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Nigeria Appoints Manitoba as Network Operator for Utility

Nigeria’s National Council on Privatization approved Manitoba Hydro Electric Board of Canada as the network operator for the state-owned power utility, Transmission Co. of Nigeria, the presidency said.

Manitoba Hydro and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. on Feb. 29 submitted bids for the power utility. After bids were evaluated on March 9, “only Manitoba Hydro International was able to meet the benchmark which led to it being appointed as the management contractor for Transmission Company of Nigeria,” the Abuja-based presidency said in an e-mailed statement today.

Manitoba Hydro will be invited for “opening of their financial proposal and the commencement of contract negotiations as the management contractor,” it said.

Nigeria plans to divest majority holdings in state power utilities as it seeks investment to curb daily blackouts. Manitoba Hydro and Power Grid are two of three companies that were shortlisted to manage the network in 2007. The government later suspended the sale before inviting the companies to re-submit bids in 2010.

Blackouts are a daily occurrence in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people, where demand for electricity exceeds current supply, according to the Power Ministry.

Africa’s top oil producer plans to sell majority holdings in state power utilities as it seeks investment to reduce blackouts. The program includes six state-owned electricity producers and 11 heating utilities to be sold this year. Nigeria will announce the winning bidders for 17 state-owned power companies in October, the West African nation’s privatization agency said on Feb. 20.

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