By Ismail Abdulaziz
Nigeria’s celebrated author, Chimamanda Adichie, has urged German Chancellor, Angela Merkel to facilitate the execution of the Siemens/Nigeria power deal.
A statement by GLG Communications in Lagos on Wednesday, said Chimamanda made this known as a guest speaker alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Düsseldorf’s Schauspielhaus theater in Germany.
She used the opportunity to seek clarification on the status of the Siemens Power project.
Nigeria signed the power deal with the German multinational in 2019.
The journey towards this deal, termed the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), began on Aug. 31, 2018 after awmeeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Merkel in Abuja.
The Federal Government and Siemens later in July 2019, signed a Letter of Agreement on the then Nigerian Electrification Roadmap (now PPI).
The three-phase project seeks to raise the installed capacity to 25,000 MW by 2025 when the third phase of the project would have been completed.
However, since the deal was signed, not much has been heard as regards its progress.
“We were told that this deal had the full backing of the German Chancellor and the German government and we were all excited.
“And it’s two years later and nothing has happened and so I wanted to know if you knew anything about it and of course not to hold you responsible for Siemens,” Chimamanda said.
In her response, Merkel who promised to look into the matter, noted that the deal might have stalled due to issues with funding and sourcing of materials.
According to Merkel: “It might well be at the time, as with the project in Ghana, that the Nigerian state or government rather demanded too much local content.
“You know when you have a German investor saying I want to engage in electricity production in Nigeria or Ghana and then the government says 50 per cent of this is local content produced in the country.
“Generally speaking, that is the right approach but very often the project fails as a consequence when you speak about solar panels or gas power plants.
“And you start by zero, there is no industrial basis in the country to start with or 50 per cent local content; such a project can easily flounder”.
Lagos-based Consultant at GLG Communications, Omawumi Ogbe noted that the power deal discussion was Chimammanda’s favourite part of the conversation.
”Chimamanda remembering her home even in faraway Germany; ensuring to bring to the forefront a critical challenge all Nigerians are facing – how to have adequate power supply, is commendable,” Ogbe remarked.(NAN)