Mr. Tony O. Elumelu has taken a swipe at the federal government over the policies in the power sector, describing the policies as “short-sighted regulatory regime and self-serving policies.”
He said these policies are keeping Nigerians permanently in the dark and this has to change.
Mr. Elumelu the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and investor in the poor sector who spoke during the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference on Sunday said power is one area Nigeria must prioritize investments in the power and gas sector.
“Let us invest in our power sector – let us create regulatory structures that reward success, that deliver to our people, our schools, our hospitals, and our industries, the sustainable, robust power supply that our country so urgently needs,” he said.
He noted that it is “not ironic that a country with abundant gas resources cannot optimally operate its power plants due to lack of gas!”
“I have seen, the beginnings of what we can do. Let me give you an example: The TransAfam Power Plant that belongs to Transcorp Group has an installed capacity of 1000 megawatts. The Federal Government of Nigeria made a significant investment to acquire 240 megawatts of fast power turbines from General Electric (GE). For context, 240 megawatts of electricity can power about one million homes in Nigeria” he said.
According to him, “GE has threatened to pull out of the project, because our nation – with some of the largest gas reserves globally, could not provide 65mm scuffs of gas needed for the comprehensive testing of the installed fast power plant.”
“We have idle gas fields and there is so much private capital to make the needed investments for gas production. Yet, we cannot produce gas to power our economy and 21st Century industrialization. Thanks to a short-sighted regulatory regime and self-serving policies that keep our people permanently in the dark. This has to change” he emphasized.
Mr. Tony Elumelu also called for improved investments in infrastructure and youths.
“When I talk of infrastructure, I do not mean just roads or rail, bridges, or ports, I mean the following: Investment in our youth – we need to renew our commitment to our youth, provide them with the means to succeed in Nigeria – not beyond Nigeria. This means not just investment in our education system, but in our entrepreneurial culture,’ he said.
He further stated, “Nigeria is a nation of entrepreneurs – you know me as an investor and champion of entrepreneurs – I know the social and economic returns entrepreneurship creates.”
“Let us create a joined-up government task force to champion at the highest level, our young and our entrepreneurs. When entrepreneurs succeed, we succeed as a nation. If they don’t, we all fail. In my engagement with fellow private sector leaders, my message is simple: We must see ourselves as the engine of innovation, the source of investment, and the creators of jobs.”
“Nations that prioritise their young go far – it is no coincidence that an America that created Harvard and Stanford, also produced Amazon, Microsoft, and Google – we need the same focus on our young, their futures and ambitions” he stated.
He also said Nigeria should invest in women. “Let us invest in our women. When a woman succeeds, families and communities are lifted out of poverty. I am a product of a hard-working woman who greatly influenced, supported, and groomed me. It is no surprise that in my businesses, women lead and flourish.”