By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
THE Minister of Power, Dr. Lanre Babalola, has stressed that unless the country finds effective project management solutions to the dilapidating power infrastructure, pumping in more money would not solve the nationâ€™s current power challenges.
Babalola, who was speaking on Wednesday at the National Project Management Conference, in Abuja , said governmentâ€™s emphasis on maintenance and due process underscores the importance of project management and its identification by the present regime as key to the effective delivery of the power project.
He said, â€œFor the power sector to experience deep and lasting solution to its challenges, the execution of all power projects should be implemented by following the project management methodology.
â€œIt is a known fact that in developed societies, every project being executed by the government is handled by project professionals with unlimited experience in that field, who ensure that every phase of the project is in accordance with the principles of project management.
He said due process must be strictly adhered to in federal government reforms and execution, power sector delivery and infrastructure development, in order to get the desired results within the specified time_frame and budget.
He said, â€œTherefore, using project management as a tool to manage the power projects in Nigeria will ensure that proper analysis is done before contracts are awarded through project execution and finally the sign off of project deliverables.
The minister pointed out that as a nation, facts and figures available show enormous potential for greatness and economic prosperity, adding that with an abundance of natural and human resources, the absence of infrastructure has prevented the success we corporately desire.
â€œOne of such key infrastructure is stable power supply. The present administration, in a bid to fill this void, instituted the 7_point agenda to address the ailing power industry and other areas of Nigeria â€™s fledgling economy,â€ he said.
He added that lack of adequate power supply to the nation has been a predominant problem as different administrations strived to tackle the setback in Nigeria . In spite of billions of naira pumped into the sector, there is still inadequate power supply in the homes of millions of the teeming populace.
According to him, â€œA critical look into the situation will reveal a dearth of proper project management skills. At this juncture, it is pertinent to take a closer look at project management and how it applies to effective delivery of power projects.
â€œIn simple terms, project management is the application of a set of principles, practices, tools and techniques to achieve project objectives. The objective of each individual project is distinct under project management practices. Hence, under power project delivery, the objective will be to generate enough power for the Nigerian citizenry and industry.
He said considering that the power delivery usually includes constraints and risks, it was appropriate to use the established principles of project management to address this sector.
He said a detailed comprehensive requirement analysis is a crucial part of delivering a successful project within the power sector. â€œThis is crucial because inaccurate, incorrect, or excessive definition of the power sector requirements will result in schedule delays, wasted resources or overall dissatisfaction.
â€œThe power consumption need in Nigeria , has to be thoroughly forecasted bearing in mind the varying consumption rate in different parts of the country. The analysis must consider the views and needs of all stakeholders in the power sector.â€
In order for the nation to succeed, Babalola said, it needs to segment the national population and understand the consumption pattern. This consumer consumption pattern will serve as the power solution template that can be the genuine basis of economic development.
â€œWe need to identify what we have in terms of natural resources and match that to what we need in order to generate the requisite power to fast track our national economic recovery,â€ he added.
According to him, project management methodology provides a good and effective framework wherein the requirements of all stakeholders can be captured and all their project needs met.
He said, â€œThis will also ensure measurable project success in terms of stakeholder satisfaction. Furthermore, this is the foundation which effective management of power projects can be based upon especially to avoid scope creep.â€
The minister said that apart from the defined project management stages which includes initiation, planning, implementation, control and closure, the importance of a proper risk management system can never be over_emphasized, a thorough risk management assessment needs to be carried out to determine the potential risk that is involved n any power project.
â€œThis can only be taken care of with the use of proper project management metholodogy.For the project to be truly successful, all potential risks need to be identified. We need to take a look at all our implementation options, and ask ourselves what we can possibly go wrong. It is only after identifying the potential risks that a proper qualitative and quantitative analysis can be conducted.
â€œWe can decide to avoid the risk, transfer it, or choose to mitigate it. In order for any power project to succeed, the risks need to be managed appropriately and adequately. In effective risk management has the potency to derail and destroy our power initiatives,â€ he added.