Why Electricity Supply Is Elusive In Nigeria-Minister
The Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, on Monday blamed the erratic power supply in the country on some cabals he said are benefiting from the decay recorded in the sector over the years in the country.
Nnaji who disclosed this at a stakeholders forum in Lagos said certain individuals are resisting attempts by the present government to change the status quo.
“This thing has to do with interest. Some people want to continue to protect their interest. They want the thing to remain the same way so that they can continue to get what they have been getting over the years. Like our people used to say they want to carry go. But the president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan now has the will power to scuttle their interest and make sure Nigerians have stable electricity.
The obviously enraged minister warned that it would no longer tolerate any act tailored to frustrate the effort of the government to ensure stable electricity supply in the country
He said the government has put a short term measure in place to revamp the sector, assuring that Nigerians would see improved electricity supply in the next two to seven months
The minister who lamented recent epileptic power, said the major challenge have been inadequacy of gas, seasonal hydrowater shortage and to lesser extent inadequate human capacity and insufficient system synergy”.
To overcome the challenges , he said” Within two months , nationwide , there will be moderately improved power supply and a renewed distribution model which will allow the Disco in their various areas of distribution to promote planned timed distribution and have citizens informed”
He also fingered non-availability of gas for the inability of the National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) projects across the nation to commence power generation and transmission.
He, however, said the challenge of gas was being addressed with the declaration of state of emergency on gas by the Minister of Petroleum.
The minister explained that all NIPP projects have suffered from lack of gas supply, adding "That has been the issue. We are trying to solve the problem. We don’t want to leave any stone upturn.
‘’It is not going to be an issue of power. The power stations will be ready but we have to have gas to power them. We are doing everything within the transmission companies to ensure that evacuation is not going to be an issue. We have programme in place to ensure adequate gas supply."
Pension Fund Scam Opens New Battle For Sanusi Against Banks
Just when Sanusi Lamido Sanusi thought the job of cleansing the banks was almost complete, with the resumption of the new International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) this year and toxic assets or what some refer to as ‘debris’ almost cleared, the issue of pension fund fraud reared its ugly head.
If the issue had ended with alleged corrupt civil servants, he may not have been worried. But that the banking sector which witnessed a ‘tsunami’ leaving the system fully purged is involved in another scam, is getting the award winning central bank governor very worried.
It was therefore no surprise when at the far away Spring Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, the interview he granted journalists had the issue of dealing with the banks involved in the fraud.
Apparently the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is pained that after so much efforts, there remained some banks that still dream of quick profits, even after the bitter lessons learnt from the capital market burst and the loans they gave to oil marketers that got their fingers burnt.
Certainly, it was with these thoughts on the mind of Sanusi that made him to initiate a complete forensic investigation on Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) involved to determine their level of involvement in the pension scam.
This much he told reporters on the sideline at the Spring Meeting of the World Bank and IMF, saying, the investigation has been initiated and that the result was being awaited.
“We have asked our banking supervision department to start investigation. The investigation will have to identify which banks were involved, what level, what is the nature of their involvement and what rules were broken in terms of guidelines. It will be a complete investigation,” the governor vowed.
Sanusi, who earlier said that the issue had already been discussed with the Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, restated that any bank discovered to have breached the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act would be severely punished.
Besides pension fund scam, the central bank governor also shared other thoughts with journalist in Washington. One of such was the of fiscal spending, which is also very dear to his heart. This is because the manner of spending by government could aid or frustrate his monetary policy efforts.
He said that the country needed to save at the time when oil prices were high. “We need to save when prices are over $100 because if this cloud translate into fall in oil prices, we are going to have major problems,” he added.
The CBN governor, also reiterated the need to save in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) considering the unprecedented global economic challenges.
Sanusi made this call on Sunday while fielding questions from newsmen at the just concluded Spring Meeting of the World Bank and IMF in Washington, U.S.
He said that with the savings in the ECA, government would be able to tackle many issues, if there was a downturn in oil price in the global market.
“Until we have these structural reforms in place, we need to protect ourselves ahead of the vulnerability of our economy to oil price.
“Therefore, this neccesitates the need to save at the time when the oil prices are high because if there is a fall in oil price we are going to have major problems.
“Let us save now while the prices are over 100 dollars, not because we have problems now but if something happens and something may happen given what we are seeing.’’
Sanusi noted that in case of drop in the price, the country might have challenges on the fiscal side of the economy.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the country must continue the diversification of the economy.
Concerning economic growth, Sanusi said, “We already have fiscal consolidation of macroeconomic stability. What is left is to make progress with the power and agricultural reforms. Once we are able to make that progress with the reforms, our target of eight per cent will be achievable and we may even surpass it. It is the structural reforms that will determine the pace of growth, the foundation is there in terms of stability.”
Contributing, Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, said that the issue of saving was imperative for an individual or country to survive.
He said that the idea of saving was to avoid any difficulty in managing the economy in case of any negative development in the oil price in the market.
“What we are saying is what Nigerians should take very seriously. Today the oil price is high, now that we have high oil price, let us save in case the price takes a U-turn tomorrow, so that we have something to fall on.
“The pressure from the Governors’ Forum is based on the constitution but the constitution never said ‘don’t save’.”
According to Obi, the constitution says whatever we have should be shared among the three tiers of government.
“That means that even if you save, you are saving for the three tiers of government,” said Obi.