01 November 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED in Nigeria has replied Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote stating that he should stop talking like a bad loser on the state of the country’s power sector three years after it was privatised.
Dangote had last week urged the Federal Government to reserve the privatisation of the power sector it did three years ago suggesting that it was wrongly done and investors lack understanding of the complexities of the sector.
As a result of lacking understanding, Dangote added that the generating and distribution companies are now holding the country to ransom. Hence government should quickly decide on taking back the assets and give them to people who have the capacity to inject money; otherwise, the country may not be able to deliver on power, Dangote asserted.
ANED Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, Mr Sunday Oduntan said they were astonished by his recommendation to reverse the privatisation of the power sector after he has benefited from multiple privatisation efforts where he bought Onigbolu Cement Company, Ukpilla Cement Company, Savannah Sugar, Port Terminal Apapa, Benue Cement Company among others.
He explained that Dangote wanted to participate in the power sector privatisation process but his bid was rejected after missing the deadline.
“For that reason we do not expect Alhaji Dangote to be behaving or talking like a bad loser,” he said.
Speaking with journalist in Lagos, Mr. Oduntan stated that he is not out to attack Africa’s richest man but to refute the inaccuracies his assertions and provide facts and clarification to the challenges in Nigerian’s power sector.
The challenges bedevilling the sector according to Mr Oduntan include absence of a cost recovery regime which he described as a fundamental prerequisite for sustainability and development of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI.
Other challenges includes regulatory uncertainty, customer non-payment of their bills, limited access to fund as a result of limited cost recovery, gas supply constraints, gas pipeline vandalisation, neglected and aging turbines, and limited transmission capacity.
Despite the above challenges, Mr. Oduntan said DISCOs and Generation Companies have significant progress and capital investment towards capacity enhancement with specific examples of Egbin, Geregu and Ughelli power plants resulting in increased generation.
He noted that the 63 years of government control of the power sector cannot be over turn in three years adding that DISCOs have been able to reduce technical and commercial losses, improve billing systems, improve ICT and GIS infrastructure, reduce down time due to improve network maintenance and upgrade among others.
Commenting on the reversal of the power sector privatisation suggested by Dangote as the solution to the sectors challenges, ANED Executive Director for Research and Advocacy said “we do not believe that reversal of the privatisation is the solution to the current challenges of the sector.
“As a matter of fact, we believe that the federal government’s application of some of the favourable terms that Alhaji Dangote and his companies have historically benefited from such as import and tax waivers, favourable terms of access to foreign exchange, government credit guarantees among others would go a long way towards addressing the challenges that NESI is currently facing.
“As long as the same fundamental issues and challenges exist in the power sector, there are no miracles to seeking the turnaround that we all desire. No investor will invest in a sector that returns approximately 50 kobo of every naira of energy delivered.”