23 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – In line with a culture from past governments, the Federal government has announced a new power generation target of 25,000 megawatts by the year 2020.
This, however, is despite the fact that power firms in the country are struggling to generate and sustain 4,000MW of electricity after the sector was privatised in November 2013.
Making the announcement when he spoke at the 5th induction ceremony of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria’s (NAPTIN) Graduate Skills Development Programme in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, insisited that the present administration was determined to transform the power sector in four years.
Shehuri, however, had some harsh words for bureaucrats in the Power ministry, remarking that that over the years, the selfish interest of workers in the Power ministry has been one of the reasons slowing down the growth in electricity generation and supply across the country.
Buttressing comments made by the keynote speaker at the event, Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu, the minister stated that improvement in the power sector had been frustratingly slow, considering the fact that the first electricity generation firm in the country was established in Ijora, Lagos in 1896, with a generation capacity of 20MW.
He said, “As the past speaker said, the journey from 1896 to 2016, that is 120 years, has been very long, slow and frustrating. And I think Nigerians deserve better than this. I came to the ministry of power some four or five months back and I’m privileged to know the troubles.
“I understand that the ministry is the reason why Nigeria is not moving forward. It has been pulling back Nigeria from independence till date, and I believe this government is here to change this for the better. I assure the inductees that after four years of this government, it will hand over to Nigerians a power sector that is better than what is obtainable today.”
On the new power generation target, Shehuri said the feat could only be achieved though robust collaboration among stakeholders as well as improvements in infrastructural development and capacity building.
Aliyu said, “Let us ambitiously assume that the current 2016 total power generation capacity in Nigeria is 6,000MW. That simply implies that the average power growth rate in Nigeria in 120 years is as low as 50MW per year.
Meanwhile, a weekly energy watch of the NERC has said that an average of 2872MW of electricity was constrained in the system last week. The figure also suggests an increase from 1895MW which it recorded in the previous week.
According to industry experts, the development means that the country’s energy systems had the capacity to generate that much but was unable to either because of lack of gas to thermal generation plants or low water levels in the hydro dams. They also said that transmission challenges could have resulted to such.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) watch also ndicated that on the average, 3682MW of electricity was generated, transmitted and distributed to consumers across the 11 distribution networks of the country last week.