ABUJA, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Nigeria has picked an African Development Bank power expert to run its electricity transmission company, in an effort to rejuvenate the country’s creaking power infrastructure, the power ministry said on Friday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to increase power capacity exponentially during his four-year term and meet the demands of Nigeria’s more than 180 million people entirely within a decade.
Usman Gur Mohammed will be on secondment to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for 12 months from the African Development Bank, where he was the Principal Power Utility Transformation Specialist for Nigeria, the ministry of power, works and housing said in a statement.
In that period he aims to set the firm “on a path of greater operational efficiency and effectiveness, and enhanced responsiveness to the needs of the generation companies and distribution companies, who are TCN’s customers,” it added.
Previous efforts to overhaul Nigeria’s electricity infrastructure have largely failed, and frequent power cuts are mainly counteracted with costly private generators.
TCN was managed by Manitoba Hydro of Canada from 2012-2016 under a $24 million contract which was part of a plan to overhaul Nigeria’s infrastructure using private companies.
Despite that, Nigeria’s daily power generation in the fourth quarter of 2016 did not break 3,900 megawatts, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, far off the 20,000 MW within four years Buhari’s party pledged in its 2015 election manifesto.
Although Nigeria holds the world’s ninth largest gas reserves, it reliably produces less than a tenth of the power that South Africa provides for a population which is less than a third of the size. (Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Alexander Smith)