By Anthony Isaac
Almost seven years after it was handed over to the private sector and having largely underperformed, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said there was a need to revisit the privatisation of the power sector.
ExpressDay recalls that on November 1, 2013, the Federal Government formally handed over majority stake in eleven electricity distribution companies and six electricity generation companies to private investors.
But many years down the line, power supply in the country has failed to improve. The government has in the past few years provided billions of Naira to support the sector and improve liquidity without positive results.
Lawan who spoke when members of the executive committee of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria ((MAN) visited him in Abuja, admitted that privatisation of the power sector has not worked.
He said: “I think the privatisation has not worked. It has failed because the essence of privatisation is to create efficiency”.
A statement by Lawan’s media aide said the Senate President was responding to the complaints made by MAN about the adverse effects of the poor state of electricity supply in the country.
“It appears most of the companies, the DISCOs (Distribution Companies), have no sufficient capital and probably the same thing with the GENCOs (Generation Companies),” Lawan said.
He acknowledged the efforts of the government which, out of desperation to create a better situation for the privatised sector, gave out so much money to the companies.
“I think the time has come for government to take a very drastic but necessary decision. If we have privatised the DISCOs and the GENCOs, I think, the private sector, those who have taken them over, should be able to make them work better than they were before.
“If they cannot, I think we need to revisit this privatisation because we cannot go on like that. We should look at the larger interest of Nigerians not of those companies that have taken over the power sector – the DISCOs and the GENCOs.
“We are going to support the executive arm of government… We will suggest that going forward we have to revisit the privatisation because apparently the companies are not able to provide the power that we thought they could by now,” Lawan said.
Lawan noted that the issue of power has remained one of the major challenges of the nation’s economy adding that “there is no way we can make any serious progress without adequate and steady power supply”.
On the complaint by MAN on the delay encountered in clearing goods at the nation’s seaports, the Senate President expressed his confidence that the federal government committee on Ease of Doing Business chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would address the issue.
The committee, he said has since its inception done a lot to normalize and restore efficiency at the ports.
He assured the Association of the National Assembly readiness to partner with it for the growth and development of the nation’s economy.
“Feel free to always come to us when there is need for legislative intervention,” he said.
Earlier, MAN President, Engr. Mansur Ahmed listed insecurity, delwoods as major challenges facing the members of the association.
The challenges, Ahmed said has resulted into lack of competitiveness by the nation’s manufacturers.