By Ikhili Monday EBALU, Benin City
The Edo State Government’s performance index in promoting Independent Power Plants (IPP) as a business model and opening up economic opportunities has received international recognition, as it became the cynosure of over 10,000 international personalities at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Spring Meeting last week in Washington DC.
This was as the Azura Independent Power Plant, financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which was expected to provide electricity to 14 million residential consumers, was highlighted to display how the World Bank Group’s collaboration supports the development and implementation of infrastructure development.
A statement from the Office of the Chief Press Secretary to state Governor, Mr. John Mayaki, recalled that this project was initiated during the administration of Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, in which Governor Godwin Obaseki, as the Chairman of the State’s Economic Team, midwifed and facilitated the project to the state, thereby making Edo state an investor destination in sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, the Azura power project included the construction, operation and maintenance of a 459 megawatts gas-fired open-cycle power plant near Benin City, and was necessary to add power to the national grid while being considered a priority project for the federal government.
With the ability to produce 459 megawatts in the first phase alone, the plant is expected to be the first Greenfield Independent Power Project post sector reform to come online and has been described as a ground-breaking project set to pave the way for future private sector driven IPPs in Nigeria.
In a special publication widely circulated at the World Bank IMF Office Complex to over 10,000 participants, titled: “Nigeria: the Azura-Edo Independent Power Plant”, it was revealed that the power plant was part of a scheme called the Energy Business Plan (EBP).
It was further explained that the sponsors raised a total of $868m through equity contributions, while the power plant would deliver much-needed additional power to Nigeria, and, in turn, the broader West African power grid.
On the benefits of this, the publication said: “The project is expected to provide access to affordable electricity to about 14 million residential consumers at a fraction of the cost of self-generated power”.