he Minister of State for Power, Hajia Zainab Kuchi, has disclosed that power generation will increase from its current 4,500 to 6,000MW in July and rise further to 10,000MW by December.
This came as the Senate Wednesday vehemently opposed the move by the federal government to liquidate Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its mobile subsidiary Mtel, saying it is counter-productive.
The minister made the assertion yesterday during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Power, where she disclosed that a whopping N347 billion would be needed for the transmission network as power generation increases.
According to her, even though the process of privatising the companies created from the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) had been completed, the generating and distribution companies that were bid for last year could not be handed over to successful bidders because the companies were currently not in good shape.
She added that the delay in putting the companies in good shape was caused by non-availability of funds, explaining that the power ministry had not received any budgetary allocation since January.
She however assured the lawmakers that all power companies that were bid for last year would be duly handed over to bonafide owners in December.
Kuchi, who emphasised that the Ministry of Power had been running on a zero allocation almost six months into the 2013 fiscal year, disclosed that it has been surviving only on remnants of its N5 billion allocation in 2012.
She implored the committee chairman, Senator Philip Aduda, to use his good office to intervene in the situation.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) told the Ministry of Communications and BPE at a meeting yesterday that its move to liquidate NITEL and Mtel was in bad faith.
The committee chairman, Senator Gbenga Obadara (Ogun Central), who convened the opposition of the Senate to the plan, said NITEL was financially sound until Pentascope was brought in to manage the outfit.
He accused BPE of its inability to give a substantive report of the value and financial status of NITEL.
Obadara said BPE only told the committee what NITEL owed without disclosing how much it is being owed, adding that the non-core assets of NITEL which had been sold, had been used to pay off ex-NITEL staff.http://www.thisdaylive.com