Despite 10,000MW target, govenment agencies spend much on generators
• As 6000 MWs Mark For 2016 Fails
• Stakeholders Urge Switch To Renewable Energy
• Govt Keep Mum On Solar, Biomass
Despite slight improvements in power generation celebrated this week, the country is still far from meeting the 10, 000 megawatts by 2019 set by the Presidency, even as government also failed to realise it’s dream of generating 6000mega watts in 2016.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2015 pledged to add additional 10,000mws to the country’s grid by 2019.
At a meeting with a delegation from International Monetary Fund (IMF) last July, Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, expressed optimism that the target was realisable, saying: “We are expecting that our generating capacity will be over 6,000mw by end of 2016, 10,000mw in 2019 and 30,000mw in 2030.”
With 2016 gone and 2019 just two years ahead, stakeholders are worried about Nigeria’s potential to meet the 10,000mw target, particularly when several setbacks have already been recorded in the sector.
A January 3, 2017 operational report from the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), said the sector recorded a peak generation of 4,959 megawatts, as against 3,321 megawatts recorded on Dec. 2, which later dropped to 4,075MW by January 5.
While stakeholders are concerned about the situation, government ministries, departments and agencies are planning to spend huge sums of money on the procurement of new generating sets, maintain existing ones or simply to buy fuel for them in the 2017 budget.
Commenting on the development, an energy expert, Raymond Owa, contended that time has come for the country to resort to renewable energy as a way out of the power situation, even as he berated government agencies for planning to spend heavily on generators.
Owa, who is also the Managing Partner of Prigem Concepts Limited, added: “A careful consideration of this year’s budget shows that recurrent expenditure is, as high as it has always been, with the capital expenditure still lagging behind significantly as the case has always been.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance gets a total of N1, 852,822,328,965 out of which the headquarters alone is scheduled to spend N152m on generating sets, repairs, fueling and maintenance. Indeed, the 2017 budget proposal has heavy provisions for the maintenance, repairs, and fueling of generating sets across the MDAs. This only leaves us wondering about the future of power in Nigeria.”
Further he said: “How does one reconcile a situation where the Centre for Hydropower Research and Development, the National Centre for Energy Efficiency, the Centre for Energy Research, National Centre for Energy and Environment and others are making proposals for tens of millions of Naira for purchase, maintenance and fuelling of power generating sets.
“This is not the best approach to a nation waiting to get out of recession. We have to look inwards and that has to start from now. Nigeria needs to patent new innovative ideas about alternative energy, so as to encourage less combustion of fossil fuel in order to keep our Eco-system balanced.