27 August 2013, Abuja — Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Monday, said the investments recorded in the telecommunication sector since the introduction of the mobile telephone services in the country would be dwarfed by investment in the power sector, once the ongoing reforms in the sector took firm footing.
He spoke to newsmen after a meeting of the Presidential Action Committee on Power, adding that so far, government had accessed loans from various international lending agencies to fund the expansion of transmission infrastructure to the tune of $1.6 billion.
He said: “We have substantial amount of funding coming in form of loans from the World Bank, African Development Bank, Euro Bond Issue and Chinese Exim Bank and NDPHC had already designated $1.6 million for the expansion of transmission facilities.
“Government is adequately prepared. Everybody is excited at what has just happened; that we had such a significant compliance of all the preferred bidders, who bought the GENCOS and the DISCOS as most of them have paid up.
Cause to celebrate
“Most people thought it was never going to happen. Today, it is a reality and Nigeria is going from a public sector-dominated power sector to a private-sector driven one.
“We believe that this is very good for the country. We are celebrating that the entire nation is agog with it.
“The international community is amazed that this miracle could happen in Nigeria and we are so happy that everybody sees that it was a fragile situation because no county in Africa has taken the quantum leap to do the entire generation and distribution company utilities like that in one fell swoop.
“Nigeria has done it and I think the government of President Goodluck Jonathan should be commended for the courage, the boldness and the dexterity of purpose to ensure that this is happening.
“Remember what happened with NITEL, when telecommunications was essentially run by government.
“It was the epitome of ineptitude with regard to delivery of communication to our people. But today what do we have? We have a situation where Nigeria has over 120 million registered GSM lines.
“In those days, you needed to bribe people to get a line and whenever you had a problem. It took weeks to fix. Today, it is no longer so. The same thing is going to happen in the power sector.
“The difference is that we envisage that the power sector would dwarf the telecommunication sector in what we are going to see happen.
“It is going to re-energise the entire economy. The whole manufacturing and industrial sector will begin to boom. In addition, small and medium scale enterprises will begin to spring up all over the place.
“So there is a lot to celebrate and with these things in the hands of the private sector, they are going to deliver power.
“The only way to make their money is to ensure that power is delivered to the people.
“Once the people are getting power, the more their profit, the more incentive they have to ensure that whatever needs to be beefed up is beefed up.”
– Ben Agande, Vanguard