Nigeria Power Sector: Senate Wants A Separate Minister To Supervise Sector.
The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday asked the federal government to appoint a separate minister of power to effectively and efficiently oversee activities in the sector.
The portfolio is currently merged with that of works and housing with the responsibility falling squarely on one Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola.
Senate believes separating the portfolio would bread efficiency and greater performance with the privatization of the power sector.
The senate’s position to have the ministerial portfolio separated follows prayers from Senator Francis Alimikhena (Edo North) on a motion by Senator Mustapha Bukar.
The motion called senate’s attention to the need to establish and delegate special purpose vehicles to execute and operate major power sector development projects.
The lawmaker noted that Nigeria effectively privatized her power sector on November 1, 2013, adding that the arrangement effectively limited the role of the federal ministry of power, works & housing under Fashola to policy and oversight of autonomous agencies in the power sector.
The agencies are the transmission company of Nigeria, national power training institute of Nigeria and Nigerian electricity liability management limited.
Others include the Nigerian electricity management services agency and rural electricity agency.
He noted that considering the need for the development of power sector infrastructure, government remains committed to developing project initiatives, arguing that it was based on this that certain projects were retained for direct supervision by the federal ministry of power.
These include 3,050 mw Mambilla hydropower project, 700 mw Zungeru hydropower project, 217 mw Kaduna thermal power project and 50 mw Katsina wind power project.
The federal lawmakers are however worried that the ministry of power as currently constituted lacked the required competence and resources to execute the projects.
The lawmakers are even more worried that despite the inadequacies of the federal ministry of power, works and housing, the ministry is rapidly expanding its project implementation activities rather than limiting its role to providing policy direction which lawmakers believe is preventing the regulatory agency, NERC, from creating the electricity market required to attract investments in the sector.
Senate believes separating the portfolio of the minister of power would eliminate conflict of job responsibility.
The upper legislative chamber also urged the federal government to immediately incorporate SPVS for implementation of alternative energy projects.
It urged government to employ qualified management to take charge of the project development in the SPVS and gradually resource the companies in readiness for full implementation.
Senate also called on the ministry of power, works and housing to use gas as the source of energy for Kaduna project.
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