By Constance Athekame
The Federal Government is to develop an Integrated National Electricity Policy, and Strategic Implementation Plan, as mandated by the Electricity Act 2023.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on June 9, President Bola Tinubu assented to the Electricity Bill, now an Act empowering states, companies and individuals to generate, transmit and distribute electricity.
This in turn repealed the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSR A), 2005 and created a comprehensive legal and institutional framework to guide the NESI.
Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu, made this known in Abuja on Monday at the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) “Round Table” for legislature, judiciary and other stakeholders.
NAN reports that the round table was on the Enforcement of Technical Standards and Regulations in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and Allied Industries.
According to him, the ministry of power is working assiduously with the National Council on Power to send the policy to Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.
The minister said that Electricity Act had consolidated virtually all legislations in the NESI and strengthened the role of NEMSA as the lead enforcer of all statutory technical and regulatory standards.
This is to guarantee the safety of lives and property, with complementary roles assigned to other sister agencies under their Acts.
The minister said that the “round table was timely, and the theme was well-informed.
“It’s an opportunity for us to compare notes on the reforms recently brought about in NESI by the Fifth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the re-enactment of the Electricity Act, 2023.
“It is time to take stock of where we are and where we are going.
As you are all aware, it’s one of the major fallouts of the amendment to the Fifth Alteration
“I must therefore, commend the management of NEMSA for displaying leadership by recognising the vital roles played by not just the national state actors and other stakeholders in NESI, but pertinently, the legislature and the judiciary,” he said.
Adelabu said that at the last count, not less than five states had enacted their own electricity laws and commended the legislature for their incessant resolve to bring to fruition necessary statutes with positive bearing on the lives of the citizenry
“Be rest assured that the ministry under my leadership is dedicated to leading the engagements with the state governments to maintain standards across the board to ensure that desirable reforms are undertaken and guided against regulatory rupture,” he said.
Chairman, House Committee on Power, Rep Victor Okolo, said there was need to ensure that all electrical installations deployed in NESI met required technical standard regulation and specification.
Represented by Rep Rodney Ambaiowei, Okolo said that the technical standard regulation and specification was to ensure that such system were capable of delivering safe and reliable electricity supply to guarantee safety of lives and property.
“We have observed that NEMSA, in an attempt to enforce its mandate, has met with stiff resistance in several occasions which is attributed to lack of adequate knowledge of the agency and its function.
“However, at the end of this conference, participants would have been better informed of the mandate of NEMSA and spread the message to those concerned.
“On our part, we assure the agency that it receives adequate funding and other support it needs to effectively discharge its responsibilities,” he said.
Mr Suleman Yahaya, Former Chairman, NEMSA Governing Board, appealed to the Federal Government to adequately fund NEMSA, to allow it perform its mandate of enforcement of technical standards.
According to him, power generation, transmission, distribution and metering can only guarantee a stable electricity market and reliable electricity supply with good technical standards regulation and certification enforcements of all categories of electrical installations
“We must support NEMSA’s mandate through a well-rounded framework, including active collaborations like this with the legislative and judicial arms of government.
Earlier, Mr Aliyu Tahir, Managing Director, NEMSA, said that the enforcement of technical standards and regulations was a very critical aspect in managing the growth of the electricity industry in any nation.
Tahir said that technical standards and regulations helps to ensure that all electrical installations deployed in the NESI meet the required technical standards, regulations and specifications.
“This is to ensure that such systems are capable of delivering safe, reliable and sustainable electricity supply as well as guarantee safety of lives and property.
Tahir said that to effectively achieve its core mandate of enforcement, NEMSA had 19 Inspectorate Field Offices (IFO), six National Meter Test Stations and one engineering and chemical laboratory.
According to him, those offices are manned by qualified, well-trained, skilled and well-motivated engineers, technical officers and other professionals.
He said that the agency also had plans to open meter test stations in the North East and North Central Geopolitical Zones of the country whenever there was approved fund for the project.
He said that NEMSA, in the course of carrying out its mandate in the power sector and other allied industries/workplaces in the past few years, met with resistance on several occasions.
“One of the reasons for such resistance is attributed to lack of adequate knowledge about the agency’s mandate in the NESI by the relevant stakeholders.
“This one-day enlightenment and interactive programme for legislators, judiciary, state government representatives and other stakeholders is aimed at bridging the knowledge gap in relation to NEMSA’s enforcement role in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
“It is also an avenue to sensitise the legislators and judicial officers to the legal framework for the enforcement of technical standards and regulations in NESI and allied industries,” he said.
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