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Afam Power Plant seeks inclusion in budgetary provision

The Managing Director, Afam  Power Plc, Mr Olumide Obademi, has  appealed  for adequate bugetary provision from the Federal Government  to enable the company compete favourably in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry(NESI).

Obademi made the call on Friday in Afam, Rivers, during a facility  inspection  of the power plant by officers of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

“Afam power Plc should be funded by the federal government of Nigeria since the company is  yet to be  fully privatised,it should  be included in the budget of the ministry of power,’’

According to him, the company  currently has only two functional turbines Gas Turbins (GT) 17 and 18 with a  total output of 110megawatts  from the Afam four power plant.

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“The Afam four power plant  comprised  of GT 13,14,15,16 17 and 18 with each installed capacity of 75 megawatts.

“Presently GT 13-16 are out of operation since February 14, 1996 due to various faults.

“GT 17 and 18 with a total capacity of 110 megawatts are back to grid for commercial operation on Sept 2017, having  been out of generation since   January  6, 2015 due to a burnt  evacuation transformer.’’

Obedemi added that “If  GT 17 and 18 are working optimally  and  the grid  managers  allow us for at least one month to generate fully,  I am very quite sure  what we will  generate cannot be less than N800 million.”

He said liquidity problem was a major challenge to the company, noting that the little amount earned from energy generated was not fully paid for by the  Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc(NBET).

“I want to reiterate that the fund challenge faced by the company is so enormous, as a result of the delay in concluding the  privatisation exercise and emerging market rules.

“Because of the privatisation exercise, there is no budgetary allocation to the company since 2012.

“The company was  surviving  through internally generated revenue  from energy generated in January 2015.

“But when the evacuation transformer that serves GTs 17 and 18 that evacuates power from the two available units got burnt, that left the company with no source of income.

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“Since, there was no generation from Afam, no budget from the ministry  and no  other source of income, staff salaries with a total of 220 staff inherited from the defunct PHCN were accumulated,” he said.

He, however, said the outstanding 20 months salary and allowances had  been paid till date.

He listed other challenges affecting the company to include non-availability of spare parts due to their expensive nature, zero funding for critical projects and  challenge of  gas supply,vandalism among other issues.

Responding, Mrs Emontonghan Osaisai, Director, Investment and Sector Development in the ministry said everybody was all aware that funding  was  a general issue.

She, however, said  presently  that  the matter  was seriously  being attended to by the  government.

She debunked the claim that Afam Power Plant was not captured in the budget, saying that some  parts of the ministries’ budget was rolled over .

“ It is not that it is not included in the budget.

“It is just that there are some aspects of the budget that are rolled over  because of  dearth of  funding, which we are all aware, it is still captured and it will be dealt  with,” she said.

On  Afam Fast Power Plant  that is 95 per cent completed, she said the  project would not be abandoned because  Nigerians needed it to increase  power generation and distribution.

“We need it , because you  know that  the present administration’s mandate on assumption of office  is to ensure   provision of  incremental power .

“Then to uninterrupted and then steady power and I don’t think we have deviated from that mandate,” she added.

She said government had put some measures  to improve  the distribution angle, noting that government  through its distribution and expansion plan was  trying to strengthen the electricity distribution networks in country. (NAN)