Speaking at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual general conference on Sunday, Tony Elumelu, renowned philanthropist and Chairman of Transcorp Power Limited, emphasized the urgent need for investments in Nigeria’s power sector. Elumelu, also the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), highlighted the paradox of Nigeria’s abundant gas resources juxtaposed with the challenges in optimally operating power plants due to a lack of gas availability.
Drawing attention to the issue, Elumelu noted, “It’s ironic that our nation, endowed with significant gas reserves, struggles to provide the necessary gas to fuel our power plants effectively.” He stressed the importance of establishing robust regulatory structures to ensure a sustainable and reliable power supply to critical sectors such as hospitals and industries.
Elumelu provided a concrete example of the challenges faced by the energy sector. He pointed out that the TransAfam Power Plant, owned by Transcorp Group, boasts an installed capacity of 1000 megawatts. However, he highlighted a critical setback – the scarcity of 65 million standard cubic feet (scuffs) of gas needed for the comprehensive testing of the plant. General Electric (GE), a partner in the project, expressed concerns and even considered withdrawing due to the gas scarcity issue.
The business mogul expressed frustration over the untapped potential of Nigeria’s idle gas fields and the availability of private capital to drive gas production. He lamented, “Despite having abundant gas resources and ample private capital, we are hindered in harnessing our gas reserves to power our economy and facilitate 21st-century industrialization. This predicament is due to shortsighted regulatory practices and policies that hinder progress.”
Elumelu also highlighted the significance of empowering women in the nation’s development. He underlined, “Investing in our women has far-reaching implications. When women succeed, families and communities are lifted out of poverty. In my businesses, women lead and flourish, underscoring their pivotal role.”
Beyond the power sector, Elumelu addressed broader societal challenges. He called for substantial investments in security to combat prevalent issues such as banditry, kidnapping, oil theft, pipeline vandalization, and transmission line cuts. These challenges have led to uncertainties, fears, poverty, and hardships in the country.
As Nigeria grapples with the dichotomy of abundant gas resources and power generation hurdles, Tony Elumelu’s call for strategic investments and regulatory reforms resonates as a crucial step towards addressing the nation’s pressing energy and developmental needs.