The Ministry of Power, on Tuesday, revealed that the Federal Government, under the administrations of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, spent a total sum of N2.7 trillion in the sector, from 1999 till date.
The Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Godknows Igali, revealed this while appearing before the Senate Ad hoc Committee, which began sitting in Abuja.
Igali told the committee that out of over N1.5 trillion that was appropriated to the ministry for the past 16 years, only N948 billion was released.
He said: “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 in the power sector.
“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.”
According to him, the Nigeria Integrated Power Project (NIPP) also received $8.3 billion (N1,660,000,000) from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for 10 power plants which had been completed.
Igali added that the total amount spent on the power sector in the 16 years was about N2.7 trillion. But he stated that the amount was not enough to guarantee adequate power supply considering the pivotal role of the sector in national development.
Igali also told the committee how the negligence of the power sector by successive military regimes from former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida to that of former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, contributed to the rot in the power sector.
He said of the 79 generating units that existed in Nigeria from the Babangida regime, only 19 were functional, generating only 1, 750 megawatts as at the time democracy was restored in 1999. He stated that the only investment that was made in the decade before the advent of democracy was the construction of the Shiroro Power Plant in 1990.
He said: “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. Investment from government and private sector must go up gradually, but consistently as fluctuation will not help in our economic development,” he said.
According to him, while developed nations have functional and stable power sector, the developing and underdeveloped nations still grappled with power problems.
Igali said the power sector required huge investment, as components were usually expensive to procure, adding: “You need about N200 million to get a single generation plant.”
He said in spite of all the money spent by the government, more investment was still needed to stabilise 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; that has been the story,” he said.
Part of the over 10 key players who appeared before the committee include: NIPP, Energy Commission of Nigeria, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Electricity Liability Management Company (ELMC) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
However, at the session, senators questioned the investments made in the power sector within the period and requested that the ministry should forward to the committee details of all the money spent. They further requested for the audited account of the ministry, showing all investments and expenditures as well as details of supplementary budgets.
The Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC Borno North), said the team from the power ministry should report back with all supplementary budgets it had received so far.
“We want to see cooperation between all agencies in the power ministry and know if there is any overlap that acts as a constraint in the function of the sector so we can address it.
“We will give you notice on the other issues that we have with the power sector;” he added.
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