Nigeria classified, Shop From UK and America, Shop From UK Online Stores , Vacancies,Entertainment News, Sport News, information,Nigeria Political News,Nigeria Real -Online shopping,Online payments,Shop online from uk,Estate,Fashion,Lifestyle News,Business News
Monday, August 22, 2011
How Chinese firm sabotages power supply – FG
IT was a can of worms, weekend, as Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, and his Information counterpart, Mr Labaran Maku who were on inspection tour of power projects under the National Integrated Power Projects, NIPP, visited the N30 billion ($220 million) first phase of Olorunsogo power plant.www.mannastores.com
Vanguard gathered they were informed that the 304mgw installed capacity eight turbines power plant, built and commissioned five years ago had packed up, as six of the turbines have broken down, leaving only to function at about 60mgw capacity.
The ministers who toured the projects on behalf of the Presidential Steering Committee, headed by Vice President Namadi Sambo, were told by the Acting Chief Executive Officer, CEO of the station, Engr. Mohammed Almu, that the project which was awarded to a Chinese firm, SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corporation in 2002, was commissioned in May 2007. It functioned for barely three years before six of the eight turbines went off due to lack of spare parts and operating manuals in English language.
Besides, the inspection team was also told that every move and attempt by Nigerian engineers attached to the Chinese experts to acquire the requisite skills for the maintenance of the plants were usually frustrated by the foreigners, just as Nigerians at the plant could not lay hands on the agreement documents, to ascertain at what point their responsibilities begin and ended.
Although there were earlier plans to handover the plant to a Chinese firm as core investor with 65 per cent equity shareholding, especially given that the project was funded through loan from the Chinese government, the Minister who expressed disappointed at the situation on ground, said there would be fresh negotiation with the investors as President Goodluck Jonathan was not in power when the first talks held.
Shortly after the inspection, this discussion ensued between the CEO and the Minister, at a briefing session:
CEO: On the issue of spare parts, at the time of handing over of this project, they (Chinese) supposed to give us two years running spare parts but what they gave us were just small spare parts that is why we are having serious problem. And anytime we contact than, they will promise to bring the parts and up till now, they have not given us any. And any time we have a problem and we want to go with them, they will refuse to go with us and abandon the place.
Min: How many people from here that went to China for training and were they given the necessary documentation to operate the plant? Technically, who is operating the plant?
CEO: We are doing it together. But at any time we want to rub mind together, they will refuse. And some of them don’t even understand English, so its difficult.
Min: Do you have operating manuals in English?
CEO: No, we don’t have that.
Min: How many people were trained in China?
CEO: About twenty travelled. But two of them have been transferred.
Min: They (Chinese) actually built this plant on loans. They provided about 65 percent of the funds and Federal Government provided the balance to build this plant. So, you know what loan means you have to be paying. So, the consideration is whether the company that built this plant should simply take over since they have the document and they haven’t handed the document and that the document are not written in English. So, definitely we are going to resolve this problem in a way that it will be to the benefit of Nigerians.
The Minister said “at Egbin station where we were well briefed we got here (Olorunsogo) and we are scratching for information I don’t like it and we will do something about that because what we want is ability to ensure that things keep on going. It requires resourcefulness to get things done. How can we be in a situation where if the total amount of money needed here is nothing in comparison to just one problem the people in Egbin solved . It is a lot more than all of this put together. So, for sure,we are going to do something about it to solve these problems but on the technical side, we have to do something. That is why visiting these plants is very important”, he said.
Fielding questions from reporter, Nnaji disclosed that “I will say that in Olorunnsogo phase I, which is a federal government power plant we are quiet disappointed that there are eight units that should provide over 300 mw there and that of all those units only two are functioning. And what is required to actually get many of the units functioning is not just much and we are also going to look into the issue of the workers not being able to access manuals to operate the power plant. So these are some issues that we have found that we are going to resolve”.
However, the Minister said “the phase two of Olorunsogo seems to be going on quiet well. In Olorunshogo what we have found is gas problem which we are going to go back and work with the ministry of petroleum and NNPC to resolve. They are already working on permanent line for Olorunsogo, I have talked with our gas people snice we left that place and they said that the permanent line is in construction and should be ready very soon. There is also a gas pipeline, Escravos Lagos gasoline that is also under construction that should also help to relief and that is also coming”.
