FG’s N72 Billion Distribution Expansion Programme Is A Commitment Towards Enhancing Power Distribution-Fashola
* Says amount was arrived at in consultation with the DisCos as to their priority investment areas within their franchise to improve evacuation of power to consumers
* Although the power sector Operation is now in private hands, Government is concerned, he assures
* Calls for consistency and understanding saying decision to privatize is a matter of policy and policies take time to take effect
* Lists Mini-Grids, Meter Asset Providers, among others as initiatives aimed at tackling post-privatization challenges
The Minister Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Wednesday reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to enhancing the distribution segment of the Power value chain saying the approval of a N72 Billion Distribution Expansion Programme by the government was a clear demonstration of that commitment.
Speaking at the December 2018 Nextier Power Dialogue in Abuja, Fashola said the Government, as a 40 per cent shareholder, had to make the approval in order to enhance the distribution of power across the country pointing out that although operationally there is 7,000 Megawatts of electricity ready for deployment, the operation was still constrained at the distribution end.
Reiterating the concern of government towards correcting the anomaly, the Minister, however noted that the decision to intervene was done after asking the DisCos where they would want to spend their money within their franchise, if they have it, that could evacuate “some of the power that is available and that can yield a maximum collection report” adding that it was with that data that Government put the amount together that it would inject into the Distribution sector.
The Minister, who quoted the 3rd Quarter Report of the National Bureau of Statistics as revealing that Electricity made the highest contribution of 18 per cent to the 1.8 per cent growth in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recalled the “Thank You” visit of the Gora Community of Nasarawa State to his office early in the week to express their gratitude to the Federal Government over the provision of Solar Power to their Community saying it was a testimony to the growth in electricity supply and increasing accessibility to the rural communities.
The Community delegation, led by its Traditional Head, Alhaji Jafaru Adamu, thanked the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for initiating the rural electrification programme and the Minister for driving it adding that since the installation of the Solar electricity, the Community has consistently enjoyed several benefits hitherto not known to them, especially in the areas of social life, Education and Health.
Also the Minister seized the opportunity of a question to clear the air on an alleged statement made by him in 2014 as to his ability to solve the nation’s power problem in six months explaining that the statement attributed to him was made in 2015 in Lekki in respect of distributing power to the Lekki community within six months from the residual power in an Independent Power Plant earlier commissioned by him to power some government Water Works and Street lighting on the Island.
He declared, “I think it was in 2015 during the run up to the elections and I was in Lekki where we had gone to commission the Lekki IPP. It was Sam Amadi who gave us a license to do an IPP dedicated to power our Water works in Lekki, our Water Works in Victoria Island and our Water Works in Oniru and the street lighting in Lekki Phase 2.
“When we switched on that power plant that night and all of the street lights came on, as I was leaving, the residents accosted me and said “Governor you can’t go; we like this; but how would we get it into our houses”. I explained that it was Eko Distribution Company’s franchise and if they wanted the power in their houses, there was reserved power still in the IPP and if they could tell NERC to issue him a license, he would do the distribution and connect the Lekki residents in six months. That was what I said”.
The Minister recalled that the policy outline laid by his Ministry at inception set out a roadmap to first get incremental power and then go to steady power and then to uninterrupted power, which, according to him, “is not just a function of how much power you have”, but also “how you manage the power”.
“I think that if you followed the policy outline, we set out our roadmap first to get incremental power and then we will go to steady power and then to uninterrupted power and uninterrupted power is not just a function of how much power you have; it is also a function of how you manage the power. So in terms of our first leg of incremental power, we have delivered what we promised. We have increased the power on all sides”, he said.
Fashola pointed out the amount of diesel that he used to power his residence was now less than two years ago adding, “The man who buys the diesel knows and the man who supplies the diesel knows that I don’t buy as much as before. And that is the story from many parts for people on the grid. But that doesn’t mean that there are no problems”.
Responding to a question posed by a participant during the Interactive Session concerning the supply of transformers, Fashola, who reiterated that all the assets that the Ministry of Power used to control for power distribution have been sold by the last administration pointed out that the people now operating the Generation and Distribution segments of power sector are now privately owned companies.
