Power: FG’s Moves To Review Privatisation | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Power: FG’s Moves To Review Privatisation

Posted: Sep 15, 2016 at 6:52 pm   /   by   /   comments (2)


We commend the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for finally agreeing to review the privatisation of the troubled power sector in response to the wave of unending dissatisfaction being expressed by millions of electricity consumers across the country with the fast deteriorating services of the seemingly incapacitated power generation and distribution companies.
Earlier in the week, the federal government reportedly moved to review the privatisation of the power sector. Although government’s action was long over due, it was better late than never.
We recall that when the immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan concluded the privatisation of the power sector after handing over the N480 billion assets of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to the new investors on November 1, 2013, the then Vice-President and Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, Arc. Namadi Sambo, assured Nigerians that privatisation of the power sector would improve electricity supply to consumers. Apart from describing the exercise as the biggest divestment of public utility in Africa, Sambo said participation of the private sector in electricity supply would bring about higher generation capacities through provision of more efficient and cost-effective power stations, as well as improvements in power distribution, billing, collection and transmission networks.
However, it is disheartening that since the power generation and distribution companies commenced operations in November 2013, the protracted electricity crisis in Nigeria, rather than improve considerably as promised by the outgone Goodluck Jonathan-led administration, has now gone from bad to worse. This is in spite of the billions of dollars successive administrations in the country claimed to have pumped into the decaying and corruption-ridden power sector.
Earlier promises by past administrations to achieve electricity generation targets were not fulfilled. For instance, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua-led administration’s promise to achieve electricity supply target of 10,000 megawatts by December 31, 2009 was not fulfilled. Also,the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s promise to attain 10,000 megawatts of electricity supply by December 31, 2014 was not fulfilled. This is why many Nigerians have no hope that President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent promise that his administration would attain 10,000 megawatts of electricity supply by 2019 will be fulfilled.
We observe that following the inability of the GENCOS and DISCOS to attain ordinary 5,000 megawatts of electricity supply since they began operations in 2013, the possibility of achieving 10,000 megawatts of electricity supply in 2019 by the Buhari administration is not realistic.
Now that the situation in the power sector has worsened, it further attests to the fact that the new investors lack the capacity, the technical skills and experience, as well as the enormous funds to successfully discharge their huge responsibilities of ensuring improved electricity supply to consumers.
Following virtual collapse of the power sector, many blue chip manufacturing forms have either been shut or relocated to neighbouring countries with favourable operating environments. As at 2013 following privatisation of the power sector, about 130 million Nigerians had no access to electricity supply. Also, more than 60 million generators were imported into the country as at 2006 while N1.6 trillion was spent by hapless Nigerians to fuel their generators. As at 2016, such figures must have increased considerably. This deplorable situation must not be allowed to continue, especially now that a dynamic power sector is urgently required to enable the country move away quickly from economic recession.
So far, the DISCOS and GENCOS seem to have been greatly overwhelmed by the enormous challenges rocking the power sector such as collapsed infrastructure, huge debt profile, inadequate gas supply, vandalisation of gas pipelines, shortage of funds, non-availability of pre-paid meters to end era of crazy bills and consumers-unfriendly tariffs, amongst others. Under this chaotic situation, these companies have shown they lack the capacity in-line with global best practices to meet the yearnings of consumers for improved electricity supply.
We therefore implore government to review the privatisation of the power sector without delay as this is the only way to quickly stem further deterioration in service delivery and place the nation’s ailing economy on the path of recovery and sustainable growth.

Comments (2)

  • Sep 18, 2016 at 7:12 am jimoh ahmed

    it’s a welcome development

  • Sep 16, 2016 at 1:18 am Oludotun Eniolorunda

    Long overdue. Take it over and improve on it urgently

Comments are closed.