Building on the conclusion of its electricity privatisation programme, Nigeria has entered into an agreement with Japan to collectively tackle expected challenges in the country’s electricity transmission network.
The agreement between both countries will apart from other project commitments, also see Japan committing as much as $200 million for the upgrade of transmission infrastructure in Lagos State.
Nigeria, with regard to its recent handover of the generation and distribution components of the sector to private firms which bought them following the unbundling of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), now has only the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which has since been concessioned to Manitoba Hydro International of Canada, left to the government.
But the federal government equally has to contend with a decrepit transmission architecture which has received low or non-existent investments in decades.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, stated this yesterday in Abuja, when a delegation from Japan, led by its Ambassador, Ryuichi Shoji, visited him. The minister said both countries are optimistic of working together to enhance the transmission sector through a symbiotic relationship that would be beneficial to them.
A statement from the ministry indicated that Shoji had initially told Nebo that his country was ready to partner Nigeria in the area of human capital development.
The ambassador noted that Japan would do whatever was possible to train Nigerians in the relevant knowledge needed to drive the power sector and thereafter transfer the technology and know-how to them.
This, however, would be on the basis of equality rather than teacher-student relationship.
Another area of collaboration, he said, was in developing a robust masterplan on which the transmission architecture would be erected, using a template that will be beneficial to both countries.
Djokovic also reminded the minister that his country’s prosperity was hinged on the technological know-how it was able to develop and promised to help Nigeria to cross the same line.
Nebo, who acknowledged a long-term existing collaboration between Nigeria and Japan, cited the assistance of Japan in developing a master plan through the power sector reform and renewable energy project in the last one and half years.
He asked that the master plan, which has a budget of $4 million should not only continue but pursued with vigour.
While enjoining Japan to participate in the rural electrification initiative of the federal government, especially in making Nigeria benefit from the $500 million it earmarked for renewable energy in the next five years, Nebo thanked the country for providing $15 million for the Katampe transmission sub-station and urged them to consider similar reinforcement projects to help stabilise the sector.
The minister stated that through the grant of $25 million provided by Japan, substantial work had been done on the Jebba hydro power station, while expressing keen interest on the $100 million concessionary grant the country was ready to provide.
He also expressed Nigeria’s delight to see Japan state its readiness to intervene in upgrading the transmission infrastructure in Lagos for which the sum of $200 million had been proposed.
He noted that Lagos had been neglected for a long time, adding however that the collaboration should not end in Japan just providing grants and training but also engaging in direct participation in the sector and investment in the country as a whole.
Citing other countries which had begun to vigorously play this role, he said Japan should not afford to play a second fiddle or wait till the entire investment climate was saturated.
He said Japan was in the forefront of moving technology forward, with an example on how the country revolutionalised the auto industry in the 1970s by building fuel-efficient cars.
“It is not only in providing loans, grants and training, Japan should also own companies in Nigeria and play active role in direct investment in the economy,” Nebo said.
Information from This Day was used in this report.