The Federal Government today announced that it had secured $1.6 billion foreign loans for the expansion of power transmission facilities in the country.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after a meeting of the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP) chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Osita Nebo, said the money is coming in form of loans from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Euro Bond Issue and the Chinese Exim Bank.
“Much of the deliberations today was centered on expanding the transmission network in Nigeria to ensure that all the power generating plants that Nigeria is now building and commissioning, we have substantially adequate capacity to pull out power.
So, the presentation today was by the Transmission Company of Nigeria and that was to explain to the PACP all the things we need to do to make sure that all the power generated between now and several years to come, the capacity is there to do that and also to point out the funding gaps and very thankfully to President and National Council on Privatization, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and Federal Ministries of Power and Finance and Petroleum and much of what is needed to do these things are being put in place.
“We also have substantial among of funding coming in form of loans from the World Bank, African Development Bank, Euro Bond Issue and Chinese Exim Bank and NDPHC had already designated $1.6 billion for the expansion of transmission facilities in the country. The government is adequately prepared, everybody is excited at what has just happened, that we had such a significant compliance of all the proffered bidders who bought the GENCOS and the DISCOS as you can very well tell, most of them have paid up and most people thought it was never going to happen. Today it is a reality and Nigeria is gong from a public sector dominated power sector to a private sector driven power sector.”
The Minister continued: “We believe that this is very good for the country. We are celebrating that, the entire nation is agog with it, the International Community is amazed that this miracle could happen in Nigeria and we are so happy that everybody sees that it was a fragile situation because no county in Africa has taken the quantum leap to do the entire generation and distribution company utilities like that in one fell swoop. Nigeria has done it and I think the government of President Goodluck Jonathan should be commended for this.
This is very good for Nigeria. We’re celebrating that. The entire nation is agog with it, the international community is amazed that this miracle could happen in Nigeria. No country in Africa has taken the quantum leap to do the entire generation and distribution company utilities like that in one fell swoop. We are celebrating the sale of the power sector instead of celebrating constant power supply. There is a substantial joy in many parts of the country that power stability has become enormous in many parts of the country.”
Nebo added that with the current reforms, the power sector will soon outperform the telecommunications sector.
“In those days, you needed to bribe people to get a telecommunication line and whenever you had a problem, it took weeks to fix. Today, it’s no longer so. The same thing is going to happen in the power sector. The only difference is that we even envisage that the power sector will dwarf the telecommunication sector in what we’re going to see happen because it’s going to re-energise the entire economy; the whole manufacturing and industrial sub-sectors of the country will begin to boom, and in addition to that, small and medium scale enterprises will begin to spring up all over the place.
“We have a lot to celebrate in this country now. With these things in the hands of the private sector, they are going to deliver power. The only reason they would make their money is to ensure that power is delivered to the people and once the people are getting power, the more their profit, the more incentive they have to ensure that whatever needs to be beefed up is beefed up to ensure power is available to Nigerians. We have our challenges, especially because of vandalisation of the power delivery infrastructure.
However, the reason we are celebrating this is that, when the telecom sector was essentially run by government, what did we see? It was the epitome of ineptitude with regard to delivery of communication to our people, but today, we have a situation where Nigeria has over 120 million registered GSM lines.”