THE Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nanji, has said that the establishment of Skipper Group, a manufacturing and repair transmission equipment firm in Nigeria, which would be repairing power transformers in-country, would save Nigeria over N1.5 billion of foreign exchange.
Nnaji, who stated this during the commissioning of the manufacturing and repair transmission equipment plant of Skipper Group in Lagos, said that the company would save the government a huge amount of money usually invested in shippinh damage transformers outside the country.
He however, assured that Nigeria government would support investors, which would be willing to invest in Nigeria power sector.
He said: “We are going to support you in investing in Nigeria but you should ensure your price is affordable. We like to support local manufacturer in Nigeria which is part of the president administration campaign towards improving the local content initiative.”
According to him, the project was in line with the power sector reform, which President Goodluck Jonathan was implementing, adding that “what we want is to quickly improvement in power in Nigeria.”
The Minister of Power said: “Whenever a transformers is spoiled in Nigeria we have to ship it to India, South Africa or other country but now that the repairs facility is here, this become possible for us not to do that because it cost us lots of money.”
He said that the initiative would also develop the nation’s local content by employing Nigerians in various field of their endeavor, stating: “We are planning to indigenise equipments of the power sector in Nigeria which is part of the present administration of President Jonathan.
Nnaji lauded the company’s initiative plans to built a distribution and transmission repairs facilities plant in other part of the state in Nigeria, adding: “We are at the vanguard that Private sector must take the lead in power sector to ensure efficiency and in doing this we have more work force and value addition.”
Minister of Power called for more investors in the power sector, while imploring other companies to follow suit in investing in Nigeria power sector just as Skippers did.
Nnaji also commended the Indian government’s contribution to the economy of Nigeria, stressing that Nigeria and Indian had a very good working relationship
High Commissioner to India, Mr Mahesh Sachdev, while speaking on the occasion, said that the Indian government had committed about $100 million line of credit to support Nigeria power sector, adding that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would be signed shortly.
He also announced that 12 large companies in his country had expressed interest in the Nigerian power privatisation programme.
He said: “We have also been engaged in supporting Nigerian power sector through professional capacity building in India under our ITEC training programme. India and Nigeria’s second largest trading partner has both the capacity and expertise to support Nigeria’s ambitious development plans in the power sector.”
He stated the Skipper Group had, over the years, invested in the country to create manufacturing, repair capacity, transfer of technology and generate employment adding that the Indian company has shown faith in Nigeria’s power sector.
He added the company in conjunction with Bharat Heavy Electricals signed an MOU with the Ministry of Power in November 2009 for putting up three 500MW coal-based power plants in Nigeria.
Sachdev said: “Thus this state-of-the-art plant is not only first of its kind in Africa,but it is potent symbol of an Indian company’s commitment to Nigerian power sector. This inauguration can also be seen as relevant input to the transformational agenda of the Nigerian President, His Excellency, Dr.Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in which power occupies a pride of place.”