by Lekan Olanrewaju
Just last week, Minister of Power Barth Nnaji sent a strong message to Nigerians, saying that he “totally understands” what they are passing through with the state of power in the country. He added that he “gets frustrated” too. The minister is not letting up on his messaging to the nation anytime soon.
Speaking, again, on Sunday to newsmen in Enugu after a two-day power summit, Nnaji promised that the effects of the ongoing power reforms will be visible within 6 months, while also announcing that the power generation and recovery project would begin at the end of May, and would be funded by loans from the World Bank and African Development Bank.
“We want to improve power generation either by repairs or by new plants which will be constructed,” the minister submitted. “I have informed you that the recovery of capacities that we installed, but not working up to 958 megawatts, will be funded with loans from the World Bank and the AfDB.”
“We will also mobilise management contractors for the project with these loans. Our expectation is that by the end of this month, we will have the funds available to kick start the project. All these projects must be completed within six months.”
“When this project is completed by the end of the year, power generation and transmission capacity will improve.”
This comes as power tariffs are set to be increased, an issue which President Jonathan recently spoke about, stressing the need for Nigerians to be properly informed beforehand, to avoid a situation similar to the January protests which resulted from the removal of fuel subsidy.
“On the June 1 for the increase of electricity tariff, I do not think we have had a robust advocacy and this happened to me during the deregulation,” President Jonathan said. “At a point I wanted to send a team to the states to work with the governors and the Benue State governor said no, that if we do that, there could be crises and that the governors should take charge.”