Also, speaking, the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, noted that “ we are on a fact-finding tour to find what are the problems, what are the prospects and what is the state of progress in all our power plants. The power minister has said that this plant is ready and that there are small technical problems that shouldn’t obstruct production. You (power minister) are on top of the situation and you are providing the leadership.
And as we go back, I am sure we will find solutions, if they are technical or financial, we will apply them and if they are managerial, we will definitely advice.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Professor Nnaji has assured the management of Egbin power plant that the Federal Government would soon provide the required N1.5billion to restore 220mgw ST-06 plant from the station. The station has 1,320 mega watts installed capacity but currently generates less than 1,000 mega watts.
The Minister did not make the pledge not until he had switched-on the fifth plant which was recently rehabilitated by by NIgerian engineers at the cost of about N100 million as against N200 million it would have cost the government it was to be repaired by foreigners.
Uzoigwe, who request for the fresh funding of N1.5 billion while briefing the minister, said it would take the staff ten months to restore the plant to its full capacity if provided with enough funds; adding that restoring the plant became necessary considering the strategic importance of the plant to meeting the country’s power needs. He noted that the 27-year old plant have five of its six Units belting power.
He described the plant as the backbone and engine of electricity supply in Nigeria, as it has the capacity of providing 35 percent of the nation’s power needs, saying that the renovation of the gas turbine by the staff costs the plant N100 million, saying it would have cost the government about N200 million.
Nnaji, while responding to the submissions from the staff through their union leaders, allayed their fears over the privatisation of the plant and the envisaged mass retrenchment of staff; even as he added that it would no longer be feasible to handover the plant to private investor by December,noting that the staff have proved their worth by maintaining the plant despite the challenges.
“Seeing your ability to repair the whole plant gives me joy and any one willing to take over the plant must come and see you. Our visit here has been quite insightful. This plant is being managed and operated by our own people with technical capacity and leadership that knows his own onions,” he said.
He also noted that the problem of power in the country was not from the power generation but rather from the distribution companies who he accused of lack of will to utilise the power being generated from the plants.
“Our problem is not with the plants but the distribution companies. About 40 percent of the power generated get lost on transmission because the distribution companies are unable to pay for the power generated from the plants. It is warrisome that the distribution companies are not doing enough to justify the power generated because of over bloated staff.”
He also promised government’s readiness to implement the 50 percent salary increment.
The Secretary of the workers’ union, Mr Kingsley Ndome who spoke at the forum, requested the minister to clarify insinuation that the ministry was compiling names of staff to be sacked, as he expressed their anxiety over the envisaged mass retrenchment of staff being planned by the ministry.
Barth Nnaji spoke further on the privatisation of power sector saying that “the privatization is all about money, let all the 1,320 mw of power be provided for Nigerians and let us even consider expansion, there is nobody that will take over power station in this country that we will permit to operate it just as it is. We talked about spare parts, about getting the power to where it was originally installed and expanding the stations”.
“I like to tell workers not to be afraid of privatization because what is going to happen is not about getting people off work, there is nobody that is interested in that, we are here to help you do your job better than the way you are doing now”, he said.
Asked to speak on his general experience on the tour, he said, “I’m quiet optimistic at the progress of work at the various power station and I am also pleased at the dedication by our workers in ensuring they do what they need to do to recover the lost capacities at the various power stations.
There are some places that we will need to do some reinforcement but overall a good work is going on. In Egbin, which actuall provides about 25 per cent of the entire power in this nation, they have done very, very well in their efforts to continue to provide electricity”.
On the issue of spare parts, he said “ clearly, for us and for me as power minister, I want to see local content in the power provision in Nigeria, I will like to see a lot of content that goes into the production of power, manufactured in Nigeria. Some of them can start from simple assemblies and ultimately the components that go into them would still be manufactured in Nigeria. We are talking of transformers, switch gears, cabals, a who,e lot of the com Ige ts that go not power stations, sub-stations and so on, should be manufactured in Nigeria. Whatever enablement we need to do, we will be doing”.