Abuja - Nigeria has signed a deal for Chinese state companies to build a $1.3 billion power plant, the finance ministry said on Sunday, part of efforts to end chronic electricity shortages that are a major brake on growth.
Nigeria produces only a few
hours of electricity a day, forcing those who can afford it to rely on
expensive diesel generators that drain billions of dollars from Africa's
second largest economy and discourage foreign investment.
Goodluck Jonathan is on a drive to increase investment in the power
sector and has nearly completed the privatization of its inefficient
state electricity company.
from China's Eximbank will pay for 75 percent of the planned 700
megawatt Zungeru hydro-electric power plant, while the Nigerian
government has put up the rest of the cash.
plant would be a boost to the country's current 4500 megawatt
electricity capacity and is scheduled to be finished in four years,
although Nigerian projects usually run over time and over budget and
many are never completed.
building of a hydro plant in Zungeru, Niger state, was first announced
three decades ago but this is the most significant effort yet to get the
project underway, experts say.
"This project will create thousands of jobs for Nigerian engineers, technicians and artisans during the construction phase ... It will also boost the economy," Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement.
holding the world's ninth largest gas reserves, Nigeria only produces a
tenth of the amount of electricity as South Africa for a population
three times the size.