Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 14:54 UK

Nigeria needs $85bn to fix power

Nigerian power cables
Electricity supply is irregular and many Nigerians rely on generators

Nigeria needs $85bn (42.7bn) of investment in its power infrastructure in order to produce electricity 24 hours a day, experts say.

The sum is 17 times the amount the government announced it would spend on the power sector, and four and a half times the country's oil savings.

Most of Nigeria's 140m residents live without reliable power.

The sum was given by a panel of experts appointed by President Umaru Yar'Adua after nine months research.

Their final report has not been released to the public.

NIGERIA ELECTRICITY FACTS
Currently generates 1,800MW
Nigeria wants to generate 6,000MW by 2009
In 12 years it wants to be able to generate 20,000MW
Would need 100,000MW to become an industrialised economy, according to the ex-president
Six power stations begun under the last administration have not been completed
$16bn (8bn) has so far been spent on the power sector since 1999

But the panel's chairman Rilwanu Lukman told journalists the power generation in the country had dropped to 1,800 megawatts (MW), from a capacity of 3,500MW.

He also said even if the country's power stations were working at full capacity, the transmission grid was broken down and neglected.

"The grid is very weak much of the equipment is currently responsible for causing the power cuts across the country," he said.

The country's short-term goal of 6,000MW by 2009 would cost $3bn (1.5bn), Mr Lukman said.

The government announced last week it would spend $5bn (2.5bn) from the nation's oil windfall on the power sector.

Subsidies

Mr Lukman said there were not enough engineers in the country to work in power stations or maintain the electricity grid.

Nigeria wants to become one of the world's top 20 economies by 2020.

But in May the president said the continual power cuts were preventing investment in the country.

The government is working on plans to attract private investors by subsidising their electricity bills, the finance ministry said this month.

Before his election last year Mr Yar'Adua said he would declare a "state of emergency" on power.

Correspondents say revamping the power sector remains one of his greatest challenges.

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