Nigeria loses $29bn annually over power failure ― Lawan
• Says FG should sell off 40 shares to raise funds
Nigeria suffers an annual loss of $29bn to failure of the power sector which fails to deliver power to the Nigerian population, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan has said.
Lawan who declared open the “Power Sector Recovery Plan and the Impact of COVID 19 Pandemic,” said the power-sharing agreement between the Federal Government and the Generation Companies (GENCOs) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) leading to a monthly drawdown of varying sums between N5bn and N12bn an arrangement of iniquity.
Lawan said the agreement lacked moral merit as it was a deal entered in deceit thereby shortchanging Nigeria state of heard-earned resources to meet its obligation in other critical areas such as health, education and others.
He wondered how representatives of the nation in the deal would deliberately sign a deal they know they will not honour but attract huge penalty cost to the nation.
“How can we sign an agreement, not under duress, not with a gun on our head and we sign this huge amount of money knowing that we do not have that kind of money.
“Now Azura gets 14 billion monthly from us for what? This is a waste! Why should we sign this kind of agreement?
The World Bank guaranteed this agreement even though they warned us not to sign. We want the World Bank to come to our aid, how can we come out of this one? N12bn N5bn, N12bn.
“Ministry of finance and the central bank will be running from pillar to post on how to raise that money for them. Yet, there are issues every day because we are not able to fund our security we are not able.
“14 million children out of school. While some people are busy collecting this kind of money for nothing. Something has to be done. We are responsible as leaders of this country, today, we cannot continue with this.
“And whoever signed this, why should they sign it? Why should they sign it? I think the time has come to take the right decision. We should have the courage to honestly, face our challenges and find a way out of it. I know there will be legal implications but we have to find a way out of it somehow.
“No matter what we do, we are simply throwing our money down the drain, This sector is so critical and yet it is the sector that receives the least kind of scrutiny. We come and talk and then we disappear and somebody will be sitting in his room collecting money.
“How can somebody be sitting maybe in Yacht and every month he gets N12 to N13 billion. We know we will not use more than one 1000 every month and yet we signed to be paying 80 per cent every month, that is not right.
“We must do the right thing and free our harsh resources to meet our obligations in education and health. All these legal but immoral payment that we make can stop. If these were private concern people will not sign it.
“I hope the committee will be able to come with how N1.8trn was disbursed and what comes out of it as value for money. And for DISCOs you are privatised, the only thing we owe this privatised enterprises will be what we signed in the share purchase agreement. Nothing more unless there is a problem like the issue of COVID 19, then we can intervene.
“We are not to engage in giving them money after money. Even the share purchase agreement did not say we should give them. Go and look for more sources of funding
“If we are not going to review this Privatisation thing, we either cancel it or take the right decision. Either the Federal government sells substantial part of its 40 per cent shares or all of it to get more investors with financial muscles to come and inject funds Or these DISCOS AND GENCOS should look for more partners that have the financial capacity and technical know-how so that we can move forward and some of the iniquities in this agreement we will have to visit them and free some of these resources that we are giving out on monthly basis for no value.
“If we plough the money into security and health, it will be more beneficial,” Lawan stated.
The investigative panel was predicated on a motion by the chairman of the Senate committee to investigate all Federal government interventions in the power sector since the privatisation of the sector about eight years ago.
Lawan then directed the executive to ensure that any further intervention to the Power sector is subjected to the scrutiny of the national assembly.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Gabriel Suswan said between 1999 – 2015, the Federal government expended N2.74 trillion by way of intervention in the sector. In spite of these huge investments, power generation has remained at 3,500 out of the installed capacity of 13, 000mw.
The status of power generation was at variance to the expectation to the public after the unbundling of the power sector in 2013 to following the passage of the Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
Addressing the Panel under oath, the Director Energy Department of the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) Yunana Jackdell Mato said the performance agreement between the federal government and the GENCO’s and DISCOs the federal government reneged in some of the agreement leading to the inability of the Generation Companies to meet their side of the deal.