Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo has assured a visiting trade and investment delegation from South Africa that Nigeria’s fledgling power sector still offers a lot of business opportunities to South-Africa.
According to him, the welcome development in strategic partnership with Nigeria is in the spirit of African brotherhood and solidarity. Nebo recalled the days preceding the emergence of majority rule in South-Africa, noting that Nigeria was there to ensure political freedom for South-Africans. “We are desirous of doing business with South-Africa – the telecommunication giant MTN, Shoprite and other South African companies are doing well here. We want more of them in the power sector too,” he said.
The Minister further disclosed that Nigeria is eager to learn from South Africa as it has a robust per – capita power supply status with 43 million people and 40,000 megawatts. South Africa, he explained is far ahead of Nigeria with over 160 million people and power generation of less than 5,000 megawatts. The implication of this is that Nigeria will need to generate 40 times more power to meet up the South Africans.
Chinedu Nebo assured them that there are more opportunities in power generation despite their invisibility in the on-going privatisation. Adding, transmission, metering and even manufacturing of parts like circuit breakers, cables, power lines and switches, require investment from South Africa. Another area of interest which he mentioned is renewable energy – solar, biomass and wind. “Our doors are open; we have vast areas in the neighbourhoods that are far from the national grid,” the Minister averred.
He also revealed that with the privatisation of the sector, the new owners will require partnership and the Nigerian Government is willing to explore its abundant coal reserves. He expressed hope that South Africa is capable of assisting Nigeria with the knowledge of using clean coal technology; saying the Ministry is prepared to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with South Africa, in order to tap from her experience and power its economy.
Also at the event, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali said that Nigeria wants to see more MTN and Shoprite companies in the Power sector, promising to bring-on-board new owners into Nigeria’s power assets to enable more mutually beneficial partnerships.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the South African delegation, who is the Deputy Minister for Trade and Investment, Elizabeth Thabethe indicated that President Jacob Zuma’s priority is to develop infrastructure through partnership with other African countries. She added that energy as an enabler for economic growth is the focus of the group. She also stressed that Nigeria as a strategic partner of South Africa will help to fast-track the realisation of the Pan-African dream of the South African Government.
The delegation was accompanied on the visit by South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnguni.