El-Rufai calls for restoration of credibility to fix nation’s power sector

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By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna.
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir  El-rufai  in Kaduna Thursday said the present administration will restore credibility and consistency to fix the nation’s epileptic power sector for the implementation of change agenda to Nigerians.
Governor El-Rufai, speaking at the Second Edition of the National Council on Power held in Kaduna, said to ensure viable power supply in the country, there was need for proper restructuring of National Electricity Regulatory commission (NERC) with credible people.
He said unless that was done, potential energy private investors would continue to shy away from investing in the sector.
Governor El-rufai lamented the poor regulatory policy framework of the power sector noting that currently the distributing companies DISCOS has huge debt.
The governor who passed vote of confidence on the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola to fix the power sector urged the minister to take drastic steps to address the policy plan of the ministry to ensure stable and uninterrupted power supply in the country.
“One of the reasons why it has failed in my opinion while communication and telecommunication sector have succeeded is because of the kind of people that were appointed to be the regulators of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission”, he noted.
According to him, then at the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), measures were taken to train people that would be the foundation staff of the agency.
“But unfortunately those that came after us politicize the appointments and put people that lack the capacity, the knowledge or the competence to regulate the sector as well as for instance the telecom sector has been regulated,” he explained.
According to El-Rufai, the last administration’s power reforms had failed, “We are back to where we are in 2001-2002. We are generating the same amount of electricity. “We did not attract any foreign investment into the sector because the regulatory frame work is not working and lacks credibility.
“The decision by  National Electricity Eegulatory Commission in March last year to reduce tariff just to help President Jonathan wins elections destroyed any sense of independence and credibility of the commission.”
He further appealed to the Minister to ensure that people appointed to NERC are professionals without any political linkages.
“That is the only way the sector will attract private investment, and we all know that we can not solve electricity problems with government money alone, we need private investment.
“We couldn’t solve the telecoms problems with NITEL alone even after sinking billions of dollar.
“We had to open out the sector to have independent regulators, MTN, Econet, Glo and everyone came and now every Nigerian has a phone,” he said.
He said, if same was done in electricity in a few years, every Nigerian would have electricity.
El-rufai noted that Kaduna state needs 1000 mega watts but gets only 200 mega watts, adding that until Nigerians learn to use what they have efficiently, power outages would continue to be a problem in the country.
“Any community that we find with sizable size, we are trying to deployed solar power to them, so that they are off grid and have reliable electricity.
“That is the strategy we are working on, we can not wait until this problem is solved, “he said.
According to him, Kaduna State government was also working with the ministry of power to ensure that the two power plants in Kaduna, Gurara and Kudenden is completed and made available to the state of Kaduna particularly the industrial area.

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