President Goodluck Jonathan said Saturday that Nigeria has appropriated the sum of $400 million in the 2013 budget for the Calabar-Ajaokota-Kano pipeline in order to commence construction activity that would ensure the speedy completion of the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP).
Jonathan also told a summit of NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) on Implementation Status of the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project under the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) in Addis Ababa that his administration was committed to speedy take off and conclusion of the project.
According to the president, who was represented at the summit by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, the Calabar-Ajaokota-Kano pipeline will be the first direct activity to bring gas through the up-country that will feed into the TSGP project.
“However, I wish to emphasise the role which the private sector could play in this venture. It is in this regard that a bankable framework for the pipeline is being finalized to encourage effective private sector participation” he said, urging private sector businesses from within and outside Africa to show interest in the venture which he described as viable.
On the challenges that necessitated the major reviews on the approaches to the TSGP project, Jonathan said that “Europe, regional gas demand and scenarios for the pipeline development that will guide the next wave of investment in the pipeline.”
“Nigeria has focused attention on addressing these challenges by prioritizing the supply and delivery of gas to Nigerian border stations as a critical enabler that will facilitate the TSGP” he said adding that the outcome of the market review being carried out will determine the next stage of implementation of the regional segment of this project.
The president said that Algerian and Nigerian teams have met to review the market study, terms of reference to reflect the current realities predicated on either or both Europe and regional demand.
Jonathan told the NEPAD Heads of States that Nigeria attaches great premium to the project not only as a means of strengthening cooperation with the African Union but also for the fact that it was conceived bearing in mind Nigeria’s huge resources in oil and gas.
His words: “Nigeria is convinced that the TSGP project is a move in the right direction and a fresh imperative to build more bridges that will cement African cooperation and strengthen inter African trade and subsequently enhance its integration.”