We must not cancel power sector privatisation —TCN MD

Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Mohammed Gur, has advised that power sector privatisation need not be cancelled. Rather, he said recapitalisation of the electricity distribution companies should be prioritised for the power sector to perform optimally.

In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, Gur argued that investment in TCN is not sustainable unless there is a corresponding investment in the distribution companies.

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According to him, “If we cancel privatisation, we are going to have a contingent liability which will send a signal to the whole world that Nigeria is not private sector-friendly. Secondly, the government does not have sustainable money to invest in the power sector.  When you cancel, you will return the money of the investor, and you are going to be paying 20 per cent for five years.

“It is time to tell the people the truth; we have to pay for electricity. All of us are paying more than what we are supposed to be paying because all of us have generator in our homes. So if the tariff is increased by 20 to 30 per cent so that we have stable electricity, why not? We need to have tariff that can sustain investment.

“We are preaching for recapitalisation of the DisCos because government cannot be passive anymore. Government should bring their own 60 per cent and this money should be defined; not just monies that come from commercial banks that are short term, they should be long term investment.

“We also need to have regulatory certainty. No investor will come in who cannot recover his money. On whether the government should take over the DisCos, I disagree. If you implement right thing wrongly, you should right that wrong instead of cancelling it. Because when you cancel it, you get it wrong completely. What we implemented here is what Germany is using and it is working. What we need is to correct it and recapitalization can correct it. Generation is not our problem, many people wanted to generate but we were not connecting them to the grid. The issue is that when you let them and the market cannot take, it becomes a liability on Nigeria,” he said.

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