Power: Shifting From Six Months To Year End for 6000mw Minister Of Power What Is Amiss?




The Federal Government has again started its policy inconsistency as regards the power industry with its statement that it has concluded plans to ramp up power to 6000 megawatts by year-end.

The government had promised Nigerians that by March this year, it would roll out 35  Compressed Natural Gas CNG filling stations across the country, this is April going to May 2024, and we have yet to see them.

Again, the minister of power in the last two months or so has consistently been emphatic that the government will ramp up Power to 6000 megawatts in six months. To be precise, in March 2024, Minister Adebayo Adelabu while speaking with heads of agencies under his ministry and other stakeholders said: “4000 megawatts is not acceptable and we have plans to increase the megawatts to a minimum of 6000 to 6500 within the next three to six months.”

“What we are looking at is to have an agreement to ramp up to a minimum of 6000 megawatts within the next three to six months.

”I know that the highest we ever generated was 5,700 megawatts about three years ago, that was specifically in Nov. 2021.

”And these 5700 megawatts were also distributed. If we could achieve 5,700 at that time, I believe we still have the infrastructure to generate between 6,000 and 6,500.”

Adelabu said he had visited several generation companies and confirmed they had the installed capacity to generate 6000MW,” he said.

This reporter asked the minister specifically when he came to visit Ikeja Electric whether he believes that the Transmissions Company of Nigeria (TCN) can wheel 6000megawatts, he insisted by stating that the agency had wheeled 5000 megawatts before, so it can do 6000megawatts.

By stating six months the general impression is that by September 2024 the extra 2000 megawatt would be available, but it does appear that the minister is recanting his statement of six months and has moved to year-end.

The minister while receiving the Senate Committee on Power in his office in Abuja on Monday22, 2024 changed his matra from six months to year end. He told the senators that the Federal Government has concluded plans to ramp up power generation to a target of 6,000 Mega Watts from 4,000 MW by the end of 2024. Thereby indicating a shift in the earlier date of six months which should be September.

The power minister lamented the over-dependence on the national grid and noted that a target of 10-12,000 transmission capacity has been set for the next three years.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, said issues around the recent hike in electricity tariff were at this meeting shelved, as an investigative hearing has already been scheduled for the 29th of April to address major concerns trailing the policy.

The Minister further appealed to the committee to help pressurise the government to help pay outstanding debts, a move he said would significantly ramp up the electricity supply.

According to him, the Tinubu-led administration is determined to break the 4,000 MW jinx, that has spanned decades before his appointment as the 47th minister of power.

Leading members of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe alongside the Power Minister and other officials, also inspected some projects before meeting members and Staff of the transmission company of Nigeria at a separate meeting.

At the meeting, the incessant power grid collapse in the country was the focus.

According to the TCN, Nigeria has witnessed six power grid collapse in the year 2024.   Gas shortage for power generation and the vandalism of power infrastructure are said to be responsible for the recurrent incidents of grid collapse in the country.

The Minister on November 9, 2023, had said that President Bola Tinubu had stopped the increase in electricity tariff and insisted on the payment of subsidy on power consumed nationwide.

Adelabu, addressing the call for a cost-reflective tariff, which would raise the power tariff, said the president had insisted that a stable electricity supply must be achieved before the implementation of a cost-reflective tariff.

“The power sector is an industry that is very sensitive to any leader,” the minister said.

“You cannot jump overnight and implement the cost-reflective tariff. I can tell you that till today the government still subsidises power. The tariff should have been raised months back, but Mr. President said until we can achieve regular and incremental power supply we can’t touch the tariff.

“So, there is a gap between the cost-reflective tariff that we are supposed to charge and the allowed tariff. That huge gap the government is still handling as a subsidy. This affects liquidity in the system, and investments and causes so many constraints.

“Now, I never said that it is not yet time to charge a cost-reflective tariff. Rather, I said the cost-reflective tariff is supposed to have been implemented months ago because it is the source of liquidity to the system.

“But for political reasons and empathy, you cannot cause additional burden on Nigerians. We just had the removal of fuel subsidy; we are talking about the exchange rate skyrocketing, galloping inflation and so many others that bring hardship to the people.

“And Mr. President is trying to relieve this hardship through various forms of palliatives. So it is not politically expedient and reasonable to now implement a tariff that is more like dumping the existing tariff.

Nobody has been told what has changed that the Federal Government suddenly jettisoned its political reason and empathy, and woke up almost six months down the line and increased the tariff of the so-called band A customers, an action that is already having spiral effects on the masses.

There is always a need for the minister to consult the experts in the industry before giving deadlines or timelines to policy executions only to turn around and start shifting those deadlines.  This does not help the image of the government. The minister in particular who knows that he is not a technically sound person in the power sector should endeavour to listen to his technical assistants and those who should know better.



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