Power situation ‘not a laughing matter’, says Buhari
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.