ABUJA—Federal Government, yesterday, unveiled plans to pool $2.6 billion from various financial institutions across the globe to boost the nation’s electricity transmission network.
The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, who said this at a meeting with a delegation of the Bankers’ Forum in Abuja, gave the breakdown of the expected funds to include $1.6 billion from the proceeds of the sales of NIPP projects, another $500 million from World Bank, and $150 million from African Development Bank, AfDB.
Nebo, who stressed that the ugly past of near total neglect would soon be redressed, assured the forum of the government’s unalloyed commitment to strengthening the transmission system.
He said that from the total amount of $2.6 billion, some of which have already been accessed, there are more other international business concerns who have indicated interest in investing in Nigeria’s transmission network.
According to him, “you raised some concerns and the President is addressing these concerns through us the foot soldiers. The issue of transmission is at the heart of the matter because no matter what is genera-ted if it is not transmitted it will not get to the discos.
“Even if it gets to the discos and they do not have the infrastructure to distribute, it will not get to Nigerians. So we are even looking beyond transmi-ssion into distribution.
“Already, the National Economic Council has made recommendation and Mr. President has approved $1.6 billion from the proceeds of the sales of the NIPP projects just for transmission alone.
“In addition, we are receiving an incredible number of international parties who want to invest in transmission; not just to give us loan but to come and invest in a PPP arrangement. Ideally, transmission should have 150 percent generation capacity.
“It has never been so in Nigeria, but by the grace of God, under the present administration, we hope at least to achieve a 120 percent capacity. That way, no matter what is generated by the IPP we should be able to transmit. Government is serious about transmission because that is the lifeline.” He tasked the bankers to participate actively in the unfolding opportunities that have been thrown up in the power sector, saying that banks should make loans available to those desirous of buying shares in the privatised companies.
Nebo expressed his excitement at the support of Nigerian banks to the ongoing privatisation in the sector, arguing that the ugly past experienced in the power sector can never come again, just as he vowed that no stone will be left unturned to grow the nation’s economy through provision and access of power.
Earlier, the leader of the bankers’ forum and Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, had stated that the banks were concerned about three key issues affecting them since the power sector was privatised.
He outlined their concerns to include the seeming poor state of the country’s power transmission network, the recurring obstacles in the supply of gas to power plants, and the lack of intervention fund for banks that were supporting the sector.
He said: “We have not come here to complain, considering the giant strides government has recorded in the power sector. But the above concerns are what we want you to help us address.”