The minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has said that the National Economic Council has given approval for the disbursement of $1.6 billion for the enhancement of the nation’s electricity transmission network.
Nebo said this to calm the fears entertained by a delegation of bankers’ forum which visited him in his office yesterday in Abuja.
He said the money is to be sourced from the proceeds of the sale of the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).
The minister also disclosed that another $500 million from World Bank, $150 million from African Development Bank (AfDB), and $170 million from French Development Bank, are expected for power transmission upgrade, stressing that the ugly past of near total neglect of the power sector would soon be redressed.
Also, Nebo said that the ministry will do whatever it can to ensure that intervention funds are kept by the Central Bank of Nigeria to assist the banks who have lent to electricity companies.
Earlier, leader of the Bankers’ Forum and Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, said that the banks were concerned about three key issues affecting them.
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 funds for banks that are supporting the sector.
Nigerian banks heavily bankrolled the purchase of privatised electricity distribution comapnies and are keen to see due return for their investments.
in a related development, the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Schneider Electric Company of Germany for capacity development in the power sector.
Speaking during the MoU signing, Director General of NAPTIN, Reuben Okeke, said about 4,000 craftsmen, technicians and cable jointers have to be trained to work in the sector, adding that cases where wrong electrical materials are used to wire houses by quacks have led to increase in fire outbreaks.