The Acting Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr. Vincent Onome Akpotaire has maintained that continuous interactions coupled with the commitment of the power operators and the political will of the Federal Government were critical to resolving the emerging challenges in the sector.
The Acting BPE boss who stated this during an interactive session with the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the 11 Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in Abuja on Thursday, April 14, 2016, noted the challenges in the power sector but opined that with concerted efforts by all critical stakeholders in the sector, these were surmountable.
He called for an enhanced synergy between the Successor Companies (SCs) of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and the Bureau to boost efforts towards actualising the full objectives of the power sector privatisation.
While acknowledging that there were fundamental challenges within the sector, he stated that these were not insurmountable if given time; inter-agencies collaboration; and adequate investment.
He enjoined the SCs to improve on their efforts to honour the performance agreement in the power privatization, stressing that “I am optimistic that with the required synergy, periodic reviews with stakeholders and commitment to the performance agreement, the objectives for the nation’s power sector would be achieved.”
Akpotaire said that the lack of investment in the sector in the past 40 years had now come to the fore with the privatization of the sector and that immediate solutions would not be achieved within two years of privatization.He however said with the steps taken by the Federal Government so far to address the prevailing challenges there was a hope of efficient and effective power supply in the country.
On the prayers sought by the SCs, the Acting Director informed them that the Bureau was not an approving agency but the Secretariat of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP). He said the essence of the interaction was to look at the contending issues with a view to escalating them to the NCP.
Speaking on behalf of the Successor Companies (SCs), the Managing Director of the Ibadan Electricity distribution Company (IBDEC), Mr. John Donnachie, acknowledged the Federal Government’s efforts at managing the issues militating against the sector.
He said that the DISCOs and GENCOs had benefited from such efforts through the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc. (NBET) and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN)’s N213 Billion intervention fund.
The MD called for additional intervention through the Bureau to secure more investment from the Federal Government by financing the 40% equity held in trust by BPE for the Federal Government.
On the implementation of a cost reflective tariff, the MD. IBDEC said that it was a step in the right direction but that the deadline by the Federal Government to the DISCOs to meter 1million customers within a year was not realistic.
He added that the cap on the DISCOs’ Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) was a hindrance to meeting the deadline. The IBDEC Chief Executive explained that metering was a capital intensive venture and a key component for implementing the new tariff which only massive investment in the sector would bring Nigeria closer to the Promised Land.
Also speaking, the Country Director, Energy Market and Rates Consultants (EMRC), Mrs. Rahila Thomas, lauded the Federal Government’s efforts in the sector so far.
She recommended among others, subsidy from the Federal Government and a resizing of the bond allocated to the sector to adequately accommodate the financial implication of the gap in power generation as ways to cushion the effects of the impending tariff increase. She urged the Bureau to consider the options in the post-privatisation minor review in June, 2016