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Hartwell Hydroelectric Dam, TN, USA

Hydropower : FG Approves $3 Billion Governance Framework for Hydro -Electric Plant in Benue

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has approved a governance framework for the development of a US$3 billion Hydropower plant in Makurdi, Benue State.

Osinbajo’ spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the NCP met at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The plant is expected to be the largest hydropower project in West Africa.

With the NCP’s nod, the development of the project, which emerged by way of an unsolicited proposal, will proceed through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, subject to compliance with all existing laws including the Public Procurement Act.

The novel project will be the first of its kind in the country and is expected to provide 1,650 megawatts of power.

Under the NCP approved Governance Framework, a PPP procurement process is adopted whereby the proponent of the unsolicited proposal and other qualified interested investors would participate in a transparent bidding process.

Similarly, there is a Project Steering Committee of the NCP to provide leadership and high-level support to ensure the success of the transaction.

The membership includes the Minister of Power as Chair, Minister of Water Resources as Co-Chair, the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), as Vice Chairman and other members drawn from the ministries of Justice, Environment, Agriculture, representatives of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, (ICRC), the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc, and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba State Governments will also have members and the Director of Infrastructure and PPP at BPE will serve as Secretary.

A Transaction Adviser of international repute would also be engaged for the project to assist BPE.

The council also received updates on the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant and was notified of the investors’ interest in the concession of the plant.

ICRC has issued a Certificate of Compliance in respect of the Outline Business Case (OBC) submitted for the project.

The Project Delivery Team held a meeting in Sept. 2022 and reviewed the documents after the Transaction Adviser submitted the documents, including the Strategy paper, Inception Report, and Request for Qualification.

Regarding updates on the situation with the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, NCP was informed of the intervention and restructuring of Kano, Benin, Kaduna, Ibadan and Port Harcourt Discos.

The notification for change of directors of those Discos has been fully filed to the Corporate Affairs Commission, reflecting the takeover of the 60 per cent shares by the lenders in three out of the five Discos – namely Kaduna, Kano and Port Harcourt.

The filings for Ibadan and Benin are ongoing and should be completed soon, the Council was informed.

In addition, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) issued an advert the previous week for the sale of 60 per cent shares of Ibadan Disco.

The NCP has also approved the appointment of Ms Sutura Aisha Bello, as a Director for Infrastructure and PPP in the BPE.

The meeting had in attendance council members including the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Mahmood Abubakar.

Others were the Director-General of BPE, Alex Okoh, representatives of Federal Ministries, heads of relevant MDAs and other senior government officials.

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