US Report: Jonathan Vows To Fight Corruption, End Gen. Noise

April 22 17:00 2013 Print This Article

President Goodluck Jonathan

…As Nigeria Requires $3.4b To Evacuate Power By 2016

President Goodluck Jonathan has while not denying that indeed corruption exist in Nigeria, said it’s over amplified expressing his administration’s unrelenting commitment to end the scourge.

He has further that the age long problem of inadequate power supply will be brought to an end soon, noting that his administration will neither turn back nor relent in its commitment to ensure that Nigerians have electricity for domestic and industrial use, adding  that his government will not rest until each and every Nigerian can sleep at night without the irritating noise of generators, saying “Nigerians deserve the best and we cannot afford to offer less”.

This is even as the Federal Government has announced that it will require investment of a total  capital outlay of $3.4billion between now and 2016 to evacuate all the power currently being generated in the country.

Jonathan who apparently was responding to the United States government’s latest allegation that his administration was corrupt, at the Presidential Power Reform Transaction Signing Ceremony, held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja noted that some companies from United States that participated in power contract transactions in the country, admitted that the process was transparent and free from corruption.

It will be recalled that the United States government had last Friday indicted the Jonathan led Federal Government of massive and widespread corruption.

According to the United States Department of State, government officials and agencies frequently engage in corrupt practices with impunity.

This was contained in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, which was released on Friday evening.

It read in part,“The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces. The constitution provides immunity from civil and criminal prosecution for the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors while in office”.

President Jonathan however expressed happiness that members of the private sector at the power reform transactions signing ceremony admitted that the process was transparent and the usual stories of corruption trailing such transactions were absent.

“I’m particularly pleased to hear directly from the private sector that the process was transparent and those stories of corruption were not heard.

“Let me continue to assure Nigerians that yes there are issues of corruption in this country but somehow it has been over amplified. People should watch how we have been conducting government business. We have been bringing down the issues of corruption gradually. If you look at the fertiliser sector, you will agree with me that if government actors are interested we would have continued the same story of buying all kinds of things, awarding all kinds of contracts in the name of fertiliser. But we are not doing that we have sanitised that sector.

“Look at the power sector, when we started initially there were stories in the papers but at the end, even when I was in the US, companies from there that participated said publicly that the process was transparent and issues of corruption was not there.

“At least today we have also heard directly, that the process was transparent and that there were no issues of manipulations or corruptions.

“I plead with Nigerians that the country belongs to all of us and we will all protect what belongs to us, what belongs to our children and what belongs to the generation yet unborn.

“We are committed to doing our best for this country God willing we will succeed”, he said.

The President said it was to underscore his government’s commitment to transparency, renewed emphasis on inclusiveness in core transactions and sustain the current tempo of transformation in the power sector, that it was agreed  that the meeting be publicly held instead of doing it in the confines of the offices of the transacting parties.

According to him, “today’s event signals a major step forward in the implementation of our Power Sector Roadmap. I congratulate the signing parties for reaching this significant target in our collective efforts to revitalise this sector, which is so important to our lives and development. I must also commend all private sector players for their commitment to and confidence in our economy. Your zeal and presence here today, is an ample proof of your endorsement and confidence in the implementation and progress so far, of our power reform Agenda.

“I can assure you that in spite of daunting challengers, we will not waver in the commitment that has seen the fundamentals of our economy advancing, compared to several economies around the world. We continue to command prime attention as a preferred long-term investment destination in Africa and our electricity sector, in particular, maintains its promise of reasonable returns on investment and ease of entry, for all interested investors.

“I must acknowledge that since I effectively kick-started the power reform agenda in August 2010 with the launching of the Power Sector Reform Roadmap, and bearing in mind the scale and complexity of our power sector, considerable progress has been made.

“The Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACPL) has provided a viable platform for the required focus on the priority policy issues needed to reinforce confidence among investors. Today, we are encouraged by the sustained interest in the sector and the meaningful investments that have been prompted in gas processing, power generation, power distribution and transmission.