The Minister added, “I am here because I am concerned. If your telephone is not working, it is not the Minister of Communication that you go to; let us be very clear. My role is regulatory, oversight and policy”, adding, however, “I cannot separate myself from the problem; I am trying to get involved to do what the law allows me to do. So the people you should be talking to about transformer is not me; the Ministry does not supply transformer anymore”.
In response to another question bordering on whether or not to cancel the Privatization policy and hand back power to the government, Fashola, who called for caution, declared, “Let’s be careful what we wish for. We wished, many years ago, after 60 years or so of government run power, we wished and decided that Private Sector should take over this Power. That was our decision. No sooner had we decided, five years after, we are now asking government to take it from them. Is that what we really want?”
“So let’s be consistent here and let us understand that the decision to privatize is a matter of policy. When policy is made, it takes time to take effect. When it begins to take effect, its impact takes time to spread. And that is why we can share here that five years ago nobody could talk about mini-grid, we are talking about it now; five years ago nobody was talking about Meter Asset Provider, we are talking about it today, five years ago who dared to go into the military formation to meter them; the President has directed that all the military formations must be metered”.
The Minister said ministries and agencies of government now pay their electricity bills regularly adding, “I just signed the letter for this month because our office is the collection warehouse. This wasn’t happening five years ago. So we are making progress and let no one downplay that”.
“Can we move faster, certainly we can”, he said adding, however, that if the consensus was that government should take it over the power sector from private hands, then there was need to “go back to Parliament and repeal the law; because I asked you, do you want a five-year old to have a moustache?”
Arguing against the reversal of the Privatization Policy, Fashola, who again reiterated the existence of challenges in the sector which, he assured were being dealt with, declared, “But you must decide in this country whether you want to continue to see devils or angels. I like to see angels; my glass is always half full and problems are opportunities for me to show that nothing is wrong with us and to benchmark what I have achieved. There are problems no doubt and we must deal with them”.
According to the NBS Report for Budget 3, the 3rd Quarter GDP result was 1.81 per cent growth; up from 1.50 per cent in Q2 with Electricity as the biggest motivator scoring 18 per cent, Metal Ores 17 per cent, Telecoms 14 per cent, Transportation 11.9 per cent Quarrying and Mining 3 per cent and, for the first time in about six consecutive quarters, the Services Sector grew by 2 per cent.
“It is not enough”, Fashola said adding, “But it means we are heading in the right direction back up. What is also important to share is that the growth was driven by non-Oil Sector and that is important because the growth came in a quarter when oil prices have not done well and that is what this team set out to achieve; to diversify the economy. We welcome the Oil money, but when the oil money suddenly disappears, our prosperity will not go with it and that is important”.
The Minister added, “So, in a period when oil prices began to flounder Nigeria’s economy did not flounder and that is important. But more importantly, who drove the growth? It means that if we continue with the foundations that are being laid-infrastructure- the jobs that all of us want to see will multiply. That is where we are”.
APC CONVENTION SATURDAY, 6TH OCTORBER, 2018
This is to inform FCT Residents, Visitors and Motorists that due to the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress, APC slated for Saturday, 6th October 2018 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, an unusual influx of human and vehicular traffic will be experienced within the city with the attendant traffic congestion in and around the venue of the convention.
To this effect all vehicular movement through Shehu Shagari Way from the early hours of Saturday, 6th October, 2018 to Sunday, 7th October will be diverted at Ralph Sodeinde Street by Bullet Building to link Central Business District. Motorists will also be diverted at Kur Mohammed Street and Constitution Avenue at Bayelsa House to Central Business District.
Traffic on Ahmadu Bello Way will equally be diverted at Ralph Sodeinde Street by Finance Junction to Central Business District. Motorists will also be diverted at Kur Mohammed Street or Constitution Avenue by Benue Building to link Central Business District.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration have mobilized Officers of the Police, FRSC, FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Service and other relevant Traffic Enforcement Agencies to various flash points to ensure seamless traffic flow.
