THE chairman, Geregu Power PLC, Femi Otedola, said he invested in Nigeria’s power sector because he believed the sector could be turned around with the entrance of more entrepreneurs and investors, supported by friendly business policies.
Otedola spoke today in Lagos while on an official visit to engage stakeholders at the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX).
Geregu Power Plc is a registeted power generation company domiciled on the Itobe–Ajaokuta express road, Ajaokuta, Kogi State. Its corporate office is situated at 13, Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
Otedola said during the visit, “I have always believed that to sustain wealth, you have to list your company on the stock exchange.”
He noted that the power sector had lots of problems, which he, however, did not consider insurmountable with the right kind of leadership.
“Aliko Dangote, an individual, has 2,000 megawatts for his cement plant, fertiliser plant and refinery. But our country has been hovering around 5,000 megawatts. It’s appalling that successive governments failed in this regard,” he said.
He remarked that the power sector was at a stage where it can attract private capital and grow, if more enterpreneurs were encouraged to invest in the sector.
“The real problem of the power sector has been transmission. I believe that any government that brings in new entrepreneurs into this sector would solve its numerous problems. I believe there’s so much capital in the hand of enterpreneurs to solve the problems if the right policies are in place,” he added.
He argued further that if the government then had not invited Dangote to build his cement plants, Nigeria would still be importing cement.
Lauding the NGX for the enlistment opportunity given Geregu Power PLC, Otedola said, “We are the first power company to list on the Nigerian stock exchange, and the first to embark on an aggressive 300 per cent expansion drive.”
The chairman of the NGX Group, Umaru Kwairanga, confirmed that the Geregu power plant was the first power company to enlist in the Nigerian stock market, and had released earnings ealier in the year to its shareholders.
Kwarainga confirmed further that the power plant was one of the companies on the exchange that had more independent directors as executives, with a good sign of corporate governance structure.
Nigeria’s power sector has been marred by various challenges that have failed to provide constant power to Nigerians despite the 2013 power sector privatisation. Analysts knowledgeable about the sector believe that the new Electricity Act signed by the President will open more opportunities for states and private enterpreneurs to invest in the sector.
“There are lots of low-hanging fruits for states and enterpreneurs to investment and open up the sector for growth. States who have now been given the power can now decentralise the power sector market and attract private capital and investors into it,” an energy lawyer, Chuks Nwani, told The ICIR.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.