Power sector privatisation scandalous — Senate President
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has appraised the 2013 privatisation of the power sector, dismissing it as scandalous.
He gave the damning verdict on Monday while declaring open a one-day roundtable organised by the Senate Committee on Power, tagged ‘Addressing Nigeria’s Power Problems’.
Senator Lawan demanded an emergency to revive the power sector, as he noted that the unstable power supply was a grave disincentive to investment in the economy.
The president of the Senate said the challenges bedevilling the sector were known to all stakeholders but expressed regret that the government lacked the political will to confront it.
He said: “For me if there is anyone sector of our economy that is important and yet so challenged, it is the power sector.
“I believe this is a sector that needs a declaration of emergency. This is an opportunity for us in this roundtable to discuss not only the challenges of the power sector; I think it is for us to proffer solutions and chart the way forward.
‘’The truth is we all know what is wrong, what we really need to do is to have the political will to take on the challenges.
“From the electricity power reform of 2005 to the privatisation of Gencos and Discos and to what is happening today, we know that everything is fraud.
“I think the time has come for us to have courage. I want to remind us that we have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. I believe what will give us an edge is to have a competitive environment for our industries; our businesses must be able to produce things that will compete favourably with products produced in other countries of Africa.
“We are not in that position today and we know the consequences. Even our citizens who have capital rather relocate to Ghana, produce whatever they want and bring it to Nigeria to sell. Where does that leave our country?
“If we went wrong with our privatisation of Gencos and Discos, the time has come to look into whatever we have to remove to review these things; we must remove in the interest of the country. We must admit there was something wrong.
‘’So this roundtable actually is an idea of the Senate that we should come together, talk among ourselves. The roundtable provides an opportunity for us to talk, not one person lecturing others.
“All the stakeholders are supposed to be here, our course is legislative intervention, but we are also part of the government. Therefore, whatever is required to support the legislative arm of government to turn around this sector, we are prepared; in fact, we are more than prepared for legislation. If we are going to amend the power sector reform, we are prepared to do that and expeditiously.
“So I think this roundtable is an opportunity for us to come with measurable road maps because we are not going to leave the implementation of whatever it is to the executive alone.
“We want to participate in every inch of the way. We want to be a part of it and contribute meaningfully in taking the power sector to the next level.