By Henry Umoru, Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA— Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, yesterday, queried the utilisation of N2.74 trillion on power sector from 1999-2015, noting that it depreciated as more funds were pumped in.
His declaration came on a day Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, urged Nigerians and the leadership of the country to come together to find lasting solutions to the power sector and stop lamenting and complaining about the problems.
Dogara, who spoke at a two-day stakeholders interactive dialogue/workshop on the power sector organised by the National Assembly, in Abuja, also noted that the challenges faced by the sector called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address them.
He said: “Perhaps, the most important question is: what happened to the N2.74 trillion spent on the sector from 1999-2015? Why is it that the more we spent on the power sector, the more darkness we attract?”
He said it was to change the epileptic power situation that the National Assembly organized the workshop as a platform for power sector experts and other stakeholders to do a holistic diagnosis of the challenges impeding the development of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, and proffer practical solutions.
Dogara said: “These challenges run across the entire power value chain of generation, transmission and distribution. The myriad issues are apparently exacerbated by inadequate funding, poor energy mix, fuel supply issues, flawed regulatory framework, commercial issues among others.
‘’There is, therefore, a need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address these myriad problems.
“The diagnosis include but not limited to a critical analysis of the extant legislation and regulatory framework guiding the Nigerian power sector to determine if there is a need for amendments or enactment of new laws that will galvanize the sector to deliver the required results.”
Let’s stop complaining, we must get it working— Saraki
Meanwhile, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said, yesterday, that Nigerians and the leadership of the country must come together in finding lasting solutions to the power sector and stop lamenting and complaining about the problems.
Saraki described as a wasted effort attempts to forge a solution to the nation’s perennial power problem.
Speaking at the dialogue/workshop, Saraki said the National Assembly is ready to support and drive every actionable initiative expected to boost the nation’s power sector significantly.
According to him, the legislature will continue to craft the right legislative instruments that will help deliver a new and more reliable power sector for the economy.
He said: “I am very delighted that we are gathered together today to seek a solution to, perhaps, the most significant challenge to our quest for economic development; the issue of providing adequate power for our economy.
“The Nigerian power sector, in spite of the enormous resources committed to it within the last 14 years. has remained in a perilous state, delivering very disappointing results.
“Today, we are on the verge of a total systemic breakdown and I see this as an opportunity to stop this train from derailing completely. Opportunities for both the Legislature and Executive to come together to forge a solution to this perennial problem have been wasted in the past. We cannot afford to waste the opportunity we have now.”
“We owe it to the people who have entrusted us with the privilege of working out solutions to their problems by electing us to our various offices that we are hard on our heels to bring them solutions not complaints.
‘’Wherever you go in the country nothing represents the failure of government and leadership in the mind of Nigerian like the epileptic power situation in the country. Fixing it is at the highest priority list of our people.
“In other words, our people are demanding that we do all that is in our power to reverse this long and unenviable power sector blight. We must get it right. The first step is this forum.
“This National Assembly is fully ready to support and drive every actionable initiative that is expected out of this interactive session to boost the power sector significantly.
‘’We will be relying heavily on your wisdom and input, to craft the right legislative initiatives that will help us deliver a new and more reliable Nigerian power sector for the Nigerian economy.’’
Saraki, who noted that there was the need for sacrifice on the part of all Nigerians to get out of the power challenge, stressed that the government on its part must be sincerely committed to providing the right environment and fulfill its part of the deal without equivocation.
He said: “Unless all players speak frankly, open-mindedly and honestly we will not get the right solutions.”