The Federal Government in Nigeria has budgeted about N806,103.6 billion ($195,000,174.20) for various power projects in 2022. This is in an effort to try and fix the country’s ailing power sector.
The billion Naira power sector budget/intervention is coming at a time when stakeholders have opposed the continuous support for privatised entities by the federal government, saying the move was counterproductive to the ideals of privatisation.
Some of the projects as highlighted in the 2022 budget included: N1 billion ($2,4 million) for a rural electrification access programme in federal universities; N220.5 billion ($533,468,218.50) for multilateral and bilateral funded projects (Zungeru, NEP, Abuja power feeding scheme and transmission access, among others).
Others are the N800m ($193,548,5.60) for the distribution expansion programme projects to utilise the stranded power from the grid, N114bn ($275,806,698) funding (inclusive of multilateral loans) to the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) for the completion of renewable energy interventions for rural electrification projects nationwide, N303m ($733,065.17) for construction of 215MW LPFO/Gas Power Station, Kaduna and N470bn ($113,709,779) for Kashambilla transmission.
President Buhari displeased with the country’s energy sector performance
The Sun Nigeria reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had in a recent televised interview said he was not happy with the state of electricity in Nigeria.
The All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum has echoed these sentiments and said the displeasure of Buhari with the performance of the power sector is an indictment on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The group advised the president to scrap NERC, which is the power sector regulator, and move its responsibilities to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC). Its National Coordinator, Adeola Samuel-Ilori, gave this advice in an interview in Lagos last week.
Buhari also questioned the financial and technical competencies of the electricity distribution companies inherited by the administration. Power generation in the country still hovers below 5,000MW despite the 13,000MW installed capacity.
However, Samuel-Ilori noted that the buck stops on the table of the president who should demonstrate sufficient political will to make the necessary changes in the power sector that will be in the interest of national development.
“Our advice to the president is to scrap NERC for not living up to its responsibility of regulating the industry. The government should put the sector under the supervision of the FCCPC which had, in recent times, shown that it had what is required to protect the interest of Nigerians.
“If we have a regulator that cannot only bark but can bite, all the stakeholders in the electricity value-chain, especially the discos, will sit up,” said Samuel-Ilori.
He noted that the discos had for several years ignored NERC’s directives without sanctions, which had encouraged impunity in the sector.
He said, for instance, NERC’s order on capping of estimated billing was not obeyed by some discos, compelling the All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum to institute a suit against NERC and the discos before an Ikeja High Court.
According to the Forum national coordinator, the Meter Assets Providers scheme also stipulates a 10-day period for customers to be metered after making payment but some of the discos are not adhering to the directive.
Samuel-Ilori decried the slow pace of metering of electricity customers across the country, adding that Nigerians should be allowed to procure their meters directly from any source by the discos.