By Kennedy Eberechi
Nigeria and Germany are taking more proactive steps in strengthening bilateral relations between both countries through the promotion of increased economic cooperation. One priority area of this economic relations is cooperation in the energy sector.
It would be recalled that in August 2008, the founding document of the Nigerian – German Energy Partnership was signed in Abuja. The Energy Partnership was extended for another five years in October 2013. The two sides meet regularly to promote joint projects with focus on the rehabilitation and further development of electricity production in Nigeria – especially by means of renewable energy and improved energy efficiency – and greater involvement of German companies in developing energy sources in Nigeria.
As an expression of the will of both countries to further solidify this already warm and cordial economic cooperation, the Federal Government of Nigeria and German-based Siemens recently signed an Electricity Road Map Agreement. The Road Map agreement was the outcome of a meeting President Buhari of Nigeria earlier held with German Chancellor; Angela Merkel in Aug. 2018.
The Letter of Agreement was signed on behalf of the Federal Government by the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE); Mr Alex Okoh, and the Global Chief Executive Officer of Siemens: Joe Kaeser.
Speaking shortly after signing of the agreement, President Buhari tasked Siemens and other stakeholders in the power sector to work hard to achieve 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by 2021, and 11,000 megawatts by 2023.
“We all know how critical electricity is to the development of any community or indeed any nation. And in Nigeria, we are blessed to have significant natural gas, hydro and solar resources for power generation. We are still on the journey to achieving reliable, affordable and quality electricity supply necessary for economic growth, industrialisation and poverty alleviation,” he said.
According to him, our goal is simply to deliver electricity to Nigerian businesses and homes. “My challenge to Siemens, our partner investors in the Distribution Companies, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Electricity Regulator is to work hard to achieve 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by 2021 and 11,000 megawatts by 2023 in phases 1 and 2 respectively.
Continuing, Mr. President expressed hope that with the Federal Government’s strong commitment to the development of Mambilla Hydroelectric and the various solar projects under development across the country, the long-term power generation capacity would ensure adequate energy mix. He added that it would ensure sustainability in the appropriate balance between urban and rural electrification.
The president further recalled how previous administrations had made futile attempts in the past to fix the nation’s energy problem. However, he expressed hope that this opportunity from Germany through Siemens was a good one that could provide the needed solution.
“Now, we have an excellent opportunity to address this challenge. This Government’s priority was to stabilise power generation and gas supply sector through the Payment Assurance Facility, which led to a peak power supply of 5,222 MW, Buhari noted.
President Buhari, therefore, stressed that the agreement would be structured strictly under a government to government framework, adding that no middlemen would be involved in order to achieve its goals.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Siemens; Mr Joe Kaeser attributed the signing of the agreement as a milestone in the relationship between Nigeria and Germany. “The journey to this landmark started in August 2018 when the German Chancellor and the Nigerian President met to talk about the opportunities on how to strengthen our populations.
“The two leaders said energy was top on their agenda, because it was evident that without affordable, reliable and sustainable energy in supply, Nigeria cannot be able to achieve sustainable economic development. With this agreement and the support of the German government, Nigeria is stepping up to meet this challenge,” he said.
In addition, Kaeser revealed that Egypt mega project was handled by Siemens, adding that the company had successfully managed to boost Egypt’s power generation capacity by more than 40 per cent by connecting 14.4 Gigawatts to the Egyptian national grid.
In conclusion, he expressed optimism that the power agreement would aid the activities of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the eleven DisCos within the country, including software maintenance and support for four years.