…as Reps begin hearing on power sector reform
BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that appropriate legislative intervention in the power sector is critical to national development.
Gbajabiamila, who stated this at the opening ceremony of the Public Hearing of the House Ad-hoc Committee on Power Sector in the National Assembly, said it is in line with the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House that the House had to initiate and complete necessary legislative reforms to remove the regulatory and bureaucratic bottlenecks that continue to mitigate against optimum performance in the sector.
The Speaker, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Ahmed Wase, while declaring open the public hearing, said; “It is no longer news that despite huge investments in the power sector, little progress may have been made.
“It is becoming increasingly, worrisome that successive governments have been unable to fix the issue of power in our country; with the current state of electricity supply dampening the hopes of landmark industrialization and national development.
“The last time some of you were here to witness the inauguration of this Ad Hoc Committee, we reminded you that at the onset of the 9th House of Representatives we proposed a legislative agenda that sought to initiate a comprehensive review of all legislation relating to the power sector. Today’s activity is an attempt to walk the walk.
“Our nation has long struggled with the problem of fixing the power sector in Nigeria and getting it to work in the optimal interest of all our people. We have not succeeded, despite the best efforts of many.
“The power sector is so integral to our national economic growth, to national security and even to social development, that we cannot ever stop trying to get it right. It is for this reason that the House of Representatives on the 12th of May, 2020 resolved to set up this ad Hoc Committee to undertake a holistic review of the power sector in Nigeria and to recommend legislative action to the House of Representatives,” he said.
In his remarks, the chairman of the ad-hoc Committee and House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the panel hit the ground running since being inaugurated, and that experts and relevant stakeholders in the sector have been interacted with before the public hearing.
Doguwa said; “There is no gainsaying the power sector to our nation’s industrialization and development. Interestingly, we are made to understand that the greatest issue bedeviling the sector after the unbundling of the defunct National Electric Power Authority is the inability to effectively transmit and distribute electricity supply across the country.
“The sector is also confronted with the issue of liquidity; with the Gas Suppliers claiming billions of Naira being owed them. Another major challenge is the fact that tariffs are not cost-reflectivecost-reflective.
“While we appreciate the efforts of institutions created from the unbundling exercise, particularly the GENCOs who now have the capacity to generate over 10, 000 megawatts, it is in fact, becoming clearer from a layman’s perspective that the DISCOs and transmission agents must do more if we anticipate any form of improved electricity supply in the country.
“The inability of some of these institutions to meet the covenant obligations they entered into at the time of privatization has reduced the capacity to enable reliable and quality electricity supply for both domestic and commercial use.”