Nigeria recommits to power sector privatisation

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

16 March 2013, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Federal government on Friday said it would never revert its decision to completely privatise the power sector, arguing that the sector’s only hope for resuscitation was being left in the hands of private managers.

Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who stated government’s position when he met with a USAID delegation in his office in Abuja, further noted that there is no going back on contents and details of the approved Road Map.

He said that to even strengthen and take care of gaps that have been identified, Government would soon approve the Road Map II.

Nebo said the expected privatisation of the power sector would ensure “phenomenal success in the industry” and would surpass what happened in the telecommunication sector because power is so crucial to our every-day living that have been denied large number of our population especially in the rural areas.

The Minister stressed priorities of Government and said “we need to develop the critical mass of experts in all areas of generation, transmission and distribution, just as he identified ageing population of the workforce in the sector as a problem that would require assistance from USAID.

According to Prof. Nebo, “We must hit the ground running, we do appreciate the enormous work you have done in the past, especially in the area of capacity building, we need more help now even in the area of strengthen of institutions that will implement our plan.

“We are calling for more investment, we want genuine investors to take advantage of the revolution that is about to happen in the sector.”

The Minister explained that the Federal Government has empowered the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader with the sum one-billion Dollars, which has been approved in form of bond. It would enable it purchase electricity from the generating companies, he said.

The Minister of State, Hajia Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi said that the inauguration of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) affirms, Mr. President’s commitment in resolving Manitoba issues.

She appealed to USAID to help in the exploration of renewable energy mix because “they are the ones that can give us what we require in short run especially in the rural areas, while we in the long run arrange to fix the thermal stations that can generate renewable quantity of power that would help boost the megawatts of electricity available for distribution nationwide”.

The USAID Team led by Dana Mansuri, pledged the support of her group to the privatization efforts of Government which has attracted the attention of President Barak Obama of the United States of America, hence the visit of the group to the country.

She said that going by what the group saw on ground, she can safely describe the market for power in Nigeria as innovative and creative, while urging the Government to stick to plan so, as to ensure credibility and integrity for the whole process.

She assured the Ministry of support in the area of capacity strengthens especially in rural electrification efforts.

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