Nigeria ‘needs to spend $2.9 trillion’ on infrastructure

12 February 2014

Nigeria’s national infrastructure masterplan will need $2.9 trillion over the next 30 years, and much of that will come from the private sector, President Goodluck Jonathan said on Monday.

Speaking at a power financing conference in Abuja, Mr Jonathan added that the energy sector alone required $900bn in investment, local media reported.

The main priority for spending is electricity generation. More than half of Nigerians have no access to a power grid, and Nigeria’s per capita consumption is about 150kWh a year, compared with 5,500kWh in the UK, according to the World Bank.

Mr Jonathan said the aim was to spend about $10bn on generation and distribution to create an additional capacity of 5,000MW.

The country’s transmission grid required an annual investment of $1.5bn for the next five years to ensure its reliability and stability, he added.

"The Transmission Company of Nigeria has commenced the aggressive implementation of the expansion blueprint funded by a mix of appropriation and funds from financial and multilateral institutions," he said.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. Foreign investment is essential to Nigeria’s infrastructure programme (WEF)

Nigeria has already indicated that it will look to private sector partnership deals to provide most of this money, and Mr Jonathan said he was confident that the global community of private and institutional financiers would provide enough funds to upgrade the country’s power and transport networks.

"It is the belief of this government that the private sector is suitable to effectively manage and attract the huge capital required for constant and affordable power to all Nigerians," he said.

In September last year, the government sold the bulk of the state’s electricity generating company to private buyers for a sum of $2.5bn.

Meanwhile, Chinedu Nebo, the minister for power, assured Nigerians in a statement on 7 February that construction on the $1.3bn Zungeru Hydroelectric Project site has begun "in earnest".

The scheme, financed with a loan from China’s state-owned Export-Import bank, is expected to generate 700MW. The deal was agreed last September and concerns had been raised over a lack of progress since then.

Work is being carried out by two Chinese firms: China National Electrical Equipment Corporation and Sinohydro.

The Chinese are providing three-quarters of the project cost, with the remainder provided by Nigeria.

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