Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said this in a statement issued by Mr Timothy Oyedeji, the minister’s Deputy Director of Press, in Abuja.
The statement said Nebo announced the establishment of the council when a delegation from the Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE, led by its President, Mr Mustapha Shehu, paid him a coutesy visit in Abuja.
It quoted the minister as saying that President Goodluck Jonathan was committed to strengthening the rural electrification programme in the country.
According to him, the proposed council will be responsible for co-ordination of electricity issues at the federal, state and local government levels.
He noted that the rural populace had been short-changed for a very long time by the lack of access to electricity.
The minister commended the NSE for addressing the problems of its members and urged the members to brace-up for an impending growth in the power generation and distribution sub-sectors of the economy.
The minister said, “unless the country has well trained engineers, there will be influx of foreign engineers who will want to take over the jobs from Nigerians.
“We now have more Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the country, hence we need more trained engineers to man the power plants.”
Nebo assured the society that he would grant their request to have a representative on the boards of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN, and the Rural Electrification Agency, REA.
He added that the request was a right step in the right direction.
The minister also solicited the support of the NSE in government’s quest to the actualisation of the coal-to-power initiative.
He said that his experience in China showed that clean coal technology would guarantee the use of coal with minimal pollution, adding that “coal is globally used to generate power.’’
The statement quoted the leader of the delegation as saying that the NSE was ready to engage professional engineers who would be saddled with running of the affairs of engineering-based ministries in the country.
He requested the minister to assist in positioning engineers to partake in the increased business of power generation and distribution.
Shehu also requested for the minister’s assistance in the completion of the on-going NSE secretariat and the 2014 World Engineering Summit which would take place in Nigeria.