Agatha Chitumu, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu has restated that power sector can only thrive if governments at State levels embraced active participation.
According to the minister, pivotal role of the State’s involvement included the distribution segment, encompassing infrastructure enhancement, reducing metering gap, enforcing bills collection, rural electrification, combatting power theft, preventing asset vandalization, and securing right-of-way for transmission lines.
He has therefore planned to collaborate closely with state Ministries of power, energy and public utilities to achieve the Ministry plans.
Adelabu stated this while playing host to Governor Alex Otti of Abia state.
Explaining his mission, the Minister elaborated his short, medium, and long-term strategies, emphasizing the need for State collaboration.
Adelabu stated further that addressing challenges in the distribution segment requires unified efforts from sub-national governments due to its retail nature.
The Minister underscored the vested interests of state governments in distribution, being closer to DISCOs and better positioned to support and monitor them to achieve their performance improvement plans.
To expedite state involvement, the Minister proposed unbundling various regional DISCOs into different States, allowing for more localized oversight.
He said: “Financial collaboration modalities between the Federal and State governments will be explored, possibly involving a swap of federal government stakes in DISCOs with State’ stakes in the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC)”.
While also highlighting collaboration opportunities in rural electrification, Adelabu encouraged States to establish active rural electrification boards in tandem with the Ministry’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
“Support from state governments in the provision of distribution transformers and replacement of weak power lines is deemed crucial for achieving reliable and functional power supplies”.
“Plans for an inaugural ministerial retreat for the power sector has been slated for December 12th to 14th, 2023, where these issues would be extensively discussed.”
Adelabu then extended invitation to attend the retreat to Governor Otti, while emphasizing the sector’s importance for economic growth and industrial development at both National and State levels.
Responding, Otti, who was accompanied by key officials, commended the Minister’s well-thought-out strategies and expressed support for his transformative efforts.
He thereafter pledged attendance at the upcoming retreat, aligning state-level thoughts with the Minister’s vision.