Nigeria has expressed commitment to its three phase roadmap designed to achieve incremental, stable and uninterrupted electricity supply.
The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, assured Nigerians that the roadmap embarked upon by the present administration was on course. He said that the government was committed to the implementation of time lines and targets set in the document.
Fashola expressed the commitment when he received the House of Representative Committee on Power led by its Chairman, Hon. Daniel Asuquo, who was on oversight visit to the ministry in Abuja. He said the ministry has recognised the need to look into the expansion of transmission lines across the country and to complete some on-going generation projects. This is to energize and stabilize the grid, thereby increasing power supply. He said Government was equally worried about lack of maintenance culture, which led to non – optimal performance from these plants.
The position is relevant to the state of affairs in the three key nation’s hydro plants of Jebba, Kainji and Shiroro. Through assistance from donor agencies and multilateral organizations like the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA), rehabilitation works had led to the recovery of substantial Megawatts of electricity on the grid.
The Government is conscious of the importance of transmission in the electricity value – chain, unfortunately, it inherited a weak line. Government, he said, was poised on strengthening the wheeling capacity, so as to ensure that more power was transported.
In order to achieve the desired results in the sector, he said, some critical transmission projects were being implemented in Gusau, Kaduna, Enugu, Katsina and Alaoji. “With the realization of these critical projects, stability of the network would be guaranteed hence we would be able to sustain un- interrupted power supply.’’
He noted that there had been a number of lingering legal disputes that had been resolved mostly out of court. One of such, he said, was the disagreement between Enugu Electricity Distribution Company and Geometric Electric Company over Ariaria area of Abia state. With the resolution of the crisis, it was expected that soon, additional 200MW of power would be made available to the national grid.
“Also, it is to the credit of this administration that all disputes that have stalled the realization of the Mambilla Hydro project for over three decade have been resolved. Soon work will commence on the 3,050 Megawatt (MW) project.’’
Reacting to the call for the reversal of the privatization of power assets, the Minister said that it will be impossible to reverse the sale as the exercise is just three years old, and needs time to mature.
On the other challenges facing the exercise like the payment of the remaining former PHCN staff, the minister assured the Legislators that government would verify and pay all outstanding staff.
He also promised that government will assist Distribution Companies to recover their debts arising from unpaid bills from all customers including government agencies.
He told the House Committee members that his job schedule does not include fixing of tariff and dismissed insinuation that he was in support of the increase.
Earlier, Asuquo stated that the legislative arm of government was desirous of partnering with the ministry to achieve success.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria