by Oscarline ONWUEMENYI
Perhaps in a bid to avoid the mistakes of the past, the Minister of state for power, Arc. Nuhu Somo Wya has stated that the present administration of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan would not declare an emergency for the power sector, even though it was committed to a complete rehabilitation of the sector.
Wya, who made the disclosure in an interview with correspondents in Abuja after resuming work, noted that the ministry would do more of project monitoring and evaluation, rather that sitting down in meetings.
He further warned that â€œno director will be found sitting in the air-conditioned office. The electricity cannot be generated in the office, it can only be generated from the power plants.â€
According to him, â€œThere is no declaration of state of emergency, but we are working in an emergency manner. We are getting all the stakeholders involved to participate in this committee because power is a chain of many stakeholders, from the fuel to the generation to the transmission, to distribution, involved a lot of people.â€
The minister of state explained that the immediate objective of government â€œis to improve the power supply to the generality of Nigerians, get sufficient gas, reinforce our transmission and distribution networks and ensure that whatever has been put on ground is improved and sustained, to create an enabling environment for the private sector to come in and invest, to make the power sector a very conducive environment for both present and new participants.
â€œWe are going to explore in the medium term other sources of energy. We have many dams that had been constructed by the water resources; they have huge hydro electric potential. We are going to tap into those resources so that we can give Nigerians more electricity delivered to the point of consumption,â€ he added.
He noted that, â€œWe are pleased that the ministry is being supervised directly by the Acting President. The cheering news is that the Acting President has a passion for power. He is much concerned about the development of this nation and without power, we cannot develop.â€
Wya described Jonathan as an ardent supporter of the power sector, adding that he has been leading the sector particularly through the National Independent Power Project.
â€œHe will do everything humanly possible to see that we unravel the mystery surrounding the powers sector. He is an ardent supporter of the sector. He has also been working tirelessly to achieve the mandate of the ministry.
â€œThis is the reaping point for us because we have planted, we have watered and tendered the plant and it is now reaping time. We shall achieve a magnificent improvement in power in the shortest possible time,â€ he added.
The Minister of state stressed that the powers sector needs reform similar to what happened in the telecommunication sector, noting that engineers and technicians in the sector should not be afraid of reform.
He said, â€œEngineers and technical people should not get afraid as all of us will find relevance within whatever comes out from the reform. Please embrace this all important aspect of the power sector transformation. Reform does not mean sacking people, it only changing means of doing things, doing things more efficiently.
â€œThere should be proper accountability and rule of law in whatever we do. We must try to pass the message down to the junior ones particularly the unions to embrace this new lease of life that the acting president is giving to the power sector. We must work with him to move the country move.
He noted that for the ministry to be directly headed by the Acting President was a sure sign that it was no longer business as usual, adding that the aim of government is to achieve significant improvement in power in the shortest possible time.
In that regard, he said, the Acting President has constituted a committee chaired by himself with the Minister of State as vice chairman.
Way further disclosed, â€œThe plans I saw yesterday that been prepared by the committee are almost the same with the plans that we had put up here. The beauty of it is that we have engaged other stakeholders in making that committee a one stop centre that will deliver power to Nigerians without any hitch.
He added that the committee includes the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will help the ministry unravel issues of letters of credit, as well as securitisation and other issues that militate against the clearing of good from the ports.
â€œIt also includes the Minister of Finance who is leading the financial sector of the economy and he will fast track whatever we need in terms of budgetary needs. When we have any budgetary challenge, the ministry of finance can address it comprehensively and timely.â€