Abuja – Senate Ad hoc Committee on Power was on Tuesday in Abuja told that about N2.7 trillion was spent on the power sector between 1999 and 2015.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Mr Godknows Igali, told the committee, which is investigating issues in the power sector, that the amount was not adequate for services in the sector during the period.
Igali said that out of over N1.5 trillion appropriated to the ministry during the period, only N948 billion was released.
“Since 1999, the sum appropriated is N1,565,638,385,735 and actual release was N948,212,192,810, including all the value chain and all agencies.
“What was released under Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) from 2009 to 2013 under subsidy is N155,089,910,730 to cushion the shock of the slash in tariff,’’ he said.
He disclosed added that the Nigeria Integrated Power Project (NIPP) received 8.3 billion dollars (about N1,66trn) from Excess Crude Account to fund 10 power plants projects during the period, adding that the projects had been completed.
Igali said that out of 79 generating plants in the country as at 1999, only 19 were functional, generating only 1, 750 megawatts.
“When democracy came, the government inherited the sector that had not made capital investment for a long time and not a single engineer was recruited in 19 years.
“Despite the effort at investment by government, we have not been able to invest in a consistent manner in the power sector,’’ he said.
He stressed that for needed development, private sector must play leading role in power generation and distribution in the country, disclosing that until 2005 when the Power Act was promulgated, electricity matter was ‘’in government’s hand’’.
According to him, the power sector requires huge investment as components are usually very expensive to procure; you need about N200 million to get a single generation plant.
Igali therefore said that in spite of all the money spent by government, a lot more investment was needed to stabilize the power sector.
“Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) requested for N147 billion in 2011, but it was allocated only N45 billion, out of which only N30 billion was released and that has been the story,” he said.
After the presentation, the committee questioned some of the investments made in the sector during the period and requested the ministry to furnish it with the detail.
It stressed that the audited account of the ministry showing all investments and expenditures as well as details of supplementary budgets should be submitted.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, said,“we want to see cooperation between all agencies in the power ministry and know if there is any overlap that acts as constraint in the function of the sector’’.
He commiserated with the ministry over the loss of some of its staff who were restoring critical power infrastructure across the country.
‘’We will give you notice on other issues we have with the power sector; we shall continue our interaction tomorrow with Gencos, Discos and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC),’’ Kyari added. (NAN)