Lolu AdubifaExclusive interview with Lolu A. Adubifa, CEO Lavayo Energy Lagos, Nigeria.  Adubifa is chairing a session at WAPIC’s Africa Power Finance & Investment Forum in Lagos in November.

Let’s start with some background of your organisation and your role.

Lavayo Energy is an energy advisory and project development firm primarily involved in the oil and gas, and power sectors in West Africa.  I am the MD/CEO of Lavayo Energy.

Any particular projects that you are currently involved in that you are excited about?

Currently we have a mandate from Scanpower Ltd to act as developers for a 450MW IPP in Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos State. The project is currently in the licensing stage, with associated studies already completed and Siemens AG as project technical partners.

What are the main challenges in your view when it comes to financing power projects in the region?

Various challenges to financing in Nigeria today including a lack of liquidity (no capacity for local banks), lack of technical knowledge and a weak regulatory system that allows an imbalance financial chain in the power sector.

What is your vision for the industry?

My vision for the Nigerian power sector in the short term is to have the regulatory functions strengthened by seasoned professionals. This would enable the derivation of tariffs, and other fees with the associated costs and risks borne by investors.

For a country that is desperately in need of additional power capacity, government needs to do more in creating an enabling environment for investments into the sector with its policies and appointments into sensitive positions in the sector.

You are chairing a session at WAPIC’s Finance & Investment Forum on major projects and financing trends: what are you hoping for in this session?

I am hoping to have a robust discussion with the panel and the audience on some of  the challenges of financing in Nigeria today, and what steps could be taken to mitigate some of these issues.

For example, NBET (Bulk Trader) as the main government agency signing PPAs etc is under-capitalised, and at great risk of default on PPA signed with counter parties.

What will be your message at the event when speaking to prospective investors?

My message and central theme for investors at WAPIC is centered around the fact that the Nigerian power sector is slowly moving to a liberalised and private sector driven industry. Attractive opportunities abound in the generation and distribution spaces for companies and investors with skills, products and capital.

How important is a forum such as WAPIC for the sector?

WAPIC is a key gathering of industry participants across Africa including financiers, investors and technical providers. It is critical as a medium for all parties to meet for idea sharing, technical discussions, showcasing technologies and projects, and deliberating on best practices across the continent.