• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Stakeholders demand re-evaluation of power sector privatisation

Stakeholders demand re-evaluation of power sector privatisation

Stakeholders have called for the re-evaluation of the power sector privatisation arrangement, which according to them has not yielded the expected results.

The Federal Government in 2013 unbundled the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, (PHCN), and sold 18 utility firms to private investors resulting in six generation companies (GenCos) and 11 distribution companies (DisCos).

The government had partially privatised the sector to promote a competitive market intended to improve management and efficiency, attract private investment, increase generation, and provide a reliable and cost-efficient power supply.

However, stakeholders who spoke at a breakfast meeting organised by New National Star Newspaper in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the privatisation deal failed to deliver expected results.

Joe Ajaero, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said that the power sector has not recorded the desired progress with the privatisation, adding that power generation and distribution capacity has remained low amid Nigeria’s fast-growing population. This, he said, should be an issue of concern to the government and the managers of the economy.

Stressing the need for the incoming government to introduce power sector reforms, while reviewing the privatisation deal, Ajaero noted that the lack of clear policy has posed a major setback to the privatisation deal.

He said, “Nigeria has remained in the same spot where President Obasanjo left it, especially the power sector. We are still generating and distributing about 4000 megawatts by this time, this is not progress at all. The country is receding.

“We do not have a clear policy on the power sector privatisation; the sellers are the same as the buyers. The regulators keep increasing tariffs and devaluing the naira, we increase tariffs because of inflation.

“We need reforms to achieve sustainable power supply.”

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Speaking further, the NLC president decried the reliance on gas as a major power source, stating that the government should focus on other sources of power.

In his remark, the Managing director of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) said that Nigerians were unable to pay for the electricity they consume.

According to him, load are sometimes rejected by distribution companies, which affects the performance of the grid.

Load rejection occurs when the distribution companies reject electricity transmitted by the transmission companies. The rejection is partly due to the poor state of the transmission and distribution network and faulty power lines.

“We are generating about 4000MW for over 200 million citizens and they are unable to pay, if we generate more, how do we pay? There is a need to ensure that Elect is paid for.

“We still have cases where loads are rejected by transmission companies because they are unable to wheel electricity from generators to distributors, and this is bad for our grid.

In his address, Obinna Nwachukwu, managing director of New National Star Newspaper, said that Nigeria was yet to find a permanent solution to the problems bedevilling its power sector despite its huge potentials.

According to him, the electricity sector generates, transmits and distributes megawatts(MW) of electric power that is significantly less than what is needed to meet basic household and industrial needs.

“All efforts made by current and previous administrations to take us out of the woods have proved abortive.

“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo left us with 4000 megawatts, Yar’adua 4000, Jonathan 4000 and now Buhari is about to leave us with the same 4000 megawatts of electricity. This is at a time other developing nations have gone far ahead of us,” he added.