By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
With less than two weeks to the December 2009 deadline giving by the Federal Government to achieve 6,000 megawatts of electricity promised Nigerians, the government has disclosed that it would not be able to achieve the feat, citing gas problem as one of the militating factors.
The Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Tanumo Yakubu, stated this at the opening of the 15th Nigerian Economic Summit which began in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, the Federal Government at present had achieved 5,200 megawatts, adding that in the next two weeks, the government would realize additional 100 megawatts of electricity, leading to a deficit of 700 megawatts
Yakubu, who stunned the audience with the news disclosed that there were two issues to the attainment of the 6,000 megawatts target, including the inability of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria,PHCN, to do a turn- around maintenance on some of the power plants.
But, most of the blame, he averred, would have to be put on the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, which had affected the supply of gas to power plants across the country.
â€œFor most part of the year, the militancy problem in the Niger Delta had truncated the supply of gas which invariably affected the ability to power the engines,â€ he stated.
Speaking on the development, the Minister of the National Planning, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman disclosed that for achieving 5,200 megawatts of electricity, the government had scored about 86.4 per cent out of a possible 100%.
â€œIn any examination, if you score above 50 per cent it means you have tried, for government to have scored above 80 per cent it means we have tried,â€ Usman noted.
Dr. Usman attributed the failure of the government to achieve the target to the lack of maintenance culture in Nigeria and the rising population of the country.
As a matter of fact, he said the country should not focus on power generation alone but should also be concerned with distribution and transmission.
VP charges politicians on mandate delivery
Meanwhile, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan has charged politicians to focus on completing their current mandates in flying colours rather than dissipate energy on forthcoming elections.
He said too many times politicians in the country spent so much energy and state resources â€œtrying to crush perceived political enemiesâ€ rather than concentrate on delivering on their mandates.
The Vice President was reacting to a question by Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State who had sought to know whether as an elected politician, the Vice-President was also scheming for re-election.
He counselled elected politicians to concentrate on good performance stressing that, elections themselves remain a walk over for elected politicians that deliver to the electorates.
He said, â€œwhenever you perform creditably it becomes difficult for your opponents to stop your re-election. Some of us holding political offices instead of concentrating on good governance, we will rather engage in an attempt to crush the opponents and all this is driven by the fear of electionâ€.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has announced that it requires an annual GDP growth rate of 13 per cent translating to a total investment of about $100 billion in infrastructure development to achieve the vision 20:20-20 targets.
Vice-President Jonathan, who stated this in his opening remarks at the NESG listed the critical areas to include:Â Power which requires about $18 to 20 billion, rail track to gulp $15 to 17 billion; road $14 billion and oil and gas $50 billion.
The Vice President was joined at the Presidential Dialogue moderated live by aÂ broadcast journalist fromÂ CBNC, a South African Television channel, by theÂ Minister of National Planning Commission, Dr. Shamusdeen Usman, World Bank Managing Director, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala and President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, Mr. Gbenga Adefeye.