President Muhammadu Buhari has declared war on the country’s power sector, saying epileptic power supply is no longer a laughing matter, Leadership reports.
Speaking on March 21 at the National Economic Council retreat on the economy at the state house conference centre, presidential villa Abuja, the president revealed that his government has set a target for themselves to generate ten thousand megawatts distributable power in the next three years.
Buhari, who frowned at the privatization of the power sector, said it is yet to yield the anticipated result as the quality of service had not improved.
President Buhari further revealed that his government is embraced with the predicament of privatization of the power holding companies, pointing out that Nigerians favourite talking point and butt of jokes had become the epileptic power situation in the country.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter. We must and by the grace of God we will put things right. In the three years left for this administration we have given ourselves the target of ten thousand megawatts distributable power. In 2016 alone, we intend to add two thousand megawatts to the national grid.
“This sector has been privatized but has yet to show any improvement in the quality of service. Common public complaints are, constant power cuts destroying economic activity and affecting quality of life. High electricity bills despite power cuts, low supply of gas to power plants due to vandalisation by terrorists,” he said.
The president listed other impediment to the country’s electricity to include outdated power distribution equipment like transformers, power fluctuations, which destroys manufacturing equipment, household appliances as well as low voltage which cannot power industrial machines.
“These are some of the problems, which defied successive governments. In our determination to change we must and will, insha Allah, put a stop to power shortages. We are facing the classic dilemma of privatization: Public interest vs Profit Motive. Having started, we must complete the process. But National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the regulatory authority, has a vital job to ensure consumers get value for money and over-all public interest is safe-guarded. Government to fast-track completion of pipe,” he said.
The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have taken a swipe at President Buhari while expressing worry over the state of the country’s economy. The organised labour said the economy had stopped functioning and urged the president to use the opportunity of the planned economic conference to come up with policies that could be implemented to get the country out of its current economic setback.