Thursday, October 27, 2011

Canada to invest in Nigeria's power sector

Canada has become the next country hoping to buy into Nigeria's electricity market still caught up in reforms sweeping through the power sector.

Canadian high commissioner to Nigeria, Chris Cooter, said there was "a global awareness that something massive is unfolding in the power industry in Nigeria."

Cooter and his deputy Jean Gauthier met power minister Bart Nnaji on Tuesday to seek specific areas where Canada can take part in Nigeria's power plan, said a release from the power ministry.

Nnaji has stressed the sensitive nature of the industry, saying the federal government would encourage state governments but discourage mutation of state-run power stations that could possibly be mismanaged and draw back gains on power supply.

"We are guarding against mistakes of the past while addressing other institutional lapses through the strengthening of National Power Training Institute and ensuring that World Bank commitment to the issue of bulk trading is not lost," said the minister.

Canada is interested in the bulk trade and wants to focus also on hydropower, where it is thought to have high comparative advantage.

Nnaji said Nigeria was ready to take on Canadian partners for two hydroelectricity projects, Mambilla and Gurara, expected to produce at least 3,300MW combined.

Cooter announced that Canadian companies were scheduled to visit Nigeria and join other multinationals bidding for different aspects of the power industry.

"The air indicates that something is enveloping Nigeria's capacity to lead the world," he told the minister when they met in Abuja.

"We are here to compliment these efforts to resolve your electricity challenges and galvanize your industrial leadership of Africa."

He allayed Labour concerns over reforms, insisting that privatization efforts in the sector had global investors excited.

But the minister assured that grievances behind Labour agitations would be addressed at all costs.

Daily Trust

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