By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwunmi Adesina has said that Nigeria needs to evolve a more effective tariff structure in order to achieve steady electricity supply.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, Dr Adesina said power was one of the critical infrastructure needed in Africa’s largest economy-Nigeria to be able to industrialize.
According to him, ”there is no doubt that Nigeria continues to work a lot of Electricity, without Electricity you can’t do anything, industries can’t develop without power.
”There are three components, one I think we need to get the tariff structure because if you don’t have good cost-reflective tariff structure, investments from private sector become very difficult in the energy sector.
”The second is liquidity constraints in the power sector gets addressed. ”
Adesina disclosed that the AfDB has so far invested about $400million in the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to help the country improve on electricity generation and distribution.
”We in the bank have invested over $400 million in the transmission company of Nigeria to support it, we have also provided risks guarantees to bet to be able to guarantee the risk of non-repayment to free up the liquidity constraints. But at the end of the day, it’s to diversify the energy subsets that we have.”
The AfDB President also explained that Nigeria needs to use its gas deposit as well as hydro and solar energy to improve electricity supply for the citizens.
He said, “The African Development Bank is investing heavily right now in the north, in the Jigawa area in solar projects. So know, God is good to Africa and He gave us a tremendous amount of sunshine, water, everything is good for Africa, all we need to do is take a cable and connect to the sun and we will be found. So we just have to optimize the renewable energy potential that we have.”
He commended the Federal Government for the economic growth and reform programme being implemented.
Adesina told reporters that he was at the villa to inform President Buhari of the involvement of the AfDB regarding investments and interventions in the country over the years.
The AfDB President said he also came to thank Buhari for the leadership he is providing to Nigeria and involvement in continental affairs.
He said, ”I came to see Mr President to thank him for all his leadership that he is providing both on the continent and the region. As you know the continent faces quite a number of challenges in terms of security and he has put security as a very important thing. Obviously, trade and investments are not going to happen unless you have security within the region.
”Secondly, to congratulate on his re-election and to brief him about what the Bank is doing in Nigeria. As you know I was elected president of African Development Bank with the strong support of President Buhari, president Jonathan, president Obasanjo, all the heads of state but most importantly President Buhari played a very critical role in my elections.
”So I came to say thank you and also came to give him the account of what is happening at the bank. And quite a lot has happened at the bank in the last three years. We have 60 operations in Nigeria for a total of $4.5 billion and about $2.8 billion of that is in the private sector in the banking industry, financial sector, in particular about $1.7 billion in the public sector.
“We have very exciting projects here, one is the transmission of power (Electricity). Mr President mentioned it to me that power continues to be a problem. We have invested over $4 billion in the Transmission Company of Nigeria (Electricity) to continue to improve the power transmission.
”We have also invested heavily in the northeast of Nigeria, we have put in almost $258 million to support the rehabilitation both in terms of health, education, sanitation and water. And also skills as a way of reviving areas that have been battered. I told Mr President that that is very important.
”We have also invested in mobilizing financing for the country. I briefed Mr President that Nigeria countries to be investment frontier and that the African Investment Forum which the African Development Bank held last year, we were able to mobilize about $38.7 billion of investments to African less than 72 hours, about $7.1 billion of that actually came to Nigeria.
”I also briefed about the future of what we are going to be doing here. I spoke to him about the support of the banking being crucial because as you know Nigeria is the largest shareholder of the African Development Bank and leaders have to lead.”
Adesina said that President Buhari was expressed appreciation in the work the bank is doing in Nigeria and the continent.
”We are in the period of a general capital increase for the bank and with that support, we believe you will see a different Africa completely under this new general capital increase of the bank. One of the things that we said was that Nigeria’s contribution under the last general capital increase of the bank was $360 million but we lend to Nigeria $4.5 billion, almost 15.5 per cent. Every dollar that Nigeria gives to the bank, we lend $15 in return, so its a great investment.
”I assured Mr President that under the new general capital increase of the bank, we are talking to our investors about this, so if we get enough money, hundred of people will be connected to Electricity.”