BY UDEME CLEMENT
Imamuddeen Talba, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), speaks on the measures put in place by the Federal Government to solve power crisis in the country.
When you took over NERC, what were the structures you met on ground?
When I took over at the commission, there were certain structures on ground. The former management had already issued licences to Independent Power Project (IPP) stakeholders, it established a technical crew for operations in the industry while other regulatory frameworks were also established to ensure rapid development in the sector.
The sector has suffered over the years. What is your commission doing to improve electricity generation capacity to stimulate industrial growth and development, now and in the long-run?
I quite agree that the power sector has suffered over the years. The reason being that, there were no appreciable investments made by government from 1979 to about 1999; that caused a major decay in the sector. However, if you look at the initiative taken by the present administration, especially the current actions of President Goodluck Jonathan in making tangible investments and putting needed structures in place to revamp the sector for greater productivity, you would see that a lot has been done to turn the sector round.
The massive investments and structures put on ground by the government show total commitment and proactive steps to revive the sector. In fact, with the level of commitment shown by the government in the implementation of the power sector reform, I am glad to say that Jonathan is approaching the issue of electricity supply pragmatically and holistically to realise positive outcome.
The initiative of government is to ensure that the sector functions optimally to stimulate rapid economic growth and development in line with the government’s policy towards the realisation of its Vision 20:2020 target. Apparently, with the establishment of the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP), the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), establishment of NERC as a regulatory body and the launch of the roadmap to power sector reform, it means that the coast is now clear for the private sector to come in.
Realistically speaking, the government alone does not have the capacity to tackle the challenges facing the sector at present. So, with a conducive business environment assuring prospective investors of full cost reflective tariffs, the sector would be able to maximise outputs in the long-run.
Could you tell us precisely the current power generation capacity in the country?
The current power generation capacity is between 3,500 and 3,800mega watts. This is because the government is now making appreciable investments in the sector. Also, the roadmap itself is a practical way of implementing the provisions of the Act and nobody has any reservation about the Act. What Mr. President is saying is that there was delay in the process of the implementation of the Act.
So, he decided to fast-track the entire process of implementation to enhance development in the sector. And, there has been tremendous improvement in power supply since the beginning of this