THERE are strong indications that the federal government may soon privatize the transmission company on Nigeria (TCN).
The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said the federal government is already looking to privatise the TCN.
Fashola who was represented by acting Chairman and CEO, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Anthony Akah, stated this on Wednesday at the ongoing West Africa Power Industry Convention in Lagos.
According to him, “the government’s move to involve private sector the transmission phase of the sector, is being driven by non availability of funds to drive development in the power sector. The government can no longer handle funding of the power sector alone. That is why we are now looking towards involving private sector in transmission. This will help in raising fund for the sector.”
After privatisation of the sector, TCN was concessioned to Canadian company, Manitoba. However, the company was accused of lacking expertise in handling the sector hence, it was again taken over by the government.
Fashola also said the government will explore other clean sources of energy in order to bridge the gap in electricity supply in the country. He also said Nigeria’s current power mix is lopsided with 80 per cent of power being generated from gas.
Earlier in the week, the FG called on the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Development Bank (AfDB), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and others, to invest in energy sector.
According to Fashola who made the call, government wanted investment in the generation, distribution and transmission sectors of the industry.
He said the funding gap in the sector was wide and required investments to improve electricity supply.
Fashola said the sector has huge investible propositions, which only bigger corporations have the capacity to meet, adding that the sector has the capacity to provide returns on investment for any company that invests in it.
He said the government was striving to provide an enabling environment through its policies to guarantee adequate returns on investment.
“Without doubt, bad environment is a problem, which the government is trying to address. It is obvious that the power sector has huge potential, which can only be realised with the right environment.
“When one considers that the sector is broken into 11 power distribution companies (DisCos) and six power generation companies (GenCos), one would see that there is huge potential in the industry. This is the reason the Federal Government is asking investors, especially global financial institutions, to invest in the sector,” he said.