President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his commitment to achieving 25 Gigawatts electricity capacity for Nigeria through a three-phase modernisation plan designed by German tech giant Siemens AG.
“We are resolute in reforming the power sector,” said Mr Buhari during the National Independence Day’s broadcast on Tuesday morning.
In August, the government signed an agreement with Siemens and announced a plan to raise the country’s operational capacity to 7 GW short-term, then to 11 GW by 2023 and “finally 25 GW afterwards.”
Nigeria’s current installed capacity is less than 13 GW, below what tiny Singapore has for 5.6 million people. Nigeria’s population is estimated to be about 202 million in 2019. However, of the estimated 13 GW (12,910 megawatts), only over 7 GW is available and less than 4 GW reaches the final consumers on average due to weak transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Nigeria’s operational scorecard
But the President said on Tuesday that the new plan “will provide end-to-end electrification solutions that will resolve our transmission and distribution challenges.”
He also said the plan includes new initiatives to address the problems of energy theft, billing and tariff collection, which contribute to the acute liquidity crisis in the electricity sector.
He said: “The programme will also look to localize the development and assembly of smart meters as well as the operations and maintenance capabilities of transmission and distribution infrastructure.
“I am pleased with the improved inter-agency collaboration between the Ministry of Power and the regulators in the banking and power sectors to ensure that electricity sales, billings and collections are automated and become cashless.
“These initiatives are important to ensure that the technical and collection losses in the sector are substantially reduced. I remain confident that Nigerians will have affordable and uninterrupted electricity supply in the not too distant future.”
Stating further, he said efforts to improve the power sector will complement other infrastructure investments projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, “which is investing in the Mambilla Power Plant project, as well as key economic road infrastructures such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kano Expressway. The first set of these projects remain on track to be completed by 2022.”
PREMIUM TIMES understands that there are concerns by private operators of the distribution and generation subsectors about the funding of the Siemens plan.