At the ongoing open hearing in the Nigerian Senate yesterday, it was revealed that the power sector had gulped an overwhelming fund of N2.740 trillion in 16 years. This was contrasting to the disclosure of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, who said the ministry and its agencies only received N948 billion even though N1.6 billion was appropriated within the period.
The Senate had set up an ad hoc committee to probe the alleged corrupt practices in the sector and established the facts on the over N2 trillion earmarked for the sector since 1999.
By way of defense, the Permanent Secretary disclosed that barely half of the total fund was disbursed to the ministry. He added that N155 billion was released to the sector to cushion the consequences of the deficit in expenditure in the sector between 2009 and 2013.
Igali further stated that the power sector had recorded remarkable growth over the years in that, it now supplies the country 4600 megawatts as against 3500 megawatts in 2013. This is probably correct as the rise in the megawatts accounted for 40% growth ratio in line with generation capacity.
According to him, the National Independent Power Projects, which is being funded by excess crude accounts contributes the largest quota to the National Grid. Proceeds of privatization were used to address labor claims of more than 46000 workers by the Bureau for Public Enterprises via the Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Although Igali also added that a bulk of the retrenched National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) workers have been paid their severance allowances except for those with invalid documents. But his claims do not answer the questions of persistent probe of corruption in the sector. An Economic Confidential report analysis on query of the ministry, showed that despite the whooping amount of $16 billion invested in the sector from 1999 to 2007, power remains epileptic in the country, and it is not any better now.
However the aggregation of all these do not supply the answer to the overwhelming missing funds–the probe continues.