Chief Adebayo Adelabu, the Honourable Minister of Power, asserts that meaningful transformation in the power sector hinges on the active participation of state governments. Particularly, he highlights the pivotal role of state involvement in the distribution segment, encompassing infrastrure enhancement, reducing metering gap, enforcing bills collection, rural electrification, combatting power theft, preventing asset vandalization, and securing right-of-way for transmission lines. To achieve this, the Ministry plans to collaborate closely with state ministries of power/energy and public utilities.
During a courtesy visit by the Executive Governor of Abia state, Mr Alex Otti, the Minister elaborated on his short, medium, and long-term strategies, emphasizing the need for state collaboration. Adelabu recognizes that addressing challenges in the distribution segment requires unified efforts from sub-national governments due to its retail nature. He underscores 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 proposes unbundling various regional Discos into different states, allowing for more localized oversight. 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).
Adelabu also highlights collaboration opportunities in rural electrification, encouraging states to establish active rural electrification boards working 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.
The Minister announces plans for an inaugural ministerial retreat for the power sector from December 12th to 14th, 2023, where these issues will be extensively discussed. He invites the Abia state governor to attend in person, emphasizing the sector’s importance for economic growth and industrial development at both national and state levels.
In response, the Abia State Governor, accompanied by key officials, commends the Minister’s well-thought-out strategies and expresses support for his transformative efforts. He pledges attendance at the upcoming retreat, aligning state-level thoughts with the Minister’s vision. Other dignitaries present, including Senator Patrick Ndubueze, Hon. Chidi Nwogu and Abia State Power Commissioner, Eng. Ikechukwu Monday commend the Minister and affirm their support for his drive to transform the Power Sector.