The Federal Government has blamed declining electricity supply in the country on liquidity problems, pipeline vandalism and sabotage of oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta.
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who briefed newsmen after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, however, disclosed that the government was working hard to address the challenge.
According to Fashola, “You heard that there was liquidity problems. Gas suppliers have not been fully paid; generating companies (GENCOs) have also not been fully paid. You heard this ‘back and forth’ between distribution companies (DISCOs) and GENCOs. So, those are some of the issues.”
He explained: ”Apart from sabotage that we have had from the Western axis of the Niger Delta, the Escravos Lagos pipeline is not operational, the Forcados export terminal too has been out of operation. If you cannot produce oil you cannot take the gas. And gas is the fuel that the power plants need. You have seen what we have been doing in increasing the capacity in firing transmission but we don’t have gas to fire the plants. That is the reason.”
He said: “We have been meeting with the gas suppliers, trying to see how we can pay off some of these debts, while we fix other problems. As I continue to say, it is not technical, but financial.”
The minister, however, maintained that vandalism of pipelines is not technical. People were destroying, they were angry.
“Also, until we resolve some behavioural issues: people collect money and have not been remitting in a manner that is fair,” Fashola stated.
The Federal Government also pledged to commit additional N3.5 billion for the completion of the Odogunyan transmission sub-station in Ikorodu, Lagos State, to improve power generation.
This, the government said would provide additional transformer capacity at the sub-station as well as 260mva transformers and transmission lines of 132 kva to complete the works in that area generally known within the power industry as Ayobo West.
Fashola, who was joined by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, during the briefing, disclosed that the contract for the project had been awarded since 2009 but abandoned because it was not paid for.