The Federal Government on Wednesday gave reasons it is unable to reach its promised target of 5,000 megawatts of electricity generation for consumers, specifically citing a shortage in gas supply.
The government said, however, that it is working round the clock to ensure that it raises the capacity to the required level.
The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, spoke while briefing newsmen at the end of the hybrid Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Wednesday.
“I’ve been watching since like yesterday (Tuesday) evening, we had a generation of over 4000, around 4600 megawatts. And you know, we told you since 1st July, that we’ll be able to raise it up to 5000 when we activated the contract. And we have not been able to do so, due to some issues around gas contracts, and gas to power, which we are trying to take care of. And we have gone very far with that, and I believe, is for that reason that we’re able to reach up to 4600 as of yesterday.
He said whereas the government had entered into a firm contract with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc, power generation had remained around 4,000 megawatts because of the problem of gas.
“So, this is what is happening. You will be experiencing this fluctuation due to all these issues around gas to power, because gas is not something that we control directly, you have to pay them, they will not give you gas until you pay. So, we are looking at ways to solve that issue. It is the reason why we are unable to reach that 5000 we promise you by July 1 of this year.
Aliyu assured that every necessary ingredient have now been obtained to resolve the problem as his ministry was working round the clock to improve the situation.
The Minister also revealed that FEC approved N2,740,000,000, the revised estimates for the updated rates of building structures of compensation and resettlement of the communities affected by the construction of 700 megawatts Zungaro Hydro electric power project.
“Today, I approach Council to seek for approval of revised estimates. Total costs for the updated rates of building structures of compensation and resettlement of the communities affected by the construction of 700 megawatts Zungaro Hydro electric power project in the total sum of N2,740,000,000 which will revise the subsisting amount from N19,640,000,000 to N22,380,000,000 and the council graciously approved the request,” he said.
Also briefing, Minister of the Niger Delta, Umana Umana disclosed that Council, at the closed door considered and approved a memo for additional costs of carrying out the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC).
“You’ll recall that for this exercise, a lead consultant was appointed who had to work with 16 other field auditors, and the initial contract zone which covered the lead consultants and the field forensic auditors was N1.786 billion. These auditors have since concluded their work but in the cause of carrying out this work, it was discovered that they had to deal with many more projects than were initially envisaged.
“And the exercise also took an additional seven months. The total number of additional projects considered by the auditors was 3,773. So, for reasons of the additional number of projects and the additional time taken, Council today approved a revised additional sum of N765,974,975.50 to cover the additional works done by the forensic auditors.”
On the constitution of the NDDC board, the Minister expressed confidence that the government will soon issue a white paper after it carries out a critical look at the findings of the forensic audit report.
“As the Minister, I am very anxious to have the board oversee the affairs of the NDDC. And the position of the federal government also is that they should be a board to oversee the affairs of the NDDC, in line with the provisions of the extent law.
That position has been very consistent. If you look at the records, the President has submitted names of nominees for the board to the Senate, …when the Senate reacted, there were litigations about whether what was done was in line with the position of the law. And while that was being addressed, we had the issue of the forensic audit. And the position of the President, when once the audit was instituted, he made it very clear that he will wait for the conclusion, the outcome of the forensic audits, before the board will be constituted.”