The Ministry of Power and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Wednesday disagreed on the proposed bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Authority (NEMSA).
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Power, Mr. Godknows Igali and chairman of NERC, Sam Amadi made their positions known at a public hearing organized on the proposed bill by the House Committee on Power.
In his presentation, Amadi accused the Federal Ministry of Power and other stakeholders of propagating personal interests and urged the House to discard the bill as it would whittle-down the statutory powers of the Commission.
He alleged that the Ministry had since 2009 made frantic efforts to frustrate the Commission and argued that the proposed “bill does not serve any useful purpose but would deter the achievements recorded so far in the power sector.
Amadi maintained that the conversion of the Company to a statutory regulatory agency will “impose cost on investors” and generate untoward conflicts with NERC, which performs similar functions.
But the Permanent Secretary expressed disappointment with the NERC chairman’s utterances and diatribe against him and the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo.
Igali said he was livid over the accusations since according to him their exposure and long years of experience, a public servant should not be accusing them of undermining their functions and pursuing personal ambition.
Earlier, Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Senator Phillip Aduda, chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other operators spoke in favour of the bill.
Tambuwal who lauded the protectiveness of the Ikhariale-committee in convening stakeholders’ meeting on the proposed bill, bemoaned the poor service delivery in the power sector.
Speaking on the intent of the bill, chairman House Committee on power, Hon. Patrick Ikhariale, noted that the proposed bill will ensure safe, reliable and uninterrupted power supply to the citizenry as well as guarantee safety of lives and properties in homes, offices, work places, industries, among others.
He noted that the agency when functional will address the non-committal attitude of the utility operators as well as address various challenges hampering power generation and distribution despite the unbundling of the PHCN.
According to him, some of the hazards and risks prominent in the power networks include: electrical accidents (electric shock and associated loss of lives and properties); electrocutions (outright death of persons); fire outbreaks and associated loss of property and continuous loss of scarce resources in the replacement of faulty and bad equipment/materials that occur frequently in our power systems and networks.
Ongoing efforts to ensure effective and quality service delivery in the power sector gained a boost as stakeholders expressed support for the establishment of Nigerian Electricity Management Services Authority (NEMSA).
The functions of the Authority, as proposed in the NEMSA bill, include enforcement of technical standards, inspection, testing and certification of electrical equipment/materials, power systems, networks, safety regulation and adherence to best practices.
On his part, Senator Aduda expressed support for the passage of the NEMSA bill, noted that the agency will help to ensure delivery of reliable electricity to Nigerians.