Sustainable power supply and enhanced nutrition for children are some of the key issues the European Union is keen to promote in Nigeria, working with the government, business institutions and other stakeholders.
Mr. Michel Arrion, Ambassador/Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, stated the above in Lagos, Nigeria, during a courtesy visit to Sahara Group, a leading Energy and Infrastructure conglomerate with operations across the globe.
Arrion, who visited in company of Mr. Ibi Ikpoki, Economic Officer, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS to explore possible partnerships with Sahara, was received by Mr. Tonye Cole, Executive Director, Sahara Group and Mr. Alistair Morrison, Managing Director, So Aviation, a member of the Sahara Group.
Speaking on Nigeria’s power sector, Arrion said the EU remained committed to supporting the nation’s unfolding power reform through research grants which would help Nigeria discover the “right technology, effective tariff regime, regulation and partnerships” required to attained sustainable power supply.
“We are considering a combination of grants and possibly, loans that will help the nation make viable progress in power generation, transmission, distribution, technical efficiency, commercial efficiency, renewable energy as well as effective regulatory framework. We are open to partnerships with the Sahara Group and other organisations in this regard,” he said.
Cole said Sahara would be happy to partner with the EU to realise its far reaching goals in the power sector and improving nutrition for children across the nation.
He said the Sahara Group, through affiliation with Egbin Power Plc and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Plc (Ikeja Electric) has been playing a frontline role in the sector through continuing investments, infrastructure upgrades and human capital development. “Egbin for the first time since its inception has recently achieved sustained generation of over 1000MW, a development that has boosted power supply in the nation. This achievement is being driven by continuing investments, partnerships as well as the resilience and expertise of our people,” he said.
Cole said Ikeja Electric was currently working on an Advanced Metering Infrastructure project that would transform service excellence in the sector. “Sahara is passionate about Nigeria’s power sector and we believe that with the support of the EU and other stakeholders, the nation will achieve sustainable power supply which would markedly transform our economy,” he affirmed.
According to Arrion, the EU is also considering a robust intervention to address malnutrition, with children being its primary target. “We are concerned about the nutritional state of children, especially those under the age of five years where a lot of development of the human body happens. We are planning to host an event where the issue of malnutrition will be discussed with Nigerian and global stakeholders,” he added.
Cole noted that Sahara was well placed to offer effective partnership to the EU on nutrition having implemented several successful projects through Sahara Foundation. The Sahara Foundation is the Group’s vehicle for promoting sustainable and socially responsible interventions in healthcare, the environment, community development, education and capacity building.
Sahara is also involved in ongoing partnerships to promote inclusive economic growth for poverty eradication, capacity building, food security and access to potable water through its membership of the Private Sector Advisory Group of the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F).