Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Enyinnanya Abaribe, has said Nigeria is collaborating with the Shanghai University of Electric Power (SUEP) to correct the misalignment arising from the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) value chain.
Addressing reporters at a workshop tagged: “Exploring opportunities for cooperation under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for the Nigerian Electric Power Sector” at the weekend in Abuja, Abaribe said the engineers in the sector are not competent enough for the attainment of seamless generation, transmission and distribution the country has been yearning for.
The committee chairman said the focus of the partnership was mostly on capacity building for the manpower.
He said: “I think what we are discussing with SUEP mostly are in the area of capacity building.
“The fact on the ground in Nigeria is that we have a misalignment between the different parts of the power sector. There is a misalignment between generation and transmission. There is a misalignment between transmission and distribution. And so, part of the critical issue that has led to this is lack of capacity.
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“So, many of our people, like the engineers, are not competent enough at ensuring that we are able to have a seamless transition between generation and distribution.”
Abaribe noted that the discussion with SUEP was focused on capacity building, either by training manpower within the sector itself or training those who in the universities who would enter the power sector.
The chairman noted that by identifying the opportunities that abound in the sector with an energy shortage of over 35,000MW, it was germane to support the discussions with BRI to tap into the opportunities.
The Managing Director of XEM Consultants Limited, Dr. Eugenia Ndukwe, who was the convener of the conference, explained that the ceremony was meant to explore opportunities for collaboration between China and Nigeria under the BRI-funded project.
She explained that the BRI is a Chinese government initiative to connect the world together.
Ndukwe added: “For sure, we know that the philosophy of President Xi Jinping is to build the community of shared future and for shared prosperity.
“So, the BRI has done so well and funding a lot of projects, especially roads, rails at the port and powering infrastructure.”
Narrowing the initiative down to Nigeria, the convener said: ”But so far, there tends to be a missing gap in our own assessment of the BRI. The power infrastructure is a serious and a critical challenge for us here in Nigeria.
“So, what we are doing is to leverage that gap to look at opportunities where we can begin to consolidate opportunities under the BRI to help the sector.”
According to her, SUEP is an academic institution that serves the energy needs of the Belt and Road Initiative of China.
Ndukwe added: “Basically, as a knowledge and research-based organisation, what intervention they will be providing is in terms of talent development for the power sector and not infrastructure.”
Also, the Director General of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Ahmed Nagode, said the institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SUEP in 2019 to support Nigeria with power sector capacity building.
The support, he said, rangeds from training of instructors and curriculum development.
Nagode, who described China as adept in solar PV installation, added that SUEP would be required to upgrade Nigeria with new technology in the sector.
He said: “We want to see where we can exchange the programme to deal with the content of what we do and see how they can also help deepen and improve on what we do, especially in relation to new technology.
“We equally look at the fact that China is very good in building energy, especially solar PV.”