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Senate calls on FG to appoint a separate minister of power




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Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola,

The Senate has called on the federal government to appoint a separate minister of power to ensure effective and maximum delivery in the sector.

The ministry of power, works and housing is currently headed by Babtunde Raji Fashola. The lawmakers therefore urged the government to split the portfolios to enable adequate power supply in the country.

Naija News gathered that the Senate also urged the government to immediately incorporate Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for the implementation of alternative energy projects, which included the Hydropower Projects, Solar and Wind Power Projects.

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The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing was also urged to use gas as source of energy for the Kaduna Project in accordance with its original concept.

This followed a resolution on a motion by Sen. Mustapha Bukar (APC-Katsina) on “The Need to Establish and Delegate Special Purpose Vehicles to Execute and Operate Major Power Sector Development Projects.”

Bukar said that the federal government in 2004, conceived the idea of an Integrated Power Project which metamorphosed into Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), incorporated in 2005.

“This was in government’s quest to bridge the gap for sustained economic growth in Nigeria by adding significant new generation capacity to Nigeria’s electricity supply system.”

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He said that the National Assembly enacted the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005 on March 11, 2005, which kick-started the process of privatisation of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

According to him, the Act was in a bid to develop a Competitive Electricity Market with the establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), adding that the function of NERC is to provide for the licensing and regulation of the entire value chain of the Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM).

“The privatisation exercise became effective on Nov.1, 2013 when the unbundled Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) was sold and transferred to successful bidders of the six Generation Companies (GENCOs) and the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs).

“The ownership and control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was retained by the Federal Government for strategic reasons,” he said.

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Bukar added that consequent upon the commencement of the privatisation and establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Market, the role of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing was restricted.

In his submission, Chairman, Committee on Power, Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe, said the committee was working along its own mandate for oversight.

“We are working toward ensuring that these concerns that have been raised by this motion were looked into. The ministry of power today is combined with works and housing and the thrust of the ministry is to give quality direction.

“But, what we find is that the ministry continues to appropriate these jobs that are specifically meant to be done by agencies under it. We are taking measures to see whether we can bring back the ministry to what it ought to be,” he said.

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The Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at plenary, said that all efforts should geared towards ensuring there is sufficient energy to reduce cost of goods in the country.

“We need to create a situation where we have energy sufficiency; so long as the private sector depends on private arrangement for energy requirements, the cost of goods will continue to be high, especially the ones produced here.

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“It is important that we all work toward ensuring power sufficiency in the country and ensure that it is sustained,” he said.