The Nigerian Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has blamed “powerful cabals” for the slow pace of reforms in the electricity sector, saying “there are
very persons who do not want the power sector to progress in Nigeria.”
The privately-owned GUARDIAN newspaper quoted Prof. Nebo as saying at the weekend: “I wouldn’t want to start mentioning names but it is important to remember that there are people who are benefiting from the sufferings of the masses.”
But he vowed that that he would not to be deterred by the activities of the cabals, assuring that there would soon be an outburst of economic benefits as a result of anticipated improvements in electricity.
He said he was equal to the task and pledged to work with well-meaning stakeholders to tackle the challenges.
He said “Lots of funds have gone into the sector but in some areas, you don’t see a concomitant development in the sector, so there are problems within and without. There is the issue of Nigerian factor, cartels that feel that once there is power, they lose their own businesses.”
Prof. Nebo also unveiled government’s plan for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), a critical component of the electricity sector responsible for evacuating generated electricity from generating companies and wheeling it to distribution companies.
“To revive the nation’s ailing transmission infrastructure,” he said “the Federal Government has secured a facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other budgetary provisions that will bring TCN to a world class status to be able to wheel all electricity generated in the country.
He disclosed: “A US$ 100 million facility from the AfDB is going into transmission because President Goodluck Jonathan realises that all these years of neglect have led to a situation where transmission, which is actually supposed to be the pride of the entire sector, has become the weakest link.
“Government is working in that direction and very soon with these interventions from government, by acquiring this facility from the AfDB, we are putting all the money into transmission,” he said.
He said, however, that “The power sector has suffered intensely, especially because of the exponential growth in population without a concomitant development of power infrastructure in the system.
“Right now, with the reform agenda moving on very fine and rapidly and privatisation agenda getting closer to conclusion, the ministry will have to redefine its roles. We are moving on and the ultimate goal is to give Nigerians uninterrupted power supply and that is the ultimate finish line that we are all moving towards,” the minister pledged.