President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that Nigeria’s power situation is not a laughing matter, noting that, his administration will do everything to ensure steady supply.
Addressing the National Economic Council retreat on the economy at the State House Conference, Presidential Villa, Abuja, he said, “Nigerians’ favourite talking point and butt of jokes is the power situation in our country. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter. We must and by the grace of God we will put things right.
At the retreat held on Monday 21 March, he assured that his administration was on course to deliver 10,000 megawatts by 2019. “In the three years left for this administration we have given ourselves the target of ten thousand megawatts distributable power. In 2016 alone, we intend to add two thousand megawatts to the national grid.”
He pointed out that: “This sector has been privatized but has yet to show any improvement in the quality of service. Common public complaints are:
• Constant power cuts destroying economic activity and affecting quality of life.
• High electricity bills despite power cuts.
• Low supply of gas to power plants due to vandalization by terrorists.
• Obsolete power distribution equipment such as transformers.
• Power fluctuations, which damage manufacturing equipment and household appliances.
• Low voltage which cannot run industrial machinery.
Buhari said power has been the problem of past governments but will be properly looked into now. “These are some of the problems, which defied successive governments. In our determination to CHANGE we must and will, insha Allah, put a stop to power shortages. Key points to look at here are:
· Privatization. We are facing the classic dilemma of privatization: Public interest Vs Profit Motive. Having started, we must complete the process. But National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the regulatory authority, has a vital job to ensure consumers get value for money and over-all public interest is safe-guarded.
· Government to fast-track completion of pipelines from Gas points to power stations and provide more security to protect gas and oil pipelines.
· Power companies should be encouraged to replace obsolete equipment and improve the quality of service and technicians.