Mr. Benjamin Dikki, director general of the BPE who made this call, noted that the bulk of electricity generated in the country, was through gas-fired plants, but regretted that at present, the country does not have the capacity to supply enough gas to support the envisaged increased capacity.
He noted that Nigeria was blessed with the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, but that necessary investments were needed to be made to access the gas to produce power. He announced that the PHCN Successor Companies would be handed over to their new owners as from October 1, 2013, stressing that with the power sector in private hands, Nigeria would benefit from increased power supply and a boost in agricultural and industrial development among other positive developments.
However, the DG appealed for understanding among Nigerians as the power sector reform would not bring about immediate changes. He said investments in the sector would take time to achieve results, and that construction of new generation capacity would take two-five years to achieve most of the results envisaged.
Also, Dikki said there was paucity of skilled manpower in the sector, inheritance of an aged and unmotivated work force and a clear strategy by the new owners to manage the movement from state-run to privately managed entity.
The DG recalled that at the onset of the democratically elected government in 1999, the Nigerian Electricity Power Sector had reached the lowest point in the history of the country as “ of the 79 generation units in the country, only 19 were operational” while average daily generation was 1,750 megawatts.
“No new electric power infrastructure was built between 1990-1999, the newest plant was completed in 1990 and the last transmission line built in 1987, an estimated 90 million people were without access to grid electricity and accurate and reliable estimates of industry losses, were unavailable but these were believed to be in excess of 50 per cent”, he said.
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