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House Of Reps To Probe National Grid Firm Over $2bn Of Foreign Loans | The Precision

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Nigeria’s house of representatives will
investigate $2 billion of foreign loans which the state-owned national
electricity grid operator may have raised without official approval,
lawmakers said on Wednesday. 

The investigation
could be a blow to efforts to improve Nigeria’s creaking power
infrastructure, which is often blamed for hobbling growth in Africa’s
largest economy. 
Nigeria privatised most of its
power sector in 2013 but retained control of the dilapidated monopoly
grid operator, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). 
Simon
Arabo, a member of the House of Representatives, said in a motion that
the TCN had borrowed $1.5 billion from the World Bank and other
international lenders without securing the approval of both houses of
parliament as required. 
He described the grid operator’s contract processes as opaque and said they may violate procurement laws. 
Arabo
did not name the other lenders but said TCN is currently negotiating
another loan of $500 million with the Islamic Development Bank. 
Lawmakers
agreed to investigate the activities of the TCN over the past 10 years
in respect of foreign loans and contract awards and to report their
findings within eight weeks. 
A TCN spokesman did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment. 
The World Bank did not immediately respond to requests for comment by phone call and email. 
Reuters
was unable to reach the Islamic Development Bank for comment outside of
normal business hours by a telephone number and email address listed on
its website. 
The ailing power infrastructure
means blackouts are common across Africa’s most populous country,
forcing many businesses and households to run costly fuel generators. If
the country’s power plants were to operate at full tilt, the fragile
transmission network would not be able to handle the load. 
President
Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to increase power capacity exponentially
during his four-year term and to meet the demands of Nigeria’s more than
180 million people entirely within a decade. 
Reuters

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