IN THIS PIECE, JETHRO YERGA WRITES ON THE EFFORTS THAT THE NIGERIA’S MINISTER OF POWER, ENGR SALE MAMMAN IS MAKING TO RESTORE THE LOST GLORY OF THE POWER SECTOR IN NIGERIA
Since his assumption of office, the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman has been making silent but concerted efforts towards repositioning the Power Sector in Nigeria.
In the few years that he has charge of the power Sector, the Hon. minister Engr. Sale Mamma has continue to widen his scope of progress as the most successful Minister of Power in the country.
It is now very glaring that apart from achieving a transmission record of about 8,000MW through infrastructural improvement within his few years in office, distribution of electricity had reached a record of about 6,000MW while the generation capacity has increased to 13,000MW from 8,000MW.
Hon. Sale Mamman took over the Ministry that was almost was almost uncoordinated as many Agencies under the Ministry claimed some measure of autonomy and they gleefully told him so. It took some painstaking administrative measures to whip them into line. The Minister made it clear to them that his mission was to achieve an effective energy system that aligns generation and transmission of power with distribution so as to avail improved Power supply to the country. With the categorization or banding of consumers based on the capability to pay, electricity supply has generally improved and the supply now ranges between seven and twenty hours in respective areas, barring any challenges of faulty equipment.
The Minister is equally committed to the Presidential Power Initiative, otherwise known as, the Siemens project. The project which targets the distribution of 7,000MW of electricity, in 2021, 11,000MW in 2022 and 25,00MW by 2023 is also aimed at providing high tension substations, thousands of transformers and thousands of transmission lines across all parts of the country. This will further consolidate TCN’s transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion programme for which foreign financial supports have been secured.
In order to revolutionize and ease learning processes in Nigerian schools, the Federal Ministry of Power, under Engr. Sale Mama has embarked on a program to electrify 200 Primary Health Centers and all the 104 Unity Schools in the country. The mini-grid is also designed to provide solar powered street lights to the immediate communities of the PHCs and within the environment of the Unity Schools. This giant stride will no doubt facilitate uninterrupted healthcare services to rural communities in the country.
The program which is being handled by the Rural Electrification Agency is expected to enhance the security arrangements around the schools. It is also envisaged to create jobs and provide energy access to the unserved or under-served communities across all the geo-political zones under the Federal Government’s plan to achieve 30% renewable energy sources by 2030.
Again, apart from the expansion projects carried out at the Jalingo substation and the installation of transformers in many locations in Taraba State, the Minister has also successfully obtained approval for the establishment of a Regional power institute on Mambilla Plateau for the training of artisans in anticipation of the completion of the Mambilla hydro power project.
On the 40MW Kashimbila dam, Engr. Mamman had ensured that the project was completed. What is left presently is the evacuation of the Power into the National grid. Contract has been awarded for the construction of a 133KVA transmission line to the Yandev substation before distribution to parts of Benue and Taraba State, where the dam is located. Activities are also on top gear to evacuate Power from the 70MW Dadinkowa dam in Gombe State.
Furthermore, the Zungeru Power Project is another giant stride the Minister has embarked upon and is not giving a breathing space to see it to the completion. He had personally visited the site of the project early last year when the work was barely 50 percent. Presently, Zungeru Power project is now a reality at about 90 percent completion.
The full structure of the dam, at about the height of an eight storey building has been completed and the installation of rotors and other engineering components are ongoing.
It is also worthy to note that the Power Sector under the watch of Engr. Sale Mamman has begun construction of the electromechanical and transmission lines. The towers for the evacuation of 139kva power to the Shiroro substation has started while the 133kva lines to Tegina will commence after the security situation in the area is normalized. All equipment for execution of these projects are on site and work is progressing diligently by the Chinese contractors.
The project is also financed by China EXIMBANK, with 25% counterpart funding by the Federal Government. By December this year, the project is expected to be fully delivered by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, giving further vent to the effort to tackle the problem of electricity in the country.
Perhaps, Nigerians should also be reminded that following the partial privatization of the Power Sector, the Distribution companies had signed a multi-year tariff order, MYTO, which prescribed a periodic increase of electricity tariffs in collaboration with their regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
However, the government continues to subsidize the sector with billions of Naira every month, as Nigerians continue to cry over high tariffs and in-efficiency in the distribution of Power. Nigerians should know that the country’s decision to divest 60% stakes in to the distribution companies in 2013 was greatly flawed. The government now pays for un- used or undistributed Power through NBET.
This situation has created a huge liability since failure to subsidize means increase in tariffs by distribution companies. The government has also stepped in to provide about six million meters, a responsibility which the Discos also accepted when they bought the companies. Doing the right thing is always a challenge for every leader who is serious about delivering on his mandate.
It may be the reason; Engr. Sale Mamman may not be popular to some people who want to dent his efforts with politics. However, suffice is to say that with these and other on-going projects, the Power Sector under Engr. Sale Mamman is not only improving but holds great potential for monumentally mitigating the frustration of Nigerians in the performance of the sector.