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Reps to Ministry of Power: 'Nigerians interested in light, not your theories'

Reps to Ministry of Power: ‘Nigerians interested in light, not your theories’

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Power to take concrete actions towards solving the current nationwide blackout instead of postulating theories that do not translate into power supply to Nigerians.

The House Committee on Power led by its Chairman, Magaji Da’u Aliyu (APC, Jigawa) lamented the seeming lackadaisical and fire brigade attitude of the Ministry towards power issues each time there is a national emergency.

Having listened to the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nebolisa Anoka who represented the Minister, Abubakar Aliyu, the Committee chairman stated that there was nothing in the presentation to show that the Ministry was solving the problems.

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Anoka had enumerated in chronological order, the challenges facing the sector, ranging from low gas supply, low hydro levels, high cost of gas, as well as disequilibrium between power generation, transmission, and distribution which led to the collapse of the national grid — and what the Ministry has doing to salvage the situation.

He explained that in response to the serious challenges facing power generation, the Ministry of Power recently hosted an emergency meeting with key stakeholders in the gas-to-power value chain, during which far-reaching resolutions were arrived at on key measures needed to ameliorate the situation.

According to him, the challenges “are not entirely predictable, but actions are being taken by the Federal Ministry of Power and other partner government MDAs to alleviate the challenges to the supply of electricity sustainability.”

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He pointed out the issue of the right of way as stalling key transmission projects, assuring that the ministry will increase sources of supply through renewables, with a target of 30 percent generation through renewables by 2030.

Reacting to the presentation, Magaji said: “There is nothing to show in this presentation that you are trying to resolve the problems. It is a mere speech and thesis and my heart bleeds for this country.”

Da’u who earlier explained that the special interactive session was necessitated by the fact that Nigerians were facing the worst energy crisis in recent times, added that “the situation has affected businesses, both small and large, which is attracting huge public outcry,” he said, adding that Nigerians need an urgent solution to the problem.

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“There is nothing on ground to show that there will be light or generation of up to 5,000 megawatts, but we keep hearing about 30,000 megawatts of installed capacity across the power stations,” he said.

One after another, lawmakers who spoke lamented the unending projections by the Ministry that have never come to fruition. They accused the Ministry and managers of the power sector of deliberate conspiracy and sabotage to discredit the current administration.

The Committee Chairman in reaction to his colleagues called for the return of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), under the supervision of the Power Ministry, saying that there is not much both the Ministry and the Committee can do if the Agency remains elsewhere.

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A power play between the former Minister for Power and the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari had resulted in the removal of NBET from the Power Ministry to the Finance Ministry.

This, the Committee Chairman said was part of the sectoral problems affecting the country in terms of power, as the agency tasked with the responsibility of evacuating unused electricity and bridging the debit gap between Generating Companies (GENCOs) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) is not properly supervised.

Sada Soli Jibiya (APC, Katsina), had noted that the concern raised by GENCOs as major reason for the blackout, was the N1.4 trillion debt NBET is owing them as cost of generated but unused electricity.

He also noted three major concerns ranging from the quantity, quality, and cost of gas delivered to them for their operations.

The committee finally directed the Permanent Secretary to go back, and return on Friday with more practical evidence of intended interventions, insisting that it was “more concerned with why we are where we are.”

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