By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA â€” THE World Bank has approved $600 million (about N88.2 billion) to assist the power and gas sectors in Nigeria.
Three additional projects amounting to $429 million were also approved by the board.
The figure for power and gas consisted of $200 million in International Development Agencies (IDA) Credits for electricity, while the balance of $400 million in Partial Risk Guarantees (PRGs) would be for support of domestic gas market development.
According a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, the approval given by the bankâ€™s board on Tuesday would significantly improve the poor infrastructure in the power sector considered key to the nationâ€™s growth.
â€œWhen completed, the project would help the Federal Governmentâ€™s current program to improve electricalÂ powerÂ to Nigerians, a priority in the Governmentâ€™s 7-point agenda for economic development.
â€œTheÂ NigeriaÂ ElectricityÂ andÂ Gas Improvement Project (NEGIP) will provide for PartialÂ RiskÂ GuaranteesÂ (PRGs)Â in support of Gas Supply Agreements that will assureÂ andÂ increase gas supply to boost power generation which is critical for economicÂ growth of the country. In this way the Project will address one of the criticalÂ bottlenecks in the supply chain for power generation and underpin the Governmentâ€™s reform efforts in the gas and power sectorsâ€, it said.
TheÂ projectÂ wouldÂ rehabilitateÂ existingÂ transmissionÂ and distribution infrastructureÂ toÂ supplyÂ theÂ increased power generated from the improved gas supplyÂ toÂ consumers.Â Benefits to be derived from the project include reliable and improved quality of gas supply by instilling commercial discipline in the gas sector through commercial contracts; reduction of power losses from the electrical grid and improved power quality and reliability. The project involved extensive consultations with government and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in Nigeria.
The three additional projects were the Second HIV/AIDS Program Development Project ($225 million) toÂ reduceÂ theÂ riskÂ ofÂ infections by scaling up preventionÂ interventionsÂ asÂ wellÂ asÂ increaseÂ accessÂ to and utilization of counseling,Â testing, care and support services; the Malaria Booster project ($100 million); and the Lagos Eko Secondary Education project ($95 million).