Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, has disclosed government’s readiness to partner with Canadian construction giants in the Mambilla and Gurara hydro electric power projects to jointly produce 3,300MW of electricity.
Nnaji stated this while receiving the Canadian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter and his Deputy, Mr. Jean Gauthier, who visited him in his office in Abuja recently.
The minister told the visiting Canadian Envoys that reforms in the power sector have institutional and legislative backing and as a result, their implementation has been procedurally systematic to avoid loopholes that ruined past efforts in the sector.
On the need to involve the State governments in the sector, Nnaji stated that the makers of Nigerian constitution put electricity in the Federal Exclusive Legislative list, thereby, imposing the authority to construct, produce, regulate and supervise the sector on the central government.
He however, stressed that the federal administration would encourage the State governments at regional level and revealed that because of the sensitive nature of the sector, the federal government would discourage mutation of State run power stations that could possibly be mismanaged in future and take Nigeria back to the abyss again.
Nnaji said Nigeria was carefully monitoring the distribution efficiency of the existing stations as well as the tariff to incentivise the value chain. “We are guarding against mistakes of the past while addressing other institutional lapses through the strengthening of the National Power Training Institute (NAPTIN) and ensuring that the World Bank commitment to the issue of bulk trading is not lost,” he said.
The minister added that the federal government recognised that corruption in the power sector had been a serious impediment to the efficiency and effectiveness of the sector ,assuring that government was not taking the matter lightly.
Earlier, the Canadian High Commissioner expressed his country’s interest in the unfolding development in Nigeria’s electricity market while seeking specific areas of participation in Nigeria’s power plan.
The High Commissioner noted, “there is a global awareness that something massive is unfolding in the power industry in Nigeria,” and sought, certain specific areas of challenge that Canadian firms could participate in.
According to him, “The air indicates that something is enveloping Nigeria’s capacity to lead the world,” we are here to compliment these efforts to resolve your electricity challenges and galvanise your industrial leadership of Africa.”
Cooter informed that Canadian companies would be visiting Nigeria soon to join other multinational corporations in bidding for certain areas of the Nigerian electricity sector, especially Hydro, where he noted that Canada has the highest comparative advantage in the world.