The Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, said this in Abuja at a sensitisation forum for youths on the need to increase electricity tariff from June 1.
“We are going to carry out a study on the population of the country to determine how much power we want in Nigeria.
“We are going to use many of our youths for this exercise,’’ he said.
He said that government wanted to increase electricity tariff to ensure that investors and the rural and urban poor were protected in the new price regime.
According to him, in the new tariff, people who consume more power will pay more, and people who consume less will pay less.
He added that the Federal Government would carry out final screening of staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to determine its correct number of personnel.
The minister explained that the ministry was partnering with EFCC to identify non-genuine ones and punish them.
According to him, the National Assembly plans to ensure that any person who commits any act of vandalism, meter bye-passing or tampering, etc, is prosecuted by the government.
Mr Darius Ishaku, the Minister of State for Power, said the power sector had been neglected for over three decades by successive governments until the current administration.
Ishaku said that this neglect brought about the decay in the sector.
“Many power stations in the country are over 40 years and have not been overhauled since installation,’’ he said.
He said there was no basis for comparing Nigeria with either Ghana or South Africa in terms of electricity because Nigeria had a larger population and needed more power.
Ishaku said government had built 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) to ensure that Nigerians enjoyed regular and sustainable electricity.
He said these measures had not worked because when the projects were conceived, the gas to power them was not planned for, adding that government was doing everything possible to provide gas.
Mr Eyo Ekpo, the Commissioner in-charge of Market Competition and Rates from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said there had not been any investment in power sector for decades.
He said that before 2001, there was only 600,000 lines of telephones in Nigeria, “but at present, we have over 120 million lines due to privatisation.’’
Ekpo said NERC wanted to provide basic standard to attract investors to the sector so as to witness the type of growth in the communications sector.