President Buhari, in the New Year nationwide broadcast, said Nigerians should expect the commencement of the construction of the Mambilla Power project by the first half of the year.
Recall that the 3,050-megawatt, MW, Mambilla Hydropower project in Taraba State had witnessed several arbitrations that stalled it for over 40 years.
When completed, the project will be Nigeria’s biggest power plant, expected to produce approximately 4.7 billion kWh of electricity a year. It is estimated to cost $5.8 billion and will generate up to 50,000 local jobs during the construction phase.
President Buhari said that Nigerians should expect significant improvement in electricity delivery in the next 12 months.
He said that the year will witness further liberalisation of the power sector to allow businesses to generate and sell power.
The President said: “Power has been a problem for a generation. We know we need to pick up the pace of progress…In the past few months, we have engaged extensively with stakeholders to develop a series of comprehensive solutions to improve the reliability and availability of electricity across the country.
“These solutions include ensuring fiscal sustainability for the sector, increasing both government and private sector investments in the power transmission and distribution segments, improving payment transparency through the deployment of smart meters and ensuring regulatory actions maximise service delivery.
“We have in place a new deal with Siemens, supported by the German government after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited us in Abuja, to invest in new capacity for generation, transmission and distribution. These projects will be under close scrutiny and transparency – there will be no more extravagant claims that end only in waste, theft and mismanagement,” he said.
The President who assured that 47 road projects would be completed this year, said: “Already, we are making key infrastructure investments to enhance our ease of doing business. On transportation, we are making significant progress on key roads such as the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano highway.
“(The year) 2020 will also see tangible progress on the Lagos to Kano rail line. Through Executive Order 007, we are also using alternative funding programmes in collaboration with private sector partners to fix strategic roads such as the Apapa-Oworonshoki Express way. Abuja and Port Harcourt have new international airport terminals, as will Kano and Lagos in 2020.
“When completed, all these projects will positively impact business operations in the country. These projects are not small and do not come without some temporary disruption; we are doing now what should have been done a long time ago,” he said.