Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has disclosed that the federal government would rely on its symbiotic relationship with Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro International, its management contractor for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to attract investment into Nigeria’s weak transmission network.
Nebo said at a press briefing in Abuja that the government expected the reputation of Manitoba which it charged in the management contract to reposition TCN for its expected roles in Nigeria’s emerging power sector, to attract high profile long-term investment portfolios into the country’s transmission network.
The transmission grid is considered the weakest link in the country’s electricity circuit with a wheeling capacity of just about 4800 megawatts (MW).
Nebo indicated that the country projected to generate an average of 1000MW of electricity by the first quarter of 2014 but the TCN may not be able to wheel this amount considering its limited capacity.
Also, Nebo stated that a total capital outlay of $3.4 billion would be required up to 2016 to bring the country’s transmission network to evacuate all the generated power to be produced at that time with the development of a 765mega volt amperes(MVA) super grid transmission network for the country.
He had said that the government was working out a long-term funding mix to accommodate TCN’s expansion plans noting that the sources for the fund would include the transmission development fund, international development banks and other multinational agencies.
“The TCN remains owned by the federal government and there is no way the government alone will find the fund to give Nigerians the super grid transmission that we need, just to meet the current demand. We need a minimum of $3.4 billion and that money is not easy to come by. So we need international investors to come and partner with government in this regards and that is one of the reasons that we needed a management expert in transmission to help us deliver that; so it is a management contract and not concession,” he said.
The government also expects that the task granted to Manitoba to reposition operations in the transmission network and turn the TCN into a viable commercial entity will if consistently executed attract long-term investments for further expansion of the transmission network.