In order to tackle the perennial power outages being experienced in the country, the federal government will soon embark on total implementation of the provisions of the Electricity Power Reform Act (EPRA) of 2005.
The Act provides in its preamble that companies will be formed to take over the functions, assets, liabilities and staff of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in order to “develop a competitive electricity markets.”
It also provides for the establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), “to provide for the licensing and regulation of the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity.”
The NERC, the Act stipulates further, will also enforce performance standards, consumer rights and obligations and provide the determination of tariffs and other related matters.
The apex government also has in view the completion of 156 on-going projects across the country in order to facilitate the job of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which will soon partner private sector investors in the provision of power to the people of the country.
Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, accompanied by his state counterpart and the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati briefed State House correspondents Monday after meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on the performance of his ministry in the implementation of the 2012 budget.
According to Nnaji, who described power and its provision as the biggest constraint of the nation, the ministry received the sum of N75.5 as budgeted for 2012, while the National Assembly provided for N78 billion, the difference being the lawmakers’ additions for some constituency projects.
He disclosed that the ministry’s performance in the implementation of the budget was 52.9%, explaining that out of the 75.4 Billion budgeted for capital project, N21.5Billion has been released while the amount used is N11.4Billion.
He said the government is prioritizing the completion of the dozens of on-going projects, which requirements will be captured in the 2013 budget so as to ensure that there is transparency and accountability in the running of the sector.
Prior to Monday’s meeting with the President, some heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) under the Ministry have petitioned the government about the release of funds to them.
The minister did not give the names of the MDAs concerned, but he stated that for the purpose of clarification, the meeting with the president was for the purpose of setting the records straight “for the purposes of ensuring an appraisal of performance.”
“It is to ensure that Mr. President’s intention to ensure that proper standards are set and priorities in terms of service deliveries are properly defined,” added the minister.
He identified what is needed to accomplish the implementation of EPRA as implanting programmes for grid stability, energy efficiency and the establishment of gas and power infrastructure bond and fund.
“With the privatisation, the expectation is that the Transmission Company of Nigeria will get the bulk of the funding going forward and so there will be increase in the funding of the Transmission Company TCN but the Generation Companies will now be funded through the private sector. Also the Distribution Companies will be funded through the private sector,” Nnaji stated.