FEC resolves to address power challenges – Minister

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday resolved to address the problems facing the nation’s power sector to boost electricity supply across the country.

The Minister of Power, Malam Sale Mamman, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting, presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mamman, who identified lack of effective distribution system in the value chains, said Nigeria could generate 13,000 megawatts of electricity, transmit only about 7,000 but could only distribute 3,000 megawatts of the total generation.

The minister, however, assured that the Federal Government was willing to address the power challenges headlong, as his ministry had submitted recommendations and solutions to the problems to the council for possible consideration.

“We presented achievements right from the day we took oath of office to date. We want to tell Nigerians what we achieved in the value chains.

“Nigeria can generate up to 13,000 megawatts of electricity but we cannot transmit all. So today we presented to the council the solution to the problem of our generation. It is mainly distribution.

“We can transmit, we can generate 13,000 megawatts; we transmit 7,000 megawatts but can only distribute 3,000.

“There is a lot of work to be done in transmission companies and the government is now willing to take up the matter immediately,’’ he said.

On the fate of the Distribution Companies (DisCos), the minister disclosed that the federal government would soon decide the next line of actions based on the recommendations he submitted to the Council.

“We just have to sit and see whether they are capable, have the technical knowhow because most of the problems we are having today is the loss – technical loss and commercial loss.

“They will give you light and may not collect your money or they will collect the money and pocket, or they may send light and you may not have good sub-station that may collect this power and distribute to customers.

“This has been our major problem and it is the responsibility of the DisCos to take care of that end,’’ he added.

On the several financial interventions the government had made so far in the power sector, Mamman said federal government would not continue to subsiding power any longer.

He said: “That is what we are saying, government cannot continue to subsiding because what they doing is that they collect 3,000 megawatts and pay for only 1,000 megawatts, that is 15 per cent of what they are collecting.

“So, government is the one completing the payment. So, we cannot continue like that.

“So, if they are ready to continue, fine but if they are not ready to continue maybe they should give way to whomever that is ready to come and invest.

“We are asking government to review and see if they are capable fine but if they are not capable they should give way.’’

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, who also spoke to the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, disclosed that he presented a report card on the activities of his ministry in the past 100 days.

He revealed that the federal government had initiated moves to secure a 500 million dollars African Development Bank (AfDB) fund for technology innovation.

Adebayo said the government would also work towards the realisation of one agro processing zone in each senatorial zone to boost agricultural activities in the country.

He said: “We briefed Council on how far in implementing the priorities of government and basically we elaborated on one of the priorities given to our Ministry is the activation of the private sector led special economic zones.

“That already is in progress, with regards to one issue that has been in the headlines lately, is the establishment of agricultural processing zones in each Senatorial District.

“The Ministry is already working on that. We have employed consultants who are now going round and looking at each of the Senatorial Districts, with a view to knowing what agricultural processing zone will be set up in each Senatorial zone.”

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