The BPE boss cites scarcity of gas as a major problem.
The Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Benjamin Dikki, said on Thursday that scarcity of gas supply was impeding the government’s transformation in the power sector.
Mr. Dikki told journalists in Lagos that Nigerians should desist from blaming both the generation and distribution companies on the delay in getting the desired results in the sector.
The power sector was handed over to private investors on November 1, 2013 with the aim of improving electricity supply to boost socio-economic development.
“The major problem we have for power supply now is not the private sector investors who have taken over the distribution and generation companies. The major headache we have is that of the supply of gas – the gas to fire our plants. So the issue is not for the people to get angry with the distribution companies who don’t have the power.
“They are just trying to manage what the system generates, what is allocated to them, and make sure they rationalise so that every part of the distribution companies has some measure of light,” Mr. Dikki said.
He explained that some of the just completed National Integrated Power Project, NIPP, plants could not be fired because there was no gas supply.
“That is the major challenge,” he said. “If today we have sufficient gas to fire 6,000 megawatts, Nigerians will see the fundamental difference between when these companies were not privatised and now.”
He also blamed vandals who blow up gas pipelines that supply gas to power generation stations.
“If you recall sometime back, some vandals went and blew some holes into the gas pipelines supplying gas for power generation and for other uses. It took NNPC a couple of months and millions of dollars to be able to fix those holes and to restore the supply of gas. I understand they (NNPC) are also almost finalising on that,” he said.
He also cited the lack of investment in gas infrastructure in the past as one of the problems for the delay in stabilising production.
“Now, we have to take the fire fighting approach to it, and Mr. President has directed that $300 million (N46.5billion) from the Europe bond should be channelled to the development of gas infrastructure. And there are other initiatives that are being taken by NNPC, the Ministry of Petroleum, under the directive of Mr President to ensure that this gas supply is bridged in the interim for long time measures to be taken that will ensure sustainable gas supply,” Mr. Dikki said.
He urged Nigerians and labour unions to be patient as the government’s efforts would soon yield desired results in the power sector.
He said that the distribution companies had make lots of investment to improve infrastructure such that Eko DISCO alone produced $145 million (N22.475 billion) to change transformers, cables, and improve network.