Power situation ‘not a laughing matter’, says Buhari

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari discussing at the opening of the National Economic Council Retreat on Monday, March 21, 2016. PHOTO: STATE HOUSE

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari discussing at the opening of the National Economic Council Retreat on Monday, March 21, 2016. PHOTO: STATE HOUSE

Faced with an unending problematic power supply, President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration is determined to provide lasting solutions within next three years.

In his address at the National Economic Council retreat on the economy held at the State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Monday, Buhari confessed that though the power sector has been privatised, the expected optimal performance is still a dream.

“Nigerians’ favourite talking point and butt of jokes is the power situation in our country,” Buhari said. “But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter. We must and by the grace of God we will put things right.”

Buhari mentioned that the problems of the sector have defied successive governments but expressed the resolve of his government to put an end to power shortages.

Some of the problems of the sector as identified by the President included constant power cuts destroying economic activity and affecting quality of life; high electricity bills despite power cuts and low supply of gas to power plants due to vandalization by terrorists.

Others were obsolete power distribution equipment such as transformers; power fluctuations, which damage manufacturing equipment and household appliances and low voltage which cannot run an industrial machine.

In order to solve the problems he highlighted, Buhari said the government would fast-track completion of pipelines from gas points to power stations and provide more security to protect gas and oil pipelines. Also, he said power companies would be encouraged to replace obsolete equipment and improve the quality of service and technicians.

While acknowledging that the privatisation exercise presented a unique dilemma -public interest against profit making – President Buhari charged the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to ensure consumers get value for money and overall public interest is safeguarded.

The National Economic Council Retreat is aimed at generating immediate, medium and long-term viable policy solutions to the economic challenges facing the country. The retreat ends tomorrow.

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  • Omoba charlie

    Get companies to involve in small producing and distributing. From local community to state. Make process of licensing easy. Break the distribution/producing to small unity of local and sell it off you will be surprise by level of transformation it will yield and stop thinking big.

  • AriseNigeria

    “President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration is determined to provide lasting solutions within next three years.”

    In three years he is expected to leave power if he survives till then, so if you read in between the lines, he is basically saying he can’t fulfill that promise he made before the election that in six months, power failure will become a thing of the past. But, I will for the first time give him credit for accepting the fact and reality of his failures, but how can you forgive his minister of powerless ministry Fashola who told us to wait till the year 2035, when his atomic energy company will be able to give us power. Nigeria is a laughable Country. So after Buhari what comes next? Okoroacha? LOL, funny people

    • Bodam

      I’m finding it difficult to grasp where u are coming from… is it restructuring Nigeria or capacity of this Govt to deliver?? I’m an Electrical Engineer, a Country worth its onions with a population over 100million should know it needs 100,000 MW of power. Can we achieve that in 4years, def NO! What this Govt inherited is an impossible situation, they didn’t privatise (not done efficiently and effectively) the power sector, and it’s showing now a bad job was done, but they have to deal with it! What’s funny is if I probably ask u if u support the raising of tariffs to market realistic levels, u’ll say NO, yet still u want private sector investors to invest the quantum of funds necessary for the growth of the sector(the growth of the sector is dependent on private investors investing mind u)! And that I must say is hypocritical!

      • Alugijo

        Please ignore the nuisance. Can any Ibo man be rational? They deceive themselves with false sense of wisdom and smartness.
        Where was this Idiot when GEJ was messing up the country ?
        Okonjo was all over the places singing that the economy was great, No one mentioned Biafra then.
        Please ignore this boy.

        • Bodam

          “Can any Igbo Man be Rational???”

          YES!!! I know a lot of them!
          This person isn’t speaking for Igbo’s mind you. I know it can get frustrating, but we aren’t helping the situation by getting caught up in sentimental ‘bullshit’, no region in Nigeria is Developed (None has functional infrastructure for God’s sake)!!! It’s a fact!!! So, becoming an ‘ethnic champion’ in that reality is just being plain stupid I’ll say. But as its said: common sense is not common!

          There are rational minds all across the country, the same way there are irrational minds all across the same country too!


