President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged by the Senate to remove the power ministry from the portfolio being handled by Babatunde Fashola. This was stated in a motion titled Need to Establish and Delegate Special Purpose Vehicles to Execute and Operate Major Power Sector Development Projects’ sponsored by Mustapha Bukar (APC-Katsina). Fashola currently handles three ministries comprising power, works and housing. Senator Eyinaaya Abaribe, chairman of the Senate committee on power, also expressed similar sentiments.
The ministry of power today is combined with works and housing and the thrust of the ministry is to give quality direction.But, what we find is that the ministry continues to appropriate these jobs that are specifically meant to be done by agencies under it. We are taking measures to see whether we can bring back the ministry to what it ought to be.
A stand alone minister is not the solution
The privatization of the power sector in 2013, has essentially left the role of the minister of power to policy formulation and coordination. The minister can thus not guarantee either stable generation or distribution of power since they are in private sector hands. Essential decisions such as an increase in electricity tariffs, have been put on hold by the government due to the negative reaction it would create with the populace. This has led to revenue shortfalls for the distribution companies, which has cascaded across the value chain.
Ministers also tend to have a short tenure, since the position is a political one, and each minister tends to have a different area of focus. The ministry of power has a minister of state and permanent secretary who can actualize the plans while Fashola draws up broad objectives.