By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
Minister of Power, Arc. Nuhu Somo Wya, said Thursday that the administration had achieved far more in power generation, transmission and distribution than any previous government in the history of the country.

He noted that power had been the government’s most important priority in the past one year, adding that the commitment by the present administration to revamp the nation’s energy resources has led to “real and rapid difference to the lives of millions of Nigerians.”

Wya, who was speaking at the 2010 Ministerial press briefing, organised by the Ministry of Information and Communication, in Abuja, added that government’s refusal to give deadlines on the power supply was so as not to be distracted by the pressures of meeting such deadlines.

“We have said that we will not make promises. But rather, we will be judged by what we deliver; and we have delivered,” he stated.

According to Wya, “Nigerians are today receiving more reliable power than they have had in the past years. We have generated record amounts of power and delivered it to the people. Polls tell us that 90 percent of the people who have seen a change in their power supply have seen a positive change.”

“We have consolidated the reform programme in the power. We are rapidly moving towards winding down Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, within the next six to eight months, and we are moving towards more private sector participation in our current generation, transmission and distribution companies.”

On the unbundling of PHCN, the minister said: “Certainly, the company would be wound down by the second quarter of 2011. Government is moving out of operating the current system, but will still maintain ownership of major parts of the system and will strong shareholding in the rest.”

He added: “There has been a complete assessment of all generation, transmission, and distribution systems in the country so that we now have a full picture of everything that is needed to make the system deliver as much as possible.

“In 2010 alone, more than 40 prospective investors made presentations to the Ministry and several have started the process to obtain license from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.”

He said NERC has instituted a major review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO, with the aim of bringing commercial viability to the sector.

“The overriding consideration of this review was to introduce economic pricing for power. The MYTO major review is continuing, and we expect this to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

“On completion, consumers will pay tariffs which better reflect the costs of the electricity the use. This in turn will allow the private sector operating at reasonable levels of efficiency, to realize the returns on investment that are required to attract investments in the sector,” he stated.

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