News The African Way

Nigerian Government Cautions President-Elect Over Reversing Power Sector Reform

By Mohammad Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – Nigeria Government has asked president-elect Muhammadu Buhari not to reverse the privatisation of the power sector carried out by the outgoing administration.
Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo made the call in an interview with State House correpondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
According to him, any call for the incoming government to reverse the exercise was an ill-advice.
The Minister added that any effort to do that would mean to set the nation back for many decades.
“On privatisation, ‎I think the incoming government will be ill-advised to ‎reverse privatisation and liberalisation of power generation, transmission and distribution because any attempt to do that would be to set Nigeria back many decades.
“The gains of privatisation are very obvious. If we can solve the problem of gas like we are talking about energy mix, we are not just going by gas, we are doing hydros.
“It was this same administration that flagged off Zungeru hydro power plants for 750MW and it is in the bid to flag off Mambilla 3,050MW.
“Shiroro has been improved, revamped, Kanji revamped and improved, the same as Jebba.
“So, there is a lot of work being done by the government; however to turn back on privatisation would mean stopping all of these companies and then reversing the massive in-flow of investments coming into the power sector.
“Nigeria’s power consumption per capita is one of the lowest in the world and that is part of the efforts of government to reverse that. So I ‎don’t think it is in the best interest of the country to reverse privatisation.”
He also attributed the poor power provision being witnessed across the country to those he named demon-possessed Nigerians who he said deduce pleasure in vandalising gas pipelines without any reason.
“I have never in my life seen anything as frustrating ‎as what we are experiencing today.
“Every month, the Nigerian gas company spends a minimum of N120 million to fix gas pipeline.
”Every two weeks, western axis pipelines are vandalised and that is pure sabotage; the eastern axis pipelines are vandalised and that is oil theft.”
“Four major joints they are working on is going to cost them N1.5 billion. Is that the way to give light to the country?” the Minister questioned.
He said the situation underpinned the problem of planning and putting all the nation’s eggs in one basket which this government has done everything to reverse.
The minister said there were days he felt like crying over vandalism.
It should be mentioned that power sector shareholders have expressed different views about how the incoming administration should handle the industry, especially the privatisation of key power assets.
While some Nigerians call for a review of the privatisation of the power sector, others see it as unnecessary and uncalled for.

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