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Senate asks FG to remove ‘power’ from Fashola’s three-in-one portfolio

The senate has urged the federal government to appoint a separate minister for the ministry of power to ensure optimal performance.

Under the present administration, the ministry of power is combined with those of works and housing, with Babatunde Fashola overseeing them.

The senate also urged the 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.
It equally urged the federal ministry of power, works and housing to use gas as a source of energy for the Kaduna project in accordance with its original concept.

This followed a resolution on a motion on ‘The Need to Establish and Delegate Special Purpose Vehicles to Execute and Operate Major Power Sector Development Projects’.
The motion was sponsored by Mustapha Bukar (APC-Katsina).

Bukar recalled that the federal government in 2004, conceived 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 said.
He said 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).

The legislator said the act was in a bid to develop a competitive electricity market with the establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The function of NERC is 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 six 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.

Bukar also said consequent upon the commencement of the privatisation and establishment of the Nigerian electricity narket, the role of the ministry of power, works and housing was restricted.
Contributing, Eyinnaya Abaribe, chairman, committee on power, 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 were 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 that the ministry continues to appropriate these jobs that are specifically meant to be done by agencies under it.

“We are taking measures to see whether we can bring back the ministry to what it ought to be,” Abaribe said.

In his remarks, Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate President, who presided at plenary, 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 it is sustained,” Ekweremadu said.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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