An expert on power, Kunle Olubiyo, has called on the Federal Government to reverse privatisation of the power sector, describing it as a failure.
Olubiyo, who is President, of Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, yesterday. He said the way out of the incessant power supply hiccups was for the government to source money and pay back the investors.
“It is either the Federal Government do a mid-term review of the privatisation process or total reversal of the privatisation. We did not get it right and you cannot give something on anything. There is a high level of fiscal indiscipline, they make a huge sum of money, they gain the system and they don’t do remittance,” he noted.
Olubiyo said the money government had spent on post-privatisation in a supposedly private sector-driven industry was more than what the government was giving to the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). He continued: “The Federal Government needs to reset the process and in doing that, we need to do a total reversal.
“As little as transformers, buying of materials that are needed to be used in maintenance, these investors cannot even do that. If you have investors who cannot replace cables and expand the network, then the process is not working.”
The expert said it was the non-state actors, consumers that had been investing in materials to fix transformers and other electrical faults. Olubiyo insisted that such investment does not come with a refund, insisting that the essence of privatisation had failed and was not fair to the economy.
“We need to get the economy up and running, electricity is the major enabler for growth, job creation and industralisation. If you don’t get it right with electricity, it will equally transcend into social insecurity because youths are not gainfully employed. When electricity is perfect and working, people will not be waiting for government, the private sector will drive the economy. If we can’t make progress, we should be able to go back to the drawing board where we were for a public interest,” he advised.
NAN recalls that the power sector was privatised in November 2013, with six power generation plants and 11 electricity distribution companies handed over to the private sector.
The Federal Government, however, retained control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). The sector was unbundled and partially privatised to establish a competitive market intended to improve management and efficiency, attract private investment, increase generation, and provide a reliable and cost-efficient power supply.