Gabriel Idibia, Kaduna
National Council On Power (NACOP), the highest decision making body in the power sector, Tuesday, opened in Kaduna. It is themed: “Achieving Incremental, then Stables, and then Uninterrupted Power”.
The Council which will deliberate over one week, consists of policy makers, members of the National Assembly, former ministers and permanent secretaries of power, commissioners and special advisers in charge of energy/power in the states, chief executives of power companies, donor agencies, representatives of professional bodies and the academia, Nigerians in-Diaspora and representatives of electricity consumers.
Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, speaking in a welcome remarks stated that the 2nd Council of Power is taking place at a time when the sector is facing a lot of challenges and urged participants to come out with concrete solutions to problems that hinder progress in the sector.
Hon. Shehuri, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, (Power), Mr. Louis Edozien, disclosed that one of the objectives of the Council is for industry key players to brainstorm and chart ways for the sector to perform optimally in providing incremental, then stable and then uninterrupted electricity supply.
The Minister said the inaugural Council meeting which was held in 2014, in Abuja, was intended to identify all constraints facing the Industry and proffer solutions to ameliorate them.
The Minister also disclosed that as the way forward for the sector, five important topics are to be thoroughly discussed at the technical secessions; namely: Gas to power, Transmission and Market liquidity. Others are Energy-mix and Manpower.
The Minister further said that the Council is to discuss issues on gas supply to GenCos, Gas Supply Agreements (GSAs), Gas pricing and gas pipeline infrastructure and tackling gas infrastructure vandalism.
On Energy-Mix, the Minister reiterated the fact that Nigeria has a lot of renewable energy sources which if well harnessed will increase power generation, adding that the country has in abundance of Coal, Wind, Solar that can increase quantum of power in the country.
On Market liquidity, the Minister disclosed that the Industry is facing a lot of liquidity problems which implies that it is very important to the consumers to pay for the power they consumed. Another one is on the issue of payment performance by the Distribution Companies (DisCos).
On Transmission, the emphasis is placed on transmission expansion and completion of all on-going projects. He said contractors were already mobilized to sites and that grid expansion is on the priority list of the present administration.
Lastly, on manpower, the Minister said the Ministry, through the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) is organizing a lot of capacity building for lower level technical manpower and engineers who work in the industry. It would be recalled that the National Council on Power policy started two years ago where key players in the industry identified major issues confronting the sector and took positive decisions to move the sector forward.
A statement signed by Assistant Director of Press at the Ministry, Ibrahim Haruna, said, the Permanent Secretary, (Power), who was also represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS), Nuhu L. Sada, had earlier urged the council to come up with new ideas that will put the sector in its rightful place of providing stable and uninterrupted power to Nigerians.
He also said Edozien commended Governor Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, for hosting the council in his state and providing conclusive working environment for participants.