  • joseph Bassey

    FG should tackle infrastructure development like Road construction, Completion of Power plants and building of more, creation of employment through Agriculture and Solid Mineral exploitation. More investment in Education, Health and other sectors of our economy. building of more refinery especially Modular refineries should be pursue seriously. FG should urgently complete Second Niger bridge and other important developmental projects across the country, develop our Airports, Railway and Water Transportation and tackle corruption sincerely on witch hunting. Conduct free and fair election and obey the Rule of Law. God bless Nigeria

    • AriseNigeria

      Do you truly expect this to happen, when the man’s infatuation and preoccupation is on the Islamic influence of Nigeria as a whole. Sorry, in three years, I wonder what your body temperature will read, when Nigeria will be on edge waiting for another doomed messiah to appear. We have long said, we have long advocated, and we have long advised, that no man, no matter how powerful and no matter its good intention can save Nigeria. We are now saying as we said before that solution lies in restructure that gives greater autonomy to regional developments and governance. Until, common sense prevails, and until courage is exercised that allows for peaceful restructure of the current outdated system, nothing but failures and anarchy in Nigeria, 1000 years from now.

      • Alugijo

        Can you listen to the Ibo brand of common sense? They keep quiet and enjoy the spoil when tthey are in control.The moment they loose patronage,Nigeria must be partitioned.Same thing the Ibo leaders did in the 1950s and 60s.

  • juliusonny

    Most Nigerians have been mentally cheated by Mother Nature that´s why nothing, absolutely, nothing will ever, ever work in Nigeria because the people of Nigeria are mentally dead. On October 1st 2015, Nigeria celebrated 55 years of independence, 55 long unproductive and non-progressive years. There was nothing to celebrate or commemorate. Five plus Five good decades wasted, because no one in Nigeria, I mean simply no one is capable of delivering anything. Nigeria is a country of stupid leaders. Those of yesterday and today are the same. Nigeria changes the S. H. I. T. but the flies and mosquitoes continue the same. About 40, 35 years ago, or so, Nigeria was richer and more developed than South Korea. Look at where they are today. We are tired of being threatened by boko haram, lack of good roads, lack of good healthcare, good education, good running pipe borne water lack of comprehensive infrastructural development. Can’t Nigerians learn with or from them (the Koreans)? The change that we voted for, is not happening, instead our president has become run-away president. Every week he is somewhere around the globe. We cannot stand darkness anymore. Enough of corruption and jokes. Change is inevitable.

    • AriseNigeria

      The people benefiting from “one Nigeria” are the privilege ruling class across all regional spectrum, those that have much to gain in decentralized autonomous regions are the poor and the middle class, because they will demand for accountability in regional government than in Unitarianism system that Nigeria runs. Development will be regionally designed and not Federally imposed. Governance will be local, practical, and accelerated under regional Government. Ignorant Hausas and Yorubas are the most victims of “One Nigeria” without knowing it. One Nigeria has failed everybody, so we are saying, a time for change is now, Change is not Buhari, Change is not Okorocha, Change means Restructure of Nigeria or alternatively Biafra.

      • Alugijo

        Bravo. The whole Yoruba race does not know they are victms.You have discovered this for them.Good job.

  • AriseNigeria

    We have long said it, we have long advocated it, and we have long advised it, that no man, no matter how powerful and no matter its good intention can save Nigeria. We are now saying it as we said it before, that solution lies in the restructure that gives greater autonomy to regional developments and governance. Not until, common sense prevails, and until courage is exercised that allows for peaceful restructure of the current outdated system, nothing but failures and anarchy will be expected in Nigeria even if it is giving another 1000 years from now. But as usual, we don’t expect the prideful and the all-knowing Hausas and Yoruba leaders to heed to the voice of reason and wisdom. They are preoccupied on what they will temporary loose instead on what will profit everyone including them. So, the Biafran agitation will continue till we achieve our goal of an interdependent nation where we will rapidly accelerate civilization, or Nigeria can choose to change its course and allow for regional autonomous in one Federated unit that is what Biafrans may be able to tolerate. Nigerian problem is beyond fixing of roads and building of airports and the so-called construction of 2nd Niger bridge, Nigerians problem is STRUCTURAL, if people fails to understand that, they are dead mentally and spiritually dead or both.

