Corruption: Senate begins power sector’s probe


imageThe stage appeared set for a comprehensive probe of the nation’s power sector as the Senate declared on Friday that officials of the Federal Ministry of Power, its departments and agencies and other key players within the sector would soon appear before it.

The Chairman, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Power, Senator Abubakar Kyari, stated this when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, inaugurated the 14-member fact-finding panel at the National Assembly Complex.

Kyari said stakeholders in the sector from 1999 till date would be asked to provide information in order to achieve the committee’s laudable objectives.

He added that the committee would beam its searchlight on the unbundling of the power sector facilitated by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

According to Kyari, the committee will seek inputs from the establishment on the process of privatisation as it relates to funds committed to the exercise, funds generated and the settlement of laid off staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

Apart from this, Kyari stressed that the committee would verify the claims of the successful bidders, their companies’ financial profiles and why they were already asking for bail out/loan facilities from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He noted that a close look at the entire power value chain (generation, transmission and distribution) called for review of Nigeria’s policies in order to obtain optimum performances across the board.

Kyari said, “The abysmal performance of the generation segment is no longer news in view of the current deteriorating power supply which hovers around 4,600MW for a population of over 170 million people, despite the huge resources committed into it.

“The committee will beam its searchlight in this direction to put things in proper perspectives, and having realised that the transmission segment is the major linkage between the generation and distribution fronts, increasing our capacity in this direction is also very necessary, since power produced must be utilised immediately.

Kyari added that the committee would seek explanations from the management of Transmission Company of Nigeria on the terms of its management contract with the Federal Government as it relates to assets inherited, funds injected into the company and the achievement recorded.

On the distribution segment, the senator said the committee was desirous of ascertaining the level of funds committed into it before privatisation since the segment was currently solely private sector driven.

He stressed the need for vigilance as successor companies were expected to bring in investments to improve the quality of services.

However, he added that signals emanating from their activities showed that excessive profiteering had been the major determinant of their decisions.

He also said that it was on record that some of the distribution companies reject power load allocations to reduce cost.

He said their metering system of the distribution companies calls for a fundamental review, since the emphasis had been on estimated billings and imposition of fixed charges for services not rendered.

Kyari said, “There have been a lot of unwholesome practices by some of these companies, the committee has to get down to the root of these problems especially where provisions have been made in the past through appropriation, prior to privatisation and funds were not properly utilised.

“We must find out what has brought us to this sorry state. The National Integrated Power Project was designed to fast-track the improvement of electricity supply nationwide, hence it was involved in project implementation across the gamut of the power chain.

“However, some of the power plants built have not been able to contribute meaningfully to the power generation through the National Grid.

“The resources committed to these projects are enormous and the committee, in keeping with its mandate, would be seeking answers in order to chart the way forward.”

However, Saraki asked the committee to work towards the resolution of all the challenges currently facing the sector, stressing that the country’s economic woes could only be addressed when the power sector was fully functional.

He said the immediate concern of the 8th Senate was to use every legislative instrument at its disposal to ensure that “light replaces the darkness” in the country.

Saraki said, “Our economy cannot be prosperous without addressing the problems of the power sector. The power sector is a key driver of the economy.”

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Hamilton Nwosa is an experienced, and committed communication, business, administrative, data and research specialist . His deep knowledge of the intersection between communication, business, data, and journalism are quite profound. His passion for professional excellence remains the guiding principle of his work, and in the course of his career spanning sectors such as administration, tourism, business management, communication and journalism, Hamilton has won key awards. He is a delightful writer, researcher and data analyst. He loves team-work, problem-solving, organizational management, communication strategy, and enjoys travelling. He can be reached at: [email protected]


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