Infighting, intrigues stalling electricity growth, say Reps

The infighting among members of the executive arm of government and political intrigues in Nigeria are key issues stalling the growth of the power sector, members of the House of Representatives have said.

Chairman, House Committee on Power, Magaji Aliyu, who led some committee members to the Annual General Meeting/Awards ceremony of the Association of Rural Electrification Contractors of Nigeria, said this while speaking on the side-lines of the event in Abuja.

Aliyu, who spoke on behalf of his team, also stated that findings by the committee had shown that many Nigerians were paying for electricity that they did not consume.

He said, “The power sector is in a big problem because of lack of efficient and dynamic policies. Let me give you an example: today, you will hear that a part of the Ministry of Power has been shifted to another organisation, which I believe is an aberration.

“I’ll give an example, at the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company there is war on where the organisation belongs; is it in power or finance ministry? There is an issue with the Hydropower Development Authority on whether it should be in the Presidency or the power ministry?

Aliyu added, “I believe that there are political machinations not to allow power grow in this country. There are machinations to interfere with the power sector generally. We have multidimensional problems.”

The legislator said the sector was faced with power distribution, generation and transmission problems, stressing that some organisations were created under the power ministry without the knowledge of the minister.

Aliyu said, “In this country, we still do what they call ‘take or pay’. Nigerians are paying for the electricity they did not take. We are paying for it. This is a very serious issue.

“But there must be a desired formula that the politics of it must allow the Ministry of Power to drive power process in this country. There are agencies that are supposed to be under the power ministry but they don’t report to the ministry now.”

He stated that the legislators would continue to engage the government, as several letters had been written to executive members and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on the need to make things work.

Aliyu also kicked against claims that legislators were interfering in the awards of contracts for power projects, arguing that none of his team had done so.

On his part, the National Chairman, ARECON, Innocent Uchenna, said Nigeria had been struggling to distribute 5,000 megawatts of electricity despite the trillions of naira which the Federal Government had sunk into the sector.

He noted that the association was created to partner the government and other stakeholders to ensure that electricity got to rural communities within the shortest possible time to stem rural migration to cities and engender economic prosperity. PUNCH

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