India to give USD 100 mn aid for Nigeria power sector

Abuja: India has committed a USD 100 million line of credit to Nigeria for improvement in its power sector that has been battling with instability and corruption.

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria Mahesh Sachdev announced this during inauguration of the manufacturing and repair of power transmission equipment plant developed by India`s Skipper Group in Ikorodu area of southern state of Lagos Thursday.

"Nigerian and Indian governments will soon sign the agreement for the line of credit," Sachdev said, adding that 12 Indian companies have shown interest to invest in Nigeria`s power sector.

"India, which is Nigeria`s second-largest trading partner, has both the capacity and expertise to support Nigeria`s ambitious development plans in the power sector." he said. He noted that unlike many other foreign companies which were content to execute projects on tactical basis, Skipper Group, over the past decade, had invested in Nigeria to create manufacturing and repair capacity, transfer of technology and employment generation.

Speaking on the occasion, Nigeria`s power minister Bart Nnaji said with the completion of the repair plant, the country would no longer ship transformers to South Africa, India and other countries for repair. "With this repair facility, we will not be shipping transformers to South Africa, India and other countries for repair. It costs us money; it costs us time. Now, the repair is going to be done here and on top of that, it will create local employment," he said.

The High Commissioner also visited the site of the recent plane crash at Iju Lagos and expressed grief over the loss of innocent lives.

Nigeria has been battling hard to improve power supply to its 150 million people but corruption has proved to be a major setback to the move. The problems in the sector have also proved to be a major roadblock in this oil rich African country`s path to industrialisation.

President Goodluck Jonathan`s government has roped in country`s anti-corruption agencies to investigate the malpractices in the sector and fix the loopholes in a bid to improve power supply in the country by this year.