Construction of Nigeria’s long-awaited $5.8 billion Mambilla hydro-power plant may begin in Gembu this year should the country finalize negotiations with funding partner, Export-Import Bank of China.

An optimistic Power, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, has said “contracts are in place” and the project is “good to go”.

“We hope to break grounds this year if we can conclude the financing” he stated in a Bloomberg report.

Originally envisioned almost 46 years ago, the Mambilla power project was officially awarded in 2012 to China’s Sinohydro Corporation. However, the contract was revoked a year later due to irregularities in financial terms before China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) then clinched the bid in 2017.

Under the new agreement, China’s Export-Import Bank is to provide 85% of funding for the project through a loan facility, while the Nigerian government covers the rest. The hydro power plant will generate 3,050-megawatt power plant, almost half of the country’s entire power generation. The project will involve construction of four dams and 700 kilometers of transmission lines and is expected to be completed by 2022 by CCECC.

Though the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria was ranked as the second worst nation in power supply in 2017 as power dropped to 3,851 megawatts according to Spectator Index. This year, it is looking to increase its power generation from 7,000MW to 8,700MW. The country has been bedeviled by epileptic power supply over the years and it is common sight for households and companies to have two generator sets, run on generators all day and consequently suffer increased cost of production.

Fashola told reporters in August that “the project, when completed, would boost the nation’s economy as it would unleash the potential that had been reported about Mambilla in the fields of agriculture, tourism and energy.”