By Bimbola Oyesola
In a bid to resolve the perennial problem faced by manufacturers in the country, the World Bank, through its subsidiary, International Finance Corporation (IFC), yesterday pledged to provide the financial muscle for the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Independent Power Project (IPP) in the Lagos industrial clusters.
Speaking during presentations by local and foreign power generation companies at the MAN Power Development Company Limited, in Lagos yesterday, Heidi Ijomah, IFC Investment Officer, African Infrastructure, said the World Bank is committed to assisting Nigeria resolve its power crisis.
She described that the MAN power project as commendable, as it was in line with the ideal of the global body but noted that MAN would need to provide credible backings for any of the companies eventually selected to run the power plant before IFC can be able to bankroll the project.
According to her, the new power plant must be self-sustaining and capable of refunding loans coming from credible funding party like the World Bank.
She lamented that Nigeria was facing problem because its power supply system is not cost-reflective, while investigation revealed that Discos are presently losing 50 per cent of their investment.
“Some of the problems are technical and the present increase though painful, it is necessary to get the investors in and we can expect to get it better with a sector that is self-sustaining,” she said.
The Chairman of the power project, Ibrahim Usman, said that MAN with the presentation by various generation companies was now moving into the implementation of the project, which has been on the drawing table for some time now.
He explained that MAN has over 24 industrial estates across the federation but the pilot scheme, which will commence in few months, would be sited at Henry Carr in Ikeja Industrial Estate, and Amuwo Odofin, all in Lagos.
He stated that MAN resolved to embark on the project as the state of the electricity in the country has continued to be a big challenge to the manufacturing sector.
He said, “we are undertaking the project to save our industries from total collapse. Presently, 30 to 40 per cent of our cost goes into electricity. In a country where the demand is over 7,000 megawatts and the country capacity has dropped from 5,000 to 2,500, we cannot afford to see our plants which we have invested heavily on go down the drain. That is the urgency of this project. MAN is an advocacy body but has to go into this for our members’ survival.
“Besides, we also felt it’s important for us to support our members who are not big players like Dangote, Nestle and others who presently are generating their power independently through establishing their own plants that will not rely on the national grid.”