By Obas Esiedesa
ECOWAS Commissioner for Energy and Mines, Mr. Sediko Douka has disclosed that as part of effort to boost power supply in the West African sub-region, $1.5 billion would be spent to build power plants with 1,300 megawatt capacity.
He said already about 20 projects that will increase transmission capacity and ensure the take-off of common electricity market for the sub-region were under implementation.
Douka who spoke at the opening of the 34th West African Power Pool (WAPP) Technical and Financial Partners Coordination Meeting in Abuja on Thursday, urged electricity distribution companies across the region to invest in infrastructure to improve supply to consumers.
Declaring the meeting open, Nigeria’s Minister of State Power, Mr. Goddy Agba said the Federal Government was committed to the completion of the multi-billion dollars Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro power plants in Niger and Adamawa states respectively.
He said: “Several of WAPP priority projects involving Nigeria are already under implementation such as the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydropower Facilities as well as the 330 kilovolt Nigeria Niger Benin/Togo Burkina Interconnection Project.
“The preparation of the WAPP Median Backbone involving Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire is currently under procurement and it is expected that the second transmission line from Nigeria to Benin/Togo shall be ready for financing next year.
“The development of the 330 kilovolt WAPP Eastern Backbone in Nigeria that shall be from Calabar to Jogana through Kashimbila shall commence soon.
“We shall therefore look forward to the usual solidarity and engagement with the partners in the realisation of these projects. It is therefore on this note that I once again express my thanks for your participation and have the honour and pleasure to declare open this 34th WAPP Coordination Meeting of Technical and Financial Partners”.
While commending donors and development agencies for supporting WAPP since its inception in 2006 with 13 members, he noted that the current membership of 35, made up governments and privately owned companies is indicative of the strides achieved by the organization.
“It is evident that a key factor in WAPP being where it is today is because the Institution has enjoyed the constant and dependable support of the Technical and Financial Partners. It is an undisputed fact that your respective and collective interventions have contributed immensely to the ECOWAS regional integration effort in energy and today is yet another occasion to convey our commendations to you”, Agba stated.
He explained that “the ECOWAS Master Plan for the Development of Regional Generation and Transmission Infrastructure that has identified the priority projects to be pursued by the WAPP for the period 2019 to 2033 has an investment requirement of about 36.4 billion US dollars”.
The Chairman of WAPP Executive Board, Mr. Usman Mohammed in his remarks said WAPP is “steadily and surely approaching the dawn of the full operationalisation of a regional electricity market within the ECOWAS sub-region”.
Mohammed explained that the regional electricity market will yield socioeconomic benefits and uplift the well-being of the ECOWAS citizenry.
“A market that shall spur confidence and attract the private sector to take up investments without anxiety. A market that shall represent another positive step in the removal of borders among ECOWAS Member States”, he added.