In a bid to increase power supply for industrial development, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has granted licence to Ibom Power Company (IPC) to expand the capacity of Ibom power plant from 191Mega Watts (MW) to about 685MW.
The independent power plant, owned by Akwa Ibom State government is currently contributing about 113MW of electricity generation to the national grid in the country.
Speaking on the economic benefits of the power plant, the Managing Director, Ibom Power Company, Dr. Victor Udo, said the licence for expansion will allow Ibom Power to contribute significantly towards the solution of national electricity crisis. The administration of Udom Emmanuel, seeks to make the state a power exporting hub in the federation. “ Power is a great enabler of growth in any economy and the current governor of the state, clearly understands this. This explains the thoughtfulness of Udom to partner more with NERC and other stakeholders in the country to make the state a model of steady power supply for industrialisation and sustainable growth. It further shows that governance can work to power the economy where government means serious business and committed to making a difference. With the state government enabling, a stable gas processing plant now supplies gas not only to Ibom Power, but also to Alaoji power plant in Abia State, Unicem and Odukpani power plant in Cross River State and to a fertiliser plant in Rivers State’”, he said.
He went on, “The expansion licence implies more power supply to Akwa Ibom economy, more income, savings and investments, on which the models of vibrant and forward looking economies are anchored. The propensity to increase the state’s production possibility curves is bound to rise significantly with the knock-on effect of these critical factors in accelerating productivity and development. With more income streams engendered by greater availability of power supply, it is expected that the middle class would grow, unleashing higher demands, taste, expectations and preferences that need to be satisfied.
Investors and entrepreneurs should seize the new windows of opportunity to satisfy the demands of this important class. On the part of government, the licence expansion translates to higher prospects of growth and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), especially now that the global oil price shock has resulted into monthly revenue allocation being plummeted. The envisaged growth would be unlocked not by higher tax rates or multiple taxes, but by widening the tax net to capture more payers (income earners , entrepreneurs and investors) through PAYE, companies’ income tax and Value Added Tax (VAT).”
He added, “More revenue for government means more funds to finance more projects and improve citizens’ welfare to achieve more inclusive growth. This implies more employment generation, especially when the formal and informal sectors are empowered to enhance the emergence of the third market. The youths of the state need to be gainfully employed, and this brings home the real impact of the steps taken by government to increase power supply in the state. This would reduce the incidence of youth restiveness and insecurity. More than 90 per cent communities in the state already have distribution infrastructure.
So, they would have a better understanding of the state government’s decision to commit $22million to building transmission line that links Ibom Power to the national grid, and will wait for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to refund the money and take over ownership of the line, inline with the National Energy Policy. This achievement is enormous for a government whose major economic plan is industrialisation, to sustain public-private sector initiative, thereby opening opportunities for growth and improved living standards. As part of Udom’s capacity building initiative, we have developed power utility management competency in the state. Today, Ibom power is operated by indigenes of our state. For the first time, we recently celebrated 114 days without forced outage. We also developed competency for commercial and technical management of power distribution across the entire state.”