…Says merger of 3 ministries was a cost-saving measure
12 August 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said power generation has been stable at over 3,000 megawatts (MW) for days due to decisions taken at the monthly power sector meetings.
In a statement by Hakeem Bello, his spokesman, the minister said the task of power supply would be greatly enhanced if the government and the suppliers knew the number of people that needed power so that there would be proper planning for generation and supply.
Fashola noted that “In spite of the gas outages that we have, for the last few days now, we are settling at just a little over 3,000mw daily which is some progress from a setback that we have recorded consistently because of vandalism.”
He called for the audit of households, the occupants and the quantity of power consumption as that would help the government to plan a comprehensive service delivery across the country.
The ministry, Fashola said, planned to do an audit during the next National Census exercise and appealed to state governments to do same to enhance electricity supply, using such information.
The Minister has also described the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to merge the Ministries of Power, Works, and Housing which he manages as a single entity as a calculated measure to save the costs associated with running them independently.
Fashola, who was speaking at a ‘Town Hall Meeting and Policy Dialogue for Good Governance’ organised by the Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (AANI), also noted that he was equal to the task of running the ministries and comfortable with the merger decision of Buhari.
According to the statement from the senior communications aide to Fashola in Abuja, Mr. Hakeem Bello stated that the minister had in response to a question on the challenges he has running three ministries, said he welcomed the responsibility as it was a cost saving initiative by the president.
He added that he was pleased to serve his country in any capacity.
“Now, about whether I can cope with three ministries or not, on one hand, we have spoken of the high cost of running the government and in trying to mitigate or reduce that cost, Mr. President, in his wisdom decided to merge the three ministries together.
“Now, two of those ministries have had a natural relationship over years. They were either works and housing or land, works and housing. In adding power to it, let us also remember that the work left in lower is just to complete the privatisation and to complete the transmission grid,” he said.
He added that “The distribution is now in the hands of companies. All of the work that the defunct National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) used to do distributing power is now in the hands of 11 companies. All of the work that NEPA used to do generating power is now in the hands of six companies.”
The minister further explained, “Now, there is an agency called NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission) created by law made by people you and I elected. That is the regulator of the power sector now, in getting licenses issued and so on and so forth and a statutory company called NBET (Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc). So, all of these institutions are taking positions and evolving.”
He added that “So, my work really there is supervisory and directional. And that is why you will see that in the ministry of works and in the ministry of housing where we have over 4,000 personnel in each ministry, the ministry of power has barely 800 staff now and the numbers are reducing as traction is being gained.
“So, it is no longer a government driven sector; it is now a government regulated sector driven by the private sector.”
Fashola equally noted that “And if you still have any issue about that really, I think you should complain to Mr. President. For me, it is a privilege to serve my country in whatever capacities I am designated to do so.”