As a way to curb corruption in Nigeria power sector, stakeholders has called on the government to start holding contractors starting with General Electric (GE) and other agencies responsible for the epileptic electricity supply in the country.
According to them, inasmuch as government have roles to play in providing good electricity for its citizens, the electricity contractors in Nigeria has equally played damaging role for numerous abandoned projects.
This charge was unanimously agreed upon during the Media Launch Of Report Titled: “Kept In Darkness” – Holding Non- Performing Electricity Contractors Accountable”, organised by the Centre For Health Equity And Justice (CEHEJ) held in Lagos.
Mr Abiodun Ajayi, a legal practitioner observed that electricity supply is not accessible to a common man due to high tariff.
According to him, “The issue of electricity is so important for our development which can not be overlooked. Electricity is vital in hospitals and homes. If there is no light during surgery, we all know the implication. Our generator runs everyday. If you pay more in form of tariff, you will receive as you paid, which means that the concentration is not for the poor.”
While calling on the government to hold the agencies accountable, and enforce discipline, Ajayi commended the organisers for the gesture, in bringing out Nigerians to express their minds as it affect them.
The Director of Procurement in the Ministry of Power, Ahmed Abdul said that there is high rate of abandoned projects.
Abdul who represented the Minister of power outlined difficult terrain, lack of infrastructure, saying “as such, no one can be held accountable for abandoned projects.
Explaining the reasons for poor electricity supply in the country, Sunday Abiodun, the representative of The Association Of Nigeria Electricity Distributor said “If you are living in the city, your supply will be constant due to security reasons. Nigeria is so populated to the extent that the available mega WAT, cannot supply sufficient light.,”
The Executive Director, CEHEJ, Mr Timothy Adewale, said that the “organisation aims at minimising corruption, and to partner with the government and communities to build a broad movement for economic and social rights, including health, housing, education and work with dignity.
Presenting the report to the public, the lead researcher, Dr. Yemi Oke, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, said “that the current state of the power sector in the country presented by the Federal Government’s Power Advisory Team reveals that at 126kWh per capital, Nigeria lags behind behind other developing nations in terms of grid- based electricity consumption, even as he pointed out that Ghana’s per capital consumption (361KWh) is 2.9times higher than that of Nigeria, and South Africa’s (3,926kWh) is 31 times higher.
At 45%, Nigeria’s electrification rate is very low- much lower than that of Ghana ( 72%) and South Africa (85%).Furthermore, unreliable power supply forces both households and Industry to rely on privately owned generators are more than twice as expensive (NGN 62-94/KWh).
On General Electric (GE), the report revealed that the (GE/ROCKSON 215MW Kaduna Power Plant); The contract signed by the Contractor (GE and Rockson) with the Client (FMOP) presents very strange features that call for attention.
“Firstly, the contract named both GE and Rockson as Contractor but went ahead to not only split their work scopes in the contract but to also provide that their liabilities shall be several and not joint.
“As structured and executed, the contract is a complete and total negation of the commitment of GE to develop the power sector of Nigeria. GE did not give back anything to Nigeria in exchange for the billions of dollars it has taken out of the country.
“One may then conclude, in view of the above, that GENERAL ELECTRIC has offered the Government and People of Nigeria GENERAL DARKNESS.
“As it stands, the project is of no utilitarian value to Nigeria, and best described as a white elephant project.
The study suggests that the government officers that approved the shipment of un-tested units and released the payment for the non-working equipment ought to be investigated and sanctioned for inflicting losses and damage to the Nigerian economy.
The report recommends “that government should, as the starting point to combating corruption in the power sector, ensure the introduction or strict compliance with transparency laws and rules in the procurement process.
Also, regular financial audits should be made a mandatory requirement for all electricity companies and contractors in Nigeria whether government owned or otherwise
In addition, government must ensure that due process and off are strengthened in all appropriate quarters where decisions are taken on licensing, subsidy, power-purchase-agreements, operational equipment procurements and metering”.