19 November 2016, Abuja — The Federal Government has said it would spend N56.3 billion ($150 million) on rural electrification in the country.
The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babtunde Fashola, disclosed this yesterday at a business forum on “Financing Opportunities in the Nigerian Power Sector” in Lagos.
Fashola, who promised to uphold all contractual obligations entered into by the government, said the N56.3 billion would be spent, using 44 tertiary institutions and the small hydro dams in the rural areas of the country as anchors for the programme.
The Minister said: “Any talk of cancellation of the privatization was a negative signal to investors that Nigeria has no respect for contracts and would not support that.
“If revisiting means that the operators should allow more investors into the business I am for it but with the caveat that it has to be done within the Rules of Contract, negotiation, and possible arbitration”.
He said the government would use 44 tertiary institutions and small hydro dams in the rural areas as anchors for the electrification programme.
Fashola said the money would be deployed towards providing Independent Power Plants to supply electricity to tertiary institutions and rural communities.
He said that 37 of the 44 tertiary institutions audited for the project were universities, while seven were teaching hospitals.
The minister said the government would deploy 37 IPPs, made up of nine gas plants and 28 solar plants, with a combined generation capacity of 120 megawatts to power all the universities.
Fashola said the 37 IPPs will replace 1,105 generators hitherto serving the institutions and generating 210 MW of inefficient and unclean energy.
He said the amount would cover capital expenditure, operations, and maintenance.
On financing opportunities in the nation’s power sector, Fashola emphasised the need for financing and liquidity stability in the sector.
He said the Distribution Companies required financing for the supply of meters, upgrading distribution equipment such as transformers, ring mains.
*Favour Nnabugwu – Vanguard