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FG to Improve Power Transmission With $3.7bn

FG to Improve Power Transmission With $3.7bn
Vice-President Namadi Sambo

The Federal Government plans to spend $3.7bn to upgrade the nation’s power transmission infrastructure.

Vice President Namadi Sambo disclosed this on Thursday while granting audience to the management of Genesis Electricity Consortium led by a Nigerian businessman, Mr. Arthur Eze, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Most of the members of the consortium are attending the ongoing World Economic Forum on Africa holding in Abuja.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Umar Sani, quoted Sambo as saying that with the injection of the money, the government would be able to wheel up to 20,000 megawatts of power.

The vice president added that the government, in its efforts to improve power generation, had planned to invest $8bn on a Public-Private Partnership basis to develop local gas potential.

He also said there were moves to fast-track the system to ensure availability of gas to power plants by involving owners of the new plants and international oil companies in the development of gas infrastructure.

Sambo assured his guests of the availability of opportunities in the Nigeria’s power supply sector.

He lauded the consortium for the confidence reposed in the Nigerian economy by investing massively in the energy sector and reviving the Port Harcourt refinery.

The vice president also appreciated one of the members of the consortium, General Electric, for partnering the country to develop the power sector.

He noted the GE’s investment in a plant that would support the sector in Calabar by injecting $300m into the financial sector, and the plan to support the training of Nigerians to strengthen the power sector

Other power related issues discussed during the meeting were the efforts of the government on the Zungeru and Mambila hydro power projects, which are expected to generate 700MW and 3,050MW, respectively; and the pilot scheme of the wind power project that will provide about 10MW.

Eze told the vice president that the consortium planned to invest $100m in the Port Harcourt refinery and promised to extend the consortium’s investments to the Kaduna and Warri refineries.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said despite the erratic supply of electricity in most parts of the country six months after the power sector was privatised, it has no regrets handing over the industry to private investors.

The government also said that it would ensure that 1.5 million households had access to electricity annually in order for the country to achieve 75 per cent access to power by the year 2020.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Mr. Godknows Igali, said at a forum in Abuja that there was every reason to celebrate the privatisation of the sector.

He said, “We have every reason to celebrate the success of the process. We had no other way to go because this is a sector that was bedevilled by inefficiencies and Nigerians had less power supply. But with the privatisation, the government has been subsidised.

“As a permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Power, I came in and we were paying about N10bn as salaries to thousands of workers, yet, Nigerians didn’t have power. The good news is that today, everything we set out to achieve has been achieved.

“The credibility, dexterity and the ability of the private sector to bring in new managerial skills and internationalisation have improved the sector. So, we have nothing to regret. And today, we can see the Independent Power Plants coming up to boost the sector.”

Asked to state when the erratic power supply situation in the country would stabilise, Igali said the government was working hard to ensure that “in a few months time, electricity supply to consumers will normalise.”

Earlier in his address, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said access to electricity in the country was still below expectation.

He said, “In Nigeria, access to electricity is way below 50 per cent, with about 30 million Nigerian households without electricity. I think it is important to mention all this so that we begin to see why Nigeria is a veritable location for investment in the electricity sector.”

Source - The Punch

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