The Northern States Governors’ Forum and the General Electric International, on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding, MOU, for the construction of five solar plants some parts of Northern Nigeria.
The plants are expected to generate 500 megawatts of electricity.
Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, and Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, signed the agreement on behalf of the Governors, while General Electric’s Senior Executive, Western Europe and Africa, Armand Pineda, and the President/Chief Executive Officer, General Electric, Nigeria, Lazarus Angbazo, signed on behalf of their company in a brief ceremony which held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Based on the MOU, the General Electric, which has 120 years experience in power generation, is to build five solar power plants to be located in Borno, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Niger and Taraba States.
Each of the plants is expected to generate 100 megawatts of electricity totaling 500 megawatts across the 5 States.
The electricity is meant to stimulate economic activities and social services in the affected States through boosting agricultural food processing, small scale businesses in addition to supplying electricity to schools and hospitals.
“The 19 Governors of the north jointly created this approach. We want to go beyond lamentation to provide solutions and we all know that power is key to industrial development.
“With power, we can create jobs, stimulate our economies and make life better for our people. The General Electric has over 120 years experience in energy solutions and they have been operating in Nigeria for over 50 years, we cannot have a better partner than GE.
“We shall do our part as Governors, this I will assure you. We are deeply committed to this agreement” Mr. Shettima said at the MOU signing ceremony.
The Northern Governors Chairman enumerated challenges of poverty, unemployment, and poor access to education, poor healthcare amongst other underdevelopment indications threatening the north.
He said power could provide a vehicle for the north to reposition itself for a better future.
The Northern Nigeria Global Economic Re-integration Programme, newly created by the Northern States Governors, is coordinating the project, which is a pilot phase.
According to a release by the spokesperson of the Borno Governor, Isa Gusau, the programme aims to serve as vehicle for the economic recovery of northern States through international relations on infrastructure, manufacturing, as well as to stimulate agricultural value chain and trade.
It also aims at making the region a global player in agricultural export in line with the vision of the late Premier of the Region, Ahmadu Bello.
The release also said the Governors Forum engaged the services of Tanimu Kurfi as Chief Executive Officer of the Programme.
Mr. Kurfi was the Chief Economic Adviser to late President Umaru Yar’adua and he has wide contact with leading development companies and financial institutions across the world.
Mr. Kurfi said he took up the challenge put forward by the Northern Governors as a result of the strong passion and commitment to the aggressive development of the north so far shown by the Northern Governors since Mr. Shettima became the forum’s chairman in 2015.
Reaffirming their commitment to the MOU, General Electric’s Senior Executive, Western Europe and Africa, Mr. Pineda and the President/Chief Executive Officer, General Electric, Nigeria, Dr. Angbazo both pledged that they would work round the clock to realize the project for the benefits of citizens of the five States.