BusinessDay

Political selection of Discos by Jonathan administration cause of sector failure – Buhari

President Buhari has berated the Goodluck Jonathan administration for the lopsided and non-credible selection process of distribution companies (Discos) attributing the failure to conduct a merit-based award process for the current failure of power in Nigeria.

In 2018, Buhari had also queried the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the ‘unproductive’ spending of $16bn on power sector projects.

Speaking at a pre-recorded interview held earlier today with Channels television and monitored by BusinessDay, he also expressed optimism that the fully owned Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) can play a vital role in providing Nigerians with the much needed seamless transmission of power supply amidst a crippling power supply in Nigeria.

The Nigerian power sector currently has a capacity to generate 13000 megawatts of power supply with only a third exploited currently plunging millions of Nigerian in darkness with a lack of regular power supply widely touted as a bane to Nigeria’s manufacturing and industrial sector and culminating into a low ranking internationally in the ease of doing business index. The ease of doing uses different parameters to measure how easy it is for a business to conduct business in a country.

As of the end of 2020, the World Bank rated Nigeria 131st on the ease of doing business table, an improvement from 145th in 2019.

Speaking with Channels television, the President noted that he is not happy with the nation’s capacity of electricity production. “I am not because I identify that no country can develop without infrastructure and infrastructure means road, rail and power,” Buhari said.

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He however assured that his administration is working round the clock to provide power and transportation sector infrastructure to Nigerians.

“This government is working very hard on the road. Try to imagine what was happening between Lagos to Ibadan six months ago and what it is now.

“We are doing from Lagos to Kano the rail, road from here to Kaduna to Kano. So we have to get the infrastructure right and then Nigerians will mind their own business. But when the infrastructure is not there, the roads are not there, the rail is virtually killed, no power, what do we expect people to do?

According to Buhari, the owners of the Distribution Companies (DisCos) his administration inherited were brought in based on geo-political zones rather than merit. He however noted that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is 100% government-owned,

“The people that own them, who are they? They are not electrical engineers, they don’t have money, it is just a political favour.

“To remove a system and reintroduce one is no joke. Luckily we have the TCN and that is the transmission. If we can get our technology right, we will cut the cost on transmission and the likelihood of sabotaging the lines and so on.”

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