It emerged on Tuesday that Nigeria has spent the sum of N2.740 trillion on the power sector in the last 16 years.
While the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, had told the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the power sector that the Ministry of Power spent the sum of N948 billion since 1999, the Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding company (NDPHC), Mr James Olotu, also said that the National Independent Power Project (NIPP) activities funded from the Excess Crude Account had gulped $8.23 billon (about N1.640 trillion).
Igali also told the Senate committee that former military heads of state, who administrated the country from 1983 to 1999, failed to recruit engineers for the power sector throughout the period.
The committee, headed by Senator Abubakar Kyari, was inaugurated two weeks ago by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who charged members to probe into the sources of darkness in the country.
Igali told the committee that though the sum of N1.6 trillion was appropriated to the Ministry of Power within the period, the sum of N948 billion was eventually released.
He also stated that the sum of N155 billion was released to the ministry to cushion the effects of the shortfalls in expenditure for the sector between 2009 and 2013.
Speaking at the hearing, Igali said that out of 79 power generation units existing at the time, only 19 were functioning, adding that no new power plant was built between 1991 and 1999.
He stated that former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, brought life to the power sector, as the sector had largely depreciated with no new engineers when democracy returned in 1999.
Despite the effort at investment by government, we have not been able to invest in a consistent manner in the power sector.
“Investment from government and the private sector must go up gradually but consistently, as flunctuation will not help in our economic development.
“I do know that despite government’s effort at funding power sector, the nation continues to experience epileptic power supply, however, it takes time to stabilise,” he said.
According to the permanent secretary, power generation stood at 1,750 megawatt in 1999 when Obasanjo took over.
He gave the breakdown of the appropriated funds released to the ministry from 1999, saying that in 1999, N11,205,842,051 was appropriated, but N6,697,964,119 released; in 2000, N59,064,381,817 was appropriated, N49,784,641,521 released; in 2001, N103,397,000,000 was appropriated, with N70,927,000,000 released; in 2002, N54,647,252,061 was appropriated, N41,196,117,172 released; in 2003, N55,583,099,000 was appropriated and N5,207,500,000 was released.
He continued that in 2004, N54,647,252,061 was appropriated, N54,647,252,061 was released; in 2005, N90,282,833,404 was appropriated, N71,888,606,274 released; in 2006, N74,308,240,085 was appropriated, N74.3 billion released; in 2007, N100 billion was appropriated, N99.8 billion released; in 2008, N156 billion appropriated, N112 billion released and in 2009, N89.5 billion was appropriated, with N87 billion released.
He added that in 2010, N172 billion was appropriated and N70 billion released; in 2011, N125 billion was appropriated, N61 billion released; in 2012, N197.9 billion was appropriated and N53.5 billion released; in 2013, N146 billion was appropriated and N49 billion released; in 2014, N69.8 billion was appropriated and N48 billion was released, while in 2015, N5,240,000,000 was appropriated, with no money released.
He also gave a breakdown of the N155 billion intervention fund released to the ministry, adding that the ministry got a total sum of N30.8 billion in 2009, N43.2 billion in 2010, N37.0 billion in 2011; N11.5 billion in 2012 and the sum of N32.6 billion in 2013.
He told the committee that the nation was experiencing increased power generation as the pipeline vandals had stemmed their activities.
According to him, Nigeria’s electricity generation had risen to 4,600 megawatts from 3,500 megawatts in 2013.