Declare state of emergency on power sector ― Reps tell Buhari

The House of Representatives on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the power sector, in response to public outcry.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Nnolim Nnaji who decried the decline in the power generation with the generating capacity of NEPA from 4 thermal and 2 hydro plants which stood at 6,200MW as at year 2000.

In the hid to channel a new course, the House mandated its Committee on Power to urgently call for a public hearing on the current state of electricity generation, transmission and distribution; to evaluate the real problems and come up with ideas on how we can expand our energy sources beyond hydro and gas plant to include coal, solar and other renewable sources of energy.

In the same vein, the House directed its Committee on Power to exercise its oversight powers by visiting the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and other relevant agencies under the Ministry of Power, with a view to ensuring absolute compliance with all the provisions of the existing Acts.

In his lead debate, Hon. Nnaji said: “In 2001, the Federal Government commenced the reform of electricity sector with a policy to create an efficient electricity market in preparation for the transfer of ownership and management of the infrastructure and assets of the electricity industry to the private sector.

According to him, ” the House equally notes that NEPA’s failure to live up to its mandate necessitated the 2005 Electricity Power Sector Reforms (EPSR) Act that gave birth to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), with powers to regulate the sector, thus NEPA was renamed Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

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“The House is aware that in recent years electricity supply has become very significant owing to the seemingly indispensable role it plays in every facet of our lives. The absence of electricity for long periods causes discomfort and hampers productivity. it is also a known fact that electricity consumption has become a parameter by which the standard of living as well as the level of industrialization of a nation is measured

“The House is further aware that currently, there is an ongoing failure of the sector to provide adequate electricity supply to domestic households and industrial producers, despite being a rapidly growing economy. Only a limited number of Nigeria’s population is connected to the energy grid whilst power supply difficulties are experienced around the country most of the time. At best, the average daily power supply is estimated at 4 hours, although several days can go by without any power at all. We are having a serious decline in power generation, thus the idea of our great nation generating 2,000 to 3,000 MW or less is highly unacceptable

“The House recognized that power supply difficulties cripple the agricultural, industrial and current economic development of Nigeria. The power supply crisis is complex, it stems from a variety of issues that have been ongoing for decades. Most Nigerian businesses and households now resort to diesel-fueled generators to supplement the intermittent power supply. Even some of our manufacturing industries have collapsed whilst some others are now operationally located outside the country, especially in Ghana due to power degeneration

“The House observes that we should take advantage of the peculiar endowments of nature to our Nigerian environment, and also harness the various alternative and viable sources of energy in Nigeria like solar, coal power plant, wind turbine, gas turbine, hydro-electric (Dam), including mini-grid and renewable energy options available in different regions to enhance our current and pitiable state of electricity supply

“The House further observes that fixing the energy crises in Nigeria is of paramount importance, as it will help to reduce crime rate, create employments, reduce health hazards, reduce urban migration, reduce high production costs in our industries, reduce post-harvest losses in agriculture via storage facilities, increase the generation and distribution of water supply, boost small and medium scale entrepreneurs, eradicate poverty, attract foreign investors and generally revitalize the economy and developmental agenda of our dear nation

“The House is concerned that on the 7th of January 2020, the current Hon Minister of Power, made some remarks on the failures and intangible results of the immediate past Minister of Power in resuscitating the power sector, despite the huge financial resources invested into it

“The House is further concerned that if there is no urgent declaration of a state of emergency in the power sector, the collateral damage this will cause us in the nearest future will be unprecedented. We need to establish a strong and reliable power supply system and possibly seek the support of international organizations, experts, Investors, and other well-meaning Nigerian organizations, to tackle this epileptic power supply,” the lawmaker said.

To this end, the House mandated the joint committee on Power and Legislative Compliance to ensure prompt implementation of this motion and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.

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