Parking has been made available at the National Stadium for ALL Delegates coming from outside Abuja from where they will be conveyed to the venue by dedicated Buses.
In the same vein, ALL Delegates from within the FCT should converge at the Old Parade Ground from where they will be conveyed to the venue.
Please note that parking around the Eagle Square and its environs will not be tolerated as offending vehicles will be removed.
The understanding of the public is hereby solicited
Secretary, Transportation Secretariat
Federal Capital Territory
FG Commends Contractors On Quality Of Roads; Advocates For Alternative Funding Sources
The Federal Government has commended contractors handling various road and housing projects in the South South region for doing a good and quality job.
2. The Honourable Minister of State I for Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri expressed satisfaction on the quality of road rehabilitation and construction, as well as the construction of mass houses under the present administration, since its inception three years ago. He added that contractors are now fully back to sites with attendant effects on rejuvenating the economy and enhancing human capital development.
3. Shehuri noted that in tackling infrastructural deficits across the country, there is a dire need for alternative and innovative sources of funding beside the usual annual budgetary allocations, adding that government is presently using the SUKUK (bond) funding option and Public - Private - Partnerships (PPP) to bridge infrastructural gaps in the country.
4. The Minister stated this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State during a working tour to the South South geopolitical zone to inspect ongoing projects being embarked upon by the Ministry.
5. Earlier in his tour, the Minister inspected the Dualisation of Lokoja – Benin road, Section II: Okene – Auchi, Section III: Auchi – Ehor, as well as Section IV: Ehor – Benin City.
6. He also visited the ongoing Dualisation of Sapele - Ewu road, sections I and II, Sapele - Agbor and Agbor - Ewu, respectively.
7. The Honourable Minister expressed satisfaction in the level and quality of work being carried out, especially in Bayelsa state inspite of the difficult terrain. He said this while inspecting ongoing construction works on Yenegwe – Okaki – Kolo road and the Dualisation of Yenegwe Road Junction – Kolo – Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm road.
8. While in Rivers State, the Federal Controller of Works, Engr. J. O. Fadire briefed the Minister on the progress of work on the Rehabilitation of Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway, Section IV, Aba - Port Harcourt, as well as the 39 - kilometre Bodo – Bonny road with bridges across Afa, Opobo and Nanabie Creeks, the only one to link the Ogoni people with Bonny Island.
9. Engr. Fadire stated that though there are challenges affecting the pace of work such as the environment, compensation and youth restiveness, he, however, commended the contractor, Messrs Julius Berger (Nig.) Ltd. for the progress made within a short period of time. He further assured the Minister that the project will be delivered as scheduled because funding is not an issue as the major financiers, Messrs NLNG Ltd. is committed.
10. The Minister visited the construction sites of houses under the National Housing Programme (NHP), the second of its kind in the history of the nation since the President Shagari Low Cost Housing of the early 1980s, in Benin City, Edo State, Asaba, Delta State, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and Calabar, Cross Rivers State. He also inspected the ongoing construction of the Federal Secretariat in Yenegoa, Bayelsa, where the Federal Controller of Housing in the State assured the Minister that the project will be completed by February, next year.
11. Hon. Shehuri noted that with the construction of these affordable Mass Housing Estates across the country, the present government is delivering on its campaign promise of bridging the housing deficit in the country, creating jobs and generating wealth.
12. The Phase I of the NHP projects, according to the Minister, have reached advance stages of completion and will be due for commissioning in the first quarter of next year, stressing that the houses are for all interested illegible Nigerians.
13. The Minister further disclosed that the procurement processes for the second phase of the Programme will soon be concluded and contracts awarded for its commencement in all the states that have provided the Ministry with land.
14. During the course of the Tour of Duty, the Honourable Minister also visited the 132 KVA Transmission Substations at Uyo and Calabar in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, respectively, where the present Government installed and commissioned an additional 1 * 60 MVA Transformer each, in April.
15. While conducting the Minister round the Uyo Facility, the General Manager, Port Harcourt Region of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Engr. Solomon Uyouko lamented that out of the 144 megawatts capacity of the transmission infrastructure, the DisCo utilise a meagre 2% daily, leaving most of the generated and transmitted power idle.
