Grid Collapse: Lawmakers Lambast Power Minister, Demand Improved Electricity Supply

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Power yesterday criticised the Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu mandating him to take concrete actions aimed at solving the current nationwide blackout rather than always presenting theories that do not translate into power supply to Nigerians.

The Committee, led by Hon. Magaji Da’u Aliyu at a meeting with the minister, expressed disappointment over the lackadaisical attitude of the ministry towards power issues whenever there was national emergency, saying there was nothing in his presentation to show that the ministry was solving the challenge of increased power outages being experienced by the country.

Abubakar Aliyu

The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nebolisa Anoka, had enumerated the challenges facing the sector, ranging from low gas supply, low hydro levels, high cost of gas, as well as disequilibrium between power generation, transmission and distribution. This, he said had led to the collapse of the national grid and as well what the ministry was doing to salvage the situation.

He explained that in response to the challenges facing power generation, the ministry recently hosted an emergency meeting with key stakeholders in the gas-to-power value chain, during which far-reaching resolutions were arrived at on key measures needed to ameliorate the situation.

Reacting to the presentation, Aliyu, who earlier explained that the special interactive session was necessitated by the fact that Nigerians were facing the worst energy crisis in recent times, lamented that the situation had affected businesses, both small and large, which according to him had been attracting huge public outcry.

He called for the return of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), under the supervision of the Power Ministry, saying that there was not much both the Ministry and the Committee could do if the agency remained elsewhere.

According to him, these were part of the sectoral problems affecting the country in terms of power, as the agency which was tasked with the responsibility of evacuating unused electricity and bridging the gap debit gap between Gencos and Discos is not properly supervised.

He said, “There is nothing on ground to show that there will be light or generation of up to 5000 megawatts, but we keep hearing about 30,000 megawatts of installed capacity across the power stations.

“It may be recalled that Nigerians whom we represent experience one of the worst moment of electricity supply across the country. This development has caused variety of problems affecting peoples’ welfare which makes social living condition very uncomfortable.

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“It has caused collapse of small businesses whose operations depend on stable electricity supply. The situation has also aggravated increased process in commodities and services especially those that require electricity supply.

“The overheated socio-economic environment due to very poor electricity supply attracted huge public outcry for immediate solutions, especially given the contractual nature of provision of power and energy services in the post privatization era by the Nigerian Power Supply Industry.

“Against this background and acting as peoples’ representatives, this interactive session is organised to request the Minister to among others: Explain the remote and immediate causes of the current deplorable power supply across the country; explain the technical, operational and administrative measures taken by the ministry to address the challenges and its devastating consequences against life, welfare and economy; and suggest in your highlight the areas which the House of Representatives or indeed the National Assembly can provide legislative support to overcome the challenges apparently disturbing all Nigerians.”

Corroborating Aliyu statement, members of the Committee, took turns to lament the unending projections by the Ministry that have never come to fruition.

In his contribution, Hon. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina), noted that the concern raised by Gencos as the major reason for the blackout, was the N1.4 trillion debt NBET was owing them as cost of generated but unused electricity

Thereafter, the Chairman of the Committee ruled that the Permanent Secretary should return on Friday with more practical evidences of intended interventions.

Source: ThisDay

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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