18 February 2015, Abuja – The Ministry of Power has disclosed that all things being equal, power generation this year will rise to 6,000 megawatts.
Making this disclosure during the ministry’s defence of its 2015 budget before the Senate Committee on Power, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Godknows Igali, said the only threat to the attainment of this goal would be persistent vandalism of gas pipelines as he lamented how the commitment of the power sector has consistently been frustrated by vandals.
“Once we go above 4,000 mega watts, people bring us down to 2000; there is no country where its own citizens will go to blow up gas pipelines supplying to the power plants. If these vandals can allow this gas to flow, we will get to over 6000 megawatts,” he said.
According to him, most of the power plants have been linked to the gas pipelines and have continued to increase power generation, restating that Nigeria will enjoy improved power supply this year.
“Going into 2015, Nigerians will have more electricity. All the new owners of plants are pumping in more money and generating more power. There is spirited effort by the new owners to deal with the teething problems and Nigerians will have more electricity.
“The power sector is a sector that has been attracting the highest amount of investor confidence. We now have massive training of young people; over 1,000 people have been trained. The idea is to have a power sector of people who are very well trained and not quacks,” lgali added.
Speaking on the performance of the 2014 budget, he said the ministry would devise alternative sources of income in 2015, noting that there’s 92 per cent reduction of its budget.
According to him, out of the N59 billion approved in 2014, only 43 per cent of it was released to the ministry adding that all agencies are currently being encouraged to generate incomes for the running of the Power Ministry. He added that the ministry would source for funds from bilateral agreements and development partners.
He attributed fire incidents in the sector to the poor quality of equipment that has been brought into Nigeria, saying the ministry will ensure that all equipment to be imported into the country henceforth is tested.
In his earlier remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Philip Aduda, who expressed displeasure over the absence of the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, however, commended the ministry for its initiative to diversify its revenue streams.
He told the guests that once the elections were over, the committee would embark on oversight functions with a view to ensuring that all the power plants were operating at optimal capacity in view of all the bailouts benefits the firms have received.
He also noted the need for all the distribution companies (Discos) to embark on rural electrification to encourage investment in rural areas.
– This Day