By Muhammad Bashir
Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the time has come to review or “probably reverse” the privatisation of the power sector.
Speaking before Gabriel Suswam, senator representing Benue north east, moved a motion entitled “Power sector recovery plan and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic” on Tuesday, Lawan said if the distribution and generating companies are left the way they are, the country would not have power for the next 10 years.
The sector was privatised in 2013 with the distribution and generation sub-sectors sold to investors. The move by the federal government was to enhance power distribution in the country.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the way the sector has fared, the senate president said distribution companies do not have capacity to deliver.
“We gave them our common patrimony and they still come back as DisCos and GenCos to look for money from the public. The time has come to review and probably reverse this privatisation, if we leave them for the next 10 years there would be no power in Nigeria,” he said.
“We expected efficiency, effectiveness in power supplies but probably on both sides, maybe the purchase agreements were not adhered to on both sides. What is obvious is that the DisCos particularly have no capacity at the moment to supply us power. The GenCos have challenges too.
“If there are areas we must intervene as a government must be seriously justified. The way it is I think there is need to review this privatisation to see what has happened. Something is certainly not right.”
Moving his motion, Suswam said power supply is a critical factor in the management of COVID-19 patients who are kept in treatment centres.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted negatively on NESI as the DisCos reported a 50% loss of their average monthly revenue collection for the months of Match and April 2020 respectively even as the Federal Government continues to harp on the need for a stable electricity supply,” he said.
The senate mandated its committee on power to probe all interventions by the federal government in the sector “with a view to ascertaining the adequacy of such interventions and their desired impact.”
It also urged the federal government to shelve its planned electricity tariff increase owing to hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.