Fresh indications emerged at the Senate yesterday that the Federal Government expended N2.7 trillion to generate only 2,850 megawatts of power.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, while making presentation before the Senate’s Ad- Hoc Committee on Power at the ongoing investigative session on the sector.
The N2.7 trillion, Igali said, were monies appropriated and cash-backed for the sector between 1999 till date, adding that this was in addition to $8. 34 billion spent on National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) from excess crude accounts funds.
The Permanent Secretary explained that out of a total N1.565 trillion appropriated for the sector during the period under review, N948 billion was released in addition to N155 billion also injected into the sector in form of subsidy under the multi year tariff order (MYTO) to cushion the shortfall of funding which, when added to $8.34 billion spent on NIPP projects, gives a total of N2.7 trillion
He, however, said the power sector before 1999, was even more poorly managed as there was no single engineer employed 19 years before the time, and out of the 79 generation units available before then, only 19 were functioning with power generation of 1, 750 megawatts.
“Power sector investment before the advent of democratic governance in 1999, was static which shouldn’t be so at all. No new power plants between 1991 and 1999, no new transmission line between 1989 and 1999 etc; a very bad trend that gave successive governments from 1999 till date sleepless nights to reverse which they eventually did up to the privatisation of the sector in November 2013,” he said.
He disclosed that the slight improvement being experienced in power supply now across the country was due to the privatisation of generation and distribution components of the sector in November 2013, one of which is the Ughelli Power Plant, generating 640 MW now from 160 MW.
Aside Igali, chief executives of the various power companies also made similar submissions with regards to monies injected into their various units for power generation and distribution during the period under review.
Committee Chairman, Senator Abubakar Kyari and other members, punctured various submissions over lack of audited reports attached to them.
Kyari disclosed the committee was not only out to know the total monies expended on the sector during the period under review but also to know how the monies were spent in terms of probity, accountability, transparency and due process.
He demanded the full audit report of the power ministry and agencies under it before a proper public hearing begins.
Meanwhile, the committee will, today, meet with the Power Distribution Companies of Nigeria and National Electricity Regulatory Commission for another round of investigative interactive session.