By peter oluka
Wednesday, Azura Power’s first turbine was synchronized to the national grid and began producing electricity for distribution across the country.
This is a red-letter day for the country’s first large-scale, project-financed, independent power plant; and a testament to the work of the many government agencies that have helped to bring this project to life.
The event marks the start of a four-month period of intensive commissioning of the 459MW Azura-Edo IPP located in Benin City, Edo State. The plant is comprised of three Siemens turbines, each of which is capable of producing 153MW.
The first turbine was synchronized to the national grid on 20th December 2017 and will undergo a battery of tests over the coming five weeks. Tests on the second turbine will begin at the end of January 2018, with the tests on the third turbine commencing at the beginning of March 2018.
The commissioning process will then conclude at the end of April 2018 when the plant is scheduled to reach full commercial operations.
During this four-month commissioning period, the plant will produce over 100,000 megawatt hours of electricity which will be sold by the National Bulk Electricity Trading PLC (“NBET”) to the country’s distribution companies.
Mr Edu Okeke, deputy managing director, expressed his pleasure that the commissioning process will start before Christmas: “This festive season is one of the peak periods for electricity consumption in Nigeria and it’s a source of real pride for Azura that we were able to bring our first turbine onto the Grid before Christmas Day.”
The project, whose construction began in January 2016 was anticipated to reach completion in December 2018. But with the vast bulk of the work already completed, the project is currently more than 7 months ahead of schedule. It has also become a standard-bearer for good health and safety practices, having clocked up more than 4 million man-hours of work without a single lost-time injury.
The credit for this high-level performance is shared by the EPC Consortium of Siemens and Julius Berger and all the stakeholders in the project, including, amongst others: the Presidency; NBET; the Nigerian Gas Company (“NGC”); the Transmission Company of Nigerian (“TCN”); the Federal Ministry of Power, Works & Housing; the Federal Ministry of Finance; and the Edo State Government.
NBET, for example, has a team of engineers that have conducted intensive, monthly, on-site monitoring of the works since the first day of construction. NGC has partnered with Azura in the construction of the gas spur line that connects the Escravos Pipeline System to the power plant and in the construction of the pressure reducing and metering station. TCN has also worked assiduously with Azura in the construction of the on-site switchyard and the connection into the neighbouring Benin-North Switchyard.
Meanwhile, the Honourable Ministers of Power and Finance, and their respective Permanent Secretaries, have provided unstinting moral support for the project; whilst His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Edo State, has constantly challenged the project team to “work faster, better and safer”.
The success, to date, of the project is also a reflection of the close cooperation and strong and consistent support that it has received from the three local communities of Ihovbor, Orior-Osemwende; and Idunmwowina and from the palace of His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin.
Whilst there is still some way to go and challenges to overcome, the project’s management team is confident that all parties will continue to work together to enable the power plant to reach full commercial operations well ahead of schedule.
The milestone also marks the historic completion of an industry chain where all the links are forged together through commercially negotiated contracts. Siemens and Julius Berger built the plant under the terms of the EPC Contract.
The gas that was used to generate today’s electricity was supplied by Seplat PLC and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company in accordance with the Gas Supply & Purchase Agreement.
NGC transported the gas to the site in line with the Gas Transportation Agreement. The electrons generated were then transmitted across the country’s high voltage network by TCN per the Grid Connection Agreement.
These same electrons were then bought by NBET under the terms of the Power Purchase Agreement and sold to the eleven distribution companies (“Discos”) under the Vesting Contracts between NBET and the Discos. Hence, for consumers and investors alike, the catalytic power of this value chain was on full display yesterday.
The successful firing of Azura’s first turbine is also a key milestone in the Government’s Power Sector Recovery Plan (“PSRP”) which aims to increase the security of electricity supply for millions of Nigeria’s homes and businesses.
The Impact on Investor Confidence
The debt financing for this $900m project is provided by a consortium of 15 banks from 9 different countries, including most of the European development finance institutions.
The Azura-Edo IPP is also the first Nigerian power project to benefit from both the World Bank’s “Partial Risk Guarantee” structure and the political risk insurance supplied by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.
For each of the banks that have invested in the Azura-Edo IPP, the project has become a litmus test of the Government’s commitment to the sanctity of contract. In many emerging markets, one of the principal anxieties faced by project-financed IPP investors pertains to payment risk (i.e. will the government offtaker pay in full and on time).
However, the leadership of NBET has consistently advised investors to put aside such negative sentiments; and the Azura-Edo IPP is proof of the trust reposed by the international investment community in the full faith and credit of the Nigerian government.
Moreover, tangible evidence of this creditworthiness will be furnished in January 2018 when Azura submits its first invoice to NBET for the power produced during the commissioning of the first turbine.
Even though the sums involved are relatively small, the symbolism of this will be noted by investors around the world and will, no doubt, help to boost the country’s credit rating during the first quarter of next year.
