The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yesterday insisted that the Buhari administration has been making steady progress in electricity generation and distribution, “with distribution rising to 5,222MW, an all time national high”.
The Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors, (ANED) has persistently queried the power generation and distribution figures rolled out by Fashola, saying the minister has been economical with the truth.
But Fashola, who spoke in Calabar, Cross River State at the ministry’s retreat for top directors, heads of units and chief executives of agencies and parastatals, said although, there was still more to be done, the ministry had moved the power generation forward from where it was three years ago.
“Three years ago, the story was that power generation was the main problem of Nigeria. The story was that the distribution companies were complaining that they did not have enough energy to distribute to Nigerians.
“We were distributing averagely 2,690 megawatts of electricity to Nigerians, but today, that story has changed; distribution has risen to 5,222 megawatts, an all time national high.
“Transmission has reached 7,000 while generation has reached 7000. The problem has not finished but all we can say is that we have made progress.”
Fashola also stated that the Buhari administration was constructing roads in virtually all the 36 states, “some of which are through collaborative efforts as well as direct interventions.”
According to him, the present administration has spent over N300 billion on roads construction since coming to power three years ago.
On housing, he said: “Before this administration, there was no housing policy but now we have one.”
The minister recently brokered a N72 billion investment to improve the distribution infrastructure in the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria.
The investment plan, according to the minister, would be part of the government’s 40 per cent shareholding in the Discos.
Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja, the Managing Director of TCN, Mr. Usman Mohammed, stated that company had been appointed to manage the N72 billion planned investments in the Discos.
Mohammed said the TCN got the approval because it already had a comprehensive systems study and plan on Nigeria’s electricity network, adding that the investment would help stabilise the country’s electricity grid.
“Discos have low capacity; investments have not been done in the Discos, and you know it. We have commissioned so many substations; go and find out how many of these have been done by the Discos. That is why we are begging the government and anybody that is willing to listen to us that investments need to go to the Discos. We are actually working with the government to see that the last mile which is now the weakest link in the power value chain which is distribution, that investments are directed to that sector,” Mohammed said.
He further explained: “In the past the government had not shown interest in putting money in the distribution, but recently the minister of power has approached the government and got it to approve N72 billion which will be invested in the Discos.
“This is one milestone that will help us to also stabilise the grid. It is in our interest that distribution is rehabilitated and I can tell you we lost two transformers in Abuja because of poor distribution. If distribution is not fixed, it will affect us at the TCN. Government is investing in the Discos and it is TCN that is managing the investment. We are managing it on behalf of the minister of power,” Mohammed said.