    • Bodam

      And which ‘Arm of Govts’ duty is it to ‘Restructure’ Nigeria??? Not the executive, but the Legislative Arm!!! We are talking about repealing and re-enacting LAWS here. I always find it curious why there is no pressure on them to do that: too much attention is on the Executive Arm concerning this issue, even though it’s not in their purview

      • emmanuel kalu

        yes the NASS is responsible for this kind of changes, however a president of a federation like Nigeria can propose changes and even submit bills to the legislature for consideration. what we have here is inactivity by both arms of government and the states are not even pushing this kind of change.

        • Bodam

          It’s not only the ‘states’ here o… Nigerians are even not! It’s da crux of my reply! It’s funny we are focusing most of our energies in da wrong place. Inda last constitution review, seems state assemblies even voted against their own financial autonomy… isn’t that odd!
          The NASS can sponsor it, it’s even their primary responsibility (not saying the executive can’t o), but we seem to give the executive too much power that they don’t even have! NASS can and should change the Constitution in consort with the state assemblies: it’s their primary duty to change, repeal and enact laws for the Nigerian Federation!

    • emmanuel kalu

      you are perfectly right in the fact that we need a true federalism, whereby states are in much more control of their destiny, supported and protected by the federal government. it is from this state increased power, that regional collaboration would increase and make Nigeria better. you are perfectly right that our problem is purely structural and in the absent of that, nothing would really solve the problem .

    • Alugijo

      with the years spent by your man GEJ as President, you people could not fix the problem.Neither did you agitate for the partition of Nigeria.
      You Ibos really consider yourself smart .Good for you.

  • emmanuel kalu

    very good Mr. president you have listed some of the problem with the power sector, even though you are missing one of the main problem, lack of consumer meters. however the question is what are you going to do about it. Every Nigerian knows what the problem is, we know what the solutions are, we need to know that the government has the ability and goal to solve this problem.
    Gas supply: how about the government ensure that domestic supply to power plant is fulfilled before any export. secure the pipeline by burying them underground. create a secure forces made of people from the community where any of the pipeline passes thru to secure the pipelines. mandate that power plants have storage facility to store gas for 2 months of operation.
    Meter & equipment: Mandate that all Disco install meter to their customer before any traffic increase. NERC should inspect all power sector equipment and infrastructure, and mandate that any below par should be replaced or upgraded.
    policy change: it is time that we generate and distribute electricity region by region or even state by state. electricity generate in any region should fight supply within that region, then any excess is sold to the power grid. we should mandate that more electricity be generated from other sources like solar, wind, biomass, hydro, ethanol, coal and even waste. each region should be able to generate electricity from the raw material that is easily sourced.

    • Bodam

      I’m seriously Happy the discourse is moving away from sentimental stuff and progression towards options of solutions and actions to be taken!
      We have a difficult situation now, the sector is in private hands, I think unless we want the Govt to become an active player again (which is another discourse on its own), the solution out is to create an enabling investor friendly climate! We need to remove the costing of the product from the regulator and give it back to the investor! The focus of the regulator should be ensuring the metering gap is bridged asap! For example, I haven’t loaded my card for over two months: why, not enough light to run down my credits, so the increase done on tariffs doesn’t worry me! We need to move the discourse to what is important, if we bridge the metering gap, the issue of pricing will fade off, cause the onus will move to where DISCO’S will be fighting for the available supply from the GenCos which will in turn drive the GenCos to invest more in driving up their capacity (demand n supply). What we are having now that DISCO’S are refusing to even collect da small from da grid cause they can’t ensure value for money is a bad business situation for every one across the value chain!
      And also, we are more of a gas country than oil, and gas is more environmentally friendly than oil, why Europe prefers it more than oil as an energy source. So, comparative advantage now, the onus is on us to resolve our bottle necks and use it for our local use and advantage instead of stopping selling to Others when we can’t even harness it’s advantage properly.
      And also, as an Electrical Engr, the unenvironmental means of power generation are still the most efficient in the world! No industrialized country has its economy running on clean energy (sad, but true!)

  • uziilayout

    The elements of electricity value chain, mostly gas, generation, distribution and utilization are all in private hands. Only transmission abd regulation are under govt control. How can electricity improve when transmission infrastructure is in shambles, the regulator, NERC, does not have a Board; gas suppliers, gencos and discos are not getting paid.

  • amador kester

    Nope, the generator mafia is laughing all the way to the banks!