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Niger Criticizes Russian Company Over Delays on Hydropower Dam

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March 2 (Bloomberg) -- Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou criticized Russia’s Zarubezhvodstroy OJSC for delaying construction of a hydropower dam in the West African country. The company said the project is on schedule.

Zarubezhvodstroy, based in Moscow, won an 84.7 billion-CFA-franc ($170 million) contract last year to build the Kandadji Dam on the Niger River, Issoufou said on Niamey-based Tele Sahel, the state-owned broadcaster, today. While work on the dam began in May, the project has been delayed by as long as four months, he said.

“This delay is intolerable,” Issoufou said. “That’s why I give a warning to the Russian company in charge of performing the work. I wish that by the end of September 2015, the construction of the dam be completed.”

Kandadji Dam, Niger’s first hydropower facility, will generate 130 megawatts once completed, according to Zarubezhvodstroy’s website. Niger received a $257 million loan in July from an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries fund and the country’s partners to help finance construction of the dam.

“There is no delay,” Evgeny Goudzentchuk, chief executive officer and the main shareholder of Zarubezhvodstroy, said by phone from Moscow. “In fact, we started closing the Niger River for dam construction one month ahead of schedule.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Djibril Saidou in Niamey via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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