Energy expert tasks govt on PHCN privatisation

10 October 2012, Sweetcrude, Enugu – An Energy expert in Enugu, South East Nigeria, Sabastine Omeh, has advised the Federal Government to employ absolute due diligence and caution, to ensure transparency in the on-going privatization of Power in the Country.

Omeh, who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Hybrid Micro Machine Products Limited, an electrical Engineering Firm, currently into an advanced Research on the use of Wind Energy as a veritable source of large scale generation of electricity, says this caution is very necessary at this stage of Nigeria’s history.

He noted that it has become imperative for Nigeria to move to the next level of energy service delivery and that, the power sector should not be left in the hands of mediocre private operators or dishonest citizens, in view of the critical role of electricity in the economic welfare of people of any country.

He disclosed that his worries arose from the mind-boggling editorial of the Punch
Newspaper of yesterday, titled ‘clouds over privatization’, which expressed serious fears over the technical, financial and administrative competence of the declared winners of bids for the power plants and the speculations over the possible winners next week, of the 11 distribution firms all over the country, including the one located in Enugu, which is to serve the entire South East of Nigeria.

Admitting that the idea of privatization is good, if well managed, the company Chief Executive, who is an electrical engineer by training, cited the success story of the Mobile Telecommunication Industry, which brought on board, competent operators that have engaged in healthy competitions, resulting in efficient services, which Nigerians have enjoyed at very affordable costs.

He declared ‘Privatization is good, judging from the success story of the Telecom Industry. The advent of MTN, Glo, Zain, Etisalat, etc, have done Nigerians a lot of good, in terms of multiple choice at affordable charges.

But in this case of PHCN, government would have to be very careful to protect Nigerian Citizens, by ensuring that only competent and God-fearing private people win the bids to run the Power Industry.

“The Punch Newspaper had, in its yesterday editorial, jolted the minds of Nigerians on the danger of trying to run away from monopoly and plunging into oligopoly; which is the control of the market forces by a few individuals, citing the world Bank Report of failures of Privatization in Turkey, Australia, United Kingdom and Eastern Europe, as warning signals. The editorial had reasoned further that, these corsortia of firms hastily formed by Nigerians, with the global corporate expert players totally out, may end up without the desired solution, especially as Nigerians are presently living under a deficit Power supply, of about 23, 000 megawatts, with adverse cost of about $1.3 trillion anually.

Omeh also disclosed the convening of a national seminar next week in Enugu, by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, where the Energy situation in Nigeria will be one of the major issues to be discussed, adding that some State Governors who are engineers, were expected to attend the seminar. He disclosed further that, members of the forum intend to take time out to visit his Wind Energy Research Company, to see the progress he has made.

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