A statement by the Senior Special Assistant, to the vice president on Media & Publicity, Umar Sani said the Vice President, Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo gave the assurance when he received members of the senate committee on privatization led by their Chairman Senator Olugbenga Obadara who paid him a working visit in his office.
Sambo who expressed delight with the new initiative of cross-fertilization of ideas, used the occasion to explain to the Senate the efforts of government in the entire privatization exercise.
while noting the concerns expressed by the senators, he said that such issues arising after power privatization are normal and that the Federal Government was working round-the-clock and has gone far to ensure that power situation was improved and that when it finally materializes, it would take the country out of the trajectory of power problems.
The vice president further stated that the companies that succeeded in the power privatization exercise were viable companies and that part of the contents of the agreement was the upgrade of privatized companies for increase in output. He added that to monitor post-privatization activities, government has set up a monitoring & evaluation standing committee that would ensure compliance to the terms of the sales-purchase agreement.
Arc Namadi Sambo noted that there were challenges in generation where he stated that the issue of Gas was not a component of the Ministry of Power and that responsibility for it was left to the Petroleum Ministry.
He decried the issue of subsidized gas prices and observed that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have not been investing in local Gas supply but that the NNPC and IOCs were investing in the Liquefied Natural Gas (NLG), which is sold at much higher rate. The IOCs have argued that they cannot invest in gas which sold at less than one dollar because it is less than the cost of their production.
The vice president however emphasized on the development of a gas master plan which would be executed under a Public Private Partnership arrangement due to its viability.
Arc Sambo stated further that with the 10 Niger-Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) thermal power plants, it adds more pressure for gas requirements in millions of cubic feet. He added that there are concrete efforts to invest in the development of Gas infrastructure and used the occasion to intimate the senators on the efforts of government in transmission, distribution and mixed generation efforts and assured them that there was no cause for alarm. Other issues discussed were NITEL and MTEL privatization and the position of government as regards refineries.
Earlier, the Senate Committee on Privatization has raised concerns over the capability of the new owners to achieve the desired result envisaged by government and other sundry issues which were subject of the interactive session.