He spoke during his presentation at an investigative public hearing on “Power Sector Recovery Plan and the Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic” organized by the Senate Committee on Power, in Abuja.
Mamman said the controversial increase would have taken effect in April but was postponed till next month due to the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread “apathy” towards the increase by Nigerians.
Mamman said: “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected our laid out plan for the repositioning of the electricity market towards financial sustainability under the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP).
“Initially, the regulator, following the completion of public consultation on tariff review, planned on conducting a tariff review in April 2020.
“However, due to COVID-19 and customer apathy, the proposed tariff review was delayed by three months.
“The impact of this means the subsidy being incurred in maintaining the current tariff level had to be maintained till July 2020 when the proposed tariff review will be implemented.”
He said the challenge the power sector is facing in the development and expansion of our transmission line is “budget and release of Federal Government’s commitment in the estimated sum of N32billion primarily for Right of Way (RoW) acquisition and environmental impact mitigation. The fund should be provided for in 2020, 2021, and 2022 Appropriation of the Ministry of Power.”
He added that the sector is also grappling with the challenge of infrastructural misalignment, market inefficiency/transparency, sector governance/policy coordination, increase energy access, and completion of legacy projects.
He said: “Note that the teething issues, as well as the legacy issues affecting the power sector, is primarily an issue of infrastructural deficit and lack of coordination in the sector.
“We believe solving two challenges alone, would not only redress these challenges but will also unlock the Sector for investment, efficiency, and service delivery, bringing affordable and stable power to the nation.
“It is thus fortuitous that President Muhammadu Buhari has championed the Siemens Electrification Plan under the Presidential Power Initiative, as the central theme of the Government’s strategy in the sector.
“I believe that all efforts rendered by the many relevant stakeholders within the stakeholders should be aligned with the PPI for maximum effectiveness in implementation. It is really our only choice to once and for all resolve the longstanding issue of the power sector.”
He lamented further that the COVID-19 pandemic, has had a great economic impact – not just on the health sector, but the overall economy of the country.
“Indeed, the prevalence of the pandemic has already reduced productivity due to the strategy adopted globally to contain it. This by default affects the purchasing power of consumers and the demand for electricity in general.
“The current situation in the Nigerian Power Sector is that in which a lot of capital investment is being made, most of which is dependent on donor funding, loans, and budgetary allocation.
“For tasks that now we have already secured their funding, we don’t count on any opposed impact.
“However, for people who require our counterpart funding within the face of dwindling nationwide income, we’re proactively searching for methods that can allow us to anticipate the affect and plan for it in order to allow us to ship inside the projected timelines.
“This explains our prayer for the Distinguished Senators to think about and approve further funding for the execution of the varied tasks we’re enterprise.”