By John Ikani
The Nigerian Government has taken a holistic look at the epileptic power supply in the country and resolved to boost supply with the award of 16 major power contracts worth N211, 203,901,210 across the country.
The award of contracts designed to alleviate the bottlenecks associated with evacuation and distribution of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, was confirmed at an extraordinary meeting of Nigeria’s Federal Cabinet presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, said the special Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting approved all the 16 memos on power presented by him on behalf the ministry.
Aliyu disclosed that the contracts which are in three currencies to the tune of N28, 620,993,956; $286,814,233 and €9,878,407 (with the foreign currencies converted at the official market rate of N411.382/$1 and N464/€1), were awarded to both indigenous and international firms for the construction of power sub-stations, lines bay extension, procurement of transformers, installation of transmission lines and construction of new national control centre, among others, in different parts of Nigeria.
According to him, the approvals were expected to lead to an increase in the power generation and distribution system nationwide before long.
He explained: “At this point, let me say what these approvals will do to the nation’s electricity supply.
“As we’re all aware, the major problem we’re having in the electricity supply industry is to be able to evacuate sufficient electricity and distribute them. That is to say, we have a very weak transmission grid and distribution segment of the value chain.
“We may not be having much problem with generation. So, unless we’re able to strengthen the electricity grid, which is nationwide, and to expand, and to be able to evacuate, what the grid can take to consumers, we will have a lot of problems ahead of us.
“So, what we’re doing currently through various and several interventions is to be able to repair the grid by constructing new transmission lines, bringing in new equipment to replace the old ones at our substations. So, that will release more capacity to the distribution and leading to the customers.
“So, the operational capacity, as you all know now is hovering around 5,000 megawatts and the transmission and distribution.”
He added: “So, these projects that we brought to council today and got approvals are all geared towards strengthening the willing capacity of the transmission and towards distribution, even though as you all know, the distribution segment of the NESI (Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry) is been privatised, but we cannot fold our arms and allow them to continue not to do much in order to evacuate what the transmission can bring.
“But as it is now, even the transmission is not that strong. So, we need to put more investment into the transmission so that we can improve the willing capacity of the TCN to be able to take up enough electricity from the generation.”
The minister further explained the 16 memos, saying: “The approval was given for award of contract for the construction of a 2X60MVA 132/33 KVA substation at Ikare-Akoko and 2×132 KV Lines Bay Extension at Oke-Agbe, Ondo State at the cost of $9,9928,912.80 and N2,037,076,700.00.
Supply of 65 Hilux vehicle and 20 SUVs nationwide at the cost of N2,741,787,500.
“Procurement of 1,500 drums of transformer 001 nationwide at N322,500,000; supply of 19 Sergi transformer explosion and fire protection devices nationwide at €5,326,663,70 and N347,629,092.57; construction of 142KV double circuit line in Ikere-Ijesa-Isu-Ilupeju towns, Ado-Ekiti State, $30,880,393.82 and N8,344,898,490.86.”
In addition, it included the construction of New National Control Center at Osogbo, Osun State at N1, 168,318,638.68; construction of New National Control Center at Gwagwalada, FCT at N1, 161,915,489.76; the supply of 180 of Grounding Equipment nationwide at €686,043.50 and N41, 378,244.25.
It also covered additional work on 330KV double line to Mando substation in Kaduna at N893, 011,356.42; the construction of 2X60MVA, 132/33KV substation at Ogbomosho and 2X 132KVLine Bags Extension at Ganmo substation at Ilorin at €5,274,245.00 and N457,708,341.02; and contracts for design, manufacture, supply at N4,325,652,643.50.
It also included the installation and commissioning of transmission lines of 330/132/33 KV Lekki, Lagos; LOT 1 and LOT 2, at N2,812,767,499; augmentation for the construction of 2X60MVA 132/33 KVA substation at Malumfashi and 4X132KV Line Bats at Kankara at Katsina at N176,517,897.88 and supply and delivering of 40 each of primary and secondary injection test sets nationwide at €3,865,700.00 and N212,386,640.00.
Aliyu also blamed the epileptic power supply in the country on the lack of attention paid to the development of the sector by past administrations in over two decades.
According to him, the present administration has done more than any other to ensure that Nigerians enjoy improved supply of electricity.
He said contrary to the impression that nothing was being done to tackle epileptic power supply, the Buhari’s administration was doing a lot to remedy the situation with more investments in the sector which he said had manifested in less system collapse being witnessed in the country.
While noting that the federal government has placed order for power equipment, the Minister assured that Nigerians would soon see the outcome of the ongoing investments.
Aliyu maintained that the present power generation in the country is about 5,000mw while decrying what he termed the weak transmission grid.