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DISCOs reject call for privatisation reversal by Dangote

The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distribution Companies (ANEDC) has described the call for a reversal of the privatised power sector by the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, as reckless.

The Federal Government had on Sept. 30, 2013, following the privatization process initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan regime, divested its shares from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

The company was divided into separate companies or entities called Local Electric Distribution Companies or Local Distribution Companies (LDC). Each company is responsible for handling electricity distribution in each state or region. In May 2016, the structure of the companies consisted 11 distribution companies (DISCOs), six generation companies (GENCOs) and one Transmission company (TCN), all being regulated by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of the ANEDC, Mr Sunday Oduntan, however, condemned Dangote’s view in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.

The business mogul had called recently for the reversal of sales of facilities in the power sector when he featured as a guest lecturer at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Plateau.

He had said the sector’s privatisation by the Federal Government was done wrongly and suggested that it should be reversed in the national interest. Dangote said challenges in the sector had persisted in spite of the privatisation. He had also stated that the new owners lacked understanding of the sector.

Reacting to the suggestion, Oduntan said it was too early for Dangote to conclude that the privatisation of the sector was a failure, noting that the sector was just three years post–privatisation.

He said the decades of rot in the sector could not have been eradicated in just three years, adding that the entire value chain was committed to improving electricity in spite of the challenges. Oduntan said Dangote’s call was hinged on his earlier unsuccessful bid in 2013 to become a major player in the privatised sector.

He also said the business man had been a major beneficiary of government’s privatisation policy over the years.

“Dangote wanted to take over this business but he failed in 2013. He is a good man, but it is surprising that someone like Dangote is calling for re-privatisation of the power sector; he is a product of privatisation.

“He is what he is today because of privatisation because he bought government properties.

“If the power sector receives half of the backing Dangote has gotten from government in this country, there would be light.”

On the Senate’s resolution to stop the N309 billion electricity bond to the sector, Oduntan appealed to the upper legislative chamber to re-consider its decision, given the challenge of liquidity in the sector.

He also said there was no truth in the statement that the operators were planning to increase tariff.