The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has granted licence to Ariaria Market Independent Power Plant Limited to generate 9.5 megawatts (MWs) of electricity for Ariaria International market Aba, Abia State.
According to a release by Mrs Vivian Mbonu, Head, Media Unit of NERC, “The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in pursuit of overriding public interest, has granted a 9.5megawatts embedded electricity generation licence to Ariaria Market Independent Power Plant Limited and an Independent Electricity Distribution Licence to distribute same within Ariaria Market to Ariaria Independent Energy Distribution Network Limited.
“The licences, issued in line with Section 71(6) of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005, were granted after careful consideration of the applications in public interest to promote access to common goods and to promote commerce and industry for which Ariaria, a leading commercial hub in the country is reputed.
“Both licences granted to Araiaria were affirmation of the Commission’s commitment and response to the long-time yearnings of the market for a stable, reliable and sustainable electricity supply to improve quality of goods and services by Nigerian enterprises and entrepreneurs.”
Following the announcement of the new electricity licences, traders and artisans at Aba, the commercial nerve center of the South East region and the SME capital of Nigeria, erupted in jubilation.
Reacting to the development, traders at the Ariaria market expressed happiness over the granting of power generation and distribution licences for the market by NERC and thanked the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, for ensuring that the feat was achieved.
In a statement released to newsmen, the Chairman of AbIa State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), Chief Emeka Enechebe, applauded the federal government and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for making the dream of steady power supply to the market a reality.
Enechebe stated that the approval of a licence to operate an independent power plant in Ariaria market as well as licensing of an independent distribution company, Ariaria Independent Energy Distribution Network Limited, to handle the distribution of the generated power within the market is a welcome development that will spur improvements in manufacturing and trading activities within the area noted for hosting a major cluster of Aba shoemakers and other leatherwork.
He said, “We are happy that the federal government has favourably considered our request to end our sufferings in the hands of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) that has been exploiting us for years without giving us power to carry out our businesses. We also thank Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who has been at the forefront of fighting for us to have steady power supply to enable us do more business and support the industrialization, Trade and Commerce agenda of his administration.”
The leader of ASMATA, a platform of all affiliated market associations in Abia State, revealed that their members petitioned the federal government to caution EEDC for their uncharitable activities geared towards destroying the economic life of Aba, a city that survives mainly from the commercial and enterprising activities of residents.
ASMATA commended the federal government for licensing the Energy Company to provide power, intiallly to Ariaria International market and its environs.
“We salute the ingenuity and sacrificial disposition of Total Energy who since engagement and licensing have deployed men and material to ensure that our members enjoy uninterrupted supply.
“We were aware of the antics of EEDC and their promoters to perpetually destroy the remaining lifeline of economic and commercial activities of Aba. The contribution of Aba to the economic life of Abia and Nigeria cannot be ignore and must be encouraged by all men and Women of goodwill. We are therefore happy and celebrating the intervention of the federal and state government to save us from the yoke of EEDC.
“As a group, we endorse fully the activities of the Rural Electrification Agency and all those working assiduously to ensure that business operators including light and heavy manufacturers in Aba enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
We believe that this is a sure way to improve the operations of the MSMEs leading to enhanced economic growth, job creation and improved IGR to governments to continue to provide dividends of democracy for the teeming masses. The critical role of MSME in economic development is key to our economic recovery plan, all hands should be on deck to ensure the survival of MSMEs and we see the activities of all players in the unfolding scenario, history and posterity will reward all accordingly.
“It is also pertinent, at this point, to commend His Excellency Prof Yemi Osinbajo, GCON the Vice President, whose regular visits to Aba and shared vision with Governor Ikpeazu resulted in the success of Total Energy. It is on record today that over 1000 shops in Ariaria have enjoyed uninterrupted power supply for over 10 months, which has really improved business in the area.
“As business men and women, all we desire is improved power supply that will in turn improve business leading to overall improvement of the lives of our people