Obasanjo receives action plan to revive power sector
President Olusegun Obasanjo was presented with a six-year action plan aimed at reviving the power sector by the
Minister of Power and Steel, Senator Liyel Imoke. The action plan is also aimed at creating a conducive atmosphere
that would attract investment to the power sector to make it more efficient.
While receiving the plan, Obasanjo said the Federal Government could not unilaterally provide all the budgetary needs of the power sector, hence the need for it to be made more attractive to interested investors.
The president also challenged the Minister of Power and Steel, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and all
stakeholders in the sector to work untiringly towards achieving the target of 10,000 MW by 2007. He urged the
Ministry of Power and Steel and NEPA to pay more attention to the development of wind and solar energy as alternative
source of energy.
Obasanjo said developing such alternatives would supplement the current effort of rural electrification, especially since it has been proved that wind and solar energy were most suitable for small settlements. While warning that the "madness of vandalisation of power installations must be stopped," he advised NEPA to ensure regular and scheduled maintenance of its plants. Other issues discussed included the regulatory law for privatisation of NEPA and gas supply for power generation.
Imoke later told State House correspondents shortly after the meeting, that the passage of the law on Privatisation
of NEPA by the National Assembly would herald the reform of the power sector which would then lead to privatisation.
He stated that "let us not use the word privatisation. Let us call it sector reform. The programme addresses a
comprehensive agenda of reforming the power sector and privatisation."
"We expect that with the passage of the law by the National Assembly, then we can commence that aspect of reform that will lead to privatisation. Some of the stakeholders that participated at the meeting, apart from those from the Presidency are oil companies who have a role to play in terms of provision of gas for generation of electricity, the Nigeria Gas Company, some private sector stakeholders, prospective independent power producers and the Energy Commission of Nigeria," Imoke added.
The minister who said he could not give the exact debt profile of NEPA, however, added that "what consumers owe NEPA
runs into billions of naira. But if you look at it, it will be close to or in excess of N 50 bn, that is if you add
what is outstanding to NEPA from government agencies, private consumers and others."
The meeting was also attended by Vice President Atiku Abubakar, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Audu Ogbeh; Senate President Adolphus Wabara, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu; and the Minister of State for Finance, Mrs Nenadi Usman. Also, Obasanjo met with the National Automotive Council and Bicycle Manufacturers in the country to discuss necessary steps towards local production of bicycles in the country.