“I am certain that the high value projects signed today and previously, will impact positively on the rest of the power sector, and the overall national economy. This would also go a long way in boosting the growing market confidence in the power sector.

“Our driving role as a government will be pursued with greater determination and we will continue to follow through on the policies, guidelines and regulatory structures required to ensure the steady growth of the market. We must remember that in the telecommunications and banking industries, where there have been exponential changes and beneficial expansion, the complex web of trading regimes  evolved out of the ingenuity of the market participants themselves.

“Government will therefore, not design the market structures for the Nigerian electricity industry. What we have done so far and will continue to do is to set the rules of the game and act as a responsible facilitator and regulator.

“Government institutions such as the National Council of privatisation (NCP), Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE), National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Nigeria Gas Company, Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) and even the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria (GACN) are merely to work with all potential investors and create the pathway for them to deal transparently amongst themselves.

“To fellow Nigerians, my dear brothers and sisters, this age long problem of inadequate power supply will be brought to an end. We are dealing in a very dedicated way with much overdue infrastructural and corporate upgrades, and despite the challenges, we are making steady progress each day, towards permanent and lasting correction. Nigerians must have electricity for domestic and industrial use and there is no turning back and there is no relenting.

“This Government cares about you and will not rest until you can sleep well at night without the irritating noise of generators. Let me reassure all Nigerians, that working in concert with our partners, we will continue to pursue the reform of the Power Sector with intensity, vigour and determination; there is no shortcut possible.

“This is a significant event. I call on all sector agencies to redouble their efforts, sustain their vigilance, and increase the level of cooperation and synergy amongst themselves required for the earliest completion and delivery of the structures and services, that will meet the needs and expectations of our population.

“Nigerians deserve the best and we cannot afford to offer less”.

On the total amount needed to grow the power sector, Government said it is working out the funding arrangement for Transmission Company of Nigeria’s long term expansion plan from a mix which will include the Transmission Development Fund, International Development Banks and Multilateral agencies.

Power Minister, Chinedu Nebo in his speech disclosed that installed available generation capacity has risen to 6,000MW, while generation capability has increased to 5,228MW, with peak generation at slightly above 4,500MW. We expect to add additional generation capacity of about 2,200MW from the NIPP projects (1,896MW), IPPs (292MW) and FGN legacy assets (514MW) before the end of 2013.”

Federal Government, he said, is also investing heavily to boost generation through the large, medium and small hydros with total capacity of over 4,234MW. These include Zungeru-700MW; Mambilla -3,050MW; Guarara II -360MW; Itsi-40MW; small Hydro Power -84MW.

“These massive increase in generation underpins the need for a robust transmission grid. Currently our grid remains a weak link with a wheeling capacity of about 4,800MW. With government’s objective to achieve 10,000MW in 2014 and 20,000MW in 2016, the urgent need to expand our transmission capability to evacuate the projected additions becomes imminent”

“I must admit that it has not been a bed of roses. The reform has had its setbacks and slippages due to the unprecedented size and scope of the reform program. Resolution of labour issues is at advanced stage. We expect to conclude all labour severance settlement issues before the end of June 2013. The process for the sale of Afam Power Plant and Kaduna Disco is on-going”

Nebo commended the President for his unprecedented support for the power reform programme stating that the President and his Vice have demonstrated great leadership and dogged courage in taking the needed decisions and initiatives in driving with personal commitment the Nigerian Power Sector Revolution.

” I wish to place on record that there is nothing we in the sector have asked from Mr. President that he has not graciously granted. For us that is the highest demonstration of political will. SirsN history and generations of Nigerians yet unborn will ever cherish your vision and labour”.

Tony Elumelu of Transnational Corporation while speaking on behalf of the five Generation companies who also received their certificates, had commended the federal government for transparently handling the power process.

Elumelu also commended the new partnership between government and the private sector, assured that they are willing to pay the balance of 75 percent as soon as the issues with the labour unions are resolved. This is even as he said they will develop the much needed capacity to ensure that  Nigerians enjoy power within the shortest time possible.

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