US envoy hails Nigeria’s power sector reform

Power stationThe United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Transformation, Dr Robert Ichord, has said that in his over 30 years privatization experience, Nigeria’s electric power sector reform and privatization has been the most comprehensive and most transparent privatization transaction in recent history.
Dr. Ichord, who led a 60-member delegation from the United States to the recently concluded one-day Nigeria Power Finance Conference held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on 10th February 2014 commended President Goodluck Jonathan’s bold initiative in resolving the problems of the power sector.
The conference, which was declared open by Vice President Namadi Sambo on behalf of President Jonathan, generated an unprecedented enthusiasm with over 1,000 local and international participants from financial institutions, private equity firms, investors, multilateral and development partners.
It would be recalled that the present administration since inception has put machinery in motion toward the resuscitation of the ailing power sector starting with the launch of the Presidential Roadmap on Power in August 2010.
In his address, the President assured investors that Nigeria’s power market is governed by contracts, regulations and codes, adding that contractual obligations are honored and disputes are resolved in a pre-agreed and transparent manner.
The President, who spoke through his deputy, noted that government was working towards increasing gas supply to the power generation companies.
Jonathan lamented that Nigeria losses about two per cent growth in GDP annually due to infrastructure deficit; hence the administration’s undivided focus on the provision of infrastructure.
He told the prospective investors that Nigeria’s power consumption is still very low and thus provides huge opportunities for investments, especially in the manufacturing of power components including meters, wires, recharge cards, etc.

He further noted the need to develop Nigeria’s capacity in renewable energy, especially in solar power, bio fuels etc.
President Jonathan noted that for the first time in Nigeria’s history, there was synergy amongst the three tiers of government in the federal, state and local on the development of Nigeria’s power sector.
He added that government had come to the realization that the private sector is better suited to mobilize the huge funds required to provide power to all Nigerians.
On their part, the African Development Bank (AfDB) assured of its commitment to assisting Nigeria to attract private funds to develop the power sector in addition to on-going efforts to providing soft funds to support the privatization process.
Participants expressed their appreciation to the administration for organizing the conference and pleaded that the conference be made an annual affair.

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