The federal government says power generation in Nigeria will hit 7000 megawatts by the end of 2016 even as many Nigerians are suffering from incessant power outages
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Feb 22, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT |
BABATUNDE Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, is raising hope that very soon there will be improvement in the power supply situation in the country. Fashola has expressed confidence that given the various plans undertaken by the present administration in the power sector, the country may end 2016 generating 7000 megawatts, MW, of electricity in the national grid. This expectation is premised on the fact that the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, had said that the country’s electricity generation has grown to over 5000MW at present.
Fashola, who stated this when his ministry defended its 2016 budget before the Senate Committee on Power and Mines, noted that a lot have in recent times changed in the management of power in the country.
According to him, electricity generation and distribution was no longer the business of the government but that of private companies who bought stakes in the sector through the privatisation programme, which has left the government with the transmission aspect as being managed by Manitoba Hydro International of Canada. He noted that the ministry’s 2016 budget now focuses more on the transmission sector, completion of on-going projects, refurbishing of power plants and tackling gas supply issues which have been identified as key challenges of the sector.
Fashola explained that if all these are well addressed, the expected projection would boost electricity generation in the country by that figure. He also said that the ministry plans to take its role as a policy maker more seriously in the years to come, while all its relevant agencies would be tasked more on implementation and execution of government’s plan for the sector.
The minister also pledged not to revoke any inherited contracts in the interest of Nigerians. He said the norms of reversing projects of previous government were wrong and not in the best interest of Nigerians. “When newly formed governments begin a review of all contracts signed by their predecessors, it is not in the interest of the masses to cancel or frustrate them even when they are performing. What I am saying is that contracts cannot be terminated or frustrated on trumped up reasons simply because a new government does not like the affiliation of the holder of the contract.
“It weakens the economy, it frustrates enterprise and leads to poverty and unemployment through job losses, loans taken from banks are endangered and the knock on effect is more than we often can see on the horizon, because the bad word spreads around the global investment community very quickly like wildfire. The previous government has done something wrong; they did not adequately protect the interest of the people and so on. Yes, it may be the case sometimes that the past government did not act in good faith, or even compromised or was even negligent. The answer is not cancellation, if the contract is performing. The answer is renegotiation,” he said.
According to Fashola, the best a new government can do rather than expose a number of people tied to those contracts to the labour market by cancellation of contracts, is to invite the holder of the contract, confront him with evidence of compromise, bad faith or recklessness. “It is a practice that is particularly prevalent on the African continent and I argue that this in some part contributes to our continental deficiency of infrastructure. What they do inadvertently is to create a climate that diminishes the sanctity of contracts, negatively affecting the ease of doing business.
“I am not saying that government must not terminate non-performing contracts. Indeed these are rights that are provided in all well drawn contracts. This, I think will enhance the reputation of the state or country or continent for honouring contracts and it is music to the ears of investors. Even then, I say, it must be sparingly resorted to, once the contract has been signed and is performing.”