In the just concluded week, the Senate warned Nigerians not expect stable power supply soon, given the gross underfunding of the sector and the lack of will on the part of the government to get the sector fixed.
The position of the Senators was amid the statement credited to the Minister of Power, Mr. Mamman Saleh, that the much anticipated USD5.8 billion Mambilla power project, expected to generate 3,050 megawatts, was yet to commence.
According to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswan, and his Committee members at the 2021 budget defence session, no provision was made for the project in the 2021 budget in spite of the unending promises by the federal government to boost the power sector and deliver electricity to most Nigerian homes.
The 3,050 Hydroelectric power project which after completion would be the largest power generating installation in the country is meant to be financed by the federal government, contributing 15%, and the 85% balance of the contract to be financed by Chinese NEXIM Bank.
In the middle of this, FG approved the resumption of the collection of Service-Based electricity tariffs (SBT) which would commence from next week following its agreement with the Nigerian Labour Union (NLC).
Accordingly, tariffs for some categories of electricity consumers were reduced from the initial hike, while others were left unchanged.
Tariffs for electricity consumers under the categories of A and B were reduced by 10% from the initial hike; that of category C was reduced by 30% and customers in categories D and E had their tariffs unchanged.
We note that one of the major stimuli of economic development is cost-effective power supply; however, with the state of power infrastructure in Nigeria, there is a need for the market-reflective tariff to motivate potential and existing investors.
Meanwhile, we expect the Federal Government to commit itself to implement the Mambilla power project in order to significantly increase generated power which invariably would impact positively on costs even as it commences the nationwide distribution of free pre-paid metres – under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) – to drive consumptions.