The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said that the challenges of the power sector in Nigeria are manmade and not technical.
Fashola made the statement as a distinguished lecturer at the University of Lagos on Thursday in Lagos. The theme of the lecture, organised by the Department of Economics of the university, was: The Power Sector Reform in Nigeria; Challenges and the Way Forward.
Fashola said there was no mystery in achieving stable and reliable electricity supply but that all stakeholders must conform to guidelines of the sector’s roadmap.
He said the roadmap was aimed at getting incremental, stable and uninterrupted power but that achieving set targets required step-by-step approach.
He appealed to Nigerians to be patient with APC government and pledged that the party would deliver on its promises. The minister said attacks on gas pipelines; kidnapping of expatriates working on power sustainability, procedures and inefficiencies in power transmission and distribution were among the challenges facing the sector.
He also cited sabotage in governance; non-payment of tariff, poor investment, among others as other challenges frustrating the power sector. The minister noted that the issue of stable power was characterised by many years of broken promises but added that the sector was making progress.
He said that the country was not yet feeling the impact of work done because of the processes involved in transmission and distribution. “The issue of containers left in the port for about 10 years; explosion of pipelines; badly installed equipment; cancelled tariff, electricity theft among others are all the handiwork of men. “Now, if men and women created these problems, in my view only men and women can solve them. ”
You and I have a role to play, I have stood up to play my role, have you?” The minister highlighted issues related to metering and tariff and asked Nigerians to blow whistle when they noticed sharp practices among the operators. Dr Wale Babalakin , the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of the university, said the country needed a well thought out solution based on creativity. “In thinking of the power generating solution of this country, we also we must be creative.
We have what it takes but we indeed need to work on our attitude. “And that is why I am calling on all to join hand in reforming our education sector which is key to any developmental stride. “Education as the engine room for the revolution of Nigeria must be fostered,” he said.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Rahamon Bello, said Fashola was well informed about intrigues in the sector and would get the solution with the support of all Nigerians. Bello said under the minister plans had been concluded to energise all public universities in Nigeria, adding that an agreement had been signed for power generation at the university of Lagos.
The Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences of the university, Prof. Iyiola Oni, noted that the multiplier effects of power outages in the country had led to high cost of production. Oni also stated that inflation, unemployment and poverty were ripple effects of the power sector challenge. “In effect, this means that most of these negative vices are more likely to become things of the past if sufficient and reliable power supply can be guaranteed,” he said.