“Most people recognise that a situation where we cannot expect 24 hours electricity in our cities and many rural areas remain wholly disconnected from the benefits of access to electricity is unacceptable.”
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has decried the poor power supply in the country.
He said the current electric power sector is not functioning optimally. He, therefore, charged the government to do something about the situation to meet the expectation of Nigerians.
Mr Gbajabimaila spoke on Wednesday in Abuja during the public hearing to amend the Power Reforms Act to establish the Nigerian Institution of Power Engineers (NIPEN), organised by the House Committee on Power.
“Most people recognise that a situation where we cannot expect twenty-four-hour electricity in our cities and many rural areas remain wholly disconnected from the benefits of access to electricity is unacceptable,” the Speaker said.
He also lamented the inability of the power sector reforms act to drive the public-private collaboration in the sector.
Privatisation of DISCOs
The unbundled electricity distribution companies were privatised in 2013. However, the privatisation process has been marred by allegations of corruption.
Despite the privatisation of the DISCOs, power remains epileptic, with several interventions by the government. Most of the investors that acquired the DISCOs have been accused of not having requisite competence and needed liquidity.
In a special report, PREMIUM TIMES had exposed how the DISCOs left consumers with the burden of buying meters and transformers.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly approved the removal of the management of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC). The move by the government generated controversy, as the presidency had to issue a clarification on the move.
At the hearing, the NIPEN President, Israel Abraham, said the sector needs competent professionals to drive it. He added that the institute will offer such a platform.
“Power engineering practitioners or professionals thereof should be well versed in the latest skills and technological developments which will culminate in their ability to churn out products and exhibit processes competence in their chosen industry practice,” he said.
He noted that the bill will “remove those impediments brought about by bureaucracy in the governance of the power sector in Nigeria and provide for strict independent engineering regulation and monitoring of practitioners and practice to bring about a sustainable development in the sector.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Magaji Aliu, said that the public hearing was considered necessary “to enable the committee to utilise the outcome of the exercise to address gaps in the existing laws to strengthen the Nigerian power sector for efficient service delivery.”