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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Geometric Power Plant Commissioning: Prof. Barth Nnaji Grateful To AMCON, Afrexim, BOI, CBN, Others

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History was made today in Aba Abia State when the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima commissioned the 181-megawatts Geometric Power Plant, Osisioma Local Government Area of Aba, Abia State. The Vice President was led to the event by the Abia State Governor Dr Alex Otti and the Minister of Power.

Before the commissioning, Prof Barth Nnaji CON, the Chairman, Geometric Power Group found time to address the media where he highlighted the critical and strategic role played by the management of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), and other lenders towards the completion of the mega project that would supply uninterrupted power to the nine Local Government Areas of Abia State and its environs.

At the media parley which Prof. Nnaji jointly addressed with Joshua Ikioda, the Group Head of Enforcement who led the delegation that represented the Management of AMCON at the event, Nnaji, was as also a former Minister of Power in Nigeria said the project would not have been completed without the key intervention of agencies such as AMCON, Afrexim Bank, Diamond Bank (now Access Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Bank of Industries (BOI), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He said, “We started this project when Nigerian banks could not lend to the power sector. The sector was a NEPA monopoly. It was the concession granted to us by President Olusegun Obasanjo that made it possible for financing consideration. Yet, it was only Diamond Bank with vision and wisdom of the founder, Dr. Pascal Dozie that saw the viability of this project, and mustered the courage to lend to it. This move boosted the confidence of Sanbic IBTC, which joined Diamond Bank. Subsequently, two FGN institutions helped the two banks to create more room to lend more funds to complete the project.

“Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) along the line bought part of the debt of the banks, while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Power and Aviation Intervention Fund managed by the Bank of Industries (BOI) also provided further funds to the project of which the two banks took up the credit risk. We are forever grateful and proud of Dr. Pascal Dozie, and these Nigerian financial institutions for the vision in doing what all the banks should be doing to ensure that major infrastructure projects can be undertaken.

“Diamond Bank’s successor – Access Bank has continued to be a key supporter. In fact, if the then CEO Dr Herbert Wigwe of blessed memory, the Chief Executive Officer of AMCON, the CEO of Sanbic IBTC, of BOI, and the CBN did not agree to the restructuring that brought in Afreximbank, this project would have died an unnatural death. I also use this opportunity to appreciate the CEO of AMCON for his steadfastness, encouragement, and integrity.”

In support of Prof Nnaji, Mr Joshua Ikioda said, “AMCON along the line had fears, apprehensions, and concerns. As investors, we took a risk. And when an investment is made, and it is not bringing you money or returns, you begin to have apprehension. But we stood in faith, believing that this was a viable project that can change the face of not just Aba and this environment but the country. Most importantly, we must commend Prof. Nnaji because even in the face of daunting challenges, he was very focused. He was very tenacious. That gave AMCON courage, and hope.

“As investors, what is important is for us to give a funding structure that will not choke the project. We are Nigerians, we have Nigerian blood flowing through our system. So, we have to see Prof. Nnaji through. We are quite excited to be part of history and it is from that position that our support is total. This is Act 1, Scene 1. We are still going into different phases, and it is our determination to stand with him and see this project through, to better the lot of Nigerians.”

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