The sum of N752bn ($4.7bn) has been earmarked by the Federal Government for the expansion of power transmission projects across the country over the next five years.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, who officially inaugurated the National Council on Power in Abuja on Thursday, disclosed that the sum was to ensure that the Transmission Company of Nigeria was well funded to be able to exceed the country’s power generation capacity and to wheel electricity at any time.
He said, “Besides our commitment to adequate provisions within our national budget in the years ahead, we will continue to expand our national transmission grid to all parts of the country through additional resources leveraged from development financial institutions such as the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, World Bank Group, Japan International Corporation Agency, etc.
“A total of $4.7bn (N752bn) is already being earmarked for transmission expansion in the next five years. In addition to this, it is also intended that more innovative approaches will be adopted to fund the TCN through the opening of possible private sector investment windows at the nearest possible time.”
Industry experts have often described Nigeria’s power transmission network as the weakest link in the electricity supply chain and called for massive investments in its infrastructure.
Sambo was represented at the inauguration of the council by the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo.
The vice president told participants at the NCP conference that the Federal Government was aware of the clamour for electricity meters by consumers and promised that the situation would be addressed.
He said, “It is not surprising; I have been informed that the question of adequate metering has been raised repeatedly in the course of this council and, indeed, in discussions among Nigerians.
“Government is greatly concerned that the metering level among consumers remains low and the incidence of arbitrary or estimated billing still exists.”
Sambo gave an assurance that the metering gap would be bridged immediately as adequate metering could play a multiplier role by shoring up the market revenues of the distribution companies.
This, he said, would ensure greater equity and accuracy in the billing of customers.
Sambo said, “It is for this reason that the government is sourcing various funding avenues, including opening an initial N33bn soft term credit line to enable the distribution companies acquire smart meters and make them more available to consumers.
“As it pertains to the overall funding of the power sector, a number of efforts are being made to leverage resources from various funding agencies to ensure that all participants in the sector have access to funds under soft and long-term conditions.”