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FG won’t reverse power sector privatisation — Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government will not reverse power sector privatisation, despite the challenges facing the sector.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, had stated on Tuesday, during a working visit to Eko Distribution Company, that there is need “to understand the problem bedeviling power sector. Should we cancel privatization of the sector? This is because they are private companies and they must make profit without any regulatory hiccups.

“We need to explain to the Senate our findings and what exactly privatization means to Nigerians. We need practical solutions to these problems which we can sell to the Senate for approval.”

Besides, Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote Group, had asked that the power privatisation process be revisited and reversed into the “right hands”.

“We should be as open as we can if government doesn’t  intervene by taking back these assets and giving them to people who really have money that they can really inject, we will not be able to deliver on power.

“We should ask, how many people, who and who are these guys that have actually gone into the power sector then you will know when you see the quality of people, are they really serious, because they went in to just make money, power business is not just about money, it is a huge business when you invest heavily you will reap at the end of the day,” Dangote had stated.

Speaking at the fifth EU-Nigeria business forum in Lagos on Thursday, Fashola said those who want to get out of the agreement could, based on terms of agreement signed at the beginning of the deal, but added that total cancellation is not to be considered.

“I have heard discussions about revisiting the privatisation of power, honestly, I don’t know what it means. I’d like those who made the arguments to be specific; let them come out. Let us have a discussion; does revisiting means cancelling it?If it does, I don’t support it.

“The investors who took the plough, must have the assurance that government will not flip flop, and contracts that fail, have consequences,” he said.

The minister added that the owners of Yola Distribution Company (Disco) wanted to opt out of the power privatisation, and they approached the government, and it was done, according to the initial terms and condition.

“If there are any disputes about those contracts, the umpire is the judiciary, let us go there and sort things out,” he said, adding that the terms of agreement can be revisited, but the process cannot be reversed.