- Says no new road project in 2016
- ‘Second Niger Bridge a priority’
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola yesterday said the Federal Government has mandated the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC to increase the electricity tariff so as to be attractive enough to sustain investors in the market. He stated this during his maiden press briefing in Abuja.
According to him, “Power is a product manufactured by raw material inputs of labour, gas and financed by bank loans with interests. To transport it, the TCN must charge for it; and the price is added to the cost of power which the Discos buy.
“NERC has been mandated to work out the fair market tariff and announced them when they are finalized. By far the most complex challenge is the problem of tariff. It is complex because it is more in the hands of citizens than in the hands of government.”
Fashola, who argued that the decision of government was done in order to attract investors to the market, stated that privatisation would have been impossible without the price of the product being attractive to
“The surest way not to have power is to oppose the implementation of the Tariff Order,” he stated. He also assured that government would liquidate verifiable and agreed debts that have accrued, approve a market tariff and hold the Discos to a more efficient and fair collection system based on the use of meters so that consumers pay for only what they use.
The minister also promised to concentrate on regulatory functions and providing enabling environment for the success of the power sector in the country.
Fashola also said that the government would ensure that Ministries, Departments and Parastatals, MDAs pay electricity bills in order to ensure recovery of cost of power value chain production.
“More importantly, as a government and consumer of power through our ministries, departments and agencies, we must show example at federal, state and local government levels by paying up backlogs of power bills and ensuring from there that we pay for what we use.
“Our ministry intends to champion this at the federal level and I hope that the state governors, heads of parastatals, national and state assemblies, the various state and federal courts, local governments, military, police, and other related security agencies, will find this a worthy undertaking to join and ensure payment of all their electricity bills.”
He explained that the amount of power that is available is slightly larger than the capacity which the transmission network can support, but stated that there is plan to expand the carrying capacity of TCN to run ahead of the generating capacity so that in future there will always be capacity to carry whatever power is generated.
Fashola said that government has identified a total of 142 transmission projects of which 45 are at 50 percent level of completion and about 22 can be completed within a year.
“The budget estimates are known and we intend to aggressively pursue completion to increase the carrying capacity from the Gencos to the Discos,” he assured.
‘No new roads in 2016, Second Niger Bridge a priority’
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has revealed that it currently has no plans to embark on new road project in 2016 fiscal year but will prioritise the completion of the Second Niger bridge.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fasola who disclosed this yesterday in his maiden press briefing, however, said that government will concentrate in completing road projects initiated by the past administration dotted across the six geo-political zones which have reached 75 percent completion.
The Minister said, “Our short term strategy will be to start with roads
that have made some progress and can be quickly completed to facilitate connectivity. We will prioritize within this strategy by choosing first the roads that connect states together and from that grouping start with those that bear the heaviest traffic.
“We will start from Lagos-Ibadan expressway and work our way across Nigeria gradually,” he disclosed, adding that the Second Niger Bridge is also a priority as unavailability of funds was a delay factor.
He further noted that roads will help “reflate and grow the Nigerian
economy, reduce travel time, cost of transportation of goods and services, and restore jobs that have been lost to transport dependent services.”
He also stated that, “we can spend N10 billion in each state and the FCT on housing alone every year, subject to (a) the capacity to raise the money and (b) the capacity to utilize the funds.
On setbacks facing the sector, Fasola revealed that ‘budget’ is a major factor, explaining that the last time Nigeria budgeted over N200billion in a year’s budget for roads was in 2002.
“Federal Government budgeted N18.132 Billion in 2015 and the Ministry of Works got n13billion for all roads and highways, although it has contracts for 206 roads, covering over 6,000km with contract price of over N2trillion.
“We must change the budget for national housing from N1.8billion in 2015 to something in the hundreds of billions of Naira that matches our ambition,” he posited.
Also in attendance was the Minister of State Mustapha Baba Shehuri with two new Permanent Secretaries, Engr. Abubabar Magaji and Mr. Louis Edozien, Directors, Stakeholders among others.