* Nigeria in process of privatising electricity sector
* Severe power shortages blight Africa's top energy producer
ABUJA Feb 6 Nigerian President Goodluck
Jonathan has appointed a new power minister who will have the
formidable task of bringing in reforms aimed at ending chronic
electricity shortages and catapulting the economy into
Chinedu Osita Nebo, an academic who was vice chancellor of
one of the country's largest universities, will fill the role
which has been vacant since Barth Nnaji resigned last August, a
statement from the presidency said on Wednesday.
Africa's most populous nation, with more than 160 million
people, is the continent's biggest energy producer, but
businesses and individuals who can afford them are forced to
rely on diesel generators for much of the day.
Jonathan hopes the reforms, which include building several
power plants, will not only bolster Africa's second-largest
economy but also win him the hearts of tens of millions of
Nigerians who have never known reliable electricity, sealing his
Ending chronic electricity shortages was an election pledge
he made two years ago. He promised to increase power supply to
20,000 megawatts, from around 4,000 now, by 2015 - when the next
national election is due.
Nigeria, which currently has economic growth of about 6.5
percent, is in the process of selling off state power assets as
17 private companies for about $2.5 billion, but the process is
months behind schedule and has been blighted by political
Former power minister Nnaji resigned after it was found he
had an interest in a company bidding for a power plant.
The presidency statement on Wednesday also announced that
Kabiru Tanimu Turaki would became minister for special duties to
(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by