…Task power ministry on the coordination of agencies(updated)
By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The House of Representatives Committee on Power, Wednesday, dismissed as illegal, President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company, NBET should be an agency under the Ministry of Finance.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Rep. Magaji D’au Aliyu(APC-Jigawa), at 2021 budget defence session at the National Assembly, said directive, breached the law setting up the agency and the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.
“As far we are concerned in this Parliament, NBET remains under the Committee on power. we have what we call standing orders of the Parliament that must be followed. The president had the prerogative to do that(transfer the agency to finance), but there are also laws. There is a legal means of doing things”, he declared.
Besides, the Committee was miffed with Sale Mamman, the Minister of Power, for not issuing sanctions to Distribution Companies (DisCos) over what the Committee described as “gross irresponsibility and wickedness in the execution of their contract”.
The Committee mandated the minister issue stiff penalties against DisCos, to get them serious and more accountable to the citizenry.
The minister who was at the House of Representatives to defend the 2021 budget of his ministry before the Power Committee, said that the country was doing well in a generation, but however, decried poor distribution of electricity.
Mamman said, “Under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s grid power capacity has increased significantly from the time this administration took over in 2015 to sate.
“Today, the installed grid power generation capacity has reached 13,000MW from 8000MW in 2015; similarly, transmission capacity has increased to 8000MW from 5000 in 2015. The distribution system has the capacity to evacuate 5500MW of power, having grown from 4500MW in 2015. The private sector ran Distribution system has the least capacity in the power value chain.
“During the period between 2015 to date, the sector has recorded successes and has faced challenges. In order to deliver this administration’s promise of providing stable and affordable power to Nigerians, a way forward was defined and supported by Mr President’s political will.
“Based on the above-mentioned efforts, the quality of service enjoyed by electricity consumers in Nigeria has improved as evidenced by the recent report from National Control Centre (NCC), Osogbo, which recorded highest energy generation per day in the history of the Nigerian electricity market delivering 112, 488MW of energy on 8 April 2020, while the grid also recorded the highest peak generation ever of 5,420MW on 17 September 2020.
“This indicates an improvement in the supply of quality and reliable electricity. Furthermore nationwide, there are reports of improvement in the number of hours Nigerians are provided with electricity. This will only get better with the implementation of the Siemens Electrification Roadmap.”
He disclosed that the Siemens would be involved in both generation and distribution, as he disclosed that the project would be financed through a foreign loan from the German government.
The minister said the DisCos were enjoying 60 per cent revenues of the power distribution while 40 per cent was for the government of Nigeria, with the agreement that the DisCos would replace damaged infrastructure, and carried out other investment in the sector.
Mamman told the Committee that the DisCos, were in the habit of evading accountability, hiding under the excuse of government embargo on tariffs.
Rep. Wale Raji, a member of the committee, said “citizens and communities have been forced to carry out installations of infrastructure, such as transformers, conductors, electricity poles because the DisCos bluntly refused to invest.
“Most of the DisCos are irresponsible. They are grossly irresponsible. We don’t even know whether we were not better off with PHCN. Transformers will breakdown, DisCos will not replace, communities will have to buy. It is nothing but exploitation. You will need to do more to protect the citizens.
“All these protests you are seeing are accumulated anger against the government. You will need to do more in sanctioning DisCos for not providing and replacing damaged infrastructure”, he told the minister.
Ruling on the submissions, Aliyu Magaji, Chairman of the committee who was also incensed, told the minister, to “sanction the DisCos, please. If you do that, you will be our darling, you will be the darling of Nigerians too. Nigerians are cheated. We don’t know who to call, we don’t know who to hold. It is you we know.”