Senate President seeks review of 2013 power sector deal

Posted by News Express | 16 June 2020 | 426 times

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•Senate President Ahmad Lawan

By EDWIN AKWUEH, Abuja

President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has charged the Senate Committee on Power to re-examine the agreement signed in 2013 on the privatisation of the country’s power sector.

Senator Lawan gave the charge on Monday while declaring open an Investigative Public Hearing by the Senate Committee on Power, following a motion on the “Power Sector Recovery Plan and the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic.”

He said the overall expectation of the Nigerian government and the citizens was that the power sector, after privatization, would be far better but lamented that the expectation is far from being fulfilled.

The Power Holding Company of Nigeria was unbundled in 2013 to pave way for the emergence of six Generating Companies (GENCOs), 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and one Transmission Company of Nigeria. Both the GENCOS and DISCOs are fully privatized outfits.

The Senate President said: “When you have privatization, you have Share Purchase Agreement. This investigation should look at what has happened.

“Government cannot afford to just spend money that you hardly understand why it is given and I will advise the Executive here, next time, if there will be any next time, to give such money, bring it to the National Assembly for approval.

“We want to be very critical of how funds are given to privatized enterprises. We expect that by now, our level of generation, transmission and distribution would have been far better.”

Senator Lawan, however, said he would rather call for a review of the privatisation deal and not for an outright cancellation of the deal.

“Why I will not call for an outright reversal of the privatization that was done in 2013, I believe the time has come for us to review it. If those who are in charge now don’t have the financial muzzle, please let’s admit that we should look for partners who will come in with more funds.

“If the government cannot fulfil its obligations because it holds 40 percent, let it divest so that we don’t hold this sector unnecessarily stagnant,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said Nigeria could not have made any serious, meaningful and sustainable progress without stable power.

“I believe that we all understand how Nigeria has remained undeveloped especially when we are talking about manufacturing, empowering our artisans, the vulcanisers, the barbers. Nigeria cannot be competitive.

“Last year, we signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement. How can Nigeria take advantage of that agreement without power because we cannot produce anything in a competitive environment here. So Nigeria will be a dumping ground.

“Jobs which ordinarily should be for Nigerians will have to be exported out. So as representatives of the people, in the Senate, we believe that we need to up our game to ensure that this sector, very vital and important sector, receives the king of attention the government should give it.

“Some authorities say we lose about 29 billion dollars every year because of lack of sufficient and stable power. That is equivalent to what our people are supposed to earn.

According to Senator Lawan, the National Assembly wants to see a power sector that provides a steady and regular supply of electricity because that is what the country needs. (VON)


Source: News Express

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