Nigeria: FG to upgrade power transmission network with $1.5bn
21 January 2014
The Punch 20/01/2014
The Federal Government on Sunday said that $1.5bn (N240bn) had been mobilised from various sources for the upgrade of power transmission network in 2014 and beyond.
The government also stated that it would set up a development financial institution to provide medium and long term financing for industrialists and entreprenuers.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, confirmed these developments in a document detailing government plans for the 2014 fiscal year.
A copy of the plan was made available to journalists on Sunday night in Abuja.
She said the financing was part of the efforts to ensure clear and sustainable benefits of the power sector privatisation programme to the country.
The minister said, "Power transmission remains with the Federal Government, with the management outsourced to the Manitoba Hydro Company.
"$1.5bn in financing from various sources have been mobilised for investment and upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond."
On the development financial institution, she said the need for its establishment became imperative since lack of access to affordable medium to long term credit was one of the greatest problems facing Nigerian industrialists and entrepreneurs.
To realise this project, the minister said the government was currently working with partners such as the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank, the BNDES Bank in Brazil, and KfW in Germany.
She also unveiled plans that the Bank of Agriculture and the Bank of Industry will be re-structured as specialised institutions to provide retail financing from this new wholesale development bank.
The minister said the government would continue to implement job creation programmes, noting that supporting the creation of jobs by the private sector will continue to be a top priority in 2014 .
"In spite of these jobs created, the government is keenly aware that more jobs are needed to support our growing population. This is why the 2014 budget is focused simply on jobs and inclusive growth."
On the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, the minister said as of October 2013, N134.6bn had been spent to support various programmes and job creation initiatives.
Original article by Ifeanyi Onuba