Embattled Minister of Power, Professor Bart Nnaji has said that contrary to media reports, the Shiroro Power Station is in fact working .A press statement by the Ministry of Power emailed to Newsdiaryonline.com today said “Shiroro is working impressively. On the day the false and misleading report appeared, it was generating 550Megawatts out of the designed capacity of 600MW.”
The statement added that “In fact, it is doing better than the 760MW Kainji hydro power plant built in 1968 but had not been overhauled until now.”
According to the statement “ Shiroro is a major contributor to the unprecedented quantum of 4,237MW plus 70MW spinning reserve which the nation has been generating since Monday, August 7, 2012, to the delight of all our people.”
Read the full text of the press statement below:
PRESS STATEMENT BY MINISTRY OF POWER
SHIRORO POWER STATION IS WORKING, NOT SHUT DOWN
1. The report on page 9 of Thisday newspaper of yesterday, Friday, August 10, 2012, claiming that the Shiroro dam supplying water to the Shiroro hydro station has been shut down by the union of junior workers is utterly false and unfounded. The report was obviously planted by a handful of professional trade unionists in the leadership of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) who do not consider anything sacred in their self-assigned mission of agitation and propaganda (agit-prop) against the ongoing power sector reform.
2. Shiroro is working impressively. On the day the false and misleading report appeared, it was generating 550Megawatts out of the designed capacity of 600MW.
3. In fact, it is doing better than the 760MW Kainji hydro power plant built in 1968 but had not been overhauled until now.
4. Shiroro is a major contributor to the unprecedented quantum of 4,237MW plus 70MW spinning reserve which the nation has been generating since Monday, August 7, 2012, to the delight of all our people.
5. We are very much aware that there are some elements viciously opposed to improved electricity supply and are working in cahoots with forces benefitting from the corrupt and decadent order which has for decades kept the nation down, impeded economic growth and adversely affected social life. These unpatriotic and subversive elements hide under the canopy of labour activism to actively and secretly promote the business interests of a notorious cabal in the power sector. The Nigerian people should watch out for these saboteurs working against improved power supply.
6. The Federal Government remains resolute in the determination to end forever the electricity blight. It has consequently taken all appropriate measures to safeguard the huge electricity assets across the country and the dedicated men and women work day and night in these facilities to ensure that constant and quality electricity is available to every Nigerian as of every right. The nation appreciates the commitment, patriotism, sacrifice of these conscientious citizens in the power sector.
7. In recognition of the vital role of the power sector workers in national development, the Federal Government approved a 50% increase in salary for the PHCN staff since June of 2011, set aside for them a percentage of shares of the 17 PHCN successor companies being privatized, converted some 10,000 casual workers to the permanent staff, and paid the staff N57billion for the monetized benefits denied them since 2003 when the monetization policy was introduced. In addition, the government has magnanimously agreed to pay 25% of their salary as part of the severance in the wake of the privatization of PHCN assets, even though they did not any contributions to the pension scheme up to July 1, 2004, when the Pension Reform Act came into effect. Despite the PHCN failure to comply with this Act and the failure of both the PHCN management and the workers to contribute 7.5% each of the workers’ salary to the pension scheme as required by the law , the government has offered to pay 15% of each PHCN employee’s salary as part of the retirement benefits.
8. We would like to assure all Nigerians that the worst days are over as far as electricity is concerned. The current improvement is not irreversible. The programme for power development in Nigeria to international standards is very much on course, and the whole world is convinced that Nigeria is finally on the right electricity track.
9. The Minister of Power, Professor Bart Nnaji, thanks all Nigerians and the international community for their understanding, support and solidarity in the task to chart a new direction for the Nigerian electric power sector. The Minister retains his open door policy towards the media and will be glad to clarify issues with any journalist who wants him to do so.