In response to the massive demand for increased power transmission and distribution in Nigeria, Symbion Power, an American electricity generation, transmission and distribution company with operations throughout Africa, has gone into partnership with Jyoti Americas and Iroko Capital Partners to establish the Western Sahara Transmission Company Limited.
The parties involved announced the formation of the company Wednesday.
The partners are bringing together their combined experience of doing business in Africa and other developing countries, together with their knowledge of the entire power delivery value chain which will include design, engineering, tower testing, tower manufacturing and construction.
Western Sahara is expected to build Nigeria’s first state of the art transmission tower manufacturing facility with the capacity to produce 50,000 tons of galvanised steel lattice transmission towers per year. This would also displace the nation’s current reliance on expensive and imported materials.
The company would be engaged in the entire power delivery value chain (including design, engineering, tower testing, tower manufacturing and construction) and would be fully equipped to handle transmission and distribution projects of any scale.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday, the visiting Symbion’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, William Olukoya explained that Western Sahara is an indigenous company backed by experienced international players that would be primarily managed and staffed by Nigerians.
Olukoya noted that given the tremendous demand for power and the rapidly growing Nigerian economy, it was essential that the country create the local capacity to produce such towers and remain competitive in a demanding marketplace.
With a shared vision to provide for the country’s huge demand for power supply, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, expressed delight, over the creation of the company.
“This Western Sahara initiative further demonstrates the confidence of global industry leaders and investors in Nigeria, especially coming after the recently concluded World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA).
“In addition, it further promotes import substitution as well as local industry and manufacturing capacity in the Nigerian power sector,” he said.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer, Jyoti Americas, Dr. Deepak Lakhapati, said the partnership would be his organisation’s sixth tower manufacturing and power transmission solutions facility, saying, “we are proud that it will be in Nigeria.
“As business grows the company will eventually employ thousands of Nigerians. Western Sahara will rely on Jyoti’s tower manufacturing and end-to-end transmission solutions know-how, and we will apply our joint expertise to the EPC part.
“We want Western Sahara to rapidly become Nigeria’s leading transmission solutions company. We believe our strategy will allow us to be competitive against international companies bidding for work in Nigeria,” Lakhapati added.
Continuing, Olukoya said: “We will be hiring Nigerians with the requisite background who will be trained by Symbion and Jyoti to American and international standards. Both of our companies have been motivated to make this investment by the US Government’s Power Africa initiative.
“When President Obama announced Power Africa during his visit to Tanzania last year, he said one goal would be to bring electricity to 20 million homes and businesses. Our new company will make a significant contribution to achieving this target by producing the towers and the lines that will literally light up millions of new consumers.
“Nigeria is a country of 170 million people and the largest economy on the continent, yet most people don’t have access to electricity. We hope to change that.”
On his part, the Managing Partner of Iroko Capital Partners, Ken Ofulue, described the development as an exceptionally important step forward for Nigeria’s electrification programme as well as a testimony to the fact that Nigeria is a great investment destination.
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