As Nigeria’s debt profile keeps building, it has been revealed that the country obtained the sum of $961 million or N349.8 billion in the form of loans from the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2018 alone. 

The Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Gur Mohammed, reportedly disclosed this in Abeokuta, at the weekend, maintaining that the funds were raised for power transmission investment. 

The Details: According to the TCN boss, Nigeria obtained the total loan in the region of $1.66 billion loans for the power sector in 2018. While providing the breakdown for the loan, Mohammed said that $461 million of the fund was secured from the World Bank$500 million from Africa Development Bank (AfDB) while $238 million came from Japanese lenders. 

[READ ALSO: Despite growing concern, Nigeria insists N24tn debt is sustainable]

Speaking further, Muhammed maintained that the money had been invested in the establishment of transmission equipment and upgrade of other obsolete power transmission assets. This, he said, had helped to boost the transmission capacity from 5000 megawatts to 8,100 megawatts. 

“As at last audit certified by international consultants in December 2018, we have raised $1.661bn for transmission investment. 

“As you are aware, the transmission was once referred to as the weakest link in the power supply chain. And until we secure this investment, the power supply need of the country and all these efforts cannot achieve their desired goals. We have to recapitalise the Discos and it is something we must do. 

[READ MORE: FG spent highest on commercial loans in servicing external debt in Q1 2019]

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According to the TCN boss, the power distribution companies (Discos) currently suffer from $4.3 billion investment deficit.  

Concerns raised: Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that his administration is bent on driving down the country’s debt profile. Speaking at the opening of a two-day retreat for ministers designate and other top government officials at the presidential villa, Abuja on Monday.  

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President Buhari disclosed:We are all aware of the looming demographic potential of our country. By average estimates, our population is close to 200 million today. By 2050, UN estimates put Nigeria third globally behind only India and China with our projected population at 411 million.  

“This is a frightening prospect but only if we sit idly by and expect handouts from so-called development partners. The solution to our problems lies within us.” 

Upshot: While the President expressed his plans to make the country break free from regular handouts from the international organizations, it remains unknown how he intends to drive this. Recently, the World Bank revealed that the World Bank’s net commitment to Nigeria currently stands at $11 billion.  

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