Dr. Chris Ngige
By Charles Onyekamuo
Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Power and the Senator representing Anambra Central district in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Dr. Chris Ngige has said that the nation will witness appreciative improvement in the power sector next year given efforts being made to boost power generation, transmission and distribution sub sectors which according to him had suffered decay over the years.
He also said he had expected that with the exit of former Power Minister, Prof. Barth Nnaji about the middle of last year, a replacement would have been named in his stead by President Goodluck Jonathan given the precarious situation in the power sector.
Ngige who addressed the press in Awka Friday said that ordinarily, the President can decide to run the Power Ministry without a substantive Minister even when there is a Minster of State on ground.
He however said that in his informal interactions with Mr. President he had made his views on the necessity of a substantive Minister for Power known to him to which he agreed that they were on the same page.
Besides, he noted that Leaders of Thought from the South East had under the auspices of “Ohaneze-Ndigbo and the South East Zonal caucus in the National Assembly met with the President on the need for the next Minister of Power to be appointed for the South East.
But while bemoaning the poor power generation in the country, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Senator said part of the problems had been that most of the power generating sub-stations were sited long distances away from their sources of gas supply thereby increasing both the cost of distribution and safe guarding laid pipes against vandalism.
He nonetheless said that the 2013 fiscal budget and part of outgoing 2012 budget will accommodate capital projects especially for upgrading of transmission stations that will ensure availability of power.
Also as part of efforts to boost electricity supply next year, studies he said had commenced on the possibility of having coal powered plants in parts of the country with large coal deposits with a view to improving electricity supply.