16. The story is almost similar at the 132 KVA Transmission Substation in Calabar, where the Acting Assistant General Manager, Engr. Nasiru Bello stated that out of the 192 megawatts transmitted daily, the DisCo evacuates between 20 - 30%.
17. Commenting on the unfortunate state of power distribution infrastructure in the country, Hon. Shehuri said the present scenario is unacceptable, while admonishing the DisCos to up their game or pave way for those with requisite capacities. He further urged Nigerians to start blaming the DisCos for lack of electricity, not the Federal Government.
Keynote Speech By Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN At United Nations Sponsored FRSC Capacity Building For Implementation Of The United Nations Road Safety Legal Instruments
I welcome this opportunity to be your Keynote Speaker at the United Nations-sponsored Capacity Building Program for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
This opportunity provides me with a very important public platform to share my thoughts about the direction in which I think FRSC should be heading, and what we, the Government of Nigeria, should be doing to enable her towards that direction.
I will also use this opportunity to address some assumptions and explode some myths about road traffic accidents in Nigeria, and what we should be doing to reduce the incidents of road traffic accidents, and the attendant loss of life, limb and property.
The technical capacity which the facilitators from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Road Safety Secretariat will offer the FRSC is only one side of the capacity issues that FRSC needs.
The other side of FRSC’s needs is in the nature of equipment, tools, infrastructure and financial resources necessary to give them a visible and responsive presence on all Federal Highways in Nigeria.
Thankfully, the Corps Marshal, Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, who is very passionate about his work, has responded to my request to him to submit an inventory of needs like bikes, patrol vehicles, and medical equipment that can help save lives. This is in the region of N16 billion in the first instance, and I have directed our Ministry to send this to the office of the Secretary to the Government, who supervises the FRSC on behalf of the Presidency, to whom FRSC reports.
I made a case for support for this funding to the Senate Committee on FERMA when I appeared before them recently, and not only are they well-disposed to the idea of appropriately resourcing FRSC, they expressly committed to taking action to sensitise their colleagues to the necessity.
This is as it should be, because if security and safety of lives and property is a most important duty, agencies like FRSC, who are our first responders at scenes of road accidents must be well-equipped to respond within the Medical Golden Hour, to ensure that accidents, when they inevitably occur, do not result in loss of life.
Not only must FRSC therefore have the necessary complement of vehicles and bikes to track down over-speeding drivers and bring them within control, they must have Mobile Intensive Care Units on wheels (not mere ambulances), with doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical personnel at strategic points nationwide, to administer First Aid , and other life saving measures until victims are successfully moved to proper hospitals.
Really and truly, investing in at least one helicopter with medical evacuation capacity and well-trained staff for FRSC in each geo-political zone, if it is just to save one Nigerian life (which may be anybody), is consistent with one of the 3 (three) pillars of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which is “To invest in our people”.
While there is a lot more that can be said about building the capacity of FRSC, I will leave the details to the FRSC. I think the most important point has been made: we must invest to save lives.
The other point, which lies at the heart of FRSC’s existence, the UN capacity building program, and everything that FRSC stands for, is Road Safety, Road Traffic Accidents, the causes, and what we must do more of to reduce the incidents.
First, let me speak to the conditions of our roads.
I will classify them into 3 (three) broad categories, namely:
A. Those that have outlived their design life;
B. Those that are within their design life; and
C. Those that are just being built.
For those that have outlived their design life, they should have been replaced and rebuilt, but they have not. Roads like the Calabar-Itu-Odukpani fall within this category.
They were built in the 1970s, and not only have they outlived their design life, they have had to deal with tonnage and capacities well beyond what their design intended.
Can such a road be truly expected to stay intact and deliver a pleasant motoring experience? Put differently, can anyone of us today wear the same clothes we wore as teenagers and expect it to fit and not rip apart?
