Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari, handed over three ministries to him in order to reduce government cost.
The former Lagos State Governor made this known at a Federal Government Town hall meeting held in Shehu Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja that he has been playing a role of supervisory since he headed the position.
He said: “Buhari decided to merge three ministries in order to reduce the cost of running government.
“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,” he said.
“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.
Fashola said over the years, the ministries that were merged together have had close working relationship.
He explained that his role as the overseer of the ministries is just directional, noting that the privatization of the power sector has 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.
“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.”
The meeting which include nine Ministers are: Minister of Health Isaac Adewole, Minister for Solid Minerals Fayemi Kayode, Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Budget and National Planning Udo Udoma, Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, Minister of Environment Amina Mohammed, Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola and Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh.