Minister of Finance, Mr Olusegun Aganga has said that Nigeria has not achieved 4000 mega watts of electricity in the country, saying the highest peak Nigeria has achieved for several years was 3800 mega watts.
The Minister who spoke after the meeting of the Presidential Action Committee on Power in Abuja. He said: “The 3800 has been the highest peak for years. And that was achieved on recently. So, we are making progress.
One of the areas which the committee has recommended is that we want to start getting feedback from the distribution agency so that we have a direct feedback on the progress we are making and the which areas we will focus on because if we do a survey today, there are areas they will tell us things have improved significantly and there are areas where they will tells there is still a lot of work to be done. We still want to get feedback and we just want to get a mechanism that allows us to get that feedback regularly.”
On the Expression of Interest of the companies on the 11 transmission companies, the Minister said that a number of criteria are expected from the companies. According to him, the government is considering the financial strength of the companies adding that the technical competence will also be critically considered.
“The technical competence will be very very important to all of us because we are looking for people that will drive this sector of the economy. We are hoping that power will actually become the next telecom in this country. So, it is important that they have the financial strength. But more important is that they have the commitment and technical expertise to deliver power the way we want it and as quickly as possible. So, those were the criteria for that decision-making process” he insisted.
But the Special Adviser to the president on power, Professor Bath Nnaji, said that why there has not been appreciable impact in power in Nigeria is that a lot of things are in the works.
“The government is doing a lot to improve distribution. So, some of those things are in the works. You have to understand that this government is only a couple of months old. So, some of the projects take time to come to maturity. So, in a lot of places, it is transformers or substation that is the problem. Abuja could only take just a little over 200 mega watts because of gateway. So, even if you have more power in Nigeria, Abuja can only at this point take 200 mega watts. So, in the effort of government, we will be having another 150 mega watts to increase the ability of Abuja to take power by 50 per cent. But that is not going to solve Abuja problem because we have a lot more demand in Abuja than that. So, the effort is to really increase power in Abuja by more that 200 per cent. So, we are making progress. The reason why Nigerians cannot feel the impact is that the demand is huge out there. The thing is that government has to grow the power to a point where we begin to feel the impact” he said.
On whether the investors would have any problem in the near future concerning policy change, Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa, said all the generating plants that are being privatized have their sources of gas. “So, an investor will not come and have the problem of shortage of gas supply. We have evacuation facility for transmission. So, the important thing is to make the industry more efficient so that we collect more money at the distribution level which will flow back into the system. That is why this reform is critical” she explained.