NES27: Nigerians willing to pay cost-reflective electricity tariff — World Bank

.. Says power sector at dawn of a new era

Assures investors enabling environment to thrive

By Chris Ochayi

The Federal Government, Thursday, declared that the partnership between the country and the Siemens in the power sector would expand Nigeria’s electricity capacity from the current 4,500MW to 25,000MW.

Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, who made the remarks ,while speaking as Special Guest of honour at the annual workshop of the Power Correspondents Association of Nigeria, PCAN, in Abuja, noted the country was at the dawn of a new era in the power sector.

The minister noted that the plan of Government is to ensure that all players focus on the big picture with a proper alignment to achieve the desired growth.

Speaking further at the workshop with theme: ‘Moving the Power Sector Beyond the Transition Electricity Market’, Engr. Aliyu said, the primary purpose of Government is to develop policies and laws and to properly orient the players.

According to him, “One of my cardinal goals, on assumption of office, is to reduce or totally eliminate the human factor issues limiting the growth of the sector. It is important to note, as I have observed. that the viability of the sector is not in doubt.

“We just need to boldly deal with some challenges militating against the desired growth, some of which are Transmission and Distribution bottlenecks, funding difficulties,Transmission wheeling inadequacy,old and dilapidated distributioninfrastructure.

“Others are confidence in the electricity market, energy losses,non-payment of electricity bills and lack of transparency within sector players, among others.

“Government is doing a lot in providing the needed infrastructure and is also being supported by multilateral partners like World Bank, AFDB, AFB and others. These support structures, plus the intervention fund from CBN, will go along way in addressing some of these infrastructure gaps.

“A proper implementation of all planned and ongoing projects will increase the electricity availability and quality.

“To achieve the desired quick wins, Government launched the Power Sector Reform Plan (PSRP) to strengthen the Regulatory Agency, NERC, among other things, a properly monitored Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) to track progress of the Distribution Companies and a Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Program (TREP) to strengthen the wheeling capacity of TCN.

These efforts are geared towards ensuring that they earnings and desires of Nigerians are met as regards steady and reliable power supply.

“Gentlemen of the Press, Reform processes all over the world are cumbersome and take time. This Government has initiated some transformational changes that will on the long run improve the quality of electricity in Nigeria and improve access. I can confidently tell you that with the efforts we have put in, and still putting in, we are at the dawn of a new era in the power sector in Nigeria.

“One significant effort the Muhammad Buhari’s administration has put in is the Siemens Nigeria and the Federal Government’s deal; this partnership seeks to expand Nigeria’s electricity capacity from the current 4,500MW to 25,000MW.

The Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) which began in 2021 is in three phases and is estimated to be completed in 2025. The phases cover the upgrading and expanding the TN and Discos networks, improvement of access to affordable, efficient and reliable electricity and, providing support of industrial and economic growth in the country.

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“This first phase which began in 2021 will go on for a period of 10 months with the end goal of pushing to 7,000MW. So far, there has been no hitch as the team is currently on the pre-engineering phase. The second phase will raise the availability to 1,000MW and the third phase will raise the availability to 25,000MW.

“Given Siemens AG’s accomplishment of a similar plan in Egypt and also, its reputation as an international giant in the power sector related engagements, it is strongly believed that the Nigeria Electricity Road map (NER) is possible and achievable. “

In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba , has assured all investors and would-be investors in that power sector that the government will continue to create favourable policies and business – friendly environments for their investments to thrive.

Jedy Agba stressed further that the President Muhammad Buhari’s administration has introduced many favourable policies to water the ground for our partners.

He added that, “We want the media promote these policies so investors can know that truly, Nigeria is the investment hub of Africa.”

According to him, “The media is the strongest tool of any democracy. It has the power to mar or make any society.

“Therefore, I want to encourage you also to be good citizens and passionate development partners by inculcating the virtue of responsible Journalism.

“No meaningful development can be achieved without the support of the media. If the people don’t get to know what the government is doing and can’t take ownership of our projects, then our efforts would be in futility. This is why the importance of the media cannot be overemphasized.

“I want to stress here that as power correspondents, you owe it a duty to factually project the reformation going on in the power sector. In areas where you need clarification, contact relevant authorities because as insiders, you are supposed to be more accurate with your reportage concerning the sector than others.”

“As a government, we will continue to create an enabling environment for private investors to thrive in the power sector. We understand that government can’t do it all, this is why we’ve opened the vista for more people to invest in the sector.”

In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Power Correspondents Association of Nigeria, PCAN, Mr. Obas Esiedesa, regretted that eight years after the partial power privatization exercise, the teething problems remain.

Noting that all hands must be on deck to resolve them, Mr. Esiedesa added however that the challenges are enormous and cut across the entire value chain of the industry.

According to him, “For us as journalists, we would continue to support the sector with our works to ensure that the right things are done and consumers are able to get best value for money.

“For long, the industry has been stuck in the transition stage, we want it to move beyond this and go into the willing-seller, willing-buyer state, where free market rules will apply.”

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