18 July 2014, Abuja – The Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr Benjamin Dikki, on Friday, urged Nigerians to be patient with government in its attempt at increasing power supply in the country.
Dikki spoke with newsmen in Lagos State against the backdrop of complaints that the power sector has not recorded sufficient difference even after it has been handed over to private investors.
The power sector was handed over to private investors on Nov. 1, 2013 with the aim of improving electricity supply to boost socio-economic development.
The BPE boss also urged labour unions to desist from blaming the generation and distribution companies on the delay in getting the desired results in the sector.
He said, “The major headache we have is that of the supply of gas, to fire our plants.
“So the issue is not for the people to get angry with the distribution companies who don’t have the power.
“The major problem we have for power supply now is not the private sector investors who have taken over the distribution and generation companies.
“The investors are just trying to manage what the system generates and make sure they rationalise it, so that every part of the distribution companies have some measure of electricity.
“So, I want people to understand that the Distribution Companies are not to blame; it is the power they receive that they distribute.
“The Generating Companies also are constraint by a lack of gas supply which the government is addressing.
“Some of the National Integrated Power Project plants that the constructions have been completed cannot be piped because there is no gas supply.
“If today we have sufficient gas to fire 6,000 megawatts, Nigerians will see the fundamental different between when these companies were not privatised and now.”
He, however, noted that vandals had blown up gas pipelines supplying gas to power generation stations, adding that government was trying to fix the problem.
He said, “If you recall sometime back, some vandals went and blew up the gas pipelines supplying gas for power generation.
“It took NNPC a couple of months and millions of dollars to be able to fix those holes and to restore the supply of gas.
“I understand the NNPC are also finalising that.
“Now we have to take the fire fight approach to it and Mr President has directed that $300m from the Eurobond, should be channeled to the development of gas infrastructure.”
The DG stressed that the basic problem had been a lack of investment in gas infrastructure in the past.
He said the distribution companies had made a lot of investments to improve infrastructure.