According to a statement issued on Tuesday by Olivier Delefosse, the Country Director of the French Development Agency, the Federal Government of Nigeria and France have signed a N14 billion loan agreement for capacity-building and upgrade of power training facilities in Nigeria.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed during the recent visit of President François Hollande of the France to Abuja to attend the Second Regional Summit between Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Ministry of Finance in the presence of Hollande and President Muhammadu Buhari.
The statement says: “A 46.2 million U.S. dollars (about N13bn) subsidised loan granted by AFD to the Government of Nigeria, to enhance vocational training in the power sector, was signed.
“A 100 million U.S. dollars (about N248bn) subsidised line of credit granted by AFD to Zenith Bank, dedicated to the financing of investments of electricity distribution companies (DisCos), was signed.”
Furthermore, a 350,000 euro (about 120 million naira) Grant Agreement was signed between AFD, Schneider Electric Nigeria and National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN).
The agreement is aimed at implementing a Technical Partnership between Schneider Electric Nigeria and NAPTIN, for the development of a flexible and affordable training programme for freelance electricians.
According to Delefosse, the major aim of the agreement is to improve the quality and safety standards for domestic installations in Nigeria and promote structured entrepreneurship in the power sector.
The benefits of such a development in the power sector of the country cannot be disputed; nevertheless, its outcome is still left to be seen in the frequency of power supply and maintenance.