Fashola Gives First Year In Office Report

babatunde-fasholaThe Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,  says his ministry had fared well in 2016 than the previous year based on the budgetary provision and due process in the award of contracts.

He made the remark while delivering a report of his first year performance in office in Lagos.

Mr Fashola also said a lot was being done to improve on power generation and transmission as well as the state of federal roads.

With a budget size of 260 billion Naira against 18 billion Naira set for works in the previous year, over 200 road projects have already been contracted out, with an outstanding completion cost of about 1.5 trillion Naira.

The minister, who first gave an insight into the first challenge he had to grapple with, said there were liabilities ranging from outstanding payment to contractors.

Faced with the task of limited resources in the light of huge liabilities, it became paramount to prioritise projects effectively and efficiently.

Road projects cut across the six geopolitical zones, including the Tambuwal-Mekera Kontagora road, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Shagamu and aba Port Harcourt roads.

Nigeria, with its over 160 million population, is rationing a little above 5,000 megawatts

On power, the minister said 24 billion Naira was approved for the year and that expansion work had started at different parts of the country in order to improve wheeling and transmission capacity.

“The maximum power we have generated this year is 5,000 plus. The current transmission capacity is about 5,900 (megawatts) and it is growing progressively.

“What it must do is that it must stay marginally ahead of the generation capacity,” he told reporters.

After his comments on efforts to improve power supply in Nigeria, questions on tariff and low cost housing were raised.

The housing sector appears not to have seen much action. However, tenders have been considered and over 500 contracts are set to be awarded with 27 states already keyed into the projects.

He gave a breakdown of the items needed for the housing facility.

With the rural electrification implementation programme set for roll out, over 42 bridges getting attention and much more happening in 2017, the nation’s economy that is in recession may just be getting repositioned for a bounce back.

Gas Pipeline Vandals Sabotage Nigeria’s Power Sector Efforts

The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo

The incessant pipeline vandalism in Nigeria’s western axis is affecting the supply of gas to power stations, reducing the megawatts by 1,000, a government official has said.

The Minister for Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, described the activities of pipeline vandals as sabotage to the government’s effort in ensuring that power generating companies get enough input in terms of gas supply.

He called on the media to sensitise Nigerians on the negative impact of such vandalism to the economy and to the entire value chain.

“When gas supply is affected, it is not only power that suffers. It affects the entire value chain. The industries cannot work. There will be no power and the farmers cannot get fertilizer,” Professor Nebo said on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise, on Saturday.

He reiterated that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had a good agenda that Nigerians would benefit from if they would support the government by ensuring that facilities put in place by the government were not vandalised.

“The president did what no other president could do. He faced the privatisation process and made sure it was completed,” he stated.

Since the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), some Nigerians have complained of deteriorating power supply.

Professor Nebo attributed the situation to the reduction in the supply of gas to power stations and assured Nigerians that there would be improvements in few weeks.

“Everything is on course. The challenge we are having now is the teething problem.

“The good news is that the work of these vandals is being checked. The National Security Adviser to the President held a meeting with security operatives and all the stakeholders to that effect. There have been convictions of those who have vandalised facilities.

“The hope is that very soon there will be an improvement in power supply, as the entire value chain is being addressed.

“The horrible dynamite blow outs of the gas pipeline on the western axis have all been fixed. In the next few weeks there will be significant improvements,” the minister said.

New Investors In Huge Debt Profile

Funding has also been identified as another issue that is affecting the supply. Some of the new power generating companies are over stretched, having huge debt profile.

“Some of the companies borrowed much of the money they used for the purchase of the unbundled PHCN.

“What we did not foresee is that there would be a huge debt profile hanging on the necks of the distribution companies.

“We are doing our best to ensure that the issue of gas is settled, then we will demand that the output match the input,” Professor Nebo said.

He pointed out that there were power projects that had not been used to its full capacity due to the gas shortfall.

“Geregu Power Plant should be generating over 400 megawatts but because of the gas pipeline vandalism, they are generating less than 200 megawatts,” he explained.

The minister urged Nigerians to be a little patient, as the expected improvements after the sales of the PHCN would be experienced soon.

At the moment, Nigeria is generating 3,800 megawatts, a figure far too small to cater for a nation of over 160 million people.