Babatunde Raji Fashola

Babatunde Raji Fashola

Babatunde Fashola

I have challenged people to ask themselves if they can remember anything the main opposition committed to, when they were elected in 1999 and during the 16 years they allowed Nigeria to drift without any clear political direction or articulation.

In addition to slogans such as “Transformation Agenda” whose details were not disclosed, during a period of prolific gains from very high international oil prices, to a “Seven Point Agenda”, which later became a “Five Point Agenda ”, I have yet to receive an answer.

Unless it remains hidden under its dodgy umbrella, it must be considered that we gave 16 years of our lives to a party from 1999 to 2015, which made no credible promises and no recognizable commitment.

For those wondering why I choose to start my speech this way, it is my response to those who wrongly claim that politics in Nigeria is not about issues. You are wrong.

APC took office by identifying the main issues Nigeria was facing ahead of the 2015 general election and the national survey conducted showed that the issues that voters were most concerned about were security, corruption and the economy.

The APC made clear commitments on how to address these issues and was elected.

When it comes to the economy, one of its necessary drivers is infrastructure, to which APC is strongly committed.

The results are manifested with thousands of kilometers of roads and bridges, expanded airport runways and terminal buildings at 5 international airports, a new seaport in Lekki, the Ajaokuta, Kaduna, Kano gas pipeline, NLNG train seven, investment in the refinery of Dangote to support the initiative of the private sector for the local production of petroleum products, as well as the improvement of four (4) existing refineries.

Why are these important you may ask? Our opponents grudgingly acknowledge these leaps and bounds, but are unable to relate them to the economic opportunities now offered to workers, construction companies, and suppliers operating in this economy; and they cannot see what this means for the Nigerian economy in the future.

On the one hand, they talk about stimulating the economy through “production,” but their home economics model does not address how anyone can expect to produce without roads, ports, bridges, or gas.

They cannot relate cost inflation to travel time, transportation cost, or port delays, or indeed to how continued importation of petroleum products that they failed to reverse in 16 years affects the cost of living.

I doubt they realize that the port they privatized has not produced the desired results and it is the APC government that has rebuilt the road from Apapa to Oworonshoki which evacuates the largest and busiest port in Nigeria, and it is the same government that which is building the Lagos – Ibadan Highway which facilitates the distribution of goods and services. However, they want to privatize more.

The importance of this part of my speech is to demonstrate without a doubt that infrastructure is the basis for the construction of any economy following the policies that announce reforms.

The Buhari-led APC government has spent its time building this critical infrastructure hardware and many parts of the energy sector infrastructure are already being installed.

The agreement with Siemens, under the Presidential Energy Initiative, seeks to remedy the deficiencies of the privatization that they undertook in 2013, especially in the distribution sector where some of those who acquired the DisCos do not have the necessary economic means to finance the investment required for guarantee energy. to homes and businesses.

These are massive numbers of distribution transformers and related assets.

The Buhari Energy Initiative seeks to deliver in 3 phases:

  1. Critical and “quick win” interventions to increase the end-to-end operating capacity of the system (currently 5 GW) to 7 GW;
  2. bottlenecks in the distribution network to allow full use of existing generation and distribution capacities, bringing the operating capacity of the system to 11 GW;
  3. Total operating capacity of the network of 25 GW in the long term, with proportional improvements and expansion of the national generation, transmission and distribution systems.
  4. The construction and improvement of 100 critical substations for distribution.
  5. The purchase of 11 mobile substations to provide relief when local substations need repair or maintenance.
  6. The purchase and installation of 2,906 Distribution Transformers.

Similarly, many of the power plants built under the NIPP do not have sufficient gas supplies or transmission lines.

I visited 23 of the 28 existing generation plants at the same time. From Geregu to Omotosho, Papalanto, and the Enron power plant, gas supply was rationed between the turbines, so that full existing capacity could rarely be deployed. This is partly what the Ajaokuta, Kaduna and Kano pipeline project seeks to address.

Elsewhere, it was transmission capacity that was struggling. This is what the Presidential Power Initiative is responding to by seeking to provide:

  1. The installation of Distribution and Transmission lines with a coverage of 11,650 Kilometers.

The Buhari government has also implemented a policy for mini-grids, supported by NERC Regulation No. MERC/-R-/110/17 of 2017 that allows individuals and corporations to generate and distribute off-grid, integrated power of 100kw without approval and up to 1Mw with approval.

