17 January 2008 – Over us$10 billion has been invested in the Nigerian power industry over the last seven years. An investment, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua says has not produced the expected results.
Speaking at a reception for the World Bank vice president for Africa, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili in Abuja, the president revealed he felt it would be unwise to pump more money into this sector "without a definite and stable project management arrangement."
"While we are targeting 6000MW by 2009, the $10bn invested in the sector between 2000 and 2007 has not translated into power generation, transmission and distribution, so we are exercising caution to ensure that any further funds to the sector would translate into production and delivery of energy to the ordinary Nigerian."
"I have told the leadership of the National Assembly that the Federal Government will inject its share of the excess crude account into power and the states have also assured me of what they will put in. Even if all these funds come in today, I will warehouse it until we get a clear direction hopefully within the next one month after which I will send a supplementary appropriation bill specifically on power to the National Assembly," he stated.
The President assured Ezekwesili of the government’s commitment to ensuring reliable power supply, "but more dollars will not provide light, unless we find a project management solution".
Private power producers in Nigeria are currently operating under two major constraints – lack of gas to power the plants, and lack of transmission networks. The president commented on a number of private initiatives for independent power production, but said further that his administration would only be prepared to fund those with a secure source of gas.
The World Bank, said Ezekwesili, was committed to assisting Nigeria to address its power generation, distribution and transmission problems.