loader image

FG hands over Zungeru power plant to concessionaire

The Federal Government on Tuesday officially transferred operations of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant to Penstock Limited, a subsidiary of Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited, which it selected in February 2023. Tuesday’s move is expected to “boost Nigeria’s power generation capacity and contribute significantly to meeting the country’s growing energy demands,” a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha, read.

The statement is titled ‘FG finally hands over Zungeru Hydroelectric power plant to concessionaire.’ It comes one year after the National Council on Privatisation, on February 23, 2023, approved the appointment of Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited as the preferred bidder for the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant. In December 2022, 11 consortiums had sent Requests for Qualification out of which three—NSP Consortium, Mainstream Energy and Africa Plus Partners—were shortlisted. The 740MW Zungeru power facility located at the upper and middle reaches of River Kaduna in Niger State is the largest hydropower project in Nigeria. Though conceived in 1982, construction works only commenced in 2013 following a deal with two Chinese firms-China National Electrical Equipment Corporation and Sinohydro Consortium.

According to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the project has gulped around $1.3bn, with a preferential loan facility from the Export-Import Bank of China. With the FG providing 25 per cent funding for the project, the Exim Bank will fund 75 per cent with low-interest loans. The facility is expected to produce 2.64bn Kwh of electricity annually and meet around 10 per cent of Nigeria’s total domestic energy requirements. It was commissioned in 2023. At the first meeting of the NCP for 2024 held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the council announced significant progress in the Plant concession, including the official transfer of the plant’s operations to Penstock Limited.

The Concession Agreement was signed on December 13, 2023, by the BPE and Penstock Limited. Following Council approval, the Concessionaire fulfilled its obligation by paying 50 per cent of the commencement fees on January 5, 2024. The official handover ceremony took place on January 23, 2024, officially transferring the plant’s operations to Penstock Limited.

Speaking at the meeting, Vice President Shettima noted the potential of BOA to play a central role in achieving national food security, citing its extensive branch network across all senatorial districts in the country. However, he expressed concern over the bank’s current practices, particularly its tendency to disburse unsustainable loans. Shettima advocated modernisation of the BOA, emphasising the need to leverage technology and upgrade branch facilities, urging that embracing modern financial systems would enable the bank to function more effectively and fulfill its vital role in supporting agricultural development.

He also alluded to the potential of the Green Imperative Project, proposing its integration with the BOA’s restructuring plans. “For me, we can marry the Green Imperative Project while 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 divergence can be minimized. “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,” the VP said. Currently, “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, while key decisions have been made, and further updates are expected soon,” Nkwocha’s statement revealed.

The Council also received updates on the report on the sale of NITEL/MTEL property at Moloney Street, Lagos. It was noted that efforts are ongoing to evict illegal occupants and resolve the court case on the property. On the audit of NIPOST properties nationwide, it was noted that the BPE has provided detailed information to the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy and the Postmaster General to assist with the ongoing Postal Sector Reform, facing pushbacks from NIPOST and unions. On the Federal Mortgage Bank Restructuring, it was noted that the bank’s management has submitted nominations to the Implementation Committee which is expected to commence work shortly.