09 February 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government says it will ensure the completion of ongoing power projects designed to improve electricity generation, transmission and distribution in the country in no distant time.
The Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, announced the government’s position while inaugurating the new National Commissioners for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in Abuja.
Following the exit of the Chairman and former commissioners of NERC in December 2015, the acting Chairman of the commission had carried on with the activities of the agency without national commissioners as required by law.
The Chairman-designate of NERC, Prof. Akintunde Akinwande, had reportedly rejected his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as he did not present himself for screening at the Senate.
The Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 states that NERC shall have seven full-time commissioners appointed by the President and subject to confirmation by the Senate.
To this end, Fashola said even though the government was committed to completing the projects, the bulk of activities in the power sector would henceforth be private sector dominated.
Fashola said, “The first thing to emphasise is that the power sector has been privatised.
“This process occurred and was concluded in November 2013 and has resulted in the vesting of a majority of power generation and power distribution in the hands of private owners.
“So for the avoidance of doubt, power is now in private hands, and the government is now largely a policy maker and regulator.”
Fashola said that the policy aspect in the sector was domiciled with the ministry, while the NERC was saddled with the responsibility of regulating the value chain operators.
According to the minister, “Regulation is the work of NERC, acting through the commissioners we inaugurated today.
“So for all those seeking a licence to generate power, to build coal and solar plants, and all other similar proposals, your letters should go to NERC, not to the ministry although you can copy us for information.”
The minister also urged people with issues on metering and other challenges like estimated billing, customer service issues to direct their complaints to NERC.
Fashola said that the selection of the new commissioners was in line with the extant laws governing the sector.
He said that their appointment was meant to provide stability in government’s regulatory action and institution building to the sector.
Fashola urged the new commissioners to be business-oriented in their regulation, while also showcasing firmness and fairness in their regulatory activities.
“Remember that regulations are rules and rules are made for us; we are not made for the rules. Regulate with the understanding that the industry is young, in transition and needs support.”
The six national commissioners inaugurated included the Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Sanusi Garba, representing the North West; and Nathan Rogers Shatti, North East.
Others were: Dr. Moses Arigu, North Central; Dafe Akpedeye, South-South; Prof. Frank Okafor, South-East, and Dr. Musilliu Oseni, South West.