Stakeholders in the power sector have disagreed with Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on generation of 10,000 megawatts (Mw) of electricity in the next two years.
Fashola had at a forum in Abuja said the country is geared up to improve power supply considerably by generating 10,000Mw of electricity soon. According to him, the country has what it takes to improve generation from the present 3,000 Mw to 10,000 once the Chevron pipeline and other facilities that were destroyed in the Niger Delta region were put in shape.
He also noted that addressing the acute gas shortage, low capacity utilisation of the turbines and the repair of majority of the turbines that are not operating well, will help to achieve the 10,000Mw target.
However, operators in the power sector said generation of 10,000Mw is unattainable as the sector continues to battle problems. The Managing Director, Jehata Nigeria Limited, Mr. Jammel Jammal, in a telephone interview, said the country cannot achieve 10,000 Mw in the next two years due to certain problems.
He said problems in the sector are complex and cannot be addressed soon, advising the government against making a bogus statement about the sector. Jammal, whose organisation owns Abuja Power Station, Abaji, said plans by the plant to generate and add 1,500 Mw to the national grid was frustrated by the government having failed to support the company.
He said many independent power plants would have generated hundreds of megawatts, save for the lack of support from the government. “Abuja Power Station and other companies have complained to Power Minister about the problems that hinder them from generating electricity but to no avail. He is yet to attend to the issue. What can we do? That is why I said that projection of 10,000 Mw remains a mirage,” he said.
According to him, attainment of 10,000 Mw is only attainable when the Federal Government provides a conducive atmosphere for private sector operators to participate in the sector.
Also, the former Executive Director, National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs), Dr Albert Okorogu, said the sector is sick and not ready to improve its operation. He said it is difficult for him to comment on the projection made by the Minister that Nigeria can achieve 10,000 Mw of power soon, in view of the numerous problems facing the industry. He added that the Minister knows the reasons for making a projection on the output of the sector.
Okorogu said: “Only the Minister knows the reason why he made the projection. What I know is that the sector is in a terrible state and that makes it impossible to say whether the government can achieve the projection or not. In reality, the sector is gone despite the fact that the Federal Government has spent a lot of money to revive it.”
Source: The Nation