Fashola blames past govts for electricity challenges

Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has blamed past administrations for the electricity challenges being witnessed in some parts of the country.

He said the past administration delayed the implementation of the Strategic Rural Electrification Plan (SREP) for 10 years, thereby making it difficult for some rural communities to enjoy power supply.

Fashola, however, stated that the approval of the plan by the present administration has made it possible for the government to access $200 million.

He added that the fund would enable the ministry run a pilot power project in 70 communities across five states.

The minister spoke in Abuja when members of Gora community in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State led by the Sarkin Gora, Alhaji Jafaru Adamu, visited him.

Members of the community were at the ministry to express gratitude following the provision of power to the community after several years in darkness.

Fashola said: “This power supply demonstrates that while we are working to fix the grid, more communities are getting power off the grid. When we say that we are now generating 7000 power and we have distribution challenges, our work does not start and end on the grid because more communities are getting electricity off the grid and Gora community is an example of what we have done with off-grid power and the members of Gora community are here to testify that our mini-grid regulation and off-grid policy is also working.

“It is important to point out that when the Electric Sector Reform Act was passed in 2005, it stipulated very clearly that the Rural Electrification Strategy Implementation Plan must be developed and approved by the President within one year but that was not done until President Buhari was elected.

“So, the last administration delayed the implementation of the Strategic Rural Electrification Plan by ten years. So it was not done until 2016 and as soon as we presented it to President Buhari, he had no difficulty at all in approving it and it is that plan that is impacting communities today and Gora is one of the dozens of communities that have been impacted.

“That plan has enabled us access $200 million and we are going to run a pilot project of 70 communities in five states while we continue to gather more data of communities like Gora which does not have access to power. So it is the story of access that we really want to tell.”

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