‘’Tough Times Never Last, Nigerians Remain Unbowed’’- Tinubu

By Suleiman Umaru

 When Robert Schuller wrote the best seller book in North American country of the United States of America, he may have Nigeria, the most populous country in the African Continent in mind. This is because of the rising cost of living, high inflation which the National Bureau of Statistics had said is now above 28% and the unacceptable high level of unemployment rate in the country over the last eight years.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos, may have hit the nail on the head when he admitted while making his January 1st, 2024, broadcast to the nation that some difficult and yet necessary fiscal   decisions that had been taken by the Administration over the last seven months like   removal of fuel subsidy and unification of both the Autonomous and Parallel, popular black market exchange rates had become an unsuitable financial burden to the people.

The Nigerian President was emphatic that  that from  the boardroom at Broad Street in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre to the main-streets of the ancient city of Kano and Nembe Creeks  in Bayelsa, former President Goodluck Jonathan  home state, the story is the same: groans of Nigerians who work hard  every day  to provide  for themselves and their families.

Twenty seventeen years after Schuller’s best sell book hit the US market, The Lagos state born Nigerian President who had succeeded Former President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2023, may have agreed with Schuller that tough times never last but tough people do.

He was said to have also promised aggrieved Nigerians who had expressed frustrations and asking questions if this is how the Tinubu’s Administration wants to renew their hope.  The Nigerian President who could not hide his feelings was aid to have repeatedly told those that cares to listen and which he had reechoed during the New Yea Broadcast  that ‘’no meaningful  economic  transformation  can happen  in Nigeria without steady electricity  supply and refining of petroleum Premium Motor Spirit, popular, petrol and other Petroleum products  in this country ‘’.

It is not surprising why the government is doing everything possible within the last seven months to put smiles in the faces of Nigerians by restoring steady electricity supply and ensure that the PortHarcourt refinery and Dangote 650,000b/d refining and Petrochemical plant fully come on stream this 2024.

Babatunde Fshola, a former governor of Lagos state and minister of Works under former Buhari’s Administration  had said that importation of  petroleum products  into the country over the years  was due to lack of  critical infrastructure like refineries and petrochemical plants which was estimated to have  accounted  for about  30 percent  of the country’s forex demand in the country.

The former minister had said that if there is reduced demand of forex by up to 30 percent for petrol and other Petroleum products in the next couple of months, naira will firm up by common sense as some cost reductions such as shipping, insurance and port charges would be eliminated.

Fashola: Former miinister of Works and Housing

He is right.   This is evident as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, under the close watch of Mele Kolo Kyari, has commenced the supply of crude oil for test-running of the PortHarcourt refinery with the technical completion of rehabilitation work of the Area five phase of the plant  by Technimont SPA of Italy.

In carrying out the TAM of the PortHarcourt refinery, the Nigerian government was aid to have made the initial payment of $194 million, being 15% advance payment required by the Italian company to mobilize on site.  The project was said to have been financed by an equity contribution by the sponsor and loan by lenders, AfreximBank.

Note that  the Engineering , Procurement , Construction, Installation and Commissioning  contract  cost of the project remained at $397 billion  lump sum , thus bring the total  TAM  of the project  to $559 billion  as approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, in March 1, 2021.

Officials of the Nigeria oil octopus had said that at this early stage   the company would supply petrol, Automotive Gas Oil AGO, popular diesel, as well as other products to 12 states of the Federation including Abia, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta among others.

PortHarcourt Refinery &Petrochemical Plant

Given that NNPCL has delivered on its promise of seeing that the PortHarcourt refinery come back on stream,  the industry –based testing remains  focusing  on leaks, air, line blowing, flushing, drying, steam out, calibration , plant inserting  and hydrocarbon introduction to ensure a hitch free operation.

While Kyari, Managing Director NNPCL, could beat his chest that they have delivered on the PortHarcourt refinery Turn Around Maintenance, TAM, and would supply products to at least 12 states of the  Federation  without resorting to importation to augment  domestic supplies,   officials of Dangote refinery  had said that the company  can meet 100%  of Nigeria’s  requirement of  refined products like petrol, diesel  and Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK  popular, Kerosene  and aviation  Jet fuel.

The company had said that the surplus of each of these refined products would be exported to other countries in the West and Central African sub-regions.

As a prelude to further grow the economy and speed up the delivery of the Siemens Energy Power Project to  deliver reliable  supply  of electricity  to Nigerians  and businesses  under the Presidential  Power Initiative  which was said to have started under the former  Katsina state born President’s Administration   in 2018, the former Lagos state governor was said to have secured a Commitment  from Olaf Scolz, the German Chancellor  during the COP28 Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, UAE.

The German Chancellor was said to have given his words to ensure the Siemens further strengthen the availability of the country’s transmission lines and optimize the integrity of the national grid repairs which are ongoing across the country to achieve improved grid stability, reliability and bring the system’s operational capacity to about 11G, while also increasing the system’s capacity to 25GW.    

The original cost of the Presidential Power Initiative which was said to have started in 2018 , was $2.3 billion  but Kenny Anuwe, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Nigerian Power Company, NPC, had confirmed that the German Power Company  had said that the government  have already  executed to date $60 million   of the project which has to do  with the importation  of the 10 transformers  and 10  power substations which  have delivered to the country by Siemens .

Siemens Mega Transformers supplied Nigeria

The Siemens equpment supplied Nigeria ncludes   10 units  of 132/133 KVAmobile substations,  three units of 75/100 MVA transformers, and seven units  of 60/66 MVA transformers , that  are currently being  installed  by NPC  at various  sites  across the country. 

The electrical equipment were said to have been commissioned and the German firm which had won the contract  to supply the equipment, according to an informed source are  now in the process  of installing the transformers  which are in phases: short –term, medium-term  and long-term.

Anuwe, the CEO, of the NPC, had said that that the short-term installation of the transformers across the country   is going to be between 1 to 24 months expected to improve    the nation’s grid capacity from the current 6,000 MW to 8,000MW. The second phase of the project is expected to expand the national grid capacity to 12, 00 MW.

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