Plans to build China's largest hydro-power project in Nigeria are now operational. Representatives from China and Nigeria signed a preferential buyer credit loan agreement, paving way for the construction that is to take five years. Once completed, the hydropower station will be Nigeria's second largest in capacity and will help relieve electricity shortages nationwide.
Nigeria's Federal Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and China's ambassador to Nigeria Deng Boqing attended the signing ceremony. Participants also include officials with the Nigerian Ministry of Power. The agreement was reached by the two governments during President Goodluck Jonathan's visit to China in July.
"The contract for the construction has been awarded to the consortium of two Chinese contractors, China National Electric and Engineering Corporation, CNEEC, and Sino-Hydro. And I'd like to congratulate the two companies and tell them that much is expected from them in terms of performance, quality and speed," Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.
The total cost of the project adds up to around $1.3 billion, 75 percent of which is to be loaned by China's export-import bank. The loan is for 20 years with an annual interest rate at 2.5.
"The preferential loan for this project is the biggest one that was ever given to a single project in Nigeria by China Ex-in Bank," Deng said.
Nigeria, the second largest economy in Africa, stands at 4,500 megawatts in its electricy capacity, a figure that cannot meet the basic needs for a country with 7 percent economic growth.
The Zungeru Hydro-power station, which is to be finished by 2018, will provide a capacity of 700 megawatts. However, questions are raised about that the high cost in Zungeru. Here what the Ministry of Power has to say.
"There are some dams that newspapers recently refer to, some dams in other countries, in Ethiopia, in China, and Brazil. These are dams on the gorge. These gorges are the best places where you can build dams. And Zungeru is not on a gorge. It's just on the running flat area on the Kaduna River. So all those factors come to play. So on dams that on similar terrain, Zungeru is the lowest," said Dr. Godknows Boladei Igali, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Power.
The Zungeru station has been postioned about 150 kilometers away from Abuja, on the River of Niger in Niger State. An idea conceived for almost 30 years, the project bears the hope of the nation.
(CNTV.cn October 1, 2013)