Determined to boost power supply across the country, the federal government yesterday said it would expend $1 billion to ensure adequate gas supply.
It said the fund would be sourced from the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) allocation, as well as the private sector providers. This was disclosed at the end of a stakeholders' meeting with Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali and the Managing Director of the NDPHC, Mr. James Olotu, who briefed State House correspondents, said the move was part of government's concerted efforts at boosting power supply
"Today's meeting on a higher level chaired by the vice-president during which the vision of the NDPHC which is already playing a critical role in the power sector especially in the development of the National Independent Power Project (NIPP) and also now going to make further investment in the sector, plans towards ensuring gas is available to these plants.
"The meeting addressed few critical issues pertaining the issue of stranded power in the sector. The president and his team have worked assiduously in the area of strategies to improve power supply to the nation by building massive infrastructure in generation, transmission and distribution.
"Unfortunately there is a little shortfall coming from the gas sector in spite of the concerted efforts to address the situation. There is an obvious shortfall in gas supply to the power plants that have been built and are being privatised. And this shortage has created some problems and concerns in the industry regarding how the financiers of these plants feel about the situation.
"The board of the NDPHC therefore met Friday and looked at additional strategies in which government again can move the sector forward. One of such strategies is to commit some funds out of the expectations from the sale of power holding companies towards partnering with the private sector again in developing some hollow walls, identified certain portions where they have been proven gas availability.
"This programme promises to unlock gas from these locations within a short time and then compliment efforts currently being done by the petroleum ministry to ensure that we close the gap between gas requirement and gas supply.
"The sum of $1 billion out of the funds of NDPHC is being put on the ground to support this initiative and this will involved a lot of private sector investors who will be willing to partner and get this gas supply enhanced.
"The Ministry of Petroleum Resources is agreeable to this and is supporting the entire programme. Similarly, he said the Ministries of Power and Finance were also in the picture. And so we hope that gas supply will become a thing of the past very soon then maybe we can begin to have more megawatts," Olotu added