BY CHRIS OCHAYI
Worried by the shortage of electricity supply in the country, the Federal Government has inaugurated an eleven member emergency committee charged with the responsibility to fast track the gas to fire plants revolution.
Members of the committee, drawn from key stakeholders in Power, Presidency and Petroleum Resources, were also tasked to find solution to the lingering gas crisis to ensure accelerated and improved power generation.
The Committee, which has Mr. Beks Dagogo-Jack, Chairman Presidential Task Force on Power as Chairman, also has Dr. David Ige, Group Executive Director, GED Gas, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as co-Chairman and nine others.
A 12-point term of reference was handed over to the committee, which included the development policy framework that would ensure availability of gas and strategies for curbing vandalism of gas infrastructure.
Inaugurating the Committee, the Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, recalled the unalloyed political will demonstrated by Mr. President to drive the fast cruising Power Sector Reform to a logical end.
He recalled the ambitious plan by Government to increase Gas-fired plant contribution to the grid from the current 70 per cent to 85 per cent by Decem ber 2014.
According to him, “we are thus at the mercy of gas in order to meet this target, it is for this reason that Mr. President has tasked us to find solution, otherwise we could be strangulated by gas shortage.”
He therefore appealed to the members of the task force, to do all they can, so as to ensure success of their assignment.
“There is obvious gap in gas supply. This has been made worse as a result of vandalism; we cannot be giving gas to the world through export, while we are in dire need of gas to fire our plants.”
He therefore appealed to Nigerians to exercise patience, especially with the new owners, and argued that in the short run, there would be expected disruptions, but assured that reports making the rounds now is that there is remarkable improvement nationwide.
The Minister also used the occasion to denounce the activities of those he described as energy thieves, and enjoined everyone that expects stable power to pay their bills, just as he recognized the importance of liquidity as essential ingredient in the running of the system.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, said her ministry is working hard in developing stringent framework in meeting immediate and long term gas demands with some key players like Shell, and private sector in the development of gas infrastructure.
She said that with the enormous work done, “we will see a positive result of what we are doing.” She said her ministry has identified various critical projects which Government has also released funds for their realization to resolve challenges where necessary.