Senate asks Presidency to remove Fashola as Power Minister, Appoint New Person

The issue of poor power generation and distribution in the country took the center stage in the Senate on Tuesday, as after over an hour of debate on ways and means to improve the power sector, the upper chamber resolved to ask President Buhari to appoint a separate Minister of Power immediately.

Senate insisted that the appointment of a separate minister would ensure concentration in the sector.

Senator Francis Alimikhena (Edo North) who moved the motion for appointment of a separate minister of power, posited that such a measure would assist the country to shore up the power sector.
According to The Nation, the resolution followed the adoption of a motion on “The need to establish and delegate Special Purpose Vehicles to execute and operate Major Power Sector Development Projects,” sponsored by Senator Mustapha Bukar (Katsina North).

Senator Bukar in his debate said, “Further notes that in its quest to bridge the power gap for sustained economic growth in Nigeria by adding significant new generation capacity to Nigeria’s electricity supply system, the Federal Government conceived the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) in 2004, which metamorphosed into Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) incorporated in 2005.

“Aware that this institution oversees Generation portfolio consisting of 10 gas-fired power plants with cumulative design capacity of 4,774 MW; Total Asset value of $8.5 Bn including generation projects accompanied by supporting transmission, distribution and gas infrastructure projects and due to gas supply shortage and uncompleted transmission projects, only about 1,200 MW was accessible to the national grid at that time.

“Consequently upon the commencement of the privatization and establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Market, the role of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works & Housing (FMPW&H) was restricted to Policy and oversight of the autonomous agencies operating in the Nigerian Power Sector.

“Notes that considering the need for continuous development of the Power Sector infrastructure, the Federal Government remains committed to developing project initiatives in order to increase generating capacity and diffuse the energy mix beyond thermal generation to renewable energy, such as hydro-power, solar power and wind energy.

"Consequently, certain project initiatives were retained for direct supervision by the Federal Ministry of Power. These included, but are not limited to:
"3,050 MW Mambilla Hydropower project; 700 MW Zungeru Hydropower project, 215 MW Kaduna Thermal Power project; 50 MW Katsina Wind Power project.

“Further Notes that annually significant and incremental sums are appropriated towards these projects and the National Assembly has been approving such appropriation in the interest of conceived intention to improved generation capacity to the Nigerian citizens;

“Worried that there are challenges of managing such projects because the Federal Ministry of Power, as currently constituted, does not have the required professional competence and resources to effectively execute these projects, hence they resort to engaging contractors and consultants for every project development activity;

“Also worried that the implementation of large scale projects is always fraught with the risk of cost and schedule overrun, with attendant consequences on overall contract sum.

“Worried that with the engagement of multitudes of consultants, there is a risk of lack of ownership and knowledge transfer upon completion and commissioning of the projects, which would hamper proper management of the facilities when in operation. This is the current situation being experienced at the 215 MW Kaduna Power plant under construction by the Ministry/

"Urge the Federal Government to transfer all generation, transmission and rural electrification projects to the respective agencies for proper administration."