ABUJA (Power Ministry Report) – The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo (Professor) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Power Africa Initiative, USAID and the LEEC – Chinese Company on projects that will fast-track the nation’s quest for increased access to power for domestic and industrial uses.
While speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister said that the Nigerian Government is grateful for the Power Africa Initiative and President Barrack Obama for considering Nigeria as one of the 6 beneficiaries in the first phase of the programme. He added that the Nigeria – U.S relations have spanned centuries, recalling that President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration has a good number of American trained professionals in his cabinet.
According to him, Americans have staged a significant role in the power sector as they have maintained embedded professionals as advisors in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Company (Bulk Trader). The Minister also acknowledged the role of the private sector and NGOs of American origin, USAID as well as General Electric, saying they have formed formidable alliance in the nation’s quest to chase out darkness.
He appealed to the Americans to still do more for Nigeria, especially in the area of capacity building, just as he recognized the role of the Americans in helping to build a critical mass of professionals that would maintain and repair power plants.
“In the area of metering, a lot of gap still exists. We will appreciate more U.S – based companies to come and invest,” he said, assuring them of a level playing ground. He added that the target of the Power Africa Initiative in the first tranche of provision of basic electricity needs for 20 million will be achieved.
Earlier, after the exchange of the signed document, the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle noted that the MoU will no doubt co-ordinate the implementation of the Power Africa initiative. Adding, this underscores President Barrack Obama’s recognition of the importance of electricity to the economic development of emerging economies like Nigeria. He assured that his country will step up support for institutional reforms, privatization and the regulation of the Nigeria power sector.
James Entwistle further averred that since assumption of duty, every conversation, formal and informal has been centred on power. He described the MoU signing as historic, indicating that the event will soon put an end to the phenomenon of generator noise in the country.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Godknows Igali described the signing of the MoU as an opportunity to consolidate and strengthen the nation’s power sector through robust support to building the institutions and human capacity required to drive the power sector reform.
In a related development, the Minister of Power also signed a MoU with the Chinese company – LEEC led by Huang Xueli and its Nigerian partner, Sam Anyamele to build a power generation plant that will contribute to electricity provision in Nigeria.
According to Huang Xueli, the Chinese company which specializes in engineering procurement contracting has been in Nigeria for decades, building power plants, transmission lines, sub-stations and even mobile sub-stations. He further stressed that with the proposed project in Nigeria, items hitherto manufactured in China will be produced locally in Nigeria.
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