The Federal Government was praised for ensuring a transparent bidding process for the power stations.
Yes, there is corruption within Nigerian government, but it has been over amplified, President Goodluck Jonathan said on Monday.
The president said this at the signing of the Power Reform Transaction contracts at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“Let me continue to assure Nigerians that yes, there are issues of corruption in this country but somehow it has been over-amplified,” Mr. Jonathan said. “People should watch how we have been conducting government business. We have been bringing down the issues of corruption gradually.”
Nigeria needs N530 billion for power
Also at the programme, the Federal Government announced that it needs investment worth $3.4 billion (N530 billion) between now and 2016 to improve on the power currently being generated in the country.
The government, however, said it is working out funding arrangements for the Transmission Company of Nigeria’s long term expansion plan from a mix which will include the Transmission Development Fund, International Development Banks and Multilateral agencies.
Amidst praises on government for ensuring a transparent bidding process, Mr. Jonathan said he was particularly pleased to hear directly from the private sector that the process was transparent adding that the stories of corruption in the bidding process were not true.
Obviously elated by the encomium poured on his administration for the way government has handled the privatization process, the president made the declaration that the issue of corruption in Nigeria has been over-amplified.
“Look at the power sector, when we started initially there were stories in the papers but at the end, even when I was in the U.S., companies from there that participated said publicly that the process was transparent and issues of corruption was not there.
“At least today we have also heard directly, that the process was transparent and that there were no issues of manipulations or corruption,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan further appealed to Nigerians on the need to trust in his administration’s efforts to tackle the issue of corruption adding that “the country belongs to all of us and we will all protect what belongs to us, what belongs to our children and what belongs to the generation yet unborn.”
The President also commended the various stake holders including the Governors, the development partners and the private sector for their interest and investment in the sector and for “having confidence in us to place this huge investment in this country.”
In his speech, the Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, disclosed that “installed available generation capacity has risen to 6,000MW while generation capability has increased to 5,228MW with peak generation at slightly above 4,500MW.
“We expect to add additional generation capacity of about 2,200MW from the NIPP projects (1,896MW), IPPs (292MW) and FGN legacy assets (514MW) before the end of 2013.”
He noted that the Federal Government is also investing heavily to boost generation through the large, medium and small hydro plants with total capacity of over 4,234MW. These include Zungeru-700MW; Mambilla -3,050MW; Guarara II -360MW; Itsi-40MW; small Hydro Power -84MW.
“These massive increase in generation underpins the need for a robust transmission grid. Currently, our grid remains a weak link with a wheeling capacity of about 4,800MW. With government’s objective to achieve 10,000MW in 2014 and 20,000MW in 2016, the urgent need to expand our transmission capability to evacuate the projected additions becomes imminent”
“I must admit that it has not been a bed of roses. The reform has had its setbacks and slippages due to the unprecedented size and scope of the reform program. Resolution of labour issues is at advanced stage. We expect to conclude all labour severance settlement issues before the end of June 2013. The process for the sale of Afam Power Plant and Kaduna Disco is on-going,” Mr. Nebo said.
The Minister commended the President for his unprecedented support for the power reform programme stating that the President and his Vice have demonstrated great leadership and dogged courage in taking the needed decisions and initiatives in driving, with personal commitment, the Nigerian Power Sector Revolution.
“I wish to place on record that there is nothing we in the sector have asked from Mr. President that he has not graciously granted. For us, that is the highest demonstration of political will. Sirs, history and generations of Nigerians yet unborn will ever cherish your vision and labour,” he addressed Mr. Jonathan and Vice-President, Namadi Sambo.
Tony Elumelu of Transnational Corporation, who spoke on behalf of the five generation companies who also received their certificates, commended the Federal Government for transparently handling the power process.
He also commended the new partnership between government and the private sector, assuring that they were willing to pay up the balance of 75 percent adding that they will develop the much needed capacity to ensure that Nigerians enjoy power within the shortest time possible.
Mr. Elumelu further called on government to take Nigerian banks into confidence in the financial arrangements for the long term funding of the Transmission Company of Nigeria adding that Nigerian Banks have come of age and are capable of partaking in the funding of the needed $3.4billion.
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