The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, an engineer, assumed office in August 2019.
In this interview, he spoke on the challenges of the power sector, what the ministry has been able to do, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other issues.
- Tomato farmers lament pest invasion
- 3 Killed, 2 injured as Amotekun operatives, herdsmen clash in Oyo State
On assumption of office you unveiled a blueprint for the power sector, how has this fared?
The Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has launched Vision 30:30:30.
That means 30 gigawatts to be achieved with 30 per cent renewables by 2030.
This is the vision of Mr President as regards the power sector.
Coming to the Federal Ministry of Power under my leadership, I have five focal areas as my roadmap.
The first is the alignment of the whole electricity value chain – generation, transmission and distribution; the increase of power generation capacity; access to power in unserved and underserved communities; boosting of market liquidity, and completion of legacy projects like Mambilla and Zungeru hydropower; and lastly, enhancing coordination and system planning.
These are the areas I have concentrated on to improve electricity generation.
You have spent over a year as the minister of power, what are the milestones you achieved so far?
We have achieved a lot. We have now tried to align between distribution and transmission.
We have achieved peak energy for over three times, which has not been seen before.
We have attained a peak that Nigerians have not witnessed before, up to 5,520 megawatts.
It is a great achievement.
How do you plan to sustain this peak energy on the national grid?
It is not the first time we attained this peak.
For instance, the first time, we achieved 4,800MW peak and it rose to 5,200MW and continues.
So you can see how we are sustaining it to achieve a power supply that will be affordable and constant.
How do you rate power transmission by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) this year?
I can tell you that the TCN is improving.
This is because before now, they could not transmit more than 4,000MW, but today, I can tell you that they can transmit over 5,000MW. It is a great achievement.
This year is rough for every sector, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, what about the power sector?
From the beginning, there was a little problem in the supply of gas to power plants.
You know most of our generation plants are gas-based before the hydropower plants.
We started facing that problem earlier, but at the end of the day, we succeeded in overcoming those problems, and supply was constant during the COVID-19 through these commitments.
You are passionate about the 3050MW Mambilla hydropower project in Taraba State, what is the status?
I told Nigerians when I assumed office that there was nothing on ground, but today, I can tell you that we have gone a little bit far.
We have entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Taraba State Government, which was not done before.
Surveyors are now in the field doing both the land and aerial survey.
What are the expectations for the power sector in 2021?
As we progress, by 2021, up to the end of our tenure, we intend to achieve a lot, not less than 11,000MW.
So far, we are generating 5,000MW. And the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) that is led by the German government will bring officials to take over the alignment of the power sector infrastructure.
They are coming to improve that capacity to 7,000MW and then to 11,000MW.
In 2021, we are expecting to improve this 5,000MW to 7,000MW, which will improve power supply.
You have inspected and commissioned several power projects this year, should Nigerians expect more?
Yes, we are expecting more. Recently, I went to inspect some projects in Abia State.
Some of them had been abandoned for 10 years, and some for 20 years. They are almost ready to energise.
I want to assure Nigerians that we are going to award those contracts that will now evacuate the power supply; that is in the south to the national grid.
So we are expecting more commissioning, including renewable energy projects like the ones in Kano and Adamawa states.
Can you speak more on the Siemens power deal?
That is what I told you earlier, they are coming to do alignment.
It is a bilateral understanding between the German government and the Nigerian government so that whatever power is transmitted can be distributed equally.
You commissioned some power transmission substations and transformers recently, what more would be needed to improve power supply?
The recent one is the Gagarawa transmission substation in Jigawa State.
We are expecting more power generation capacity to be transmitted through all these boosters and transformers we just commissioned to increase the capacity of supply we have, so that people of those areas can enjoy it.
The issue of low voltage will be off and we will have investors coming to open companies around those areas because of the 24-hour electricity they will have around that area.
What is your New Year wish to Nigerians?
I wish Nigerians all the best and we wish to achieve this 7,000MW I said before the 2021 rounds off.
With the effort of Mr President and players in the power sector, we hope to achieve that capacity.
So like I said, I want to wish the entire power sector a happy new year.
I want to assure Nigerians that we are going to increase the capacity of our supply in 2021.
I wish everybody the best as Nigerians are going to have more electricity because we are trying to have a supply that is robust, sustainable, affordable and constant. We hope to achieve that in 2021.