The Nigerian government has accused western powers of being a stumbling block to Nigeria’s effort to improve its electricity output through the use of coal.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, made the allegation on Wednesday in Washington, U.S.A., during a discussion on the importance of addressing infrastructure gaps in developing countries at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund General Meetings.
She said improving power supply was the cornerstone of the Buhari administration, towards economic development, but said Nigeria was not getting support from western nations.
“We want to build a coal power plant because we are a country blessed with coal, yet we have power problem. So it doesn’t take a genius to work out that it will make sense to build a coal power plant,” she said.
“However, we are being blocked from doing so, because it is not green. This is not fair because they have an entire western industrialisation that was built on coal-fired energy.
“This is the competitive advantage that was used to develop Europe, yet now that Nigeria wants to do it, they say it’s not green, so we cannot.
“They suggest that we use solar and wind, which is the more expensive. So yes, Africa must invest in its infrastructure, but we must also make sure that the playing field is level,” she said.
Mrs. Adeosun said that in spite of the need for foreign borrowing to finance the country’s infrastructure gap, the strategy was to get the cheapest money.
She said Nigeria’s debt to GDP remained very low but that the cost of servicing those loans was high.
“Right now, we are being very conservative about our debt and we are trying to get the cheapest money possible from multilateral agencies,” the minister said.
“We are working very hard to make sure that we get multilateral funds first before we go to the euro bond market, which is a little bit more expensive.”
She added that the country’s strategy was to get public private investments because where Nigeria dedicated five years’ full budget to bridging infrastructure gap, it would still be insufficient.