Nigeria extends deadline for power plant bidders

Nigeria has extended by two weeks a deadline for companies to express interest in electricity distribution firms and power stations to be sold as part of a multi-billion dollar privatization programme.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said it had moved Friday's deadline to March 4 on the request of potential investors. Nigeria has held roadshows around the world to promote its privatization plans in recent weeks.
"Following representations by prospective investors, the federal government has approved extension of the deadline," the BPE said in a statement.
Africa's most populous nation, plagued by blackouts, aims to sell off power generation and distribution. The government will continue to own the national grid, but will privatize its management.
The March deadline is for expressions of interest in 11 distribution companies, two thermal generating firms and two hydro-power stations.

President Goodluck Jonathan unveiled the privatization plans last August. Nigeria estimates it will need $10bn a year of investment over the next decade to meet its energy needs.

Blackouts are a major brake on growth in sub-Saharan Africa's second-biggest economy, and Jonathan has made ending them a cornerstone of his campaign for April elections.

Potential investors have praised the blueprint but have said regulation and implementation will be key. Some investors have said they are reluctant to commit funds until the political uncertainty created by the upcoming elections has cleared.

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