By Our Reporter
The House of Representatives Committee on Power, on Tuesday gave the Ministry of power a deadline of Friday to take concrete actions aimed at solving the current nationwide blackout.
Speaking at a meeting with the ministry at the National Assembly in Abuja, the lawmakers, led by the committee chairman, Rep. Magaji Aliyu described the actions of the ministry toward the power issue as lackadaisical and fire brigade attitude, adding that the ministry was always postulating theories that do not translate into power supply to Nigerians rather than finding immediate solution.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Nebolisa Anoka who represented the Minister, Abubakar Aliyu, haven made his presentation on the issue to the committee, the Commmitte chairman stated that there was nothing in the presentation to show that the Ministry was solving the problems.
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Anoka had enumerated in chronological order the challenges facing the sector, ranging from low gas supply, low hydro levels, high cost of gas, as well as disequilibrium between power generation, transmission and distribution which led to the collapse of the national grid — and what the Ministry has doing to salvage the situation.
He explained that in response to the serious challenges facing power generation, the Ministry of Power recently hosted an emergency meeting with key stakeholders in the gas-to-power value chain, during which far reaching resolutions were arrived at on key measures needed to ameliorate the situation.
According to him, the challenges “are not entirely predictable, but actions are being taken by the Federal Ministry of Power and other partner government MDAs to alleviate the challenges to the supply of electricity sustainability”.
He pointed out the issue of the right of way as stalling key transmission projects, assuring that the ministry will increase sources of supply through renewables, with a target of 30 percent generation through renewables by 2030.
Reacting to the presentation, Hon. Magaji said: “There is nothing to show in this presentation that you are trying to resolve the problems. It is a mere speech and thesis and my heart bleeds for this country.”
Da’u who earlier explained that the special interactive session was necessitated by the fact that Nigerians were facing the worst energy crisis in recent times, added that “the situation has affected businesses, both small and large, which is attracting huge public outcry”, he said, adding that Nigerians need urgent solution to the problem.
“There is nothing on ground to show that there will be light or generation of up to 5000 megawatts, but we keep hearing about 30,000 megawatts of installed capacity across the power stations,” he said.
One after another, lawmakers who spoke lamented the unending projections by the Ministry that have never come to fruition. They accused the Ministry and managers of the power sector of deliberate conspiracy and sabotage to discredit the current administration.
The committee chairman in reaction to his colleagues called for the return of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), under the supervision of the Power Ministry, saying that there is not much both the Ministry and the Committee can do if the Agency remains elsewhere.
Recall that power play between the former Minister for Power and the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari resulted in the removal of NBET from the Power Ministry to Finance Ministry.
This the committee chairman said was part of the sectoral problems affecting the country in terms of power, as the agency which is tasked with the responsibility of evacuating unused electricity and bridging the gap debit gap between Gencos and Discos is not properly supervised.
Hon. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina), had noted that the concern raised by Gencos as the major reason for the blackout, was the N1.4 trillion debt NBET is owing them as cost of generated but unused electricity.
He also noted three major concerns ranging from the quantity, quality and cost of gas delivered to them for their operations.
The committee finally directed the Permanent Secretary to go back, and return on Friday with more practical evidences of intended interventions, insisting that it was “more concerned with why we are where we are”.
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