—Government is poise to tackling energy accessibility
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has said that the sector which is still in transition, has good opportunities for sound business judgement at various segments in electricity value chain, adding that the present administration is also determined to tackle local content initiative being canvassed for by Nigerians as it has began to work with Distribution Companies (DISCOs) on a number of programmes and strategies in the actualization of the dream.
Speaking in Abuja at a public lecture under the auspices of the Kukah Centre’s ‘’fixing Nigeria initiative’’, Fashola said that through planned efforts , his team is poise to tackle Electricity supply challenge through its 3- phased approach, as contained in his Road-Map. Namely achieving incremental power which the option of deployment of robust Rural Electrification plan has been incorporated.
Others are the pursuance of other energy sources to reduce over-dependence on gas and the prompt completion of all on-going projects under the National Integrated power (NIPP).
The second phase of his initiative is steady power; this is an aggressive strategy to increase the nation’s abysmally low per capital consumption ratio, which is the average consumption of energy available per person.
Then, the third phase will lead to uninterrupted power, in which the government is working out a number of incentives with various energy investors and power providers to build plants that would provide power quickly.
Fashola spoke on the plan to meet President Muhammadu Buhari’s target of being able to produce 7,000MW by 2017 and 10,000MW by 2018, else he risk being sanctioned on his job.
However, he was quick to add that the target seems tough but will be achieved with quick win initiative in the entire electricity value-chain, just as he observed that his concern is not about the quantum of electricity that can be generated but how many Nigerians have access to electricity as there is positive correlation between access to steady power per person and energy consumption per capital Income Index in the determination of electricity to individual household, poverty alleviation and wealth of nations. There is also the issue of cost and the persistent vandalism of pipelines in the Niger-Delta region.
On Gas to Power, Fashola said that there are plans to increase gas storage in both the east and the west flanks of the pipeline system and elimination of vandalism, while agreeing with people to the ‘’right to ventilate their anger, he insisted that by so doing they are not to destroy power infrastructure as collectively we all must know that. He stressed that while doing that, they should know that our economic well-being is tied to the Pipelines.
On the call for review of procurement law as the present form will hinder progress on building power plants, the minister said from experience at the centre there is need to review our procurement law for greater efficiency, loss of money and inadequate budgetary provisions are presently the bane of most projects and also we engage in many projects at the same time, resulting in unacceptable large number of abandoned projects nation-wide.
Speaking at the event the initiator of the platform, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev., Father Hassan Kukah said that he conceived the project as a modest contribution to redressing the challenge of absence of citizen’s engagement in the nation’s political landscape, which the centre believes would have dramatic impact in participatory buy-in, and important ingredient of public policy success in Nigeria.