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Published On: Wed, Oct 18th, 2017

Senate wants Buhari to strip Fashola of power portfolio

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By Christiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi

Senate yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a separate Minister of Power to oversee the activities in the sector.
The Senate also urged the Federal Government to immediately incorporate Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for the implementation of alternative energy projects which included the Hydropower Projects, Solar Power Projects and the Wind Power Projects.
The Upper Chamber said the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, is rapidly expanding its project implementation activities, rather than limit its role of providing policy direction.
The ministry of power is merged with that of works and housing under the present administration,
It equally urged the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to use gas as the source of energy for the Kaduna Project in accordance with the original project concept.
This followed senate’s resolution on a motion on “The Need to establish and delegate Special Purpose Vehicles to execute and Operate Major Power Sector Development Projects.” sponsored by Sen. Mustapha Bukar (APC-Katsina).
Bukar noted that the Federal Government in 2004, conceived of the idea of an Integrated Power Project which metamorphosed into Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) incorporated in 2005.
“This was in government’s quest to bridge the power gap for sustained economic growth in Nigeria by adding significant new generation capacity to Nigeria’s electricity supply system.”
He noted that the National Assembly enacted the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005 on March 11, 2005, which kick-started the process of privatisation of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
This, he said was in a bid to develop a Competitive Electricity Market with the establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The function of NERC was to provide for the licensing and regulation of the entire value chain of the Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM).
“The privatisation exercise became effective on Nov.1, 2013 when the unbundled Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was sold and transferred to successful bidders of the 6 Generation Companies (GENCOs) and the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
“The ownership and control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was retained by the Federal Government for strategic reasons,” he said.
The lawmaker further said that consequent upon the commencement of the privatisation and establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Market, the role of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works & Housing was restricted.
Contributing Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe said the committee was already acting along its own mandate for oversight.
“We are working toward ensuring that these concerns that have been raised by this motion was looked into. The ministry of power today is combined with works and housing and the thrust of the ministry is to give quality direction.
“But what we find is the ministry continues to appropriate these jobs that are specifically meant to be done by agencies under the ministry, he said. We are taking measures to see whether we can bring back the ministry back to what it ought to be,” Abaribe said.
In his remarks, Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu said every talk about growing the economy would not work unless the power sector was repositioned.
“We need to create a situation where we have energy sufficiency; So long as the private sector depends on private arrangement for energy requirements, the cost of goods will continue to be high especially the ones produced here.
“It is important that we all work toward ensuring power sufficiency in the country and ensure that is sustained,” Ekweremadu said.

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