Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo has reiterated government’s commitment to creating the enabling environment that would incentivize private sector investors to take on the challenges and opportunities in the power sector to ensure quality and cost effective service delivery to the Nigerian electricity consumers.
Speaking at the physical handover of the Sapele Power Plc to CMEC/EURAFRIC Energy Limited on Friday, February 21, 2014, in Sapele, Delta State, the Vice President who is also the Chairman of the National Council on Privatization (NCP),noted that the challenges facing the electricity sector in Nigeria were enormous but that the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was committed and determined to keep “its promise of taking Nigeria out of its perennial darkness within the shortest possible period”.
The Vice President who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, maintained that the electric power reform program became imperative to improve efficiency, reduce losses and cost.
The Vice President said that reform in the sector was a necessary tool for laying a solid foundation for sustainable power generation and service efficiency, adding that the privatization of the sector is a key component of the reform and one of the pre-conditions for the start up of a competitive electricity market in Nigeria.
According to the Vice President Sambo, the reform and privatization program are rightly focused on the big picture- impact on the economy as a whole and ultimately, the greatest good for the greatest number of Nigerians.
He urged Nigerians to see privatization as a necessary tool for the deregulation and opening up of hitherto government dominated sectors of the economy to the private sector as well as divestiture of government interest in such sectors.
“No doubt, this reform will lead to increased access to electricity, engender private sector investment, improve infrastructure, and create employment for the growing population of our citizenry. The participation of the private sector will bring about higher generation capacities through the provision of more efficient and cost effective power stations and improvements in electric power distribution, in the areas of billing and collection, transmission networks, etc. Such capital injection and efficiency have been inadequate in PHCN over the years, resulting in gross inadequate power supply with the attendant negative effects on the citizenry and the economy at large”, he stressed.
Vice President Sambo said the handover marked the concluding stage of the transaction for five (5) generation companies and ten (10) distribution companies, adding that the remaining two successor companies (Afam Power Plc and Kaduna Disco) would be handed over to their respective owners soon after they paid the 75% balance of the acquisition cost for the respective companies.
While commending the roles of the NCP, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and other key stakeholders for the actualization of the handover, the Vice President reminded the new owners to keep to the agreed covenants as Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the BPE would continually monitor the operations of the successor companies with a view to sanctioning any core investor that does not deliver on the performance agreement that was executed with the Government.