Abuja - The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said on Thursday in Abuja that President Goodluck Jonathan has given him the nod to source for funds to maintain the generation and distribution of electricity.
Nebo made this disclosure when he addressed the Senate Committee on Power during an oversight visit to the ministry.
According to the minister, the approval was necessitated by the zero allocation from the national budget as they had been slated for privatisation.
He noted that the zero budget allocation was affecting the sectors badly and they were not making enough money to maintain their equipment.
Nebo added that due to the current financial situation of generation and distribution, even banks that used to assist them could no longer do so.
Nebo explained that the order was to ensure that the frequent systems collapse witnessed in the country was minimised and to ensure realisation of the Power Reform Agenda.
"Three power collapses had been witnessed in the country this year," he said.
Nebo said it was now difficult to maintain the equipment due to long neglect of the power sector and non-maintenance of facilities.
He said that fire gutted two turbines in Afam Gas Plant a few weeks ago, and that it had contributed largely to the present low power generation in the country.
According to him, power sector is quite different from something like a storey building where the owner can build the first floor and start living in it before building the second one.
"But in power sector, everything must be completed before you can start using them," he said.
He called on the committee to assist and partner with the ministry to give Nigerians stable and adequate power supply.
The Minister of State for Power, Hajia Zainab Kuchi, called on the committee to assist the ministry to execute many projects it has in the this year’s budget.
She urged the committee to enact a law that would commercialise National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) in order to enhance capacity building in the country.
Kuchi urged the committee to review the Electricity Power Reform Sector Act of 2005 and hasten work on Hydro Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) Act.
She disclosed that Rural Electrification Agency (REA) had more than 400 projects it would want the committee to ensure their execution.
Mr Philip Aduda, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, assured the ministers of their co-operation to ensure execution of the projects.
He called on the ministers to resolve all labour issues with the union and make sure that the workers of PHCN get their severance benefits.
Aduda added that if labour issues were not resolved, it would jeopardise the present privatisation agenda of the government.