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Nigeria signs $23-million electricity deal with Canadian firm

A scramble of power cables in Oshodi district of Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, on April 16, 2003. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, but electricity blackouts occur daily. President Goodluck Jonathan has laid out plans to privatize electricity production and distribution in the nation of some 160-million people.

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Nigeria on Monday signed a $23-million deal with a Canadian firm aimed at overhauling power transmission in Africa's most populous nation, part of plans to improve its woeful electricity network.

Manitoba Hydro International signed the management accord that will see it reorganize the Transmission Company of Nigeria, with the aim of eventually privatizing part of it, the firm said.

"MHI expects to turn TCN into a technically and financially efficient, stable, and sustainable company, a company that will be market-driven and capable of utilizing its maximum generation capacity and then distributing the energy throughout Nigeria 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," the company said.

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The head of Nigeria's Bureau of Public Enterprises, Bolanle Onagoruwa, told reporters the contract was worth $23-million.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, but electricity blackouts occur daily.

President Goodluck Jonathan has laid out plans to privatize electricity production and distribution in the nation of some 160-million people. The country's electricity grid would remain state-owned, but privately managed.

Electricity workers fearing layoffs have protested, including in recent days, over the planned overhaul.

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