Thankfully, these type of roads are now receiving attention under President Buhari, as the Calabar-Itu-Odukpani, Gombe-Biu, Ilorin-Jebba and other roads that fall within this category are being awarded for reconstruction, along with the third class of roads which are just being built (like Oyo-Ogbomosho Bye pass, Loko-Oweto Bridge, 2nd Niger Bridge, Kaduna Bye pass, Kano Bye pass), where contractors have returned to site, after demobilizing for non-payment for up to 3 years.
As for the second category of roads, which are within their design life, they have been victims of overloading, right of way abuse, and lack of maintenance as depreciation sets in.
Members of the public must know that roads are depreciating assets. They do not last forever, and require regular maintenance and, with time, replacement, if they are to serve their intended purpose.
These factors of abuse and lack of maintenance combine to reduce the quality of our motoring experience on the roads. With this background, I will now pose the questions: How bad are our roads?
Some have repeatedly said, “All the roads are bad.”
That is not true.
We have good parts, and bad parts caused by abuse and lack of maintenance.
Can you sleep in your office suit and shirts, refuse to wash and iron them, and really expect them to look good on you?
A recent survey that I directed should be conducted produced instructive and educating results about the degree and extent of bad portions of our roads.
Otta-Abeokuta road in Ogun State, with a length of 64km, has failures at:
A. KM 20 + 775 to 23+275 (2,500 metres) at Sango-Otta flyover to Tipper Garage;
B. KM 24+275 to 24+725 (550 metres) at Owode to Ifo;
C. KM 44+113 to 53+147 (9,034 metres) at Papalanto to Itori
A total failure length of 12,084 m out of 64,000 metres, which is 18.75%
While 1 meter of failure is not acceptable, and we are mobilizing the contractor back to this road shortly after 4 years without a budget, the point is that 18.75% out of 64KM does not support the conclusion that “all” of the road is bad.
A similar survey on the Asaba-bound sections and Benin-bound sections which I asked to be carried out on the Benin-Asaba Dual Carriageway last week, also showed that the total aggregate of potholes and failures on the Asaba-bound section amounts to 3.02% of the total road length, while the total aggregate of potholes and failures on the Benin-bound section is 1.51%.
We are preparing remedial action to restore these sections.
The same is true of the Asaba-Illa-Ebu-Edo State border road, which is one of 44 roads across Nigeria and the 6 (six) geo-political zones where remedial work will start in a few weeks time once we conclude procurement.
These roads are the inherited legacy of road abuse and lack of maintenance, which President Buhari intends to change. This is why President Buhari has recently reconstituted the management of FERMA, the statutory agency responsible for maintenance of our roads.
They assumed office in the first week of October 2017, and from my interactions with the team, I am optimistic that Nigerians will experience change on their roads when they begin to implement their maintenance plan, which they constantly review with the Ministry.
Many of us, some of whom have not used the roads, readily describe our roads as a Death Trap. Really?
I undertook a tour of our roads earlier this year to see things for myself. We went by road and travelled in two coaster buses, driving for at least twelve hours everyday. We left at 8a.m daily and drove until 8p.m at the least. On one occasion, we drove for 18 hours, from 8a.m to 2a.m the following day.
We drove through different sections of roads that had outlived their design life, those that are within their design life with failures in some cases, and those that are currently under construction, where the drive was smooth.
We were not trapped, and we did not die. The only incident we had as we traversed 34 states (with Jigawa and Kebbi left to tour) was a tyre change on the Numan-Jalingo road. We drove at a maximum of 100km per hour. We had no accident.
How many people remember that there is a speed limit on our roads, in spite of FRSC’s efforts to introduce speed-limiting devices? How many people know or remember that there is a braking distance in driving?
FRSC will be 30 years next year, and they have acquired enormous experience and data that we must use if we are to reduce road traffic accidents and save lives.
Every month, my office receives a copy of the road traffic incidents Report across the country from FRSC, which I read, and direct that the Ministry respond to the findings and recommendations as they relate to road conditions, and causes of accidents.
Between June 2015 and August 2017, the report and data gathered by FRSC reveals indisputably that the biggest causes of Road Traffic Accidents on our roads are as follows.
