Fact-checking multiple claims by El-Rufai at ministerial screening

ON Tuesday, August 1, the former governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai appeared before the Senate following his nomination by the President, Bola Tinubu, as a minister in his cabinet. 

He was among a number of Ministerial nominees who were screened by the members of the National Assembly (NASS).

El-Rufai shared his plans on how he intends to increase Nigeria’s electricity generation and distribution if made the power minister.


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This was in response to a question posed to him by Abdulaziz Yari, the Senator representing Zamfara West Senatorial District, regarding revamping the power sector if approved as a minister.

He said Tinubu’s vision in the next seven years is to achieve a constant power supply in the country. He made several other claims to affirm his competence and why he should be offered the job as a cabinet member.

In this fact-check, we examine four of his major claims while sharing his plans to stabilise the Nigeria power sector.

CLAIM 1

Nigeria has about 13000 MW of installed generation capacity

THE FINDINGS

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Findings by FactCheckHub show that the claim TRUE.

Nigeria has been grappling with persistent power supply challenges for decades. The country’s generation capacity has consistently fallen short of demand, leading to frequent blackouts and load shedding. The country generates most of its power through hydro, gas and thermal.

Between 2010 and 2022, reports showed the country recorded 222 partial and total power collapses.

The inadequate generation capacity to meet the rising demand for electricity has been identified as primary challenge facing Nigeria’s power sector. It is also made worse by old transmission infrastructure.

Data obtained from the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) revealed the nation’s total installed capacity stands at 10,396 MW. But The FactCheckHub discovered the data is old because the website is hardly updated, except for its quarterly report.

A check on the Nigeria Electricity System Operator, a platform under the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) showed as of Wednesday, August 2, the total installed capacity of the grid as 13,014.14 MW.

The system provides information on the daily and hourly distribution and generation of power from the Gencos, among other detailed information. They basically monitor the functionality of the power systems.

Though the former minister of power Abubakar was quoted as saying Buhari’s administration would leave an installed capacity of about 22,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, the official data as of the time of the fact-check states otherwise.

THE VERDICT 

The claim that Nigeria has installed power capacity of 13,000 MW is TRUE, according to data from Nigeria Electricity System Operator.

 

CLAIM 2 

Nigeria hardly generates 4000mw to 5000mw of electricity.

THE FINDINGS 

Findings by FactCheckHub show that the claim is true.

Nigeria produces an average of 5,000 megawatts of electricity which is insufficient for the consumption of about 200 million of its population.

Successive governments have tried but failed to reform Nigeria’s energy sector. Nigeria’s former Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu admitted this fact before he left the office, attributing the challenge to the shortage of gas supply.

According to the latest NERC quarterly report, Nigeria’s average available generation capacity in the fourth of 2022 stood at 4,503.59MW.

THE VERDICT 

The claim that Nigeria still struggles to generate 4000-5000MW is TRUE according to public records.

 

Claim 3

Eighty per cent of Nigeria’s electricity generation is from gas.

THE FINDINGS

Findings by FactCheckHub show that the claim is TRUE.

Natural gas is the primary fuel source for power generation in Nigeria. However, inadequate gas supply, pipeline vandalism, and pricing challenges have affected the availability of gas to power plants, leading to reduced electricity generation.

El-Rufai attributed the country’s epileptic power system to gas constraints, hampering the production capacities of generating companies (GenCos). He says 80 per cent of power generation is sourced from gas.

Findings show that out of the 28 electricity generation companies (GenCos), merely three operate as hydro plants: Shiroro, Kainji, and Jebba. The rest are gas-fired power plants, which means they rely on a steady gas supply to produce electricity.

According to International Energy Agency , 80 per cent of power generation comes from gas; most of the remainder comes from oil. The latest quarterly report released by the NERC shows that approximately 75 per cent of the available generation capacity is gas-based. The report, made public on July 31, stated that most of the power plants in Nigeria’s Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) are dependent on “associated Gas.”

Moreover, as of the last quarter of 2022, insufficient gas, according to NERC “resulted in the reduced generation from Geregu National Independent Power Project (NIPP) (97,201.07MWh), Olorunsogo (176,090.50MWh), Omotosho NIPP (106,295.57MWh), and Rivers IPP (156,890.67MWh).

THE VERDICT

El-Rufai’s position that gas is the major source of electricity in Nigeria is correct, and that 80 per cent of power generation comes from gas is mostly TRUE.

 

CLAIM 4

Banks have taken over 5 to 6 of our electricity companies due to liquidation.

THE FINDINGS 

Findings by FactCheckHub show the claim is TRUE.

Nigeria’s power sector was unbundled and privatised in 2013 with a view to creating a competitive market that would improve management and efficiency, attract private investment, increase generation, and provide a reliable and cost-efficient power supply.

However, the quest to deliver a cost-efficient power supply to Nigerians remains a pipe dream due to poor leadership and weak regulatory intervention.

The situation has defied successive governments as the sector continues to falter in inefficiency. Most private DISCos are also struggling financially to run the companies.

As a result, the federal government, in collaboration with Fidelity Bank and AMCON, took over the affairs of five electricity distribution companies, also known as DISCOs, over debts owed to Fidelity Bank.




     

     

    The step is to save the companies from insolvency, among other reasons.

    The affected companies are Kano Eectricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Kaduna Electric, and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED).

    THE VERDICT

    The claim by EL-Rufai that about five to six DISCOs have been taken over by banks is TRUE, according to public records.

    This report is republished from the FactCheckHub, read the original here.

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    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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