• Monday, April 15, 2024
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FG hands over $1.3bn Zungeru hydro plant to private operator

FG hands over $1.3bn Zungeru hydro plant to private operator

In a landmark move, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) has officially handed over the $1.3 billion Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant to Penstock Limited, a private operator, marking a significant step towards boosting the country’s power generation capacity.

The announcement was made on Tuesday at the inaugural 2024 session of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

It is projected that this transition will significantly increase Nigeria’s power generation capacity, thereby helping to meet the expanding energy requirements of the country.

Read also: Geometric power plant set for commissioning in February

The newly built 700-megawatt plant in Zungeru, central Nigeria was facilitated by a $1.3 billion loan from China.

Speaking at the meeting, Kashim Shettima, Nigeria’s vice president in a statement by his spokesman, Stanley Nkwocha, disclosed plans by the Federal Government to recapitalise and restructure the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to bolster Nigeria’s agricultural sector and achieve national food security.

He noted the potential of BOA to play a central role in achieving national food security, citing its extensive branch network across all senatorial districts in the country.

He, however, expressed concern about the bank’s current practices, particularly its tendency to disburse unsustainable loans.

Shettima advocated modernisation of the BOA, emphasising the need to leverage technology and upgrade branch facilities, urging that embracing modern financial systems would enable the bank to function more effectively and fulfill its vital role in supporting agricultural development.

He further alluded to the potential of the Green Imperative Project, proposing its integration with the BOA’s restructuring plans.

“For me, we can marry the Green Imperative Project while we are going to bring in assorted agricultural machinery. Every farmer should be given a tractor, harvester and other necessary machinery. We can take in the latest advances in science and technology and make it possible to track these items so that divergence can be minimized.

“We have no business being poor. Nigeria must attain national food security. Let us leverage science and technology. There are three or four states that can feed the whole of this country,” the VP said.

Read also: FG eyes 40MW Kashimbilla hydropower plant to boost power supply

What you should know

The Zungeru plant is Nigeria’s largest hydropower project and ranks among the biggest power initiatives across Africa to secure a preferential loan facility from the Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) of China.

The Zungeru hydropower project will provide power generation, flood protection, and water for irrigation.

The 700-megawatt (MW) Zungeru hydropower plant is estimated to generate 2.64 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity a year, which will meet close to 10% of Nigeria’s total domestic energy needs.