Dogara queries N2.7trn spent on power without commensurate result

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By Henry Umoru, Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA— Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, yesterday, queried the utilisation of N2.74 trillion on power sector from 1999-2015, noting that it depreciated as more funds were pumped in.

His declaration came on a day Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, urged Nigerians and the leadership of the country to come together to find lasting solutions to the power sector and stop lamenting and complaining about the problems.

Dogara, who spoke at a two-day stakeholders interactive dialogue/workshop on the power sector organised by the National Assembly, in Abuja, also noted that the challenges faced by the sector called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address them.

He said: “Perhaps, the most important question is: what happened to the N2.74 trillion spent on the sector from 1999-2015? Why is it that the more we spent on the power sector, the more darkness we attract?”

He said it was to change the epileptic power situation that the National Assembly organized the workshop as a platform for power sector experts and other stakeholders to do a holistic diagnosis of the challenges impeding the development of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, and proffer practical solutions.

Yakubu-Dogara

Dogara said:  “These challenges run across the entire power value chain of generation, transmission and distribution. The myriad issues are apparently exacerbated by inadequate funding, poor energy mix, fuel supply issues, flawed regulatory framework, commercial issues among others.

‘’There is, therefore, a need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address these myriad problems.

“The diagnosis include but not limited to a critical analysis of the extant legislation and regulatory framework guiding the Nigerian power sector to determine if there is a need for amendments or enactment of new laws that will galvanize the sector to deliver the required results.”

Let’s stop complaining, we must get it working— Saraki

Meanwhile, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said, yesterday, that Nigerians and the leadership of the country must come together in finding lasting solutions to the power sector and stop lamenting and complaining about the problems.

Saraki described as a wasted effort attempts to forge a solution to the nation’s perennial power problem.

Speaking at the dialogue/workshop, Saraki said the National Assembly is ready to support and drive every actionable initiative expected to boost the nation’s power sector significantly.

According to him, the legislature will continue to craft the right legislative instruments that will help deliver a new and more reliable power sector for the economy.

He said:  “I am very delighted that we are gathered together today to seek a solution to, perhaps, the most significant challenge to our quest for economic development; the issue of providing adequate power for our economy.

“The Nigerian power sector, in spite of the enormous resources committed to it within the last 14 years. has remained in a perilous state, delivering very disappointing results.

“Today, we are on the verge of a total systemic breakdown and I see this as an opportunity to stop this train from derailing completely. Opportunities for both the Legislature and Executive to come together to forge a solution to this perennial problem have been wasted in the past. We cannot afford to waste the opportunity we have now.”

“We owe it to the people who have entrusted us with the privilege of working out solutions to their problems by electing us to our various offices that we are hard on our heels to bring them solutions not complaints.

‘’Wherever you go in the country  nothing represents the failure of government and leadership in the mind of Nigerian like the epileptic power situation in the country. Fixing it is at the highest priority list of our people.

“In other words,  our people are  demanding that we do all that is in our power to reverse this  long and  unenviable power sector blight.  We must get it right. The first step is this forum.

“This  National Assembly  is fully ready to support  and  drive  every actionable initiative that  is expected out of this interactive session  to boost  the  power  sector  significantly.

‘’We will be relying heavily on  your wisdom and input,  to craft the right  legislative initiatives that will  help us deliver a new and more reliable Nigerian power sector for the Nigerian economy.’’

Saraki, who noted that there was the   need for sacrifice on the part of all Nigerians to get out of the power challenge, stressed that   the government on its part must be sincerely  committed to providing the right environment and  fulfill  its part of the deal without equivocation.

He said:   “Unless all players speak frankly, open-mindedly and honestly we will not get the right solutions.”

Source: Vanguard
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