Apparently concerned about the state of electric power supply across the country, the Senate recently summoned Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, Hajia Zainab Kuchi, minister of state for power and others to appear before its Committee on Power two weeks ago to explain why the problem of electricity supply has remained unabated in the country.
A recent survey by NOI Polls Limited, Nigeria’s leading opinion polling and research organisation, revealed that power outages experienced by Nigerians last month were worse than that of March.
At the meeting, Nebo, among other things, disclosed that nothing less than N335 billion was needed to have a robust super national grid network that would ensure uninterrupted and steady supply of electricity.
Nebo, who reportedly expressed worry over the decay in the sector, said most of the equipment available were old, adding that there was also a problem of acute shortage of able-bodied manpower.
He however said there would be further improvement in power supply, with the ongoing National Integrated Power Project and sub-stations projects in Anambra State.
It has been said in many quarters that the Federal Government need to expedite action on its plans to build a new super transmission network, which amongst other things will help to evacuate power from the proposed Mambilla hydro power plant.
The government had in August 2012 said all was set to begin the construction of the 3,050 megawatts (MW) Mambilla Hydro Power project in Taraba State and the 700MW Zungeru hydro plant in Niger State, intended to give additional capacity to the nation’s power generation, which currently hovers around 3,500 to 4,500 MW.
The revered professor, who is reputed to have transformed the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Federal University Oye-Ekiti as Vice Chancellor, will only etch his name in the minds of the teeming Nigerian masses, if he is able to improve on the gains of the power sector reforms. As the ongoing privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria is about to be completed, it is believed that government should not relent in providing the enabling environment for the investors in the form of good policies and provision of critical infrastructure.
It is common knowledge that the power sector has been bedeviled by severe infrastructural deficits due to many years of government monopoly which was characterised by inefficiency and neglect.
The minister is expected to ensure that the nation’s electricity infrastructures are improved upon by ensuring that additional generating plants and other infrastructural facilities are built to fast-track the reform of the sector.
The minister should ensure that the projects that have been proposed in the 2013 budget see the light of day. They include Kaduna dual fired power plant, Katsina wind farm, small and medium hydro plants and renewable energy (biogas and biofuel).