A. Speed violation - 26.63%
B. Loss of Control - 23.04%
C. Dangerous Driving – 9.37%
D. Sign light violation – 9.57%
E. Tyre Burst – 6.25%
F. Wrongful overtaking – 5.92%
G. Bad road – 0.55%
Of course there are other causes like Brake failure, sleeping on the steering, poor weather, overloading, which are not indexed above because they are not necessary to make the point that bad roads are not the primary cause of accidents.
Based on this data collated by FRSC, whose sector commanders in all 36 states and the FCT are our first responders at accident scenes, can anybody still make the argument that bad roads are the cause of Road Traffic Accidents? It seems not.
However, while I am willing to agree that bad roads may contribute, an unlicensed driver (and, presumably, an incompetent one); a driver with bad sight (without corrective glasses); an over-speeding driver; one who does not know the appropriate pressure to inflate his tyre; or who does not know that he should not overtake at a bend, does not help his own safety or that of the other road users.
Poor sight and these other factors must be addressed as we saw recently at the accident scene that occurred on Kara Bridge in Lagos, where there was no pothole and people still died in an accident.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I will now conclude by restating some of the things that we need to do, which are easy, in order to reduce incidents of Road Traffic Accidents and loss of lives.
As we prepare for the high volume of traffic that will characterize end of year movement for Christmas, FRSC has been mandated to undertake random checks for drivers without driver’s license, who must be taken off the roads to reduce the threat they constitute to themselves and other road users.
FRSC will also take steps to curtail over-speeding and reduce incidents caused by over-speeding. They will also, within the limit of their resources, ensure observance of traffic rules, restrict drivers to their lanes, reduce incidents of wrongful overtaking, and, hopefully, reduce accidents.
This undertaking of protecting lives and preventing loss of property is not that of FRSC alone. All of us, as road users, employers, have a role to play.
It will help us if those who own transport businesses play their part by ensuring that all their drivers undertake mandatory eye test and get corrective glasses to help their vision, improve their judgment, and reduce driver errors.
All my own drivers have been subjected to those tests and so have I. I do not need my glasses to read.
I need them to see better because I am short-sighted.
All those who drive over long distances must invest in their own safety and get enough rest before undertaking long journeys; and where necessary, fleet operators must recruit relief drivers.
Finally, in all that FRSC has to do, I have met with all the sector commanders and impressed upon them the ‘S’ in their name is the most important reason for their existence.
It stands for ‘Safety’.
They must remember that whatever they do must be in aid of safety and not contrary to it.
I wish you all a safe motoring experience and a Merry Christmas, as our Government continues to improve safety on our roads and give you a better motoring experience.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing
FASHOLA HASSAN RECEIVE HEAD AND LEADERS OF GORA COMMUNITY IN KARU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF NASARAWA STATE ON COURTESY THANK YOU VISIT IN ABUJA
Hon Minister of Power Works Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN 2nd right Village Head of Gora Alhaji Jafaru Adamu right Elder in Community Prof Moh d Sani Haruna left and Farming Entrepreneur Hajia Kareen Fatimah Mohammad 2nd left shortly after a Courtesy Thank You Visit for the completion and deployment of 24 7 Solar Power in the Anguwan Neighborhood Villages of Gora Community in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State by the Rural Electrification Agency REA as part of the Federal Government s Rural Electrification Strategic Implementation Plan at the Ministry of Power Works Housing Headquarters Mabushi Abuja on Tuesday 11th December 2018
FASHOLA INSPECTS THE ONGOING REHABILITATION OF OUTSTANDING SECTIONS OF ONITSHA ENUGU EXPRESSWAY ENUGU AMANSEA STATE BORDER IN ENUGU STATE AND UMUNYA AMAWBIA SECTION IN ANAMBRA STATE
Work in Progress Hon Minister of Power Works Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN right speaking to media men shortly after inspecting the ongoing Rehabilitation of Outstanding Sections of Onitsha Enugu Expressway Enugu Amansea Enugu State border in Enugu State and Umunya Amawbia Section in Anambra State on Monday 10th December 2018