$500 Million Loan for Power Transmission

Nebo
Nebo

IN its bid to improve power generation in the country, the federal government has activated a $500m African Development Bank loan to boost power infrastructures in the country. It said the loan would serve as an intervention fund in the power sector and would be released in tranches of $100m.

Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, who was represented by Godknows Igali, permanent secretary in the ministry, said the ministry would access the funds as it worked to bridge the enormous electricity transmission gap in the sector.

“We have been challenged by the problem of not being able to evacuate power beyond 4,500 megawatts. From what the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN gave us, if we have appropriate funding, in the next one year, we will be able to double our transmission capacity. As a precondition for accessing the loan, the AfDB insists on the setting up of a technical committee by the federal government. The technical committee is critical as it is required by the AfDB to access the loan,” Nebo said.

Don Priestman, TCN manager, said the loan was insufficient compared to the work on the state of the infrastructures on the ground. “We need all the money we can get and whatever we can get from that source is extremely welcomed. We need a lot more money than that, but that was an excellent start and we are going to put it to good use immediately. We actually need $1bn per year on capital investment. It is a laudable development, but at the same time insufficient. The more money we get to spend, the more dependable the facilities will become,” he said, adding that the TCN had not been adequately funded for many years and that the firm was working with the government to address the situation.

Free Trade Zone

The Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone has attracted over 150 companies into the country and N900bn worth of investments. Victor Alabo, managing director, Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone authority, said the government agency has also created over 30,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

Alabo, who was represented by Adamu Mamman-Kontagora, head of department, marketing, of the agency, said investment inflow into the free trade zone, which is under the control and supervision of the authority, represented about 60 per cent of the total investments into the country within the last nine years.

According to him, The Financial Times of London newspaper on FDI regards the OGFTZ as one of the most successful in Africa. “The OGFTZ at Onne has attracted all major oil companies in the area, which are now using the free trade zone as a hub for their activities, covering the whole Gulf of Guinea up to Angola and Southern Africa. There has been a transfer of technology to Nigerians through manpower training, particularly due to the specialised nature of their operations. For example, Tenaris, which is the largest pipe producing company in the world, has trained over 70 Nigerians overseas on pipe technology and many more companies do similar things,” he said.

He noted that the free zone had increased economic activities at the Onne area, thereby making the port the second busiest in Nigeria after Apapa. With the free trade zone at Onne, Alabo explained that there had been an increase in government revenue earning, particularly for the Customs, the Nigerian Ports Authority and Federal Inland Revenue Service.

Speaking in the same vein, David Ige, group executive director, gas and power, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said the corporation was set to build on the achievements of the free trade zone with the establishment of the Ogidigben gas city. He explained that the gas infrastructure development programme would attract an investment of over N2.4 tillion within the next four years adding that the project was anchored on the three-point strategic focus of the Gas Master Plan.

Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu

— Jun. 3, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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