Samsung Unveils Technologically Advanced 2020 Consumer Products
Samsung Electronics Nigeria has unveiled its 2020 consumer products range. The launch which held in Victoria Island, Lagos showcased the latest in its revolutionary and innovative QLED and Crystal UHD Television Series along with Wind Free Air Conditioners, Side by Side Refrigerators and Drum Washing Machines.
Keeping with its resolve to utilize its transformative ideas and technologies to shape the future and inspire the whole world, Samsung has once again demonstrated its determination to continuously redefine the living space and entertainment of its customers.
According to Mr. Caden Chiyeon Yu, Managing Director, Samsung Electronics Nigeria, “QLED uses exceptional and revolutionary technology which offers an unparalleled visual and auditory adventure from the comfort of your living room. QLED series is available in 4K or 8K and from 58″ to 98”, and was designed with options to fit any space and budget”. For Crystal UHD Television, Mr. Yu said, with cutting-edge Crystal Display, the new Crystal UHD TV will bring high-resolution content to life in a whole new way, delivering a viewing experience like never before in a mainstream UHD TV.
Also showcased at the launch were the new Windfree Air Conditioner, Drum Washing Machines and Side by Side refrigerators. The Windfree Air Conditioner is designed specially with the latest technology to provide coolness in quick time while ensuring that users don’t experience any chills through out its use. It also has an in-built digital inverter which reduces energy consumption by 73 percent. .
The newly introduced drum washing machine of 2020 from Samsung is very efficient and is built with eco bubble technolgy which allows it to provide cleaning of very dirty garments or clothes without the use of water. Futhermore, the new Side by Side Refrigetor was built with Spacemax technology which has enabled Samsung to offer more spacious interior without increasing the external dimentions or compromising energy efficiency.
Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Oluwaremilekun Adesola-Ogunsan, Head, Consumer Electronics, Samsung Nigeria stated that “Samsung understands the economic diffulties currently being experienced in the country and has consistently produced pocket friendly premium consumer products. We are very consistent in our approach as we understand that our customers like the good things of life and we have provided that without compromising our standards”. “So I can say boldy that there is a Samsung for everybody regardless of your income stream” She added.
In 2019, the Samsung consumer range of products received universal praise for its innovative quality and design and numerous pioneering features. This year Samsung has added even more beneficial features which its customers will appreciate in great deal.
CWG Plc Empowers Small Businesses in Nigeria with SME Solution
Pan-African Information and Communications Technology Company, CWG Plc has said the essence of its Enterprise Resource Planning Solution (SMERP) that runs on the cloud is to empower small and medium enterprises in Nigeria and offer them the required tools to manage their entire business.
Mr. Dolapo Orogbemi, Product Manager for SMERP, who disclosed this recently to the media, noted that with SMEs contributing massively to Nigeria’s economy and creating both direct and indirect jobs, SMERP was designed intentionally to help SMEs thrive.
“Since inception, it has been the number one goal for us here at CWG because we have always identified the potential for SMEs once they are provided with the right support.
Thus, SMERP was designed to make available enabling tools for all SMEs across Africa at a relatively affordable price and to also make their business operations lean where they can save more resources to increase profitability,” he said.
Dolapo explained that in support of SMEs, SMERP has provided an effective ERP tailored to the SME market, providing services such as Inventory Management, E-commerce platform, Accounting, Point of Sale and Customer Relationship Management tool.
He argued that one of the major reasons SMEs don’t survive beyond the early stage of their business is due to inadequate funding to scale the business and this has become a default gap in the SME sector.
But with the CWG’s SMERP solution, SMEs can take proper records of their day-to-day business transactions to present to financial institutions as proof of profitability and project business growth for them.
According to him, SMERP’s competitive edge is based on value to the SMEs where they can have access to a complete ERP solution at an affordable price, stressing that the solution enables each SME with special requirements to execute their business needs.
For more information on SMERP kindly visit www.smerp.ng to start a 14-days free trial.
Encomiums for TD Africa as Nigeria Prepares for Tech Experience Centre Launch
A number of globally renowned Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the technology space have commended TD Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading technology, lifestyle and solutions distributor for successfully birthing the continent’s first Tech Experience Centre.
The commendations come ahead of the October 1st launch of the centre located in the high-rise Yudala Heights on 13 Idowu Martins, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Equally important, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami is expected in Lagos to commission the Centre, with the Lagos State Governor, BabajideSanwo-Olu, alongside a number of other high profile dignitaries, expected in attendance. The event will be streamed live to millions across the world from 5pm.
In a chat with newsmen, Chidalu Ekeh, head of the Tech Experience Centre, stated that aside reducing the decision making cycle for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), as well as other technology consumers, the Centre will also serve as a training centre for young Nigerians on latest technology.
“We are creating a path in this country where state-of-the-art technology will be accessible to CEOs, CIOs, CTOs and others technology consumers, so that they can make prompt decisions without leaving the country,” Chidalu said.
“What we have on board is a tech genius area where our customers will be able to take advantage of the partnerships that we have with the various OEMs on board.
“The Centre will afford young Nigerians the opportunity to receive world-class training on the latest technology.”
