Nigerian Government reiterates commitment to address infrastructure decay

The Nigerian Government on Thursday gave assurance that it would do everything possible to address infrastructural decay which had hindered sustainable growth of the country`s economy over the years.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing,Mr Babatunde Fashola gave the assurance in Abuja when he met with a delegation from the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), a statement said.

“Nigeria, with a population of over 160 million, is seriously challenged by the lack of infrastructure due to endemic corruption.

“Government intends to tackle this rot in the power sector through a holistic approach as contained in the recently unveiled Road Map to Power,’’ the statement quoted the minister as saying.

He expressed optimism that at end of the year, electricity generating capacity would be over 6,000MW, 10,000MW in 2019 and 30,000MW by 2030.

He added that government had taken bold steps to harness solar powered projects by signing off on the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with 14 companies located in nine states and the FCT.

This, he said, would bring to the National Grid 1,150MW of solar energy, adding that support in loan agreement in the sum of 273 million dollars had been earmarked for Nigeria Bulk Trading Company.

He further said that it would provide partial risk guarantee for the off-taker and also the 200 million dollars from the African Development Bank for grid upgrade plan.

According to the the minister, the present administration has demonstrated its firm commitment to the diversification of the country`s economy by moving it away from over-dependence on oil to non-oil revenue, especially agriculture and solid minerals.

The minister said in the statement that government’s planned energy mix as contained in the Road Map document was to havea robust mix that would increase the use of coal, hydro and solar.

“Even more gas to power, bearing in mind that energy in large quatum would be required for individual uses, household access and indeed spread of electricity access across the country,’’ the statement quoted the minister as saying.

The statement also quoted the Permanent Secretar (Power), Mr Louis Edozien, as saying that the sector’s present challenge was occasioned by incessant vandalism of the gas infrastructure.

He said that a lot of new renewable energy sources that would soon come onstream included the 40MW Gurara Dam in Kaduna State, the 40MW Kashimbilla Dam in Taraba, 10MW wind farm in Katsina and 30MW phase one of Kudendan dual fired plant in Kaduna State.

On the new Rural Electrification Implementation Strategy before the President, the Permanent Secretary said the document contained a change in focus from the grid expansion to a more decentralised format.

According to him, this will emphasise micro grid to be fed from solar and small hydros, which would be off-grid.

The statement said that the leader of the IMF delegation and Chief of Mission, Mr Gene Leone, stressed that his mission was to take an overall outlook of the state of Infrastructure development in Nigeria.

The essence, he said, was to take stock of initiatives, innovations and reforms by identifying time lines for the start and completion of project schedules.

He added that the delegation were 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,” the statement quoted him as saying