This again refutes the argument that the network needs to be decentralized. It has been decentralized and people need to get the most out of politics. The incumbent government has led with integrated power initiatives in markets such as Ariaria, Sabon Gari and Sura in Aba, Kano and Lagos.

There have been initiatives on university campuses, 9 (NINE) in total, with 7 (SEVEN) completed, with Phase 2 for an additional 7 Universities under contract.

These are just a part of the 67 off-grid power projects already implemented by the APC Government under the supervision of the Rural Electrification Agency.

So you might ask, why are there still power outages? My answer is that there is still work to be done. Mini-grid deployment has yet to see widespread application and this is where the private sector needs to be more policy conscious and the regulator needs to be more proactive. I’ll get to this shortly.

The Siemens Presidential Power Plan to address distribution and transmission and gas projects are works in progress that have started and are in various stages of implementation and completion.

This brings me, therefore, to why we are here. He Asiwaju Framework for Power and Energy Reform.

This is well articulated in the APC tradition of identifying problems and proposing solutions; on pages 30-32 of the Asiwaju Action Plan for a Better Nigeria titled Hope Renewed 2023.

First, you acknowledge on page 30 of the plan that problems cannot be solved overnight.

It offers to eliminate losses between generation and distribution by addressing the transmission problems that the current Presidential Energy Initiative has initiated.

Connects to end-users’ issue of meter provision and offers support for domestic manufacturing on page 31.

This is more than a paper policy. It talks about many things, including Asiwaju’s well-known commitment to supporting people in need. He tells those who fall victim to estimate billing that they are not invisible. It is a message that Asiwaju sees them and offers a solution.

It also demonstrates APC’s forward-thinking credentials as a party committed to improving the human condition.

The contrasting position is the metering policy left behind by the main opposition before 2015, called CAPMI, which stands for Credit Advanced Payment Metering Implementation, which required consumers to advance the cost of their meters to DisCos.

The Buhari government inherited this policy from the previous administration and also inherited the complaints of the hundreds and thousands of advance payments for meters that were not supplied. In effect, instead of pre-payment of meters, it was becoming an advance rate fraud that fits the definition of the famous article 419 of the penal code with payments made for non-provided meters.

The Buhari government’s anti-corruption stance could not co-opt with such a scheme and was quickly disassociated from it as government policy, leaving it up to the consumer to trust their provider with up-front payment.

Instead, the government through the Regulator initiated a new policy: the MAP, an acronym for Meter Asset Provider, as a new business that focuses on the provision of meters and expands the value chain of the electricity sector beyond GenCos. , TCN and DisCos.

Therefore, Asiwaju’s plan will support providers of meter assets.

On page 31, there’s a plan for renewable energy in the Asiwaju Framework, and this is the driver for the rapid deployment of mini-grids that I talked about earlier, especially solar, which he formally addresses as a focus point.

In addition to the employment and entrepreneurship benefits for suppliers, installers and manufacturers, this puts Nigeria at the center of the global energy discussion and opens up a new market for carbon credits estimated at $261 billion globally, $50 billion for Africa and $2.64 annually for Nigeria.

The fruits within reach are the number of power plants that we can replace with solar and renewable energy.

The plan on page 32 commits to a “Nigerian Energy First Policy” which is very important. It simply means that our energy development will not subordinate our energy needs to global energy policies that do not take into account energy inequality between developed and developing nations.

Rural dwellers are visible to Asiwaju as their plan clearly identifies them and their needs on page 32.

It offers incentives and policy changes that hinder energy investment in rural areas and seeks to mobilize local capacities in our universities and polytechnics to lead research that unlocks energy delivery in rural areas (***).

Of course, he had said earlier that he would be back to talk about the Regulator. (The role of NERC/Ministry/Manpower).

This is clearly identified in Asiwaju’s plan on page 32 under “Electricity Sector Reforms and Governance” where it offers “Regulatory Structure Reform…” and “…improved efficiency, accountability for project management, design, procurement, construction and remittances. ” (Acquisition cost and Tariff).

This is clearly the difference between us and the main or marginal opposition. We have the ability to identify the problem, offer a solution and mobilize resources to deal with it.

Heavy work and hardware have been done under the Buhari rule. Asiwaju is bringing the reform and connections that drive the process to manifest results.

Thanks for listening.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Hon’ble Minister of Works and Housing. Asiwaju Framework for Power and Energy Reform, 2nd Edition Symposium Theme Tagged Dissection of the Asiwaju Manifesto, on 18 Jan 2023 at Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, CBD Abuja

wednesday 18the January 2023