The Nigerian government’s reform of the energy sector could see the country’s power generation increase by 2,000 megawatts by the end of 2016.
Babatunde Rahi Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, told the Senate Committee on Power and Mines that “various plans undertaken by the present administration in the sector” could mean daily power generation grows by 2,000 megawatts.
According to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Nigeria’s daily electricity capacity is now more than 5,000 megawatts.
Since 2004 Nigeria’s federal government has fully privatised the generation and distribution sections of its power sector, but retains the transmission section, via TCN.
In 2010 former president Goodluck Jonathan launched the Presidential Task Force on Power at the same time, which is tasked with reducing legal and regulatory obstacles to private sector investment and is chaired by current president Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May 2015.
Prior to reform the “moribund” sector, which was owned by the government, had little or no investment between 1989 and 1999 and the country experienced regular loss of power.
Fashola, who was called by the committee to defend his department’s N433.4bn budget, said that now both distribution and generation of power have been privatised, his department’s priorities for 2016 are the completion of ongoing projects, refurbishing power plants and tackling gas supply issues.
These challenges include vandalism of pipelines, a shortage in the west of the country and difficulties reaching gas supplies in the east.
“If all these are well addressed, the expected projection would boost electricity generation in the country,” said a statement from Fashola’s ministry.
Fashola’s comments came in response to the chairman of the committee, Senator James Manager, who said that Nigerians should expect an uninterrupted power supply, particularly as electricity tariffs have increased.