April 21, 2024

Nigerian government concessions Zungeru hydropower plant

Adebayo Obajemu

The Federal Government on Tuesday handed over the operations of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant (ZHPP) to a concessionaire, Penstock Ltd.

Vice President Kashim Shettima stated this during the first meeting of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) for the year 2024 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the move was expected to bolster Nigeria’s power generation capacity and contribute significantly to meeting the country’s growing energy demands.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during the meeting, the NCP announced significant progress in the ZHPP concession, including the official transfer of the plant’s operations to Penstock Limited.

According to the council, the Concession Agreement was signed on 13 December 2023, by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Penstock Limited.

Following Council approval, the concessionaire fulfilled its obligation by paying 50 per cent of the commencement fees on 5 January, while the official handover was done on 23 January.

Mr Shettima also revealed plans by the Federal Government to recapitalise and restructure the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to bolster Nigeria’s agricultural sector and achieve national food security.

He noted the central role BOA could play in achieving national food security, citing its extensive branch network across all senatorial districts in the country.

Mr Shettima, however, expressed concern about the bank’s current practices, particularly its tendency to disburse unsustainable loans.

The vice president, who advocated the modernisation of the BOA, emphasised the need to leverage technology and upgrade branch facilities.

He noted that embracing modern financial systems would enable the bank to function more effectively and fulfil its role in supporting agricultural development.

Mr Shettima said that with the potential of the Green Imperative Project, it could be integrated into the BOA’s restructuring plans.

“For me, we can marry the Green Imperative Project where we are going to bring in assorted agricultural machinery. Every farmer should be given a tractor, harvester and other necessary machinery.

“We can take in the latest advances in science and technology and make it possible to track these items so that diversion can be minimised.

“We have no business being poor. Nigeria must attain national food security. Let us leverage science and technology. There are three or four states that can feed the whole of this country.”

NAN reports that a committee led by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, is finalising a report on the BOA’s recapitalisation and restructuring.