Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state on Thursday said Nigeria’s power sector has gulped a sum of N1.7trillion in the last three years. The governor disclosed this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while briefing journalists on the outcome of National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. He said the situation of the power sector is a national emergency that requires all hands to be put on deck to interrogate why the sector is not working for the overall progress and benefit of Nigerians.
The governor, who gave an update on the two Committees constituted by NEC on the “Review of the Ownership Structure of Distribution Companies”, said, the solutions to the nation’s problematic power sector might be painful because the government could not continue to finance a sector that had gulped N1.7 trn without much progress. He said the NEC approved the proposal to co-opt Association of Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria and Association of Electricity Generation Companies of Nigeria as members of the committee, adding that they expected memoranda from members of the public to proffer final solution to the electricity problem.
“The National Economic Council appointed two committees last year, I was privileged to chair and we brought a progress report to the council. “We all agreed that the electricity supply industry is broken and the situation of the power sector is a national emergency that requires all hands to be put on deck to interrogate why the sector is not working for the overall progress and benefit of Nigerians.
“There is the will on the part of the committee members to really go into the root of the problems and speak to ourselves in an honest national conversation and find a way to fix this sector because this country will never make progress, will never create jobs until we industrialize with a functioning electricity sector,” he said. Speaking further, El-Rufai added: “There are other issues. The entire sector is broken, the tariff is an issue, the way the privatization was done is an issue to many. So, there are many issues. What we have agreed on is that there are fundamental problems in the electricity supply industry.
“The federal government has supported the electricity sector with N1.7 trillion in the last three years and this is not sustainable. So, solutions must be found, those solutions are not going to be nice, they may be painful but the only way to solve the structural problems in the industry is to take some very difficult decisions.”