Minister of works, power and housing, Babatunde Fashola, has directed those who are uncomfortable about him running three ministries to forward their grievances to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Fashola stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, August 9, while answering questions at a town hall meeting
Justifying the President’s decision, he said Buhari merged the three ministries in order to reduce the cost of running government, adding that he only plays supervisory role in the ministries.
Fashola said: “Whether I can cope with three ministries or not, let us be clear on this. On the one hand, we have spoken about the cost of running government. And in trying to mitigate or reduce that cost, Mr. President, in his own wisdom, decided to merge three ministries together.
“So, my work really there is supervisory and directional. Today in the ministry of works, and in the ministry of housing, where there are over 4000 personnel, the number is reducing. The ministry of power has barely 800 staff today and the number is reducing as we are gaining traction.
“So, it is no longer a government-driven sector, it is now a government-regulated sector driven by private sector. And if you have issues about that, I think you should complain to Mr. President. For me, the privilege is to serve my country in whatever capacity I am designated to.”
The former governor of Lagos State further explained that two of the ministries have had close working relationship in the past years, stating that the privatization of the power sector made things easier.
“Two of those ministries have had a natural relationship over years, they were either works and housing, or lands, works and something. In adding power to it, let us remember that essentially the work that is left in power is just to complete the privatization and complete the transmission grid,” he said.
“The distribution is now in the hands of companies. All of the work that NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) used to do is now in terms of distributing power is now in the hands of 11 companies. What they used to do in terms of generating power is now in the hands of six companies.
“The agency called NERC (National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) is the regulator of the power sector, in getting licenses issued and so on and so forth. And a statutory company called MBET. All of these institutions are taking positions and evolving.”
Some prominent Nigerians, especially those loyal to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have criticized Buhari for putting three key ministries under Fashola, arguing that the minister lacks the expertise to oversee the power ministry, and that the workload of the ministries is too much for one person to handle.