Also speaking on the reason for mobilising other tech giants to bring the massive project to life, Mrs. Gozy Ijogun, managing director (Sales) TD Africa, explained that the centre is aimed at adding value to the technology space in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
Ijogun said: “I am sure everyone is wondering what TD Africa is doing with the Tech Experience Centre. At TD Africa, we consider ourselves value added distributors.
“We are not just here to buy and sell. We add value to the economy. For that reason, we came up with the Tech Experience Centre so that Africans can experience technology the way it should be in this part of the world.
“No other distributor can do this. TD Africa is here to add value to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.”
The Centre, housed within an impressive eight-floor edifice, will play host to tech giants, such as Cisco, Microsoft, Dell Technologies, HP, Schneider Electric, Zinox, Philips, Samsung, Apple and Bosch, among others.
“The structure also houses a cutting-edge gaming arena, lifestyle and smart home area, café, training centre, conference rooms and expansive office spaces, among others.
Olakunle Oloruntimehin, general manager, Cisco, West Africa, expressed delight with the concept behind the Tech Experience Centre, adding that it would be a great opportunity to offer latest technologies to consumers under the same roof with other tech giants.
“It is a good opportunity to collaborate with TD Africa and other OEMs under one roof. Technology is being democratised and it is important that people come together to take this outcome forward.
“Cisco is excited not only to partner with TD Africa but also to work with other OEMs under one space to make this work,” Oloruntimehin said.
Chioma Iwuchukwu-Nweke, country manager (Nigeria), Philips, also expressed excitement with the expected launch of the project. She revealed that Philips would delight tech customers at the Centre with latest health-driven home appliances.
Nweke said: “This is a dramatisation of the phrase ‘think global, act local.’ This is what TD Africa is doing with the Tech Experience Centre, by bringing lots of multinationals in the technology space in one place so that customers will experience latest technology.
“Before now, people always take technology to be something they have to travel outside the country to experience.
“We are sure that the Centre is going to change this narrative, especially at this time when the thought of travelling is a little bit scary for a lot of people. For us at Philips, customers should expect total innovative home appliances.”
On her part, Vivian Mike-Eze, marketing communication manager, Schneider Electric, commended the vision behind the initiative.
She urged tech consumers to be ready for an immersive experience with smart home concepts at the Tech Experience Centre.
“There has not been such a centre that gathers all the tech giants together in one place here in Nigeria. So, TD Africa has really set a precedent.
“I believe that people visiting the Tech Experience Centre expect to experience technology. In Nigeria, there is really a market for advanced technology that has been ignored for too long.
“This vision by TD Africa to bring the latest technology and get customers to experience it live is a fantastic opportunity to tap into. Because of the Centre, customers do not need to travel to the US or UK to actually see latest technology.
“Schneider Electric promises customers home automation, using the smart phone concept, when they walk into the Tech Experience Centre.
“This involves having the ability to control the temperature and ambience in their homes, with just a voice command. It is easy to talk about it, but there is no better idea than experiencing it by testing the controls and seeing it live.”
In addition, Microsoft Senior Partner, Specialist-Modern Work, Josh Adekeye, appreciated TD Africa, noting that the Centre will promote customer immersive experience. He promised that Microsoft would always support the Centre, which will reduce the burden for Microsoft to fly its customers to other countries to see its latest technological rollouts.
Adekeye said: “For us at Microsoft, when we heard about the Tech Experience Centre, we knew that it was something we needed to participate in. Before now, we usually fly our customers to Microsoft Technology Centre either in Dubai or in the US.
“However, when this opportunity came, we indicated interest and supported TD Africa to achieve it. We will always support the Centre. The beauty of technology is in seeing it.
“What Microsoft brings to the table is customer immersive experience. It means the customer will see the technology, feel the impact and make their decision easily and quickly.”
Lending his voice, Managing Director, Samsung (Nigeria), CadenChiyeon Yu hailed TD Africa for galvanising other tech giants to bring the Tech Experience Centre to life, adding that the Centre will afford Samsung a great opportunity to expose customers to its latest offerings in Internet of Things (IOT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other innovations shaping the global tech ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Ayokunmi Solesi, Country Manager (Nigeria), Bosch, described the Centre as a huge landmark on the African continent, adding that Bosch was ready to bring modern kitchen appliances to the delight of customers at the Centre.
Solesi said: “This is live experience. When you see big OEMs like Bosch, Schneider Electric, Samsung, Cisco, Microsoft, among others coming under a platform, you will realise that something great is about to be born.
“This is a huge landmark, not just in Nigeria, but also in Africa. For us at Bosch, this is a very commendable initiative,” Solesi said.
The Tech Experience Centre is an ambitious project, the first of its kind in Africa, to house global technology giants under one roof, with the aim of making latest and cutting-edge technology easily accessible to Nigerians and other nationals.
Experts and economic watchers have hailed the expected launch of the centre as a major development that will shore up Nigeria’s relevance in the global technology space, while also boosting the nation’s economy.
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