The government of the United Kingdom has offered a £10million ($13.6 million) support to Nigeria to boost her capacity to promote climate change and renewable energy aspirations.
Britain’s Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, who disclosed this during her visit to Nigeria said the financing is ro be invested alongside the Nigerian credit guarantee firm InfraCredit to mobilise domestic pension and insurance investments and reduce risk for projects targeting off-grid and low-carbon ventures.
“This transaction brings together UK government support with the institutional capital essential to grow the sector at scale,” Ford said in a statement on Monday by the UK Embassy in Nigeria.
The statement said the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), which is the co-investor in InfraCredit, would deliver between 250 and 500 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in Nigeria.
With a population of over 200 million people, Nigeria’s power generation capacity has been abysmal, with barely 5,000 MW available for consumers from over 13,000MW generated by the electricity generation companies operating in the country, due to inadequate transmission and distribution infrastructure, gas supply challenges and water shortages.
With demand far outstripping supply, the bulk of the Nigerian electricity consumers either go without electricity, or resort to private generators to satisfy their needs.
Nigeria has more than N12 trillion of institutional financing held in pensions, insurance and wealth funds, mostly invested in government securities or sometimes in Nigerian shares in the capital market.
Of this amount, only 0.5 percent of pension assets are deployed in investment funds (less than a 4 percent) limit, to develop critical infrastructure in the country.
With the currenct global quest for transition to clean energy, Ford said the British financing would expand opportunities for the private sector in Nigeria to provide affordable long-term financing from local investors to off-grid and low-carbon projects.
The British High Commission said Britain has provided more than £80 million for renewable energy projects in Nigeria, including grants and lending.
During the visit, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian government as part of a joint commitment to continue the fight against corruption.
The agreement would enable compensation of about £210,610 to be paid to Nigeria following a successful investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office relating to the use of corrupt agents in the oil and gas sector.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, sets out the terms and understanding between the UK government and Nigeria on how to make the compensation payment.
During the signing of the MoU Minister Ford said: “The Security and Defence Dialogue held in February 2022 between our two countries reaffirmed both the UK and Nigeria’s commitment to work together to tackle illicit financial flows, bribery and corruption.
“The UK has a zero tolerance policy to corruption and we hope that today’s signing sends a clear statement about our commitment to this.
“In a global economy where international trade is vital it is more important than ever that companies operate with integrity and transparency.
“Illicit financial flows, bribery and corruption stifle economic growth, trade, stable governance and the security of both our countries,” she said.
The compensation payment from the UK to Nigeria was secured after a four-year corruption investigation led by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the UK.
The money was obtained through a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), which is when a prosecutor agrees to defer prosecution in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfil certain requirements such as a accepting criminal liability for offences and paying the appropriate compensation.
In this case, the DPA was agreed with Amec Foster Wheeler (AFWEL), relating to the use of corrupt agents in the oil and gas sector.
This compensation payment from the UK to Nigeria demonstrates that when such acts of crime are identified, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will investigate these companies and where evidence is found will ensure that they face appropriate sanctions.
In March last year, the UK government returned £4.2 million to Nigeria from funds recovered from associates of the former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.
On this occasion, the UK government said it would transfer the compensation amount in the sum of £210,610 (118.4 million Naira) within 28 days from the date of signing the MOU.
However, in both instances, the MoU’s confirmed that the Nigerian government pledged to use the returned funds for projects that would benefit and improve the country.
The UK government said it would remain committed to returning all illegal assets, no matter the amount, as per the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Lisa Osofsky, said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to companies who think they can bribe their way to financial success. Bribery and corruption not only stifle real economic growth and free trade, they also damage democracy and therefore risk the security of all our countries.
“I am of course delighted that the tenacity of my SFO colleagues has resulted in the people of Nigeria being compensated in a way that will truly benefit them.”