Fashola restates challenges in power sector are man-made
Minister vows stringent punishment against bills’ defaulters
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, yesterday re-asserted that the challenges plaguing the power sector in the country were mainly man-made and not technical.
Fashola, who stated this at the distinguished public lecture organised by the Department of Economics, University of Lagos (UNILAG), said there was no mystery in achieving stable and reliable electricity, except that all stakeholders must conform with the guidelines of the sector’s roadmap.
He said the sector’s roadmap aimed to get more incremental power, stable power and uninterrupted power, adding that achieving all these requires step-by-step approach.
The minister, who noted that the issue of stable power in the country was characterised by many years of broken promises, affirmed that the sector was making progress in power transmission and distribution.
He said: “There are numerous challenges facing the power sector in the country. Most of them are man-made and not technical, including the issue of containers left in the port for about 10 years, explosion of pipelines, badly-installed equipment, cancelled tariff and electricity theft, among others. If men and women created these problems, in my view, only men and women can solve them.”
Fashola, who also cautioned those clamouring for cancellation of the privatisation to desist from such act, said the consequences far- outweighed their expectations.
He said: “Nigeria will be seen as an unserious nation by investors. I fully support privatisation of the power sector. The idea was well intended but it was delivered with deception. Many people believe that once privatisation is done, power becomes stable, but it was not so as there are many processes involved. Rather than cancel it, we will reengineer it. What we are more concerned about now is incremental power.
“In the heat of campaign, we rushed and made promises that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will do a better job, little did I know that I will inherit the problem.” Also at the event, Fashola said the Federal Government had planned to mete out severe sanctions against perpetual defaulters in the payment of electricity bills.
He stated: “If you don’t pay for electricity, you have violated a law. But we are now trying to make that law stronger, and we are looking at how to include fines. We want to make it easier to comply than to violate.”