Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said that the expectations of Nigerians from the 2013 privatisation of the power sector were erroneously too high with outlooks for immediate results from the exercise without thoughts on the works required to reposition the sector.
Speaking recently at the signing of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for solar power projects in the country, the minister said Nigerians erroneously believed that the 2013 privatisation was going to bring an immediate end to the sector’s challenges.
He said such erroneous thoughts would have to be changed because the sector needed serious financial and material commitments to get it to the level the government’s privatisation policy had projected.
He said the government was prepared to ensure that the policy intents were met and stable electricity available in the country.
Fashola also stated with regards to the recent reversal of the 2015 Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) including the retail electricity rates of distribution companies (Discos) that a good number of Nigerians were finding it hard to come to terms with the sector’s transition from government-managed to now private sector operated.
He said such transition had foisted some discomfort in the pockets of people who have historic lifestyles of consuming electricity without paying, adding that it was based on this that there are frequent protest against the tariff.
“There was a perception that was allowed to linger, that immediately the privatisation was done, the process was over. Transitioning from being government led and government run for many decades to now being government regulated and private run is creating some misunderstanding.People who have not had to pay for power are now having difficulties migrating to the culture of paying for power even if it is not enough. People who have never bothered about conserving electricity are now conscious because their pockets is responding to the realities,” Fashola said.
The minister has also inaugurated a steering committee for the procurement of civil and mechanical engineering works for eight small hydro power projects (SHPs) in the country.
A statement from the ministry disclosed that the committee was given 45 days by Fashola to come up with standard modalities for the procurement procedure.
It explained the committee is expected to take cognisance of works already done in the projects as well as what needed to be done to quicken their completion.
According to the statement, Fashola said the plan to quickly bring the eight SHPs to completion was consistent with the government’s target of 30 per cent contribution of renewable energy in Nigeria’s energy mix by 2020.
“We must touch the lives of people in the rural areas by improving their economy through deepening of their access to electricity,” Fashola said in his charge to the committee.
The committee according to the statement comprise of representatives from the ministries of petroleum; water resources; environment; agriculture; as well as the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE); and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
It said that it was decided that eight out of the 45 small hydro dams in the country that would be constructed in the first phase exercise include Tiga and Challawa dams in Kano-State; Omi-Kampe dam in Kogi State; Jibiya and Zone dams in Katsina State; Bakalori dam in Zamfara State; Doma dam in Nassarawa State and Ikere Gorge in Oyo-State.