Nigerian govt says power privatisation still on course

*Says tariff increase inevitable

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

06 March 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Federal Government has insisted that the privatization of the power assets in the country was still on and would be allowed to run its full course if the sector must rebound and provide efficient and reliable electricity to Nigerians.

The Minister of State for Power, Mr. Darius Ishaku made this assertion yesterday when the United State Under Secretary on Energy, Mr. Timothy Pascaul and his team led by the Under Secretary for Political Affairs , Wendy Sherman visited him in his office in Abuja.

Dickson said the extension of the process to October this year, was necessitated by the need to ensure transparency and thoroughness on the bids submitted so far. He also informed Pascaul that the Bulk Trader has already been established and is being supported by the World Bank Partial Risk Guarantee all in a bid to assure investors of the safety of their investment.

The Minister of State justified increase in electricity tariff as inevitable in order to meet the enormous cost of electricity generation as well as encourage investors to come in and invest in the sector. He said unless there is appropriate pricing in electricity, the Private investors would not be willing to invest in the Power Sector. He assured that increase in tariff would enhance adequate power supply.

Ishaku stressed that the Federal Government would still subsidize electricity for the less privileged despite the proposed increase in tariff. He said the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission has begun a sensitization Campaign to enlighten citizens on the need to accept the new tariff order with a promise of increase electricity supply.

Mr. Ishaku said Federal Government was ready to partner with local Companies to develop off-grid generation of Power for the rural Communities.

He informed the US Under Secretary Timothy Pascaul that the Rural Electrification Agency, (REA) is in charge of providing electricity to the Rural Areas as it is Federal Government’s intention to provide electricity to the rural Communities as soon as possible.

He further stated that the Government was ready to collaborate with and work out a model that would engage local investors with the international business partners to provide off-grid electricity to the rural areas.

Earlier, Ambassador Pascaul told the Minister of State, that the United State was interested in investing in Nigeria Power Sector and that they were in the Ministry to ascertain the plans of the power sector before the October date.

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