29 September 2016, Lagos – Against an earlier statement of possible shut-down of the country’s power supply over cash liquidity and gas supply difficulties in the power sector, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has faulted such claims, describing it as “inflammatory and insensitive to Nigeria’s national security.”
The minister made this known at the opening ceremony of the Power Nigeria Agenda 2016 in Lagos.
It will be recalled that the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Dallas Peavey Jr, had warned that the country’s electricity woes may worsen in the coming weeks as liquidity and gas supply issues continue to threaten operations of Egbin, noting that owners of the plant might be forced to consider shutting it down if the challenges remain unresolved.
Dispelling the remarks, Fashola said: “The statement is inflammatory and it was insensitive to our national security.”
Speaking further, he said: “If the commentator was not introspective, he would mention that the debts were not incurred by this administration, and that debt and settlement are continuous events in the power value chain, bills are served, claims are made, they are verified and settled.
“Also, he would have spoken about approval and payment that have been made this year. It is a continuous verification for claims and settlement of debts. “All of the debts that are owed and legitimately contracted, verified will be paid. There is a clear policy decision in that area, but it requires all operators, those who claim and those who have to pay to operate in a transparent manner. We will not pay debt that are not properly verified and accounted for.”
He, however, refuted claims that the grid is very fragile and cannot support 1300MW not to talk of 5000MW. He said the grid currently has the capacity to support 5300MW which is expanding on a daily basis.
“We are synchronizing with the Generating Companies and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in order to ensure the service end that connects both, which is the Transmission Company of Nigeria is able to respond adequately on demand. These are some of the serious issues that we take up at our monthly power meeting. Our next meeting will hold in Sokoto,” the Minister said.