This keynote address is brought to you by Oil and Gas Republic, official media partner at Power Nigeria 2016
Nigeria Minister of Power, Works and Housing, H.E. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) gave a keynote address after the
opening ceremony of Power Nigeria Conference and Exhibitions held on 27 – 29 September 2016 at Eko Hotel &
Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos – Nigeria.
Please see below the transcript of the Minister’s speech:
I have heard talk about the need to get people to come and invest in the sector, but Nigeria energy sector is such that it really doesn’t need to get people to come and invest. Lots of exhibitor, investors who are already here, those who are coming into the market for the first time, are for me very strong sign of confidence of people who are interested to venture into the Nigerian power sector.
The presence of so many investors which comprises of so many young people, serves a testimony and support to Mr. President in his recent statement in the US, that this is a market that no rational investor can ignore. The Nigerian power sector is a market that is growing rapidly and attracts more investment opportunities. Speaking on the challenges, the challenges on one side, can and indeed represent opportunity down the other side of the sector.
Our role as a government is to ensure that private sector operators who choose to do business here, will adhere to the procedures in order to get a fair return on their investment by way of recouping their capital and making some decent income and profit for themselves. To ensuring that this happen, we have a responsibility also to ensure that members of the public get efficient service and to protect them from those who want to take advantage of the sector to make excess profit which is unfair and illegal. We are also mindful of the members of the public who seeks the delivery of very fast and quick power. But I maintained that we must continuously be focus and cautious, we must
understand that Nigeria electricity sector is transiting in the last three years from a government managed and government operated power sector from 1950 – 2013 which is a period of 63 years. It is now moving in less down 3 years to a government regulated and private sector operated power sector. This will take some learning process by all of the players and I think our expectation for efficient service must be located within the context of a 3 years transition after the 63 years journey.
We welcome the support and the courage investors have shown, I would also like to say that those of us in the power sector whether in the public or private sector must be recognized that we are leaders in a very sensitive and critical sector of our national life and economy.
I would like to urge that we must be extremely introspective and discerning about the public statements we make about the Nigerian Power Sector. As I speak in the context of a recent publication that my attention was drawn to, credited to the MD of EGBIN POWER during September period where he alleged that Nigeria will soon be in darkness. The statement is inflammatory and it was insensitive to our national security. As I said earlier, there are problems in the entire value chain not the least of it debt owed to operators within the system. But I think that, If the commentator was not introspective, he would also have told the newspaper that the debts were not incurred by this administration, and that debt and settlement are continuous process in the power value chain, bills are served, claims are made, they are verified and settled. If he was a little more introspective, he would also have spoken about approval and payment that have been made even this year. It is a continuous verification for this claim and settlement of debt.
All of the debt that are owed and legitimately contracted and verified will be paid, there is a very clear policy decision in that area, but it requires all operators, those who claim and those who have the to pay to operate in a transparent manner, make a full disclosure of this debt are contracted when to who and by who before we can settle the debt, we will clearly not pay debt that are not properly verified and accounted for.
One of the points that were made is that the grid is most fragile, and cannot support 1300MW talk less of 5000MW, that is not true, the Grid today can support 5300MW, and the capacity is expanding every day, we are working across many part of Nigeria to expand the grid, concluding contract. Our contractor are back to work, we have remobilize them after 3years of nonpayment.
The Grid must expand as the generation expands. We are synchronizing with the GENCOs, we are working with the DISCOs in other to ensure the service ends that connects both, which is the TCN is able to responds to all their needs.
These are some of the serious issues that we take off at the monthly power meeting that we hold, where everybody in the sector is in a room. The essence of the meeting is to reduce the time it takes to solve problem. Our next meeting will hold in Sokoto.