Appoint separate Minister for Power – Senate advise Buhari

The Senate, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a separate, substantive minister to man the Ministry of Power, in view of its critical importance to the overall development of the country.

The Senate also urged the Federal Government to transfer all generation, transmission and rural electrification projects to the respective agencies for proper administration.
It also implored the Federal Government to immediately incorporate Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for the implementation of the following alternative energy projects: Hydropower Project, Solar Power Projects and Wind Power Projects.

The apex legislative Chamber further urged the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to use gas as the source of energy for the Kaduna Project in accordance with the original project concept and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with gas suppliers to complete the project, noting that adequate provision had been made for the project in the 2017 Budget.

It urged the Federal Government to employ qualified management team to take charge of the project development in the SPVs.

The lawmakers urged the SPVs, when created, to comply with the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act by applying to NERC for the generation licenses and to the TCN for grid inter-connection approval.

The Upper Chamber made these resolutions sequel to a motion entitled, “the need to establish and delegate Special Purpose Vehicles to execute and operate Major Power Sector Development Projects,” sponsored by Senator Mustapha Bukar (Katsina, North).

The Senate, while debating the motion, observed that the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, was being distracted from focusing on the problems and development of the power sector because of the scope of the three ministries merged under his care.

The chamber, therefore, urged that the Power Ministry should be given a separate and substantive minister to comprehensively manage the affairs of the sector for better results.

In his lead debate on the motion, Senator Bukar noted that the Federal Government, in 2004, conceived the idea of an Integrated Power Project, which metamorphosed into Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) incorporated in 2005, in a bid to develop a Competitive Electricity Market with the establishment of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

Contributing, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Eyinnaya Abaribe, said that the committee was already acting along its own mandate for oversight.

In his remarks, Deputy President of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, said that every talk about growing the economy would not work unless the power sector was repositioned.

In another development, the Senate summoned the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, for briefing on his implementation framework to ensure the protection of the people of the mining host communities.
It also mandated the Committees on Environment and Solid Minerals to visit the affected communities to ascertain the level of damage done by mining activities and report back to the Senate.

These resolutions were sequel to an adopted motion sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu and four other senators, on the “Update on lead poisoning in Zamfara State and the need to prevent further propagation of the resources curse theory.”

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