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Published On: Fri, Oct 13th, 2017

Buhari set to review power sector privatisation

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By Etuka Sunday

There are strong indications that the Power Sector Privatisation done under the previous administrations may soon be reviewed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The review may be due to the industry failures recorded since the taking over of the sector, by the private operators in November, 2013.
Recall, the privatisation was done as an antidote to take Nigerians out of darkness and as a catalyst for the economic prosperity of the country.
However, the expectation was not met due to lack of sincerity on the part of government and the operators to deliver on the promises made to Nigerians before the privatisation.
Nevertheless, President Buhari has said that, the review of the power sector would result in the restructuring of the ownership of the power plants to ensure that new investors who have the capacity to operate the facility are allowed to takeover.
The President dropped the hint at the closing ceremony of the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit (NES23) in Abuja yesterday.
Buhari who represented by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed disclosed that the intention of government in that regard was to open up the sector to new investors to bring in fresh capital to make the plants more functional.
Recall, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at the opening ceremony of the summit declared that the current investors who lack financial capacity to finance their operations should transfer their equity to fresh investors.
Meanwhile, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) said, those clamouring for cancellation of the privatisation of the power sector should have a rethink.
ANED said, privatisation is not the issue but inconsistent regulatory framework and liquidity of the sector based on pricing.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja at a workshop, ANED spokesman, Barr.Sunday Oduntan said: “For those clamouring for cancellation of on privatisation, privatisation is not the issue but inconsistent regulatory framework and liquidity of the sector based on pricing.
“Cancellation of the privatisation would worsen the sector, and portrays to foreign investors that Nigeria does not respect sanctity of contract and that we are not open for business,” he said.
Barr. Oduntan said, “the privatisation of the power sector was not rigged. Saying that the World Bank was involved in the privatisation process and it applauded it as the most transparent in Nigeria’s history.
“It was that transparency that made powerful people like Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola lose their bid.”
“$1.4billion was paid by investors for the acquisition of the 11 Discos. Regrettably, most of the funds were paid as severance to PHCN workers.”
“Discos investors have continued to seek funds in spite of the encumbered balance sheets due to NEMSF Fund that went to legacy gas debts,” he said.

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