FILE PHOTO: Logo of German industrial group Siemens is seen in Zurich
INTERNATIONAL – Nigeria signed on Monday an electricity road map agreement with Germany-based Siemens to improve the West African country's power grid capacity. 

A statement from the State House said Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday presided over the signing of implementation agreement for the Nigeria Electrification Roadmap (NER), a partnership between governments of Nigeria and Germany and Siemens AG, to upgrade Nigeria's power transmission and distribution infrastructure. 

Through the agreement, Siemens is expected to help Nigeria achieve 11,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by 2023, in two phases. 

 "My challenge to Siemens...is to work hard to achieve 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by 2021 and 11,000 megawatts by 2023 in phases 1 and 2 respectively," Buhari said after the signing in Abuja. 

He said his meeting with the visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Nigeria in August 2018 fixed the power sector as a key priority for cooperation. 

"It was during that event that Mr Joe Kaeser, chief of Siemens AG, committed to working with Nigeria to develop a feasible roadmap to modernize our electricity grid with support from the German Government," Buhari said. 

According to the president, while Nigeria is blessed to have significant natural gas, hydro and solar resources for power generation, the country is still on the journey to achieving reliable, affordable and quality electricity supply necessary for economic growth, industrialization and poverty alleviation. 

He said there is an imbalance between the amount of power generated and the amount available for consumers. "Despite over 13,000 megawatts of power generation capacity, only an average of 4,000 megawatts reliably reaches consumers," he said. 

He continued that after these transmission and distribution system bottlenecks have been fixed, Nigeria will seek in the third and final phase to drive generation capacity and overall grid capacity to 25,000 megawatts. 

Buhari said the government is committed to the development of Mambilla Hydroelectric and the various solar projects under development across the country, as well as the long-term power generation capacity in the country to ensure adequate energy mix. 

Joe Kaeser, the chief executive officer of Siemens, told media in Abuja after signing of the agreement that it is "a milestone in the relationship between Nigeria and Germany". "

The journey to this landmark started in August 2018 when the German Chancellor and the Nigerian president met to talk about the opportunities on how to strengthen our populations." He said the energy issue was put on the top of agenda of what the two leaders discussed. 

XINHUA