Senate probes N1.8trn intervention fund in power sector

The Nigerian Senate Plenary [PHOTO CREDIT: @NGRSenate]
The Nigerian Senate Plenary [PHOTO CREDIT: @NGRSenate]

The Senate is probing over N1.8 trillion federal government interventions in the Power Sector since privatisation of the sector from 2012 to date.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswam, made this known at a meeting with members of the Committee on Thursday in Abuja.

The meeting was on Power Sector Recovery Plan and the Impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The chairman, who said the three-day hearing would begin next week, recalled that the Senate had a motion on the floor where the committee was mandated based on that motion to investigate comprehensively the power sector, especially in areas as it related to the intervention.

Mr Suswam said the Committee would investigate all interventions in the sector since the privatisation of the sector to date with a view to ascertaining the adequacy of such interventions and their desired impact.

“We are looking at the intervention and whether corporate governance has been introduced since privatisation because the expectation is that the sector will become efficient, unfortunately that is not the case.

“You know that the federal government has over the years intervened at various times in different sums: N701 billion, N600 billion and this year there has been N380 billion and N213 billion.

“All of these monies were federal government interventions in the power sector with the intention and hope that the power sector will become efficient and Nigerians will have access to electricity.

“Unfortunately, in spite of these huge amounts of monies that have been expended, the result in what we see today is that the performance is below expectations,” Mr Suswam added.

He however noted that the investigation would not be punitive, but intended to identify the reasons for efficiency and under performance in terms of unstable and inadequate electricity supply in the sector in spite of the huge financial interventions by the government.

Mr Suswam, a former governor of Benue State, said other objectives of the investigation was to assist President Muhammadu Buhari to achieve his promise to Nigerians of providing them with adequate and stable power supply.

“The investigation is intended to identify why these interventions have come and there has been no improvement.

“This is so that at the end of the day, the leadership of the Senate will present that to the President of this country, who has shown a lot commitment to providing electricity to Nigerians,” he said.

He listed those agencies to appear before the committee to include the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) because most of the interventions of government came from these two bodies.

Others, Mr Suswam said, are the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Presidential Power Initiative among others.

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