‘Why government should review power privatisation bids’

power21Apparently miffed by the lack of improvement in electricity supply since the reform, an industrialist, Felix Mbisiogu, has urged the Federal Government to review the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and its sale to private investors.

Specifically, Mbisiogu wants the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to look into the processes and agreements signed with the investors two years ago, to ensure that they were in the best interest of the public and actual transformation in the sector.

Mbisiogu, who is the Group Managing Director of Blue Diamond Group, told reporters that lack of improvement in the power sector was beginning to dispel the initial optimism that greeting the August – September 2013 privatisation of the sector.

It would be recalled that 10 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and five Generation Companies (GENCOs) took over the defunct PHCN at the completion of the unbundling process.

He added that it was however unfortunate that Nigerians are still living in darkness, which suggests that “the new investors in Nigeria’s electricity sector have failed.”

From the result of recent findings conducted in the manufacturing sector, he observed, Nigerians spend about N150 billion every year to generate power for use.

“Imagine when this amount of money is genuinely ploughed back into the economy the kind of employment that it will generate. According to the statistics from the Bank of Industry (BoI), 65 million Nigerians lack access to electricity.

“We cannot continue this way. And in line with the ‘change’ philosophy of the present government, we demand a complete change in the energy sector. We must not continue to do business the way and manner that we have been doing it in the last 16 years,” Mbisiogu said.

Amidst the prolonged power outage and high electricity bills, he added that the demand for outrageous bills by staff of the companies, for installation of pre-paid metres, which ordinarily should be free; crazy bills without commensurate supply to consumers, are some of the attendant problems of the sector today.

Mbisiogu, who is also the founder of Good Governance Initiative (GGI), a Non Government Organisation set up drive the power reform agenda, said further that his interactions with two previous ministers of power – Barth Nnaji and Chinedu Nebo – had confirmed that there was sabotage against the initiative, which the Buhari-led government must check.

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