[email protected] Five: Achievements, Challenges and the Future plans
By Kamalu Sani
Success that is ordained by transformation and reformation is not accidental. I can tell you that reformation is not and will never be a child of accidents because it is a product of meticulous and purpose-driven leadership and the desire to turn the tides against the negatives for humanity to have a taste of what it feels to have the right man at the helm who is committed to putting the round peg in round hole to minimize inefficiency, while piloting their organization to stardom. That has been the story of Kano State Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) under the transforming MD/CEO, Dr Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna, the Sardaunan Gombe. Time may not permit one to give a historical excursion into how KEDCO was birth but in as succinctly as possible, the story of the new phase of KEDCO is that that calls for celebrations as the five years under the able leadership of Dr. Gwamna and his highly energized team have turned the fortunes of KEDCO around and currently driving the company to greatness in the nearest possible future. This is not to say there are no challenges but the team in KEDCO are highly inspired in their ingenious ability to make challenges the raw materials for the series of successes recorded so far. Hence this piece has its main aim in reeling out the achievements of KEDCO, challenges and its plan for the future.
For a country like ours where diversification is highly sought to boost the economy and fasten growth from all sides, one needs not de-emphasize the relevance of the power sector as it has that capacity to propel industrialization which in turns will create employment for the teeming youths. Constant power supply is the hallmark of a developed economy in contemporary times as it has a way of boosting investments and attracting investors from around the globe. Presently, the reforms of KEDCO have in recent times under the undaunting leadership of Sardaunan Gombe been yielding the needed success story for which such reforms were intended. The achievements of KEDCO have been enveloped in different packages: distribution, improved customer service and employment for youths.
Despite challenges in power generation in the country, Kano State Electricity Distribution Company’s Chief Technical Officer Engineer, David Omoloye disclosed that KEDCO marked Five years of existence that the company has been able to improve its power distribution capacity to customers from 220MW it inherited to 344MW within four years. This has really helped in improving the power supply in most parts of the states concerned: Kano, Katsina and Jigawa. Today, industries are springing up and the cost of manufacturing has been drastically reduced because the environment conducive for manufacturing is being created by KEDCO. The power sector reforms by KEDCO has boosted investment and created a healthy co-operative industrial outfit in the concerned states. He also revealed that about 65, 000 prepaid meters out of 500,000 targets have so far been distributed to customers with a view to addressing difficulties in collecting electricity consumption bills. As far as a revolution in the power sector is concerned, KEDCO has proven that it’s on course to addressing the challenges in the sector in the nearest future.
Furthermore, KEDCO has created reasonable employment opportunities for Nigerians especially in the area of building the capacities of youths to securing jobs by related power outfit in any part of the world. It is on record that from inception to date, KEDCO has employed over 2,000 new staff members which were deployed to its regional offices in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states. The employment according to KEDCO was done to expand efforts and shore up service delivery in the regions. By this employment, KEDCO made tremendous impact in assisting the Nigerian government by taking many graduate engineers and technologists roaming the streets in search of unavailable jobs to heave a sigh of relief as they have been absorbed through the reforms in KEDCO.
As part of the reforms within the last four years, KEDCO has been able to reform the customer service rendered to their numerous customers across the three states. Its online application which works 24 hours has made it easy for customers to make payments at their comfort using their mobile phones through various online payment modes. This has reduced the avalanche complaints by customers in time past. In spite of these achievements, the company still has some challenges that are bedeviling its operations in recent times. Mr. David Omoloye identified as a major concern that people are always reluctant to pay for power consumption saying “it is government’s property’’.
‘’We have challenge in collecting payment for power consumption in terms of revenue; That has been the major challenge we’ve been having in the sense that we are not been able to collect all that we are able to spend out and there is too much deficit which we are trying to bridge the gap through metering. This year we have pushed out almost 65,000 meters and we are going to do more until we meet our target of 500, 000 this year”
In a similar vein, power generation has been a major issue when it comes to our capacity to supply power to cater for the needs of the people. This was aptly captured by the Chief Customer Relations Officer of the company Malam Abubakar Yusuf. He attributed reported cases of outages in some areas to low level of power generation from the generating company, noting that the company only distributes what it receives from the generating company.
Dr Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna, the MD/CEO of KEDCO has in different media platforms, reassuringly reiterated the commitment of KEDCO to meeting the energy demand projections as the company matures with time by building more distribution networks and improving the billing systems through the distribution of meters, which will snowball into improving the revenue collection for power consumed in the regions. Gwamna also assured that more reforms were on the way to promote efficiency and growth in the power sector to lead improved electricity services which is a key factor to driving the economies of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states in the realization of the economic visions of these states. It could be recalled that KEDCO came into being following unbundling of National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) to serve three states including Jigawa, Kano and Katsina.
Kamalu Sani a media practitioner writes from kano and can be reached via [email protected]