In a bid to boost the nation’s power situation, the federal government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two Chinese firms to build two hydro-power stations in the country.
The Chinese firms, Sinohydro Corporation and China National Electrical Equipment Corporation which are to invest a total of N146.466 billion would through its Export-Import Bank provide 75 per cent of required funds to build a 700 mega watt hydro power station on the Northern Zungeru River while Nigeria will provide the 25 per cent balance of the fund put at N48.88 billion. During the signing ceremony in Abuja recently, the Minister of State for Power, Mrs Zainab Kuchi said the companies would be a 3,050 MW station in Mambila Taraba and a 700MW station in Zungeru, Niger and added that Sinohydro would build the plant at its expense and operate it for nine years before handing over its ownership to Nigeria.
She explained that the Mambilla project was planned since 1985 to produce 260 MW but was reviewed for the plant to produce 260MW, but was reviewed for the plant to produce 3,050MW and to be implemented within five years.
President Goodluck Jonathan was reported as saying that the nation was fully committed to achieving the set target of sustainable power by the year 2020 in less than a decade saying that all the tiers of government were being mobilized to play their roles to ensure that Nigeria attains its targets.
On alternative sources of power he said his administration was highly committed to strengthening the power sector so that it can efficiently deliver adequate, qualitative, reliable and affordable power in a deregulated market and the launch of the roadmap for the reform of the power sector two years ago brings into practical effect the 2005 Electric Power Sector Reform Act, and the hydro power generation sourceswere eing exploited.
President Jonathan explained that “Hydro power generation sources are being exploited. Only yesterday we had our initial meeting with the consultants and contractors for the construction of the large Mambilla Hydro-Power Plant that will produce 3050MW.
“The processes for the construction of Zungeru 700MW hydro power plant have reached an advanced stage. Several Small and Medium Hydropower projects are also in progress as well as Solar Power Projects. A MoU has already been signed with Seimens of Germany for the production of 450MW (with States as first place).
Bauchi State has taken off already. Thirty Mega Watts coal to power is being pursued under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement as well as a pilot wind power scheme in Katsina with 10MW. Waste-to-power schemes are also being implemented in various States.”
In another development a $24 million electricity contract with Canada’s State-Owned Manitoba Hydro has been abolished by the Federal government.
The spokesman of Presidency, Reuben Abati who made the disclosure said the power ministry would make a statement on the move later.
According to him, “Mr. President has cancelled the Manitoba power contract with immediate effect.”
Industry experts saw the hiring of Manitoba to manage the national power transmission network as a major step to move the reform process.
Manitoba was to start work at the beginning of September but government still controls transmission.
The head of the Manitoba-run Transmission Company of Nigeria, Don Priestman expressing his disappointment said: “We had a clear contract and we were meant to be given delegation of authority … but that didn’t happen.”
He added that there were forces working against the power reform in the country as a similar contract which Manitoba has in Kenya was working well.