SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday bemoaned the poor state of electricity supply in the country and resolved that painful and difficult decisions would soon be taken to save the power sector.
NEC declared that the entire power sector had broken.
Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el Rufai disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the monthly meeting of NEC presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, such decisions would bother on the capacity of the owners of the distribution companies, electricity tariff, the manner the privatization excer use was carried out in 2014 and issues surrounding power supply.
Gov. el Rufai is a members of a committee set up by NEC to look into issues surrounding the poor performance of the power sector despite the privatization. The committee made submissions to the Council ahead of submission of its final report next month.
el Rufai said NEC was worried that the entire electricity sector had broken down, whole government was still providing funds to the Discos to stay afloat.
According to him, over N1.7 trillion had been given to the Discos in just threw years without commensurate outcome, adding that such a gesture was unsustainable.
He said: “Let me begin with the issue of electricity, I will plead that we don’t begin to pass judgement until we submit our final report.
The problems in electricity are many, capacity is one perhaps. There are some that have shown lack of capacity it is true but there are many that are fantastic, so it is very difficult to pass quick judgement.
“There are other issues. The entire sector is broken, the tariff is an issue, the way the privatization was done is an issue to many. So there are many many issues. What we have agreed on is that there are fundamental problem in the electrivity supply industry. And that you cannot privatize an industry and then over three years since privatization, you pump in N1.7 trillion of government into it, that is not privatization.
“The federal government has supported the electricity sector with N1.7 trillion in the last three years and this is not sustainable. So, solutions must be found, those solutions are not going to be nice, there maybe painful but the only way to solve the structural problems in the industry is to take some very difficult decisions. There are many issues including the ones you have observed in Kano DISCO.
“Our hope is that when we must have presented our report, we would have identified issues and isolated these issues and would present options to the government that would will have costs and benefits. Because, we continue to spend N1.7 trillion every try years. The question is if we continue like this are we getting electricity, industrialization, that is one option.
” We can also look at other options and have cost and benefits attached to it for the consideration of the economic council of government.
“So, my appeal is that let’s not be quick to pass judgement. Right now we are listening to all the stakeholders, of course there is a lot of blame game. At the end of the day, we must have an honest conversation as Nigerians and know that unless we fix electricity we cannot make progress. And this electricity is required not only in the cities but in every home, every rural area. How do we fix the structural problem in the industry so that it doesn’t cost the government this much to cover the whole of the country.
“Today, there are 80 million Nigerians that do not have access to electricity. We cannot continue like this.
‘So, we will ask all these questions, look at everything you have observed and even those that you have not observed. But we want to listen to Nigerians and get their own views and incorporate those views in every solution that we proposed.”
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