in the gas component, the Managing Director of Ibom Power, Engr. Meyen Etukudo identified the inability of distribution companies to pick the available power as another major issue.
The MD said, “Presently, we have about 25 power generation stations with only one grid system, which is Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). TCN has said they can carry up to 5,500 megawatts. These 25 power stations can produce at least 5,000 megawatts but the distribution companies have never picked up to 5,000 megawatts due to various complaints”.
He stated that Ibom power has been holding meetings with the relevant Federal Government agencies to proffer solutions to these challenges. He, however, urged the NARC delegation to further draw the attention of the Federal Government to these challenges and implement long-term solutions.