[INTERVIEW] [Interview] Akinpelu Shogunle talks Energy in Africa
Akinpelu Shogunle, MD, Highland Energy Solution Services Ltd., talks to ABC about Energy in Africa. His interview:
Could you tell us about your company and where you operate from?
Highland Energy Solution Services Limited, a Federal Republic of Nigeria incorporated business, is an Energy Solution Services, Consulting & Integration and Project Management Company.
How long have you been the MD?
I have been the Managing Director of the firm since 2006.
Who do you service as a company, the public, private or government sector?
As a company, our services at this time are mostly focused on the government and public sectors. We have some private sector large energy users as clients. However, the bulk of our current project portfolio is public sector/government.
And who would you say is your direct competition?
There are few out there in the marketplace, but our value proposition to the market and end-users speaks to our distinction in our targeted business offerings. We aren’t overly worried about the competition.
Your company is all about Energy and Solutions. What solution would you proffer to power challenges in Africa?
There’s no easy answer to that question. I, for one, do not believe that there is a single solution that would be the answer to the challenges of energy supply deficiencies confronting some African countries, especially my beloved Nigeria. I also do not believe that focus on mega-capacity supply facilities development is an appropriate approach to this problem, since these inherently have a longer developmental cycle. What I would proffer is smaller-scale ‘hub & spoken’ generation facility architecture with a shorter turnaround developmental cycle, complementary to the larger-capacity types. This must be in addition to upgrading existing facilities to increase its production capacities, amongst other things.
If you could change something about the Energy Industry in Nigeria, what would you change?
For one, I would like to change the enabling policies of the government to make small-scale generation a more attractive proposition for the investors and developers. The generation distributive architecture of facilities would need to be re-examined and revised. Energy generation facilities development must be recognized as a sovereign security issue, in that it is more than mere infrastructure. Such an outlook would awaken the NAS and policy-makers to the needs of the people in this regard.
Finally, P-P-P strategic relationship appears to be too burdensome, as projects often get bogged down in such myriad for an extended period of time for reasons best known by the regulators, and not obvious nor clear to the investors and stakeholders. There are a few other things that I would like to change and they are essentially statutory policies rather than programmatic. The consequential effects of the policy changes would be programmatic to enable sustainable stakeholders including banking and financial institutions to fund strategic infrastructure projects on a longer range outlook basis.
What makes you most proud to be an African, specifically a Nigerian?
Firstly, I believe in the future Nigeria! Imperfect though it may be now, I am confident in the resilience of our people to concede to defeatist attitude. We, you and I are the change-makers and nobody will build the country for us. After all, no one develops their competition, right? As a sovereign nation, we must muster the collective national will for transformational change in the strategic direction and leadership of the country for the generations to come. The inherent abilities of our people as change-makers have been proven over and over and around the globe. Therefore, I cannot but be proud to be a Nigerian.
You are the MD of a major Energy Solution Services company in Nigeria. If you were interviewing someone for a job, what is the one quality you would look for, regardless of the job description?
Essentially, I look out for ‘solution providers’; individuals whose fundamental beliefs have not been corroded by the negativism that often seems to have pervaded the core of so many today. I am impressed by change makers extraordinaire, believers in the collective good of the people against all odds to rise above and beyond the ordinary.
Any last words?
The future of any country is in the collective hands of the people of said country. Unless we understand that and actualize programs, policies and conditions that would enhance and raise the welfare and standard of living of the people and restore their faith in the future of the next generation, we’ll be just climbing uphill as a nation.
It is incumbent upon each and every one of us, those on the ground and in the diaspora, to recognize and collaborate in leveraging the human assets and intellectual properties for the benefit of all citizens.
All of us concerned in the market sector, as employers must engender to create a sustainable business model that recognizes the critical human assets as the most important component of a successful business enterprise.
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