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Nigeria president appoints head of power task force

By on June 22, 2010

Nigeria’s president on Monday appointed an ex-minister of science to lead a special task force responsible for transforming the OPEC member’s dilapidated power sector, considered a major hindrance to economic growth.

Barth Nnaji, a former minister of science and technology, will head the presidential task force mandated to develop a road map of ways to encourage investment and boost power supply capacity in Africa’s most populous country.

Nigeria’s power problem has become so severe that much of the nation can go without mains electricity for weeks, forcing residents to rely on private generators.

“(Nnaji) is expected to work with other members of the task force to evolve workable strategies for rapid improvement of power generation, transmission and distribution in the country,” said Ima Niboro, special adviser to the president.

The West African nation has been keen to raise domestic power generation through independent power projects, but the lack of a strong regulatory framework has attracted little new private sector investment.

The world’s eighth largest oil exporter has the capacity to generate around 3,000 megawatts, but generation often plunges to below half that amount, largely due to a lack of maintenance at power stations. South Africa, with a third of Nigeria’s population of 140 million people, has over 10 times the capacity.

Nigeria wants to increase electricity capacity to 10,000 MW by the end of next year and has earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2010 budget to fund power projects.


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