Fashola Commissions LFZ Independent Power Plant, Candel Agrochem Manufacturing Plant
• Says building Nigeria's power over the next 10, 15 years will overcome the problem of unemployment
• "The prosperity of our country lies in three words – Made-in –Nigeria", he says
May 26, 2015 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Tuesday commissioned the Lekki Free Zone Independent Power Plant just as he advocated Federal Government's commitment to the production of more power for the country as a means of solving the nation's perennial unemployment problem.
The Lekki Free Zone IPP, with 12 megawatts capacity, is the first phase of the plant which will supply uninterrupted dedicated power to the Zone and the sixth IPP built by the present administration in its eight years life span. The others are the Akute Power Plant, the Lagos Island Power Plant, the Alausa Power Plant, the Ikeja GRA Power Plant and the Lekki Power Plant.
In his remarks at the event which also featured the official commissioning of Candel Agrochemical manufacturing Plant within the Zone, Governor Fashola, who noted that Nigeria needed more and urgent power, said the Governments, both at the national and state levels, must be committed to breaking all of the shackles of delays and difficulties in the building of the needed power for the country.
The Governor said this has become expedient because the cost of living of Nigerians was being largely impacted by how much they spend on self generation adding that all of the studies carried out in the area of power in the country has shown that power alone accounted for about 40 percent of production cost.
"So if we reduce that by say 30 per cent, it means that goods and services will always get to our homes, to our houses, our businesses 30 per cent cheaper", he said describing as absurd the fact that the nation needs so much power and yet complains of unemployment.
Noting that the Lekki IPP alone employs 150 workers, Governor Fashola said the building of Nigeria's Power alone over the next five to 15 years would be an industry on its own, capable of solving the perennial unemployment problem of the country adding, "Really, if we don't have power and still claim we have unemployment then something is wrong".
According to the Governor, "This is because building Nigerian's power alone over the next five, 10, 15 years is an industry of its own and employment. Just connect the Lekki Power Plant alone; it employs 150 workers. Then connecting power from home to home as well as metering will yield massive employment. I am sure we will not have problem of unemployment if we set about to do this".
Describing the new IPP as another milestone in the development of the Lekki Free Zone, Governor Fashola, who said that the Plant represented the first phase of the "uninterrupted, dedicated 12 megawatts power plant for the Zone", added that it would encourage other investors to look towards the Zone.
The Governor, who said the environment of the Zone would further improve with the completion of the second phase", pointed out that in building the plant, Government had to contend with regulatory approvals, fluctuations and all sorts of challenges adding, "But we remained committed because this power thing is technology that we can relate to so let nobody come and tell us that we cannot have electricity. We can use as much power as we want if have the will and funding ability to do so".
He thanked the Government investment partners, China Railway Construction Company (CRCC) for its confidence in the economy of the State and particularly the company's Vice President, Mr. Chao Jinhua, for coming to the occasion adding that the growth and development of the Zone would mean prosperity for both Nigeria and China.
Governor Fashola told the CRCC Vice-President, "Since our first visit to China in 2006 when I was Chief of Staff, we have lived the dream of this project and block by block the Zone has emerged in its very formative and assured life. So I thank you for coming, and as I told you in our brief meeting upstairs, this project will outlive all of us".
"This Zone will be here in another hundred years and in another 200 years. So when you look at the life of the Zone in the last 10 years, it is probably the life of a child of two years. So this Zone will grow and whether you speak my language or not or I speak your language or not, one thing is clear and that is that business and development speak only one language which is the language of prosperity. As this Zone grows, therefore, it is prosperity for us and prosperity for you", the Governor said.
Also thanking the Traditional Rulers of the host communities, the Governor, who described them as "our foot soldiers and our ambassadors", commended them for explaining to their communities "that block by block we will build this Zone", adding, "In 2007 when we came here, there was no road, not to talk of building; this entire place was forest. But now, before your eyes and in your lifetime, it has happened.
"They have built the roads, Police post and Customs and Immigration and all of that. Then there was a new problem, how do we power this place. We used solar and other alternative power sources. But I kept assuring you that if you were patient and focused it would happen. Now this Zone has its own electricity", he told them adding that as development proceeds the power would extend to the communities, translating to new jobs while all their houses and Palaces would be powered.
Governor Fashola appealed to the traditional rulers, who he again addressed as "the champions and ambassadors of this Zone", to give full support and cooperation to construction of the new refinery in the Zone, which he said was likely to solve Nigeria's fuel problem.
"The refinery is already in this Zone. Work has started and they need every support. Again that will bring electricity, it will bring jobs, it will stimulate housing construction in order to house the workers and it will solve Nigeria's fuel importation problem because the refinery will produce enough for local consumption and leave enough for us to export", the Governor said, adding, "We have set the bar, we remain committed but we need your support".
Thanking Chairman of Candel Agrochemical and Manufacturing Plant, Mr. Charles Anudu, for the courage he demonstrated in investing in the Zone, the Governor expressed dismay that although many people have been setting agenda for the incoming Government, not many were setting agenda for themselves in terms of their contribution to solving the problems of the country.
Describing the Chief Executive as "the first of those who will lead the future of this country", Governor Fashola declared, "It will not be easy. All of us are setting agenda for the Government but how many of us are setting agenda for ourselves? What really did we contribute to the development of the place we call home?"
"The prosperity of our country lies in three words – Made-in –Nigeria. It is no accident that when you look under your glasses, when you look under your foams and when you look at all the household products, what you see is Made-in-China. We can duplicate that and that is why we must be focused and committed to this project", the Governor said.
In his remarks earlier, the CRCC Vice-President, Mr. Chao Jinhua, who noted that the Build and Transfer Contract for the Zone was sign in 2006, added that since then, the Company has built about 28 roads, a Police and a Customs and Immigration posts as well as other facilities under the administration of Governor Fashola, whom he described as a committed and business-friendly administrator.
He noted that there are still challenges of lack of infrastructure both inside and outside the Zone, but assured that these would be overcome with time and with the cooperation of the Nigerian and the Chinese governments.
Chairman of Candel Agrochemical Manufacturing Plant, Mr. Charles Anudu, in his remarks, thanked the Governor and the Government of Lagos State for their commitment and dedication to the development of the Zone saying his company has also brought in a Ghanaian business delegation to come and look at the Zone with the prospect of also bringing in investment.
According to him, it took the company three years to complete the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the location before construction commenced adding that with its wide spread across the African Continent and beyond, his company would attract other investors to the Zone.
Earlier in her welcome address, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olusola Oworu, said with the commissioning of the IPP in the Zone, the LFZ would be the first free zone in the country to have an uninterrupted, dedicated power plant describing the Zone as "The place to go for all investors".
Thanking Governor Fashola for giving her the opportunity to serve, the Commissioner, who recalled that as Special Adviser to the Governor in the Ministry in 2007, she was given a specific task and responsibility over the Lekki Free Zone, expressed delight at what has been achieved so far in the Zone.
Highlights of the event were the ceremonial cutting of the tapes and inspection of both the Lekki Free Zone IPP and the Candel Agrochemical Manufacturing Plants by the Governor at their different locations within the Zone.
Also present at the event were Chairman Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC), Otunba Olusegun Jawando, LFZDC's Managing Director, Mr. Ding Yonghua, his Deputy, Mr. Thompson Adeyemo, the Company's Director, Mr. Abiodun Jaji, and the Managing Director, Lekki Worldwide Investment Limited, Mr. Tajudeen Disu as well as other top government functionaries, traditional rulers, community leaders and other stakeholders.