Published 16th, June 2020
The Senate has asked its Committee on Power to review the agreement signed in 2013 on the privatisation of the power sector.
This was disclosed by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, while declaring open an Investigative public hearing by the Senate Committee on Power.
Lawan explained, via his Twitter handle, that the public hearing was on Power Sector Recovery Plan and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. He further explained that the overall expectation of the Nigerian government and the citizens was that the power sector, after privatisation, would be far better, but it is disappointing that the expectation was yet far from being fulfilled.
He said: “When you have privatization, you have Share Purchase Agreement. This investigation should look at what has happened.
“What are the responsibilities and the obligations of the Federal government in the Share Purchase Agreement. What is BPE(Bureau of Public Enterprises) supposed to do. And equally and very important, what are the successful investors who are given 11 DISCOs and Six GENCOs supposed to do and within which time framework.”
According to him, Government should not be given free money. N1.8 trillion has been given to DISCOs maybe in their books. The actual money might have been given to the GENCOs.
“N1.8 trillion is a huge amount of money. Is it part of the Share Purchase Agreement that we should be given this kind of money or what are we supposed to do as a government. What is our obligation?
“Government cannot afford to just spend money that you hardly understand why it is given and I will advise the Executive here, next time, if there will be any next time, to give such money, bring it to the National Assembly for approval.
“We want to be very critical on how funds are given to privatized enterprises. We expect that by now, our level of generation, transmission and distribution would have been far better,” he said.
Lawan, however, said he would rather call for a review of the privatisation deal and not for an outright cancellation of the deal.
He added, “Why I will not call for an outright reversal of the privatization that was done in 2013, I believe the time has come for us to review it.
“If those who are in charge now don’t have the financial muzzle, please let’s admit that we should look for partners who will come in with more funds.
“If government cannot fulfill its obligations because it holds 40 percent, let it divest so that we don’t hold this sector unnecessarily stagnant.”
The Senate President said Nigeria could not have made any serious, meaningful and sustainable progress without power.
Background: The Power holding Company of Nigeria was in 2013 unbundled to pave way for the emergence of six Generating Companies(GENCOs), 11 Distribution Companies(DISCOs) and one Transmission Companies of Nigeria. Both the GENCOS and DISCOs are fully privatised outfits.