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Power Sector Reform: Senate Holds Public Hearing

  • Decries low capacity utilisation publications cmtes3

The Senate has decried the inability of the Nigerian Power sector to function at optimum capacity. Speaking at the Public hearing on an investigation into the management of funds appropriated for the power sector since 1999 and the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, the chairman of the ad hoc committee on Power, Senator Abubakar Kyari lamented that despite about 8.5 billion dollars (1.14 trillion Naira) worth of investment into the sector since 2005 at various divisions of the power sector, the actual transmission level of power is significantly far less than the installed capacity of the power infrastructure. For instance, while one of the installed capacity of a particular power plant was 4774 Megawatts, the actual transmission of the power plant was just over 900 megawatts.

The Senate also stressed the need for the Ministry of Power to educate and sensitize the general public on

the initial challenges of privatizing any government sector in the hope of reaping boundless benefits in the near future. The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Olusola Adeyeye told the public that just as the aviation and telecommunication sectors of the economy are faring much better after being privatized, the power sector would also fare much better being handled by private companies rather than government agencies, despite the seemingly numerous current challenges associated with the power sector in Nigeria.

Also speaking at the Senate committee hearing, the former Minister of Power, Professor Bartholomew Nnaji urged talented Nigerians, especially those in the Diaspora, that in order for their beloved country to experience its much desired transformation, there will be the need for them to be sacrificial in their approach to personal remunerations and other benefits.

He also acknowledged that any Nigerian seeking to make a difference in the Nigerian Power Sector and other related infrastructural development, should not expect to be paid or rewarded for their services in the same way that they normally would while working outside the country. He further gave an example of the market value of the Aba power station worth 3 billion Naira but had had 120 million dollars invested into it by his own personal company.

Professor Nnaji who served as Minister of Power between 2010 and 2012 also asked the current stake holders in the Power Sector to consolidate on the gains of his administration while in office by enforcing the compulsory use of a metering system as estimated billing of power consumption will surely lead to rancor and argument.

When asked by the Chairman of the Senate Ad hoc committee on Power, Senator Abubakar Kyari, on the way forward for the Nigerian Power Sector, Professor Nnaji explained that it is a case of the need to adhere to discipline and the enforcement of rules and agreements rather than just pumping more money into the sector.

The various stages of power production include power generation, transmission and distribution and he let the Senate know in as much as those rules and agreed contracts should be respected, there is also the need to fund a strong robust transmission network while the distribution companies and government agencies should perform their stipulated roles.

The hearing was further adjourned till tomorrow Thursday November 12th 2015.

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