By Adewale Sanyaolu and Sampson Unamka
Citing funding constraints to continue shouldering its operational expenses, the Federal Government may have concluded plans to privatise the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, stated this at the ongoing West Africa Power Industry Convention (WAPIC), which opened in Lagos yesterday.
Fashola, who was represented by the Acting Chairman and CEO, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Mr. Anthony Akah, added that government would involve the private sector to drive the transmission arm of the power sector value chain.
‘‘Our action is being driven by non-availability of funds to drive development in the power sector. The government can no longer handle funding of the power sector alone. That is why we are now looking towards involving private sector in transmission because this will help in raising fund for the sector,” he said.
Fashola equally alluded to the current lopsided structure of the power mix, lamenting that about 80 per cent of power being generated is from gas, stressing that the trend would be reversed through the use of other cleaner energy in order to bridge the gap in electricity supply in the country.
Meanwhile, hopes of steady electricity supply brightened further yesterday as the TCN, yesterday, took delivery of 218 stranded electricity equipment, which had been lying idle at the Apapa ports for over eight years.
Receiving the consignment at the Duncan Terminal in Apapa, Fashola said the equipment would go a long way in addressing the challenge of epileptic power supply. He said that 77 containers were cleared from Duncan Terminal, while 114 containers will be cleared from other terminals. He said the move was part of the Federal Government’s effort at ensuring that all stranded electricity equipment at the ports get accelerated clearance and waiver to cushion the effect of erratic power supply in the country.
He explained that the management of TCN will ensure that the consignments are moved immediately to sites for commencement of pending works.
‘‘The President, as part of efforts to give Nigerians stable power supply, has approved the disbursement of fund for the clearing of stranded containers containing power equipment and materials at various terminals so as to improve power delivery to every Nigerian.
‘‘I equally want to appreciate the effort of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his support towards the actualisation of the clearing of the stranded containers.
“A lot of hard work has gone into negotiation for the release of these power equipment due to the accrued demurrage as a result of the suspension of the issuance of import duty exemption certificate for some period in 2014,’’ he said.
The Minister said it is expected that the shipping companies and terminal operators will be supportive of this administration and cooperate with the Ministry of Power in its effort to move other power equipment at their various terminals to project sites.
In his remarks, Mr. Godfrey Shitguru, CEO, Duncan Terminal, assured total commitment to the Federal Government’s cause in ensuring that all stranded power equipment are delivered to site.