By Timothy Daniel
Kaduna (Nigeria) – Nigeria’s’ Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has assured Nigerians that the Buhari Administration will do everything possible to address infrastructural decay which has for years stood on the way of sustainable growth of the economy.
A statement by the deputy director of press to the Minister, Timothy Oyedeji, noted that the minister made this known in Abuja when he met with a delegation from the International Monetary Fund, (IMF).
Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, said, Nigeria with a population of over 160million is seriously challenged with provision of infrastructure due to endemic corruption; saying, Government intends to tackle this rot through holistic approach as contained in the recently unveiled Road Map to Power, which has time lines and planned series of complimentary activities and deliverables.
He said, “We are expecting that at the end of the year, our generating capacity will be over 6,000MW, 10,000MW in 2019 and 30,000MW in 2030”.
On plans to a maxim incremental, stable and un-interrupted power, the Minister said Government has taken bold steps to harness the solar powered projects by signing off on the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), with 14 companies located in 9 states and FCT, saying, this will bring to the national grid 1,150MW of solar energy.
While acknowledging the contributions of donor agencies in the Power Sector, he said support in loan agreement in the sum of 273 million Dollars has been earmarked for the Nigeria Bulk Trading Company to provide partial risk guarantee for the off-taker; and also, $200 million Dollars from the African Development Bank for grid upgrade plan for the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
According to him, the present administration has demonstrated its firm commitment to the diversification of the economy by moving it away from over-dependence on oil; adding that, for the first time, Government has reduced the contribution of oil in favor of non-oil revenue especially agriculture and solid minerals.
Speaking on the government’s planned energy mix as contained in the Road Map document, the minister noted that, the plans was to have robust increase in the use of coal, hydro, solar, and even more gas to power, bearing in mind that energy in large quotum would be require for individual uses, household access and indeed spread of electricity access across the vast country.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, (Power), Louis Edozien, in a remarks said, the sector’s challenge occasioned by incessant vandalism of the gas infrastructure necessitated the development plans which identified stages of growth from 2017 to 2030, on the premise that vulnerability of gas supply will be radically addressed.
He said that lot of new renewable energy sources would soon come upstream like the 40MW Gurara dam in Kaduna State, the 40MW Kashimbilla dam in Taraba, 10MW wind farm in Katsina and 30MW phase one of Kudenda dual fired plant in Kaduna-State.
On the new Rural Electrification Implementation Strategy before the President, the Permanent Secretary said the document contains a change in focus from the grid expansion to a more decentralized format that would emphasize micro grid to be fed from solar and small hydros, which would be off-grid.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and Chief of Mission, International Monetary Fund, Gene Leone, said his mission was to take overall outlook of the state of Infrastructure development in Nigeria, with a view to taking stock of initiatives, innovations and reforms by identifying time lines for the start and project completion schedules.
He said, “In the sense that we are interested in ongoing project initiatives that would positively impact on the lives of Nigerians, this will enable the Fund to have better understanding of areas of assistance or help in the quest of filling those gaps.”