By Dennis Mernyi

samuel-ortomThe Benue State government on Tuesday approached the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) with a proposal to build a power plant that can generate about 10 megawatts of electricity at the cost of $18 million.

Samuel Ortom, the Benue State governor, who led a delegation to NERC headquarters in Abuja, said the project is aimed at boosting socio-economic activities in the state and that his administration has already finalized arrangements with an international energy investment company, Contec Global, for the project take-off.

Prasad Raghu, the CEO of Contec Global, in his remarks, said the initial feasibility study revealed that the project will gulp up $18 million.

Speaking further, Ortom noted that when completed, the electricity generated would be deployed for industrial production and enhancement of value addition to primary products of agricultural produce within the state.

 “We are here today as part of our drive to look outside the box in this critical moment in the history of our great country, especially as we are going through some economic challenges. The idea is to reach out and tap whatever can add value and we are here with a team from Contec Global, an international Electricity Investment Company; they are interested in generating for Benue State up to 10MW of electricity, especially for our industrial layouts within the state,” he stated.

Ortom also expressed his believe that this will really boost the economic activities and add value to development in the state, expressing further that Benue has a comparative advantage in agriculture and for a very long time an average person out of the six million people in the state is a farmer.

According to the governor, Benue farmers cultivate and harvest yam, soya beans, rice, groundnuts, and several other crops but the problem has been value addition, and the main challenge has been inadequate electricity.

“How do you go into processing and add value to these primary products when you do not have electricity to power your industries,” he queried.

In his remarks, Anthony Akah, the acting chairman of NERC, assured the Benue State delegation of his commission’s full support, stressing that a team from the legal, licensing and enforcement department of NERC would liaise with the investors to properly guide them on ways of acquiring licenses.

“For you to lead a delegation to NERC to present a proposal on how to bring power into Benue State for industrial production is something that relieves us of that enormous burden and mandate. So we want to assure you that NERC will give all necessary support. We will be there to guide you to make sure you meet all regulatory requirements,” Akah assured the Benue State governor.

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