By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Hope for improved power supply is in sight in Akwa Ibom State as Governor Udom Emmanuel has reiterated his administration’s plan to ensure electricity for all by December 31, 2021.
Emmanuel, who hinted this in his broadcast marking the 33rd anniversary of the state, said the power for all initiative remained in focus and expressed hope that the stakeholders in the sector would cooperate more with toward ensuring the realization of the lofty goal.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Ibom Power Company, Engr. Etido Inyang has said that the state government was leaving no stone unturned in the realization of the ‘Power for All Initiative’ in the state before the end of next year.
According to Engr. Inyang, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Power of All initiative is aimed at providing uninterrupted electricity supply to all the communities in the state through the state owned Ibom Power Plant at Ikot Abasi.
Speaking with newsmen in Uyo, Inyang said the Power Company has been working with the state government, banks and the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED to ensure that the initiative is realised as scheduled.
“Interestingly, the State Governor is pushing every time to change the narrative. We have gone to NERC before and they said yes, whatever you have to do, let us know. And the Governor said I am coming here so that you give me license let me run my power and distribute. That is when the issue of Power for All Initiative came in. They opted for Power for All initiative because it will now be in conjunction with PHED.
“That was the Governor’s vision. We hope when we come together, the power that is produced in Ibom Power will now be used in Akwa Ibom. Akwa Ibom is the only State in the Federation that is about to redeploy that. It is a project that we had groundbreaking by the Vice President himself.
“The Governor had given the people the assurance that by the end of 2021, the Vice President will come back to commission that project. We are working assiduously towards the realization of that vision. We have done our evaluation.
“We are working with the banks. It is basically the State Government, Ibom Power, PHED. The three of us are coming together to make sure that happens. With evaluation, because of COVID-19, I won’t really put my hand to say before the end of the year.
“But I’m sure that it is happening by first quarter of next year if we miss the target of starting the project this last quarter that we are entering. We have milestones that have been set up. We can achieve that within the next one year which the Vice President will commission by end of 2021. That’s the option which citizens can enjoy this power.”
He disclosed that the initiative would be boosted with the completion of another power sub-station in Oron, in addition to existing ones at Uyo, Mkpat Enin and Ikot Ekpene.
On the recent increase in electricity tariff, Inyang said that though there was need to review the existing tariff in the light of present realities in the sector the decision remained Ill timed as most Nigerians are yet to recover from the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.
“There have been complaints about tariff rate that is coming up now. I would say that Nigeria needs to review its tariff. But is it time? No! A country that has its citizens in mind will definitely not review its tariff by this time when other countries are actually giving their citizens palliatives in every ramification.
“You are not supposed to increase tariff now. I am not against increase in tariff. But I say the timing is wrong. We are not supposed to increase electricity tariff by now”, he explained