Ministry insists on transparent, productive review of Electricity Act

power transmission station07 August 2013, Abuja – The Ministry of Power has said its planned review of Nigeria’s almost eight years old Electric Power Sector Reform, EPSR, Act is intended to keep the sector abreast with extant changes in the emerging electricity market.

The ministry said it was already looking ahead to obvious challenges that would arise in a post privatised power sector; hence, its decision to initiate the review of the electricity legislation which was made in a period when the power sector was wholly a federal government affair.

According to a statement from the ministry in Abuja, its intention for the planned review of the 2005 EPSR Act which was borne out of the 2003 National Electricity Power Policy, NEPP, was to ensure that maximum benefits from ongoing reform process in the power sector would accrue to Nigerians.

While justifying its plans, the statement which was signed by its Deputy Director, Media, Timothy Oyedeji, stated the review was expected to address issues of electricity asset vandalism as well as local content development in the sector.

He said: “Within the context of the happenings in the electricity sector, oil and gas, the incidences of vandalism of infrastructure and theft which have assumed worrisome dimensions have made it even more urgent for promulgation of legislation that will curb these menaces.

“Furthermore, with the army of Nigerians that are unemployed, the call for local content strategy in ongoing reform cannot be over emphasised for the impending revolution that is anticipated in the sector, a review as envisaged in EPSR Act would help provide the frame work in the building of the critical mass of professionals skillful to take their rightful places in the industry.”

Oyedeji further explained: “The fear that policy and regulatory functions will be mixed up by this review is unfounded. The ministry is neither trying to change its mandate nor take over the functions of the regulator as alleged in the article.

“The ministry is only coordinating the views being jointly carried out by the agencies within the power sector and may find it necessary to reduce or tweak with either the ministry or NERC’s functions.”

He also added the review process had been planned to be transparent and open for audit while extant rules guiding the sector would be adhered to avoid incidences of investment flights.

“On the fear of the wrong timing of the review and possible legal uncertainty that this might cause, we are all aware that laws are always watched and reviewed by all stakeholders to ensure that it serves the purpose for which it was made, this position is sacrosanct.

“The current changes in the Nigerian power sector is said to be the biggest and most profound internationally. It is therefore necessary that the ministry ensures that everything that can be done is done to achieve success.

“Timing of the review after eight years shows that the ministry is responsive to its stakeholders concerns and it is driven by the entire leadership of the ministry,” Oyedeji added.

– This Day

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