Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji, on Tuesday said that the Federal Government was working hard to push power supply in the country to about 40,000 mega watts (MW) by 2020 and about 135,000MW by 2030.
The minister, who was speaking at the Ministerial Platform organised by the Ministry of Information as part of activities commemorating the National Democracy Day and the first anniversary of President Gooodluck Jonathan’s administration, said realising the target was in line with government’s vision of making Nigeria one the world’s top 20 economies in the next decade.
“We have not delivered on electricity, because we are yet to have stable power supply,” Mr. Nnaji said. “We did not have adequate plans in place. We acknowledge that in many homes there is no power. But we are working hard to improve that. Our goal is to have Nigerians have power continuously for 24 hours. There were serious mistakes in the past.
“But, now we must begin to put the correct things in place. We made the mistake of making it look as if power supply was to be delivered by government alone. But, we have now set up a framework for all stakeholders to be involved in delivering power. Therefore, we hope to deliver additional 1,500MW of power to the grid by year end.
“I totally understand the feelings of Nigerians. Even I get frustrated. We don’t want to be telling stories. We want change. I can assure you that at the end of the year, based on promises from the petroleum ministry for adequate supply of gas, we would be able to add 1,500MW to the national grid.”
He said efforts at repositioning the power sector had been hampered by the N400billion debt by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to various creditors, as well as N24billion owed the multinational oil and gas companies for gas supplied for National Independent Power Projects.
The minister, who assured that government was committed to increasing power generation, said no cabal would defeat government’s plan of providing adequate supply of electricity to Nigerians.
He explained that with the emergency declared in gas supply chain, power generation would grow by next month and finally result in an additional 1500MW by the end of the year.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada, who also appeared on the programme, said his decision to sack the Global Infrastructure Holding Limited (GIHL) from the management of the Ajaokuta Steel Company had saved the company’s assets from being stripped.
He said the government was awaiting the arbitration rulings in London on the case before a final decision is taken on the steel plant.
“There is no politics on Ajaokuta Steel,” he said. “Government moved in to save the company from losing all its assets. If we had left the company in the hands of the Indians, we would have come one day to see that there was nothing left of the company.
“The Indians were busy picking up assets of the company and sending them abroad. They were running down the company. We are in arbitration with them, and the ruling will come at the end of the month and the president will take a firm decision on the company.
“We will do the right thing because we need steel to achieve the vision and goals of this administration and we taking the issue seriously”.
According to the minister, with the current production capacity of 1.5million tons per annum, government’s target of producing three million tons of steel by 2015 is half way realised, adding that in the last one year, government’s support to private steel production outfits had significantly raised the production figures.