Friday, 30 August 2013
Nigeria: Power reforms need funding
The Nigerian federal government has approached the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for a $450 million loan to fund on-going power sector reforms. The request was made by Vice-President Namadi Sambo earlier in the month in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when bank president Ahmed Ali paid him a courtesy visit.
The vice-president, who chairs the power sector reform committee, had been in Saudi Arabia for Umrah, the lesser Hajj during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Sambo informed the IDB president that Nigeria still required about $450 million to augment transmission in an on-going power sector reform that is targeting the generation of 20,000 MW of electricity. He also solicited the support of the bank in financing other projects beneficial to Nigeria, such as the construction of a highway linking Lagos State, the commercial hub of the country, to Abidjan, the capital of Côte d'Ivoire.
Ali noted that his visit was a reinforcement of the cooperation between IDB and Nigeria, stating that his organisation had already approved three of the five projects for which the country recently sought funding. The other two are still being considered.
The approved projects are the $17.9 million construction of four science-specialist secondary schools, a $43.15 million 330-bed capacity specialist hospital, and the $81 million Zaria water project.
All the projects are based in Kaduna, northwest Nigeria. Their location has raised quite a few eyebrows, in view of the fact that Sambo is a former governor of the state.
Some of the projects, such as four secondary schools, are also considered rather pricy in the opinion of a local quantity surveyor. The $81 million project to improve the water supply across the Zaria metropolis also raises a red flag: the project has been underway for several years but remains incomplete in spite of the funds that have gone into it. Some have called for an investigation.
Multiple sources claim that a company owned by the vice-president is involved with the project and has been working on several components of it, dating back to the 1990s.