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Senate calls for Review of Privatization Exercise in Power sector

By Oluwaseun Sonde

Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Lawan has called for the immediate review of the privatization exercise of the power sector by previous administrations.While giving the concluding remarks on a motion titled “Power Sector Recovery Plan and the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic,” on the floor of the Senate in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said this review in his estimation has become very necessary because the inefficiency of Power Generating and Distribution companies in the country has become very glaring. The exercise should either be reviewed or probably reversed. The power sector has been privatized as we all know, but it has not delivered.

We gave them our common patrimony and they still came back to us as Distribution Companies (Discos) and Generating Companies (Gencos) to look for money from the public”, he said. He added that Generation and Distribution companies who entered into the shared purchase agreement with the Federal Government can only seek the intervention of the latter when sufficiently justified.

I think the time has come for a review, because if we stay as it is today, for the next ten years there will be no power in Nigeria, as the situation is. So we need to be decisive about the power sector. We expected efficiency and effectiveness in power supply, but I think on both sides, the shared purchase agreements were maybe not adhered to. But definitely what is obvious is that the Discos have no capacity at the moment to give us power”, he said.

He also said the Gencos have challenges too. “I think it is not a good commentary that we should continue to give them money after we sold them. These are businesses now, they are private businesses. If there are areas that we must intervene as a government, then it must be seriously justified, but the way it is, I think there is need to review this privatization and see what has really happened, because something is certainly not right”, he said.

He stressed that for the next ten years, if there is nothing fundamental and drastic in this sector, nothing like power will be stable in Nigeria, and that will be unfortunate. So, it is good our committee is investigating even the previous billions, in fact over a trillion. I mean that’s a lot of money and there must be justification for this. We hope that they will be effective, but in the event that this thing is not addressed properly, there will be need for Government really to look into this privatization that has taken place, because probably the wrong investors took over or maybe government is not fulfilling its own promise”, he said.

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