Senate faults BPE’s usage of N2tr privatisation proceeds

Members of the Nigerian Senate at a plenary

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has been accused of contributing to the lingering power supply challenges in Nigeria.

The Senate President and Chairman of the 8th National Assembly, Senetor Bukola Saraki, while delivery a speech at a stakeholder/workshop on the Nigerian power sector the National Assembly yesterday, said that part of the sale proceeds of about $4 billion (N2 trillion), which the BPE spent on the payment of pensions and staff salaries, should have been used to tackle infrastructure problems in the sector.

According to him, not one single kobo was expended towards catalysing the sector back to life.

Saraki said the Generating Companies (GENCOS) bought generating units without a clear assurance of source of gas to fire plants and government had no active roadmap for the delivery of a gas market infrastructure to make this happen.

He said despite the challenges of gas to power in Nigeria, gas companies and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) were exporting gas to create gas markets elsewhere in Europe and Asia, while the country languished in darkness as a result of incessant, persistent and erratic power outages.

“In the face of all these our people continued to be called upon to bear inexplicable bills estimated beyond rationale service value,” he said.

Saraki noted that the challenges has continued to mount on all fronts with stagnating growth statistics, loss of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) jobs in a country with a large and rapidly growing population, factories shutting down in growing numbers, dwindling family investible income and opportunities mostly due to the high cost imposed by inadequate electricity supply.

He said: “Wherever you go in the country nothing represents the failure of government and leadership in the mind of Nigerians like the epileptic power situation in the country. Fixing it is at the highest priority list of our people. In other words, our people are demanding that we do all that is in our power to reverse this long and unenviable power sector blight. We must get it right.”

Also speaking at the forum, Speakier of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said the Nigerian power sector has over the years been faced with many intimidating and daunting challenges.

These challenges, according to him, run across the entire power value chain of generation, transmission and distribution.

Dogara added that the myriad of issues are apparently exacerbated by inadequate funding, poor energy mix, fuel supply issues, flawed regulatory framework, and commercial issues among others.

He said that the challenges need concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address the myriad problems.

Speaking with The Guardian on power supply challenges, the Senior Vice-President, Strategy and Development, Centre for Values in Leadership, Rasheed Adegbenro, said Nigeria might not be able to come out of the present economic recession without adequate power supply.

He noted that the current 2,200 megawatts of electricity, which is presently being generated is not adequate for the country’s quest for industrialisation.

According to him, the 10,000mw target, which the country is aspiring to achieve is also grossly inadequate to meet the electricity need of every household in Nigeria.

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