The Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Benjamin Dikki, said on Thursday that scarcity of gas supply was impeding the government’s transformation in the power sector.
Dikki told newsmen in Lagos that Nigerians should desist from throwing blame on both the generation and distribution companies on the delay in getting the desired results in the sector.
NAN reports that the power sector was handed over to private investors on 1 November 2013 with the aim of improving electricity supply to boost socio-economic development.
“The major problem we have for power supply now is not the private sector investors who have taken over the distribution and generation companies.
“The major headache we have is that of the supply of gas – the gas to fire our plants. So the issue is not for the people to get angry with the distribution companies who don’t have the power.
“They are just trying to manage what the system generates, what is allocated to them, and make sure they rationalise so that every part of the distribution companies has some measure of light.
“So, I want people to understand that DISCOs (Distribution Companies) are not to blame, it is the power they receive that they distribute and the GENCOs (Generation Companies) also are constrained by lack of gas supply.
“Some of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) plants that their constructions have been completed cannot be fired because there is no gas supply; that is the major challenge.
“If today we have sufficient gas to fire 6,000 megawatts Nigerians will see the fundamental difference between when these companies were not privatised and now.”
According to him, vandals that blew up gas pipelines that supply gas to power generation stations have affected the infrastructure which the government was trying to fix.
“If you recall sometime back, some vandals went and blew some holes into the gas pipelines supplying gas for power generation and for other uses.
“It took NNPC a couple of months and millions of dollars to fix those holes and to restore the supply of gas. I understand they (NNPC) are also almost finalising on that.
“The basic problem has been the lack of investment in gas infrastructure in the past. Now, we have to take the fire fighting approach to it, and Mr President has directed that $300m (N46.5billion) from the Europe bond should be channeled to the development of gas infrastructure.
“And there are other initiatives that are being taken by NNPC, the Ministry of Petroleum, under the directive of Mr President to ensure that this gas supply is bridged in the interim for long time measures to be taken that will ensure sustainable gas supply.”
Dikki urged Nigerians and labour unions to be patient as the government’s efforts would soon yield desired results in the power sector.
He said that the distribution companies had make lots of investment to improve infrastructure such that only Eko DISCOs produced $145m (N22.475 billion) to change transformers, cables and improve network.