Members of the Nigerian Senate have declared their support for the proposal to recapitalise the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos).
They also advised that the 40 per cent shares held by the federal government in the Discos be divested from and sold to investors with technical competence.
A statement from the Ministry of Power quoted the parliamentarians to have disclosed this, stating that it would be more beneficial to Nigeria and the power sector.
It disclosed that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, made this known when he received a management team of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which was led to his office by its Managing Director, Mr. Usman Mohammed.
Lawan, during the visit, also stated that it was not in the interest of the government to continually disburse bailout funds to the power Discos without commensurate improvement in electricity supply.
He said experts in the field should be given an opportunity to invest in the sector and assured that the Senate would continue to support the TCN in its execution of the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP) which is planned to rehabilitate, stabilise and provide the necessary flexibility in the country’s transmission grid.
Despite his assurance of support for TCN’s TREP, Lawan, however expressed displeasure with the report on its contracting for a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) which had reportedly happened three times unsuccessfully in the past.
He thus called for a more stringent process of awarding contracts that would allow only competent firms qualified to execute the project.
Similarly, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, said he was impressed with the presentation of the TCN team, and expressed confidence in their capacity to solve the country’s power supply challenges.
In the same vein, the Senate Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said reducing government’s bureaucracy in the power sector operations was key to getting past its challenges. He cited the difficulty in securing the supply of gas to thermal power generation companies (Gencos) as a major setback to power generation in the country.
Abdulahi, agreed with the position of Lawan, on the sale of the 40 per cent holding of the government in the Discos to experts, and suggested that the Senate could re-open the power privatisation exercise carried out in 2013 and involve big foreign investors to allow for proper restructuring of the sector.
The immediate past Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, recently said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has enormous regulatory powers to make the country’s electricity reforms work.
Fashola had said this while answering questions at the recent ministerial screening exercise. He had stated that the NERC needed to be supported by stakeholders to exercise its powers to sanction erring operators who refuse to serve consumers efficiently in the sector.
Source: This Day