18 October 2013, Abuja – Minister of Power Prof. Chinedu Nebo has urged Nigerians to look beyond 10,000 Mega Watts (MW) for a population of 170 million people next year and plan for 160,000MW like South Africa.
Speaking at the third Nigerian Alternative Energy Expo, NAEE, in Abuja, he said: “But what is 10,000MW for a population of 170 million people because with a generation capacity of 4000MW, Nigeria produces and consumes per capital only 2.5 percent of what South Africa is producing and consuming.
“In order for us to be at par with South Africa, we need to increase our production and consumption of electricity by 40 fold. In other words, we should not be talking about 4,000MW or 10,000MW by end of 2014; we should be talking about 160,000MW.”
The minister said the president would in a few days commission the 513 megawatts, MW, Omotosho National Integrated Power Project, NIPP, Plant in Okitipupa, Ondo State.
Nebo said : “By the end of the third quarters of 2014 the 10 NIPP projects would have been commissioned and by the end of 2014, we will be having through TCN, infrastructure to wheel out the 10,000MW that will be available for Nigerians.
He urged Nigerians to appreciate President Goodluck Jonathan for managing the power sector privatisation process.
Nebo said Jonathan had shown so much courage in tackling the country’s power sector, adding that the international community which had initially expressed fear of the success of the process had now coined it “simultaneous sequentiality”.
According to the Director-General of the BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, has remitted the proceeds from the sales of the 14 successor distribution and generation companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, OAGF.
He said almost all the funds that government raised from the sales of the power entities have been released to the OAGF, where it will be disbursed to the workers of the defunct PHCN as their disengagement packages.
He said the apprehensive comments from the labour union should become irrelevant because the Federal Government has shown so much commitment to meeting up with the payment of entitlements owed to retiring workers of PHCN.
His words: “Virtually all of it (privatisation proceeds) is going into labour settlement and this has been communicated to labour from day one that the proceeds of the sales are going to be used to settle their entitlements.
“They can verify from our bankers to corroborate this information that BPE has remitted the money to the accountant general’s office and that office is in the process of remitting the monies to the individual RSA accounts, I don’t see what is hidden in this process that should cause high blood pressure or this level of apprehension.”
Asked to comment on the transfer of the proceeds, Dikki said: “They can follow the audit trail and see that actions have been taken, they can ask me and I will show them the evidence of remittance plus confirmation from the banks that these monies have been moved to the accountant general’s office, they can also go to the accountant general’s office and demand for confirmation and proof of remittance to individual account and so, if there are a few left, why should it cause so much apprehension.”
It would be recalled that BPE had announced in a statement that of the 14 successor companies scheduled for handover, $2, 525,824,534 was realised as proceeds, out of which $1,256,000,000 came from the distribution companies while the generation companies raked in US$1,269,824,534.
The bureau also added that although N384billion was earmaked for the payment of the workers’ liabilities, the Federal Government budgeted N45billion for the payments.
It said the government had set aside about N384 billion to settle labour liabilities. The government had also budgeted about N45 billion in the 2013 budget for settlement of PHCN entitlements.
He explained that “already, all of them have received 25 per cent of the payments; if government wasn’t going to pay them, why pay part. Government has paid part and all of them have received 25 per cent, what is left now is the balance that will be migrated to their retirement savings accounts and government has committed to do that.
“The funds have been moved to the office of the accountant general of the federation and this they can verify that it is now a question of details in remitting the monies into their respective RSA account which the office of the accountant general is working round the clock to ensure that this is done.”
He said every bona-fide PHCN staff would be duly paid their entitlements, adding that the payment process has to be meticulous to avoid unnecessary error.
*John Ofikhenua, Nation