The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has asked stakeholders in the Power Sector to look forward to the implementation of policies that would improve gas supply and liquidity as well as the completion of several power projects by the Federal Government in 2017.
Fashola, while making his Opening Address as Guest Speaker at the January edition of the Nextier Power Dialogue held at the Thought Pyramid Art Centre, said the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing along with other agencies of the Federal Government, like Ministry of Finance and the World Bank, has put together a policy framework that would help establish stronger and better institutional framework needed to tackle the challenges in the Power Sector.
According to the Minister, such policies would help realise a deepening of metering, sanctions for energy theft and better contract performance from Operators in the Power Sector as well as help achieve the financial strengthening of the Nigerian Bulk Energy Trading PLC (NBET).
Saying he could not discuss the policies yet in details at the event because they were in the process of being presented for consideration and approval by the Federal Executive Council, Fashola, however, assured that when implemented, they would certainly take the nation to more gas and assure payment to gas suppliers and generation companies to enhance smooth operation in the sector adding that they constitute the way forward.
He told his audience, “Clearly these policies constitute the way forward and ensures that everybody in the system gets paid. If we have that, at least, we can be sure that those who are supplying gas will not be shutting down because their creditors are pulling them. Then we go to the other side that are angry to see what we can do because gas problem is exacerbated on both sides”.
Fashola, while explaining the current decreased power supply and outages across the country, blamed the sabotage of gas pipelines by those he described as “some of our angry brothers”, adding that because of the debt owed gas companies by the DisCos, the companies also withheld supply of gas.
On what to expect in the New Year in terms of projects aimed at increasing power supply, Fashola listed the Kudenda Transmission Project in Kaduna, which he said would be completed shortly as well as other power assets in Lagos, Sokoto and many more across the country.
Also, according to the Minister, “There are many power projects that will come on stream this year like the Gurara hydro power that we should begin to benefit from it by the end of this quarter because the power plant has been completed remaining just to transmit to Kudenda in Kaduna. Katsina Wind Mill will also be completed this year; the equipment for the completion have left Europe for Nigeria. Kaduna’s 215MW will also come on stream this year, and few others”.
Expected this year also in the power sector, the Minister said, is better governance and regulation to be seen in stronger institutional frameworks adding that the Nigerian Energy Regulatory Commission (NERC), the regulators in the Sector, was being strengthened in order to do its work better and more efficiently.
The Minister decried the lack of accurate demographic data in the country, which according to him, had both resulted in improper planning and hampered the delivery of electricity in the country over the years adding that it was important to know the accurate population of the country in order to know how much power to provide, and the number of consumers to be supplied electricity.