VENTURES AFRICA - US-based energy firm, General Electric has partnered with Stanbic IBTC Bank to invest $350 million in Nigeria’s ailing power sector, with a focus on financing small-scale projects with generation capacity ranging from 1 to 20 megawatts. “They are making available the sum of $350 million for the generation of mini-power projects because that is going to be quicker to do and will help the economic activities in the country,” explained Olusegun Aganga , Nigeria’s Trade and Investment Minister. GE, which had signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 to invest $1 billion in Nigeria’s power sector, also plans to bring 10 of its suppliers to help local companies develop power capacity and facilitate technology transfer. “The whole idea is for them to become part of their supply chain in (the) assemblage of turbines,” Aganga added. Last week, GE also signed a similar agreement with the power subsidiary of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc ( Transcorp ), Transcorp Ughelli Power Limited (TUPL), to increase the capacity of TUPL's Ughelli power plant by 1000MW over the next 3 to 5 years. The Ughelli power plant is Nigeria's largest gas-fired electricity generation asset which was purchased by Transcorp in partnership with Heirs holdings during the 2013 power privatization programme. Investments in the Nigerian power sector has become crucial as most businesses frequently grapple with energy challenges such as incessant blackouts and power epilepsy in what is considered Africa’s second largest economy.
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