Nigeria and China have signed an agreement worth $1.293billion (N 206.686 billion) on a major Hydroelectric Power Project.
Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said, on Saturday at the signing ceremony, that the project, located in Zungeru, Niger State, is expected to generate 700,000 kilowatts or 700 megawatts of power.
She added that the contract awarded to two Chinese electric power firms, China National Electrical Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) and Sinohydro Consortium, was given a loan facility by the EximBank of China, with preferential conditions.
“The project will create thousands of jobs during the construction phase both directly and indirectly. A lot of Nigerian technicians, engineers and artisans and others will be employed during the construction phase,” added Okonjo-Iweala.
She said the contractors are expected to finish work in 2018.
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Deng Boqing, who signed the agreement on behalf of China’s government, said the Hydroelectric Power Project was significant to the Nigerian people, because it would contribute greatly to economic growth, meeting growing power demand as the West African nation ushers in a new period of industrialisation and urbanisation.
“China and Nigeria share the same dream, that is to bring prosperity and stability to the people, and these visions have been fully communicated by the leaders of our two countries when President Goodluck Jonathan visited China in July 2013.
“The construction of Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Station is one of the many consensuses reached by the presidents of our two countries. Today, the signing ceremony is the fruit of that state visit and we believe more concrete steps will be taken to further boost our already flourishing cooperation and enrich our strategic partnership,” Deng said.
“The contractors of this project, Sinohydro Corporation and China National Electrical Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) both reputed for professional experience and cutting-edge expertise, are top-ranking companies in the field of engineering and construction. I have great expectations for the two companies. It is their responsibility to ensure that all works are done with good quality as well as in a timely manner,” the ambassador said.
Eximbank will bear 75 percent of the cost of the project while a counterpart funding balance of 309 million dollars has been made available by Nigeria.